Ho (He Yingqin), like Chiang Kai-shek, was educated at the Japanese Shimbu Gakko military academy. Joining the Kuomintang when he returned to China, he became commandant of Whampoa Military Academy and led the cadets who overthrew the Kwangtung warlord in 1925. He was part of the command section of 1 Army during the Northern Expedition and led the force that seized Fukien province in 1926. He helped persuade Chiang to break with the Communists and put down the insurrections at Wuhan and Nanchang, but suffered an ignominious defeat early in the seige of Mao Tse-tung's Kiangsi Soviet in 1931.
Ho worked in high staff and governmental positions thereafter, and was close to Hans von Seeckt, the German general who led Chiang's military advisors. Ho directly controlled the Kuomintang in northern China in 1933 and, with Chiang's approval, negotiated a secret truce with the Japanese that played for time, surrendering control of Peiping, Tientsin, and the surrounding area.
Ho was Chiang's War Minister when war broke out in the Pacific. He directed Chinese forces to move into Burma in 1942, but his role thereafter was mainly to frustrate Stilwell's efforts to bring more Kuomintang troops into the war against Japan. He thus sought to preserve the main strength of the Kuomintang armies for the inevitable civil war with the Communists. He likely also felt that his power base was threatened by Stilwell, who had been appointed as Chiang's Chief of Staff. However, Ho has been credited with stopping the Japanese drive on Chichiang in May 1945. Appointed commander in chief of the Kuomintang armies in 1945, he proved unable to check the Communists while being micromanaged by Chiang. He served briefly as Prime Minister and fled with the Kuomintang to Taiwan (Formosa) in 1949, where he played the role of elder statesman.
Ho was described as "almost schoolmasterish" in appearance and was a convert to Roman Catholicism. Though a mediocre military commander at best, he was a ruthless political player and corrupt to the bone, becoming one of the richest landlords in Kweichow province. He was too powerful for Chiang to remove, but his bitter rivalry with Ch'en Ch'eng was exploited by Chiang to keep the two men under control.
||Born in Hsingi, Kweichow
||Commander, 1 Kuomintang Army
||Chairman, Chekiang Province
||Director-general of military
||Minister of War
||Commander, Alpha Force (Kunming)
||Commander in chief, Kuomintang forces
||Minister of Defense
||President, Executive Yuan
||Minister of Defense
Generals.dk (accessed 2008-1-31)
Romanus and Sunderland (1953)
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