After suffering defeat in the Guomindang (GMD [Kuomintang, KMT], Nationalist) Fourth Encirclement Campaign, He's forces belatedly joined the Long March to northwest China in 1935, a year after Zhu and Mao had broken out. When the Eighth Route Army was formed in 1937, He commanded its 120th Division. During the Sino-Japanese War, his command responsibilities grew steadily. In 1943, he was named commander of the United Defense Headquarters at Yan'an (Yenan) in Shaanxi (Shensi) Province and given overall responsibility for the defense of the Shaanxi-Gansu (Kansu)-Ningxia (Nainghsia) and the Shanxi (Shansi)-Suiyuan (an old province constituting today's central Inner Mongolia) border areas. He was concurrently commander of the 120th Division and the Yan'an garrison army.
Like many other Communist military commanders in the 1930s and 1940s, He Long came to question Mao's emphasis on ideological guerrilla warfare in the face of the conventional tactics of both GMD and Japanese opponents. He was able to expand Communist control of territory by taking advantage of the confusion brought about by the Japanese ichi-go offensive of 1944. More frequently, however, expansion was achieved by alliance with local guerrillas.
In 1945, He was elected to the Communist Party Central Committee and served as commander of the First Field Army in southwest China during the Chinese Civil War. He rose in both the political and military hierarchies of the new regime, and in 1955 he was named a marshal of the People's Republic. He retired in January 1967 and died in Beijing (Peking) on 9 June 1969. Errol M. Clauss
Griffith, Samuel B., II. The People's Liberation Army. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.; Whitson, William W. The Chinese High Command: A History of Communist Military Politics, 1927–1971. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
Errol M. Clauss