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
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
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
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
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.
ON TACTICS AGAINST JAPANESE IMPERIALISM
Report given by Mao Zedong at a Party conference,
December 27, 1935
The Long March Foundation
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