The German-made 7.63mm Mauser pistol had a serial number of 592032, with a capacity of 10 bullets. On the pistol body there are inscriptions of “In memory of Nanchang Uprising” and “Zhu De’s Pistol”.
With the Great Revolution (1924-1927) falling to pieces, the CPC Central Committee decided in July 1927 to stage Nanchang Uprising and the Autumn Harvest Uprising in Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces. A front committee was established, with Zhou Enlai as the secretary, to lead Nanchang Uprising. Zhu De was ordered to be among the first batch of people to return to Nanchang from Wuhan, to prepare for the uprising, as he was familiar with the situation in Jiangxi. Zhu carried this pistol with him back at that time.
Back to Nanchang, Zhu De managed to win over some officers garrisoned in Nanchang. He also found out the military deployment in and around Nanchang through his connections and drew a map of Nanchang, marked with military points. Zhu De made a detailed report to Zhou Enlai about the situation in Nanchang, when Zhou arrived in the city in secret and lived in Zhu’s apartment.
On the eve of the uprising, Zhu De “feted” in Jiabin Hotel two regiment commanders of the troops garrisoned in Nanchang, as planned. After the dinner, Zhu invited the two officers to play mah-jong, trying to win more time for the uprising troops. A little past nine, however, an adjutant came to report: Upon the tip-off from the deputy commander of a battalion under He Long’s command, the Communits were staging an uprising. The two regiment commanders left upon hearing the news. Zhu De left immediately, too, to inform He Long of the informer and his tip-off to the enemy. The front committee then decided to start the uprising two hours ahead of time. An insurrectionary soldier had a red tie and a white towel on the left arm. Tying a red ribbon on his pistol, Zhu De headed for the station of his Officers Training Corps of the Third Army of the National Revolutionary Army.
In the small hours of the morning of 1 August, the CPC-led army fired in Nanchang the first shot of the armed struggle against the KMT reactionaries. According to the deployment by the front committee, Zhu De led his Officers Training Corps to rush to fight the enemy around the station, with his pistol in hand. After hours’ fierce battle, the insurrectionary army accomplished the preset tasks and took Nanchang. Later, the insurrectionary army got reorganized. The reorganized army continued to adopt the designation of the Second Front Army of the National Revolutionary Army and was composed of three armies. Initially Deputy Commander of the Ninth Army, Zhu De was soon promoted to be Commander of the Ninth Army. Nanchang Uprising opened a new page in the CPC’s history, and 1 August has since then been the Army Day.