See also: Long walk (homonymy)
The Long walk (in Chinese 长征, Pinyin: Chángzhēng ), sometimes called “the Walk of ten thousand Li ” or “of twenty-five thousand Li ”, is a tour of more than one year, carried out by the Red Army to escape the nationalist army from the Kuomintang (KMT) from Tchang Kaï-chek during the Chinese Civil war.
It is during this walk that Mao Zedong affirms like the chief of the Communiste S Chinese.
Beginnings of the retirement of the Chinese Red ArmyWhereas the first four campaigns of the Chinese Civil war failed in the same way, the nationalist army of the Kuomintang, carried out by Tchang Kaï-chek engages the 5th countryside by changing strategy. Hitherto, although higher in manpower and equipment, the engagements always brought it far from its bases in hostile territory without succeeding in carrying out of decisive battle until the counter-offensive causes to him of heavy losses. The strategy adopted for this countryside was that of the Blockhau S (creation of points of defense along the conquered territory). In the same time, the Red Army taking insurance sought to give up the war of partisans to engage in a more traditional strategy of defense of the territory. In 1934, it is encircled in the province of the Jiangxi, which is a communist bastion. To avoid being destroyed, the Chinese Red Army decides to carry out a strategic Retraite.
They are famous “the twenty-eight Bolsheviks”, of the Chinese Communists having made a visit in the powerful Soviet neighbor, who decide retirement.
The first movements of the retirement are carried out by troops directed by Long He, Xiao Ke, Xu Xiangqian or Fang Zhimin. It is the latter which moves the first, in June 1934, to bore the lines of Kuomintang and to leave the area. Xiao Ke follows it in August.
Even if these troop movements are important, they constitute only one diversion, to make it possible largest to men to leave Jiangxi. In October, troops of Mao Zedong and Zhu Of, approximately: 130000 men, carry out an opening in the lines of the KMT (approximately cash 400.000 men in the area).
It seems however that Tchang Kaï-Chek knowingly let the communist troops pass towards the west of China: also the only armed episodes which strewed the passage towards the west with China would have been due only to direct provocations of the Communists, in particular under the impulse of Mao, which would have consciously sent its troops in contact with the nationalists, them trained better and better equipped.
Rise of Mao Zedong within the Chinese Communist partyAfter several months of walk towards the west, pursued and badgered by Kuomintang, the Red Army is exhausted.
Mao Zedong, in position of weakness with respect to his pars, because of his strategic blunders related to his desire to take again the capacity within the party, sought a way of taking again the reins of the military command. It is under these conditions that a meeting with Zunyi in the province of the Guizhou takes place, of the 6 to the January 8th 1935. This meeting makes pass for the first time Mao Zedong on the front of the scene and it is decided to put it at the head PCC.
Mao refuses to join the quota armed with the North, more and directed by a charismatic chief, who would thus threaten his fragile renewal of authority. Thus it makes turn in round its troops in Sichuan, also deciding to attack local lords of war - useless and expensive attacks in human lives. He seeks to temporize the junction, necessary but threatening for him.
Finally, it must be solved with the junction. The decision to join the area of the Shaanxi is made by Mao, but it does not achieve the unanimity. Men as Zhang Guotao is opposed to it and prefers to be established on the border of the Soviet Union. It is finally Mao Zedong who has the last mot.
The Red Army penetrates then in nonChinese areas, very hostile with such a foreign incursion. They then are not only badgered by the troops with Kuomintang, but also by local armed groups, which tighten ambushes to them. The geography of the ground is also difficult and they must cross rivers, mountains, while continuing to fight.
In July 1935 they carry out the junction with the army of the fourth face come from the province of the Henan. Continuations with dissensions about the way to be borrowed, they separate. The troops of Mao Zedong cross several marshes and undergo several ambushes of the Tibetans and the Hui (of the Moslem Chinese).
And finally, in October, they reach the area of the communist Shaanxi and their zones like Wuqi, Bao' year and Yan' year.
Ultimately, after a walk of approximately 12.000 kilometers, the crossing of eleven provinces, they will be only: 20000 with: 30000 to arrive in life.
Long walk remains one of the most important symbols of the history of the Chinese communist fight. Many political officials of the PCC took part in Long walk. The latter transformed a defeat into a victory and a symbol of resistance against the troops of the Kuomintang.
Long walk was also the occasion for the PCC to diffuse its revolutionary ideology. However, it is important to evaluate the great part of deformation of the facts used at ends of propaganda: initially, it is false to claim that Guomindang was a permanent threat for the communist troops - let us not forget that the Kremlin, threatened potentially by Japan, misait all on a co-operation between Communists and nationalists. Guomindang would thus knowingly have let pass the communist troops. Guomindang, which had planes, could have carried out many bombardments of the communist troops, which never took place. In addition, the Communists, in particular under the impulse of Mao, devoted themselves initially to plundering, and not to a policy of redistribution of the grounds. Mao himself was largely unpopular vis-a-vis his own troops, which it had subjected to many useless losses, and it was generally invisible for them, cloister in a sedan-chair. The inequalities of treatment were obvious between the privates and the Communist leaders of the time. It is thus a marvellous juggling act which made it possible Chinese propaganda to appear Mao Zedong going - it was in sedan-chair - in the sides of its troops.
This myth of Long walk, maintained with condescension by Westerners like the American journalist Edgar Snow, perdure always in China even and abroad.
Seeming an imposing epopee, it makes today the subject of many accounts and charts popular. It inspired a poem of Mao Zedong itself:
The Red Army is not frightened “Long walk”.
Ten thousand rivers, thousand mounts are nothing for elle.
The Five sinuous Peaks are small waves,
Vast Wu Mong is a lump of earth which one presses with the pieds.
Tepid were the rocks where the river with gold Sands broke,
Frozen were the iron chains of the bridge of Tatu.
Passed the Mien mount with the thousand feet of snow,
The joy of all the army was immense.
The bridge to which it is refers in this poem, on Dadu, is described in propaganda as a bridge whose small planks would have missed and on which the Communists should have passed while being clutched to the only remaining chains, while fighting moreover against one nationalist attack. No attack took place during the passage of Dadu, the bridge being in addition in good state. To make later propaganda films national, it was thus necessary to strip the bridge of its small planks.
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