The US and Great Britain supplied bombers, fighters and reconnaissance aircraft to Chiang Kai-shek’s troops and wanted Chiang to attack the Japanese. Instead, he went after the Communists and signed a truce recognizing a Japanese government in Northeast China.
Chiang wanted to fight army to army the old fashioned way. Mao had his forces avoid a direct assault and fought using hit and run tactics. Advisors from Soviet Russia pressured Mao to be bolder but he refused, while Chiang was getting advice from a Nazi General from Hitler’s Germany.
When the Red Army finally stood their ground as the Soviets urged, the Communists lost sixty-thousand troops. They could not hold the lightly fortified positions they had built, because Chiang’s KMT were better armed.
In October 1934, Mao’s forces streamed out of their territory after suffering horrible losses. The Long March had begun. Nearly 87,000 troops moved in two main columns to the West and to the South.
It would be several weeks before Chiang’s knew the Communists had fled. At this time, Mao came down with a severe case of malaria and had to be carried most of the time.
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