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xlwoo
October 8th, 2015, 03:04 PM
III. The famous Long March for 2,500 li (=half a kilometer)
On the 21st day of October, 1934, the central red army, 86,000 in all, began the long march. They wanted to go to the western HuNan province where the red 2nd and 6th military blocs camped. Chiang estimated what route they would take and laid four blockade lines to stop them. Zhou Enlai and Zhu De went to have a talk with Chen Jitang, a former warlord, and bribed him to let them go through his blockade line. So there was no fight through the first three lines as the red army never went there. However, they had to fight the national army when they attempted to break through the fourth line. They made heavy sacrifice after the rest of the red army fought through the fourth lines. Only 30,000 were left out of the 86,000.
The long march could be divided in four stages. Firstly, the escaped red army wanted to go to a place at the border of Sichuan, HuNan and Guizhou provinces, where the geographic features were easy to defend and hard to attack, and where there were still some local small warlords that they could mingle among them for safety and where the central national government was not easy to reach them. In early December, they climbed successfully over some mountains and occupied Liping town in Guizhou province on the 14th day of December, 1934.
Secondly, at a meeting in Liping on the 28th day of December, Mao Zedong opposed strongly to the plan to unite with the red 2nd and 6th military blocs, and proposed to go to the border of Sichuan and Guizhou provinces to occupy the area round Zunyi town for a new military base. His proposition was accepted by the central committee. It was because from their present location, it was difficult to get in touch with the two red blocs. On the 7th day of January, 1935, they took Zunyi town and held the famous Zunyi meeting, in which Mao was appointed for the command of the red army again.
Thirdly, though they wanted to found a new military base in the vicinity of Zunyi town, yet the national army continued to chase them in spite of the difficulties. They had to escape to the northern Sichuan province, where Zhang Guotao, in command of the red 4th military bloc, already set up a base there. But it would be a long way to reach there. They must cross some streams. From January to May of 1935, they ran here and there to avoid being destroyed by the national army. They failed three times when crossing the Chishui Stream. Once they were forced to go back to Zunyi town. For the fourth time, they stole over the stream, then crossed Jinsha Stream and Dadu Stream. They met Zhang Guotao on the 16th day of June. Then Mao suggested that they should march towards the northern Gansu province so that they might escape into Soviet Union when necessary. But Zhang Guotao had three plans. The first plan was that they should go to found a base in northern Sichuan province, southern Gansu province and Xikang province. The second plan was that they must go to the northern Shaanxi province. The third plan was to go west into Xinjiang province.
Fourthly, the two blocs (the central red army renamed as the red 1st military bloc) went together north from the 12th day of June to the 7th day of July. Then as both Mao and Zhang had disagreement to the future plan, each went his own way. Zhang, after marching through the grassland, refused to keep going north, went back through the grassland again to Xikang province and wanted to found his base there. And Mao Zedong, together with Peng Dehuai, Lin Biao (190709/13/1971), and Ye Jianying (04/28/189710/22/1986), went to southwestern Gansu province. On the 7th day of October, Mao and his men, only about 3,000 left, surmounted the Liupan Mountain and reached northern Shaanxi province on the 19th day of October, 1935. To their unexpectedness, Liu Zhidan was there with his 7,000 men. So they settled there. As for Zhang Guotao, who had at first 80,000 men, he wanted to found a new central committee of the communist party and to be the chairman himself. But most of his men died through the long march. He had no hope for his future. He turned over to the national party. The communist party called him traitor. It happened like this: on the 4th day of April, 1938, leaders of both the national party and the communist party would go to worship the mausoleum of Emperor Huang, a legendary hero recorded in the Chinese history books, supposedly living five thousand years ago. Zhang went there as the chairman of the communist party and met Jiang Dingwen, a leader of the national party. After the ritual, Zhang told his attendants to go back first and he had something else to deal with. But he jumped into a car the national party provided for him. And he was finally gone. He was no longer the member of the communist party. At the end of 1948, he went to Taiwan in poverty. He seemed to be forgotten. In winter of 1949, he went to Hongkong with his wife and three sons. In 1958, he went to Canada where his eldest son lived. In 1976 he suddenly paralyzed on the right side and had to live in a nursing home in a suburb of Toronto. On the 2nd day of December, 1979, he died at the age of 82.
An interesting anecdote was known in this century. People had doubt about the actual distance the red army covered. Therefore, on the 3rd day of November, 2003, two English young men, Edward of 35 and Eddie of 37, started on their way to retrace the route the red army had covered. They spent 384 days for 13,000 li, not 25,000 li.