PLA Ranks and Grades During the Cultural Revolution

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Langstrom
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Joined: 30 Jul 2012 21:53

PLA Ranks and Grades During the Cultural Revolution

Post by Langstrom » 11 Oct 2015 19:58

Hello everyone,

This might be a little past the accepted cut off with the end of the Chinese Civil War, but I was hoping someone could help me out. In 1965, just before the Cultural Revolution was launched in 1966, the PLA abolished rank and rank insignia. From what I could tell, the PLA still retained a grade system, similar to what Communist Party cadres used.

For example, instead of a first lieutenant, there were 'platoon commanders', instead of captains there were 'company commanders'. Even the term officer was dropped, replaced with 'commanders'. Something similar happened with the Soviet Red Army from 1918 until 1935, when most of the traditional ranks were brought back (1940 for general ranks). However, this lasted from 1965 to 1988 for the PLA.

Does anyone have a full list of grades for the PLA and the Communist Party cadres? Also, how were officers/commanders addressed who did not command a military unit? For example, how were staff officers or men in Army Intelligence addressed? Were they simply addressed as 'Intelligence Commander' or so forth? Also, for men like Lin Biao, who held the rank of marshal before 1965 in addition to being the Defense Minister (1959-1971), how was he addressed? Was he simply addressed as 'Defense Minister Lin'?

As someone who is used to traditional rank structures within militaries, I've found studying the PLA during the Cultural Revolution incredibly confusing. If there is anyone who could give me a solid rank/grade chart or information regarding different titles used, I would be very grateful.

Thanks!

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YC Chen
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Location: Nanking

Re: PLA Ranks and Grades During the Cultural Revolution

Post by YC Chen » 13 Oct 2015 16:57

Hello,

The most common way to address Lin Biao is Vice-chairman Lin(of course only used before 1971), no matter in public or in the army.

Langstrom
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Posts: 22
Joined: 30 Jul 2012 21:53

Re: PLA Ranks and Grades During the Cultural Revolution

Post by Langstrom » 15 Oct 2015 03:08

Thank you YC. I did not realize that Lin Biao's title of Communist Party Vice-Chairman would supersede his title as Defense Minister but it makes complete sense.

What about his successor Ye Jianying? How was he addressed during the period of the Cultural Revolution and until ranks were reestablished in 1988? Also, how were officers who didn't command units addressed, e.g. intelligence officers, staff officers, etc.

Thanks!

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