The Long March
- Name The Long March
The legendary Long March by Mao Zedong and his Red Army lasted from 1934 until 1936, and was a military operation by the Chinese communists to avoid destruction by the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang forces. In October 1934 the communist Red Army set out from their threatened southern stronghold in Jiangxi province. In fact there was more than one Long March. Apart from the First Red Army, which included the leaders of the communist party, there were other regiments to take different routes. Although the First Red Army reached the northern Shaanxi province in October 1935, it took another full year before all forces were rejoined there. All routes form a wide semi-circle heading west from Jiangxi into the mountainous terrain of Guangxi, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, then north through Gansu and northeast to Shaanxi. Of the people who set out on the Long March in 1934, the vast majority never reached Shaanxi. Thousands were killed in attacks, died of exhaustion or deserted, while thousands of others were recruited along the way. For Mao Zedong the Long March marked his ascent to power. He set up base in Shaanxi province near the endpoint of the Long March, in Yan'an, which then became center of the Chinese communist revolution.
Although historically documented, the routes of the Long March are nothing like a regular hiking trail. Yet some have ventured to retrace the Long March, like Ed Jocelyn, Andy McEwen and Yang Xiao (see under Reports), making for inspirational reading!