Briefly Describe The Long March and explain why it is an important event in Chinese History
In the summer of 1934, after suffering a string of defeats, the communist party and the Read Army decided to flee their southern bases and retreat. This retreat became known as the Long march. On the march the group endured 368 days of extreme hardship before they finally reached the caves of Yenan in Northern China. The Long March is recalled fondly with great idealism as a time when thousands of Chinese peasants selflessly volunteered to join the fight. The Long March is considered an important event in Chinese history for many reasons. It was very important for the CCP and Red army because communism survived and they found a new base.
This new base was remote enough for the GMD to be unable to attack it, and was also safe from attack by the Japanese. This helped to increase the CCP’s standing in China even further. Another key impact of the Long March was that Moa Zedong was re-established as the unchallenged leader of the CCP. The cowardliness of his guerrilla tactics during the extermination campaigns had meant that he was replaced for a short time by Otto Braun. However Braun allowed the communists to carry too much equipment, and led the retreat in a straight line, making them slower and easier to attack.
He was blamed for their huge losses, and leadership was soon handed back to Mao. After the success of the march, his tactics were forgotten and he was hailed as a great hero. The march also allowed many Chinese people to see the CCP as great heroes, and therefore increased support for them. The long march became part of Chinese Communist mythology. Many paintings were produced showing Mao marching at the head of the column over the of Western China. This opinion really boosted support for communism and many people began to agree with their policies over those of Chaing’s and the GMD’s.
During the Long March, Support for Communism was also increased by the good behaviour of the Red Army in the provinces they crossed. Their positive attitudes and fair morals impressed many local people, especially peasants, who were more inclined to support the CCP. Their rules to speak politely, pay fairly, not to hit or swear, not to take liberties with woman and not to ill-treat prisoners greatly contrasted with the brutal and cruel treatment of the locals by the GMD armies, who captured, starved and murdered anyone who had any connection to communism.
The Long march was not at all as idealistic as it seemed in reality, thousands of communists were wounded, killed, starved or froze to death. However, today it is not seen as a failure for the CCP, but is instead hailed as an important event in the survival and establishment of the communist government, leadership and support in China and a key event in Chinese History.