The legacy of overseas study for China's early leaders: Zhu De

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Zhu De, born in Yilong County of Sichuan Province in 1886, was a great Marxist, proletarian revolutionary, statesman and military strategist. He was one of the most important members of the CPC's first generation of leaders with Mao Zedong at the core.

In 1922, disillusioned with warlordism and the chaotic politics of republican China in general, he went to Europe and studied in Berlin and at the University of Göttingen. While in Germany he joined the Chinese Communist Party.

At that time, most of students chose to study medicine, chemistry and natural science. However, Zhu preferred to learn sociology, which was a newly available major at that university.

"Zhu De had joined the army in China for many years before he come to study in Germany, when he was almost 40 years old. It is a little bit unusual for him to choose sociology for further study," Ullrich Hunger, a historical data adviser from Göttingen University Library, said. "In my opinion, Zhu wanted to experience Germany and truly understand the situation of the western industrial countries, thereafter greatly improving and widening his views, rather than only study a subject."

In Germany, Zhu and other Chinese students organized different kinds of activities, such as setting up exhibitions, distributing leaflets and holding discussion forums, to introduce the China's situation to the German people.

Archive chief of Göttingen City Ernst said, "Although Zhu De spent a very short time in Göttingen University on further study, I believe his experience in Germany made a great impact on his personal improvement, even on the history of the new China and the Chinese Communist Party."

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