Peng Dehuai was born in 1898 in Xiang County of Hunan Province. He was a rough-hewn man from very humble beginnings. He had sparkling eyes and was imbued with a powerful and unyielding spirit. Until 1916, he was a day laborer and then a soldier in a Warlord Army for $5.50 a month. He soldiered the rest of his life, some 60 years. He would talk to his troops and had great affection for his troops and they great loyalty to him. He commanded the Third Army during the Long March. Peng met the enemy head-on in frontal assaults and fought with such fury that again and again he wiped them out. He did not believe a battle well fought unless he managed to replenish--and more than replenish--any losses by seizure of enemy guns and converting prisoners of war to new and loyal recruits to the Red Army.
After the Japanese surrender Peng and He Long were cutting Beijing's connections with the rest of China and effectively surrounded Beijing. Peng ultimately became the Commander in Chief of the Chinese Forces in Korea against the US-led Forces.
All his life Peng spoke frankly, bluntly, and he wrote in plain vigorous Chinese often at great length so that no one might doubt his opinion.
In June 1959, he tried to tell Chairman Mao at the Lushan Conference that the Great Leap Forward was a big lie and it would cost him his life during the Cultural Revolution. Neither Mao nor Peng wanted a split but once Mao initiated the break with Peng, the whole Politburo and the Central Committee were bound to support Mao. They all quarreled with Peng, with Lin Biao the leader.
He was eventually removed from office, exiled, and shunned for the next 16 years under house arrest. He was arrested in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution and put into the hands of violent Red Guard torturers, beaten and beaten until his internal organs were crushed and his back splintered. To the Red Guards who beat him and tortured him to death, during the interrogations, he shouted denials, pounded the table so hard the cell walls shook. To his tormentors he shouted "I fear nothing," and to them, personally he pointed his finger and shouted, "Your days are numbered." "The more you interrogate me the firmer I become." Peng lived and died a hero of the Long March. He died November 29, 1974, still loyal to China, the Party, and to the Revolution. He is well respected and loved by the Chinese people. The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party, held in 1978, reexamined Marshal Peng's case and reversed the judgment that had been imposed on him. It exonerated him of all charges and reaffirmed his contributions to the Chinese Revolution. China's President General Yang Shangkun said of Peng, "He was a man of integrity and uprightness. He spared neither life nor limb fighting for the Chinese Revolution. He was loyal and incorruptible. Nothing could blot out the bright image of Peng Dehuai from China's History."