Mao's Three Phase Doctrine of War

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The 3 phases of the Politburo strategy were: 1) terrorism & guerrilla war (1959 -1963), 2) mobile, semi-guerrilla/semi-conventional war (1964 -1971), & 3) conventional, positional war (1972 -1975). This corresponded to Mao's concepts.

The 1st stage existed only to evolve ASAP into the 2nd stage, which was mobile, semi-conventional warfare (battalion and regimental-size hit-&-run attacks on vulnerable regime forces). The 2nd stage, like the 1st, existed only to evolve ASAP into the 3rd, decisive stage (division & corps-size, conventional, positional warfare to seize and defend strategic terrain). Sham fight-talk negotiations were an integral part of the Maoist model, but there was never any possibility of ending any of the 3 stages with good-faith negotiations or counter-insurgency "good deeds" to win the hearts & minds of the civilian population.

Very few truly understand the Maoist model of revolutionary warfare, a fact that leads the naive and ignorant into the blind alley of believing that negotiations and good governing can actually prevent the Maoist model from working. Having read all of Mao's works, some of it in Chinese, it is apparent to me that Mao stressed the importance of secure "base areas" as a prime determinant for the expansion from one stage to another. Along with taking advantage of the Confucian model existing in Asia, especially China and Vietnam, which allowed for a political vacuum to exist below the county or district level, allowed the communists in China and Vietnam to organize their political framework with little central government opposition until it was too late. It was part of Mao's genius and central to communist success.

Mao and Giap were also both masters of logistics, a fact that is often lost in the literature because so few academics place much importance to it. A reading of Mao's works would inform the reader that the logistics architecture of Maoist Thought was key to their success. Had the Chinese communists not had bases and supplies on the Soviet side of the border in 1945, they would still be in Yenan living in caves. Same, same for the Viet Minh with bases and supplies in China post 1949. They pulled the same thing on us in 1962 when we agreed to the Geneva Accords on the Neutrality of Laos and Cambodia. We never learned from history and it cost us the war.


This is a "stump" essay which will be revisited when time permits.

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