The former residence of Peng Dehuai and its memorial hall in Wushifeng 湘潭市湘潭县彭德怀故居和纪念馆

The former residence of the PLA-marshal Peng Dehuai 彭德怀 (1898-1974) and its memorial hall are located in the village Wushifeng 乌石峰 in Xiangtan County 湘潭. The site is situated 38 km away from Mao´s birthplace in Shaoshan 韶山 and 65 km away from the residence of the former PRC-chairman Liu Shaoqi 刘少奇 (1898-1969) (Website Red Tourism). Together with these two sites, the former residence of Peng Dehuai constitutes the “golden triangle”, which represents the three most important revolutionary sites in the west of Hunan´s capital Changsha 长沙.

According to Peng´s memoirs, he was born and raised on a farmyard, which consisted of eight or nine small huts. There he lived with his seven family members (Peng 1984: 13), so he seemingly grew up in quite poor circumstances. In 1916, he left his birthplace to join the Hunan Army. In 1925, the farm lodges were in a very bad condition and uninhabitable for Peng´s family. During the Great Leap Forward 大跃进 (1958-1961), he returned to his hometown and stayed there for 34 days to inspect local cadres.

Although he fell into disfavour with Mao due to his critic against the Great Leap Forward in 1959, he was rehabilitated in the 1980s. As a result of his rehabilitation, Peng´s birthplace was rebuilt since 1980 and in 1983 the residence was opened to public.

In 1998, there was “added a grand memorial hall, a bronze statue and square, the Dehuai Pavilion, and Peng´s mountaintop tomb” (Denton 2014: 234). The whole area is kept in a park-like style, which resembles Liu Shaoqi´s memorial hall and other memorial sites of the post-Mao era.

Picture 1: The Peng Dehuai Memorial Hall

According to Kirk Denton, the museum describes Peng as an upright and virtuous person, who set back his political ambitions for the benefit of the people and the Chinese nation. Therefore, a cut in Peng’s public perception in the Maoist and the post-Maoist era can be observed.

Though Peng Dehuai used to be regarded as a critic of Mao´s plans during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) 文化大革命, he nowadays has become a revered historical person in post-Mao propaganda.

List of Pictures:

Picture 1:

The Peng Dehuai Memorial Hall

(source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_Residence_of_Peng_Dehuai#/media/File:Pdh.jpg, user: Shizhao)

Featured image:

The Peng Dehuai Memorial Hall

(source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_Residence_of_Peng_Dehuai#/media/File:Pdh.jpg, user: Shizhao)

Bibliography:

Denton, Kirk A. (2014): Exhibiting the Past – Historical memory and the Politics of Museum in Postsocialist China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Domes, Jürgen (1985): Peng Te-huai: the man and the image. Stanford (California): Stanford University Press.

Peng, Dehuai (1984): Memoirs of a Chinese marshal: the autobiograph. notes of Peng Dehuai (1898 – 1974). Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.


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