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八二三砲戰及其歷史意義
The 823 artillery war and its historical significance

薛化元/Hsueh Hua-yuen
(政大歷史系教授)
(Professor, History Department, National Chengchi University)

2001-08-20


The artillery shells destroyed over 4,000 houses

號稱「第二次台海危機」的八二三炮戰在一
九五八年八月二十三日下午開打以後,接連
著四十四天,中共發射了將近四十八萬顆砲
彈。這場戰役發生迄今已經四十三年了,作
為捍衛台澎金馬的指標戰役,它在中華民國
國軍戰史上是重要的一頁,特別是與古寧頭
之役不同,台籍戰士在此戰役中亦扮演重要
的角色。然而除了官方的宣傳外,八二三砲
戰確實對於以後台灣歷史的發展,台、美、
中三角關係的互動,乃至中華人民共和國「
解放台灣」的政策都有相當的影響。在八二
三炮戰四十三週年前夕,本報「台灣歷史之
窗」特別邀請政治大學歷史系薛化元教授執
筆,探討這場戰役發生的始末與其代表之歷
史意義。


The 823 cannon war, also called the "Second Taiwan
Strait Crisis" began on the afternoon of August 23,
1958, and continued for 44 days, during which the PRC
launched around 480,000 artillery shells. This battle
took place 43 years ago, and was the definitive battle
for the defense of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu,
and an important page in the military history of the
R.O.C. It was particularly different from the Battle
of Kuningtou in that Taiwanese-born soldiers played a
major role in this battle. However, apart from
official propaganda, the 823 artillery war had a huge
influence on the development of Taiwan's history, the
mutual relationships between Taiwan, the U.S. and
China, and even on the PRC's "liberate Taiwan"
policies. On the eve of the 43rd anniversary of the
823 artillery war, Taiwan News' "Window on Taiwan"
has been written by Professor Hsueh Hua-yuen of
National Chengchi University's history department,
who here looks into the entire story of this battle
and its historical significance.


炮戰發生始末

所謂八二三砲戰並非只發生於一天,實際上
自一九五八年八月二十三日,中華人民共和
國人民解放軍與數百門大砲於當日下午五點
三十分同時向大小金門大擔、小擔等島,進
行密集性的砲擊起,在短短八十五分鐘內共
發射了三萬多發砲彈,砲戰並持續到一九五
九年一月七日。總計人民解放軍向金門等地
砲擊的數量超過四十萬枚,無論數量或是密
度,都在人類戰史上可佔一席之地,由於砲
戰始於八月二十三日,史稱「八二三砲戰」
,又由於這是一九四九年以後台海第二次大
規模的軍事對抗,也有稱為「第二次台海危
機」者。


The entire story of the artillery war

What we call the 823 artillery war wasn't over in a
single day. It started at 5:30 p.m. on August 23,
1958, when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the
PRC shot several hundred large artillery shells at
several islands of Kinmen, including Big Tan and
Little Tan, in an intensive artillery attack. In 85
short minutes, they had fired more than 30,000
shells. The artillery battle continued until January
7, 1959. The total number of shells fired at Kinmen
and the surrounding areas by the PLA exceeded
400,000, both in number and density a rare record in
human history. Since the artillery battle started on
August 23, it has been called the "823 artillery
battle" [8 standing for August], and also the "Second
Taiwan Strait Crisis", since it was the second
large-scale military confrontation to occur in the
Taiwan Strait since 1949.

Up: The people of Kinmen engaging in armed
self-defense. Down: The opposite shore can
be glimpsed from Kinmen's Horse Hill

美方支援穩住戰局

砲戰發生之後,為了因應中華人民共和國強
烈的攻擊,美國國防部在次日旋即發表第七
艦隊在台灣海域進入戰鬥態勢,此後第七艦
隊除了協助我國海軍補給團赴金門補給外,
並且與空軍、海軍陸戰隊、陸軍舉行一連串
防空兩棲作戰聯合演習,並派駐F-104A星式
戰鬥機及勝利女神飛彈營至台灣,同時也在
台灣成立作戰指揮中心。而為了直接有效壓
制來自人民解放軍的持續砲擊,美國軍方並
且提供火力強大的新型「巨砲」至金門,果
然在其後雙方的砲戰中充分發揮其功效。在
美方的協助下,中華民國軍方雖然在八二三
砲擊當日遭到嚴重的損失,包括金防部副司
令官吉星文中將等殉職,不過終究可以在火
力上與人民解放軍抗衡,甚至進而可以壓制
其火力。更重要的是,人民解放軍若意圖佔
領金門,除了必須在地面強大火力掩護外,
也必須取得金門上空取得制空權,才可以遂
行兩棲登陸作戰。可是自當年九月起,持續
在台海及金門島發生的空戰中,國軍持續取
得制空權,並擊落二十多架米格戰鬥機,中
華人民共和國明顯地無法取得制空權。由於
中華人民共和國不能如原先計畫般佔領金門
,而美國方面亦迫使蔣中正總統從金門、馬
祖撤軍,使得中華人民共和國在思考如何解
決台灣問題上,出現政策上的大轉變,也影
響了以後台灣海峽兩岸的互動關係。




U.S. support stabilizes the situation

Following the outbreak of the artillery battle, the
U.S. Department of Defense announced the next day
that the 7th Fleet in the waters around Taiwan would
enter into the battle situation in order to respond
to the PRC's violent attack. After this, in addition
to helping the R.O.C.'s navy by deploying regiments
to Kinmen, the 7th Fleet, along with the R.O.C. Air
Force, Marine Corps and Army, held a series of air
defense and amphibious joint battle exercises, and
dispatched Lockheed F-104A Starfighters and
Nike-Hercules missiles to Taiwan. At the same time,
they also set up an operations command center in
Taiwan. In order to suppress the continuous shelling
from the PLA directly and effectively, the U.S.
Forces supplied the new kind of giant artillery
shells with greater firepower to Kinmen, and as
expected, their efficacy was exploited to the full
henceforward in the artillery battle between the
two sides. Although the R.O.C. army suffered heavy
losses from the shelling on August 23 itself,
including the deaths of Kinmen Defense Unit Auxiliary
Commanding Officer Lieutenant General Chi Hsing-wen
and others, with the assistance provided by the U.S.
Forces, it was ultimately able to contend with the
PLA in terms of firepower, and then even suppress
them. Even more importantly, if the PLA were to try
to seize Kinmen, apart from the necessity of strong
firepower cover, they would also have to win
Kinmen's airspace and air supremacy before they
would be able to launch amphibious landing
operations. But from September that year, with
continued air combat in the Taiwan Strait and
Kinmen, the Nationalist army persisted in holding
on to command of the air, and shot down more than
20 MiG fighters, and the PRC was clearly unable
to win air supremacy. Since the PRC was unable to
capture Kinmen as originally planned, and the U.S.
was pressing President Chiang Kai-shek to withdraw
troops from Kinmen and Matsu, the PRC was forced
to think up a way to resolve the Taiwan problem,
and came up with a major change of plan, which
affected all mutual interaction across the Taiwan
Strait from this point on.


美方的立場與中共高層的政治考量


實際上,在一九五○年代,縱使台灣與美國
簽訂了《中美共同防禦條約》,美方對於條
約是否及於金門、馬祖等外島,始終沒有明
確的表態,而且也提出中華民國政府從金馬
撤軍,以營造國府與北京政權的中立地帶,
來架構雙方的統治領域與國際定位。而在八
二三砲戰發生以後,美國雖然採取一連串積
極協助中華民國行動,但是國務卿杜勒斯有
意藉此讓中華民國軍隊產生自外島撤軍的意
向,最晚在同年九月三十日便已公開提出。
此一意見當然不為蔣中正總統所接受,而於
十月一日正式公開表示反對自外島撤軍。相
對地,中華人民共和國的領導高層,包括毛
澤東、周恩來等亦開始認真思考,若是持續
過去原有的戰略,繼過去先後攻佔海南島、
舟山群島、大陳之後,進而取下金門、馬祖
。因為縱使人民解放軍能在這些軍事行動中
,順利佔領國軍駐防的中國大陸沿海諸島,
則中華民國統治的領土將只剩下台灣本島,
在地緣上便與中國大陸完全脫離關係,如此
一旦出現美方計畫的國共雙方「跨峽而治」
的現象,可能導致台灣獨立的局面。因而中
華人民共和國的領導人表示,基於前述政治
上考量,就改變原有的政策,決定要不就台
、澎、金、馬一起攻下,否則也不各別取下
金門、馬祖等外島。此後,人民解放軍宣稱
對金門採取「單打雙不打」的策略,實際上
卻只呈現戰術上人民解放軍無法施展的事實
,而成為一種習慣性的軍事騷擾。


The American position and the political considerations
of the PRC's top echelons

In fact, during the 1950s, even though Taiwan and the
U.S. signed the Sino-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, the
U.S. never explicitly defined whether or not the
treaty covered Kinmen, Matsu and other offshore
islands, and also suggested that the R.O.C. withdraw
troops from Kinmen and Matsu, so as to construct a
neutral zone between the Nationalist government and
the Beijing regime, and have a framework for the
territory governed by either side and international
position for both sides. But after the 823 artillery
war, although the U.S. adopted a series of actions to
help the R.O.C., the U.S. Secretary of State, John
Foster Dulles hoped that the battle would force the
R.O.C. armed forces to decide to withdraw, and
finally on September 30, 1958, he openly suggested
it. This suggestion was obviously not going to be
accepted by President Chiang Kai-shek, and on October
1, Chiang formally expressed his opposition to
withdrawing from the offshore islands. On the
contrary, the upper echelons of the PRC leadership,
including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and others, began
to do some serious thinking. If they persisted with
their original strategy, then following attack and
occupation of Hainan Island, the Zhoushan Islands
and the Dachen Islands, they could go on to take
Kinmen and Matsu. Because if the PLA could, by these
military operations, smoothly seize all the islands
along the mainland coast that were garrisoned by the
Nationalist army, the only remaining territory
governed by the R.O.C. would be the island of Taiwan
itself, which has absolutely no geographical
relationship with mainland China. In this way, once
the U.S. plan of Nationalist and Communist
governments each ruling one side of the Strait
emerged, it might lead to a situation of Taiwanese
independence. Consequently, the leaders of the PRC
announced that, based on the above-mentioned
political considerations, they were changing
their original policies and had decided that if
they didn't attack Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and
Matsu all together, then they wouldn't take Kinmen
and Matsu separately. Henceforward, the PLA declared
that they were adopting a strategy of attacking
Kinmen on odd-numbered days, and resting on
even-numbered days, but actually, they were simply
displaying the fact that it was tactically
impossible for the PLA to bring their full abilities
into play, and it became a habitual military
annoyance.


Up: Artillery shells being transported
on a beach in Kinmen. Down: Disembarking
from ships bringing supplies to Kinmen.

當然,前述現象的形成,一方面固然可能是
中華人民共和國領導高層,思考國際情勢的
改變,而提出所謂「不再取下金門、馬祖」
的政策。但根據當時的資料顯示,人民解放
軍可能也已經無力佔領金門。所以,中華人
民共和國的官方說法,似乎也有意忽略其軍
事力量不足的問題。實際上在美國政府支持
下的中華民國政府,在國軍制空權的取得乃
至砲兵的火力戰方面,事實上已經使人民解
放軍無太多施展的空間。

Obviously, the appearance of the aforementioned
phenomenon, may in one aspect have been due to the
higher echelon leaders of the PRC deliberating the
changes in the international situation and coming
up with what they called the "no longer take Kinmen
and Matsu" policy. But contemporary papers show that
the PLA may already have been lacking the strength
to occupy Kinmen. So the PRC's official line
seemingly deliberately overlooked the problem of
insufficient military strength. Actually, with
the support of the U.S. government, the Nationalist
army had air supremacy and was also in control of
the artillery battle, and so the R.O.C. government
was already able to prevent the PLA from using its
abilities to the full.

雙方由軍事戰場轉移至國際政治舞台


無論如何,由於八二三砲戰以後,中華人民
共和國已經放棄逐一攻佔沿海島嶼的計畫,
因此台灣海峽的形勢,實際上已經固定為冷
戰的軍事對峙局面,欲以戰爭形式消滅對方
,基本上已不具可行性。因此,縱使發生武
裝衝突,也只是零星的事件,雙方的主要對
抗戰場實際上已轉移到國際政治舞台,這當
然是八二三砲戰以來,中華人民共和國高層
所使料未及。在另一方面,當年十月二十三
日美國國務卿杜勒斯與蔣中正總統發表聯合
公報,雖然提及金門、馬祖等外島的防衛問
題,另外也正式提出反對以武力主動反攻大
陸的可能,這也影響了台灣國內政治局勢的
發展。既然武力反攻大陸也欠缺足夠的空間
與邏輯上的可能性,則要求政府在台灣加強
落實民主、法治的訴求便較過去積極,包括
立法委員齊世英提出要求採取精兵政策,或
是省議員李萬居在省議會的總質詢中要求立
法委員全面改選,皆是與此一歷史發展有關
。至於當時自由派的代表雜誌《自由中國》
不僅更加明確主張:國民黨主政下的政府延
續過去以武力反攻大陸的可能已然降低。因
此在武力「反攻大陸」幾無可能的前提下,
更積極促進台灣自由、民主的追求,這也是
八二三砲戰對台灣政治所產生的意外影響吧




R.O.C. and PRC move from military battleground to
the international political stage

At any rate, after the 823 artillery battle, the
PRC abandoned the plan of attacking and occupying
the coastal islands one by one, and as a result,
the situation in the Taiwan Strait began to stabilize
for the cold war military face-off. It was basically
already an impossibility to want to use hostilities
to wipe out the enemy. Consequently, even if there
had been armed conflict, it would have been only a
random incident, and the important battlefield on
which they competed had already moved to the
international political stage. This of course was not
what the upper echelons of the PRC had expected after
the 823 artillery battle. On the other hand, on
October 23 that year, the U.S. Secretary of State,
John Foster Dulles, and President Chiang Kai-shek
released a joint communique, and although it mentioned
the defense issues of Kinmen, Matsu and other offshore
islands, it also formally brought up opposition to the
possibility of an unprovoked armed counterattack on
the mainland, and this influenced the development of
Taiwan's domestic political situation. Since they it
was impossible in terms of space and of logic to launch
an armed counterattack on the mainland, people in
Taiwan demanded that the government do more to
implement the democracy and law and order that was
needed. Among those making these demands was the
legislator Chi Shih-ying, who raised a request to
use the crack troops policy, and also a member of
the Provincial Assembly, Lee Wan-chu, who during
the Assembly's general question time requested
wholesale re-election of all the legislators; all
of these things were connected to this historical
development. As regards the magazine of the freedom
faction of those days, "Free China," not only did
it argue its case even more unequivocally than
before: the possibility for the government under
the KMT administration to continue the policy of
an armed counterattack on the mainland was already
receding. Consequently, with the premise of
counterattack almost impossible, demands from the
people of Taiwan to step up freedom and democracy
were stepped up, and this too turned out to be an
unexpected legacy of the 823 artillery war on
Taiwan's politics.


Edited by Tina Lee/ translated by Elizabeth Hoile
李美儀編輯/何麗薩翻譯
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