forts and was undesirable from the point of view of repletion of its fighting ca- pacity.
The Red Army as a Key Unit of the People's War
Mao wrote the "Great Union of the Masses" in 1919. He determined to carry out armed struggle in 1927. The forerunner of the people's war was a union of the masses' union and armed struggle. Mao placed the Red Army at the con- tact point of these two and kept control of the army. In a struggle of violence, the quality of violence has an absolute value. The spearhead of this armed struggle was the Red Army. But the Red Army in the initial stage had only 200 guns for its 1,400 troops, and there was no prospect of this situation being improved. In order for the weak Red Amy to fight against the superior government armies and survive, it was necessary to adopt the concept of a people's war in which the people are organized and made to rise up, drawing on their combined strength for the fight.
For this purpose, the most important prerequisite was to establish closer relations between the army and the people. The Red Army had to make as much effort in this direction as in its fight with the enemy or even greater in some cases.
Mao allowed 200 persons to leave the army prior to the "Sanwan reorgani- zation". By this action, he intended to sow the seeds of revolution among the people. Stragglers from the long walk in later years, who accounted for 90 per- cent of the participants, too, were interpreted as seeds of the revolution and "sown" at various places. This view was novel and would be effective in build- ing the foundation of the people's war. But it involved the risk of destroying the unity of the Red Army.
The Army's Three Democratic Systems
Mao introduced three democratic systems for political, economic and mili- tary affairs in the army from the time of the establishment of the Red Army. These systems were effective in dissipating soldiers' dissatisfaction, improving their morale and bringing about a spiritual revolution among the soldiers. In a report of November 1928,18 there is a passage, which says that "as there were too many casualties among junior officers, those who were taken prisoner from the enemy yesterday often become platoon leaders or sometimes company com- manders today".
Such a state continued from the establishment of the Red Army to the achievement of the new democratic revolution. It seems these systems were ef- fective in supervising unreliable commanders and preventing their arbitrary ac- tions, too. But there was a fear of extreme democracy destroying the characteris-