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Living Revolution | The Long March

The Long March (October 1934 – October 1935) was an historic journey of 6,000 miles, in which Communist army forces fled their bases in Jiangxi province in south China. Surrounded by the Nationalist army of Chiang Kai-shek, some 80,000 soldiers of the Red Army escaped and headed north. Only 8,000 to 9,000 survived the trek, which ended in the establishment of a new Communist base in Yan'an. The Long March became the central event in Chinese revolutionary mythology. It became a metaphor for the revolution itself, and was a source of inspiration for Red Guards on their own "new long marches."

Mao Zedong eulogized the Long March in a poem:

The Long March
October 1935

The Red Army fears not the trials of the Long March,
Holding light ten thousand crags and torrents.
The Five Ridges wind like gentle ripples
And the majestic Wumeng roll by, globules of clay.
Warm the steep cliffs lapped by the waters of Golden Sand,
Cold the iron chains spanning the Tatu River.
Minshan's thousand li* of snow joyously crossed,
The three Armies march on, each face glowing.

* one li = 0.5 kilometers

Mao also wrote:

Speaking of the Long March, one may ask, "What is its significance?"

We answer that the Long March is the first of its kind in the annals of history, that it is a manifesto, a propaganda force, a seeding-machine. …

The Long March is a manifesto. It has proclaimed to the world that the Red Army is an army of heroes, while the imperialists and their running dogs, Chiang Kai-shek and his like, are impotent. It has proclaimed their utter failure to encircle, pursue, obstruct and intercept us.

The Long March is also a propaganda force. It has announced to some 200 million people in eleven provinces that the road of the Red Army is their only road to liberation. Without the Long March, how could the broad masses have learned so quickly about the existence of the great truth which the Red Army embodies?

The Long March is also a seeding-machine. In the eleven provinces it has sown many seeds which will sprout, leaf, blossom, and bear fruit, and will yield a harvest in the future.

Report given by Mao Zedong at a Party conference,
December 27, 1935


The Long March Foundation

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