On April 28, 1897, Ye was born in Meixuan County, Guangdong. As a child, he witnessed the revolution of 1911 and became determined to serve the country. With his father, Ye went to Southeast Asia in 1916 but returned home one year later and became a cadet of the Army Officials School in Yunnan. After graduation, he threw himself into the democratic revolution and dedicated himself to following Dr. Sun Yat-sen. In 1922, Ye and his troops saved Dr. Sun from the military coup that Chen Chiung-ming masterminded.
When Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei turned traitors of the revolution in 1927, Ye risked his life to inform He Long and Ye Ting that Wang had plotted to liquidate their troops, so they promptly led their troops to withdraw from Jiujiang and bound for Nanchang to launch the Nanchang Uprising. Subsequently, he also led the Guangzhou Uprising.
During the Long March in 1935, Zhang Guotao attempted to split the Party and the Red Army and set up a separate central committee. Standing at the crucial moment, Ye resolutely supported the CPC Central Committee's policy of marching north, ultimately maintaining the revolutionary order and furthermore completing the unprecedented Long March.
In 1976, the Gang of Four attempted to seize power after Mao's death. Ye Jianying led the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to smash the counter-revolutionary cliques of the Gang of Four and put an end to the "Cultural Revolution."
Ye Jianying was a scholar-general, both a civil and military man, and a great strategist and statesman.