The PLA entered Shanghai on May 25 1949. Urbanatomy Shanghai has collected some newspaper accounts of the day. This from le Monde:
The immediate impression was one of skilled and disciplined troops specialised in street fighting. The patrols, moving in single file and covering one another, knew exactly where they were going behind their leaders. Fifteen minutes after the arrival of the communications brigade, the telephones had been fully installed. The pillboxes, erected but never used by the nationalists, were immediately taken over.
Guards were posted at the entrance of the main buildings where white flags flew. Yet these troops who were about to conquer China’s first city were not accompanied by any motorised transport or artillery. Old rifles and machine guns, worn-out shoes, uniforms faded by the sun and the rain: it was a troop of hardened, but visibly exhausted, foot soldiers. During their short periods of rest, these peasant-soldiers craned their necks to stare at the tops of the 15- or 20-storey buildings, an obviously unfamiliar sight to them.
Peng Dehuai’s men in good fettle, then. There’s been a fairly intense revisionist debate over the past few years over whether the Nationalists or the Communists did more to defeat the Japanese, that itself being a response to the fairly mendacious CPC account of the anti-Japanese war. I think this misses the point about the PLA. For most of the war, the Communists fought as a guerilla formation. I don’t think they fought an action in anything more than battalion strength until 1944. A couple of years later they were winning giant encirclement battles against the Kuomintang on the north China plain and by the time the Korean war rolled around…
By contrast, Kuomintang partisans claim that over 200 of their generals died fighting the Japanese and the Communists, which really just explains why they lost. Pertinent to which:
And lastly, some veterans of the Chinese Expeditionary force who fought with the 14th Army in Burma have finally come home.