Harold M. Tanner | Department of History

Harold M. Tanner

WH 256
Chinese History, Modern China, Chinese Military History

A love of travel led me to China back in 1984. I have been a student of Chinese history and culture ever since. While I teach courses covering the entire range of China's history, from the Neolithic to the present, my research interests have always been in the history of China in the 20th century. My early publications focused on the Communist Party's use of the criminal justice system as a tool of social control in the 1980s. Then, shifting from legal history to military history, I began to look at China's civil war (1945-1949), and at the question of how the Communist forces managed to build their strength, make a transition from guerrilla to conventional warfare, and thus defeat Chiang Kai-shek's armies. My analysis of that question led to two books and a number of articles on the war in the crucial Manchurian theater. In addition to my research activities, I have also been deeply involved in the teaching of Chinese history, not only through my courses at UNT, but also through publication of a widely-used textbook on Chinese history and presentations given to organizations ranging from public school districts to the US Seventh Fleet Naval Reserve

UNT Faculty Profile

Select Publication Highlights:


Where Chiang Kai-shek Lost China: The Liao-Shen Campaign, 1948 (Indiana University Press, 2015). http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/807588

The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946 (Indiana University Press, 2013). http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=806643

China: A History (Hackett Publishing, 2009). https://www.hackettpublishing.com/china-a-history

Strike hard! Anticrime Campaigns and Chinese Criminal Justice, 1979-1985 (Cornell East Asia Series, 1999)

Select Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

"Learning Through Practice: Lin Biao and the Transition to Conventional Combined Operations in China's Northeast, 1946-1948." Journal of Chinese Military History 3 (2014), 3-46.

"Chinese Civil War, 1945-1949" Oxford Bibliographies, February 6, 2012. (Peer-reviewed online bibliographical article): http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199791279/obo-9780199791279-0031.xml?rskey=7no0Xd&result=16&q=

"The People's Liberation Army and China's Internal Security Challenges," in Roy Kamphausen, David Lai, and Andrew Scobell, eds. The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China's Military. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2010, 237-93.

"Guerilla, Mobile, and Base Warfare in Communist Military Operations in Manchuria, 1945-1947." Journal of Military History 67:4 October 2003), 1177-1222.

"Railways in Communist Military Planning and Operations in Manchuria, 1945-1948" in Bruce Elleman and Stephen Kotkin, eds. Manchurian Railways and Chinese Development: An International Perspective. M.E. Sharpe, 2009, 149-170.

"The Offense of Hooliganism and The Moral Dimension of China's Pursuit of Modernity, 1979-1996." Twentieth Century China 26:1 (November 2000), pp. 1-40.