The Long March Part 2 (3/4)

July 29, 2010

Mao’s troops didn’t want to return through the grasslands and he issued orders to take the pass. The fighting was fierce and Mao’s Red Army took heavy losses.

Mao stopped the direct assaults and sent skilled climbers up one of the canyon’s walls.  From the high ground, they shot down at the Nationalist fortifications blocking the pass.

One volunteer wrapped his body in explosives, leaped from the cliff into the middle of the Nationalist fortifications, and blew himself up opening the pass.

Mao’s First Red Army finally reached desolate and rugged Shaanxi Province. The Long March was over, and Mao’s troops linked up with other Red Army elements that already had a base there.

Of the original 87,000 who started the Long March, fewer than 6,000 survived. These survivors would recruit and lead the new army.

The Long March turned Mao into a leader with a following from the common people throughout China.

Eventually, the Fourth Red army arrived, but two-thirds of this army had been killed in battles.

Chiang Kai-shek planned a new campaign to defeat Mao, but Chiang’s supporters and generals forced him to work with the Communists to fight the Japanese. This uneasy alliance would become a Civil War in 1945 when World War II ended.

Return to The Long March – Part 2/2 or go on to The Long March Part 2/4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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The Long March – Part 1 (3/6)

July 25, 2010

During the retreat, the Communists brought along the machinery for their government—printing presses, typewriters, etc.  The Communist’s leaders argued about what to do.  Mao wanted to break through the Nationalist lines and attack from the rear.  He was voted down.

Instead, the decision was for a full-scale retreat and to link up with another Red Army in its stronghold deeper in China. The Nationalists used hundreds of aircraft to bomb and strafe the Communist columns. As much as one-third of the Communist forces were killed by air attacks.  To avoid this, the Communists started to move at night and hide during the day.

A new obstacle, a rugged river, stood in their way. A brutal battle was fought to cross the river. A small force made it and the survivors were ferried across on bamboo rafts.  It took eight days for the entire army to cross.

The biggest problem was the heavy supply column with the machinery of government, so the Communists left the printing presses and coin minting machines behind along with the government’s records. After suffering horrible losses and not knowing what to do, Mao argued for a change of tactics. He said they didn’t have to win every battle.

Return to The Long March, Part 1/2 or go on to The Long March – Part 1/4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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