Presentation on theme: "The Long March. When did the Fifth campaign begin and who was Chiang’s military adviser? In the fall of 1933 Chiang Kaishek began his fifth extermination."— Presentation transcript:
The Long March
When did the Fifth campaign begin and who was Chiang’s military adviser? In the fall of 1933 Chiang Kaishek began his fifth extermination campaign in attempt to rid of all communists in Jiangxi. General Hans von Seeckt from Germany was Chiang's military adviser at the time.
Why was this campaign against the Communists so successful? Instead of the previous methods that Chiang had used in his past four extermination campaign attempts, General Hans von Seeckt had invented a new attack strategy called the “Blockhouse Strategy”. Unlike the old method, which consisted of a direct invasion of the Red Army areas, Seeckt's method was to send troops surrounding the entire Jiangxi Soviet to construct blockhouses, whilst digging trenches and all other sorts of blockade as they went. The goal of this strategy was to block out all entry and exit into and out of the Jiangxi Soviet, which disallowed the Communists access of food, fuel weapons and ammunition, while slowly reducing their control of the the land.
What did the Soviet adviser Otto Braun suggest to Mao? Otto Braun suggested a new idea to escape from the GMD different to Mao’s. His idea involved full-scale, frontal attacks on GMD armies to break out of the blockhouses rather than guerilla tactics that involved retreating and luring in the enemy. Otto Braun believed his tactics were right because Mao’s tactics had been politically wrong. By retreating, the CCP were giving up land and abandoning peasants. With the backing of 24 Russian-trained leaders Otto Braun got his way and Mao was expelled from the CCP’s Central Committee.
As the CCP’s base in Jiang Xi held up to 1,000,000 members and extremely important CCP leaders, Chiang Kai Shek was utterly fixed on obliterating all the communist occupants of that province. After four failed extermination campaigns against the communist, Chiang Kai Shek adopted a new successful tactic, the ‘Block house Strategy’. During the summer of 1934, the GMD used the ‘Block house strategy to blockade Jiang Xi province. The GMD were triumphant, managing to completely enclose the Communists in Jiang Xi with four lines of ‘block houses’, which included about 700,000 men. These 700,000 men stopped the transportation of supplies: food, weapons, ammunition and fuel. Whilst the GMD waited eagerly for the CCP to surrender. The Chinese Communist Party were deciding agitatedly on their options. They could do a various number of things. They could either fight back, surrender, arrange a truce with the GMD (all these options would probably have resulted in death), or flee.
What had happened by the beginning of October 1934? By October 1934, the GMD blockhouses had completely surrounded Ruijing, the Jiangxi base capital. The CCP had lost over half of their territory and 60,000 Red Army soldiers had been killed. More Red Army soldiers were deserting, while some were committing suicide, thinking of it as better than what the GMD would do to them. The CCP were forced to give up the base and retreat, and everyone would have to try to break out. They tried to take as much as they could with them, but 20,000 wounded CCP members were left behind with the peasants as well as the soldier’s children. Mao Zedong had to leave his two children behind and they were never seen again. Factories and arsenals were stripped bare; a lot of equipment was buried or put on donkeys and mules. Everything was to be carried including sewing machines, printing presses, heavy weapons, many documents and bags of Mexican dollars. By the end of the breakout, nearly half of the men who attempted to escape were killed.
When the communists realised they were wholly surrounded, and that fighting back was no use, Otto Braun organised an escape. He planned to flee to Hunan-Hubei, another communist base, by breaking through the block house. Mao was in complete disagreement with Braun’s tactic again. Instead of retreating to another communist base he wanted the CCP to break through the block houses then, attack the Guomindang from behind. However yet again, Mao was ignored and Braun was followed.
What went wrong with Braun’s tactics? However there were flaws to Braun’s tactics. Firstly, since Brain was using full-scale attacks to break out from the blockhouses against a numerically superior GMD army there were great casualties. At the battle of Guangchang the Red Army lost 8000 men, and because the blockhouses were trapping them in the Red Army could not easily replace these men or their weapons. Secondly, since the Red Army had to carry so much equipment, they marched very slowly. Finally, Braun was marching the Red Army in a straight line, making their movements very predictable. These two factors meant that the GMD could easily track down the Red Army and they would not be able to avoid them because they were moving so slowly.
Why did they blame Otto Braun for their misfortune and what happened at the Zunyi Conference? The Zunyi conference was a meeting of the communist party of China and it was like a fight between Otto Braun, Bo Gu and Mao Tse Tung. Bo Gu was the first person to speak in the conference. He states that the strategy used in Jiangxi had failed, but he didn’t take the blame. He says that the failure was not because of poor planning. Next, Zhou Enlai admitted the mistakes that he had done; Zhang Wentian did a self criticism and blamed the communist party leaders for the failures of the Jiangxi Soviet. Mao himself wasn’t blamed for anything, so he started to fight for the position of leader of the communist party. He then started to blame Bo Gu and Otto Braun for the military mistakes of being too defensive. They were demoted while Zhou Enlai kept his position with Zhu De and Mao went back to the central committee of the communist party. Otto Braun was then sent back to his country, while Zhu De was stripped of all his communist party jobs.
The long march started with some 87,000 men and covered around 9660 km. within 368 days, the communists and peasants crossed 24 rivers, 18 mountain ranges and 11 provinces. Of the 90,000 men who journeyed, only an estimated 6000 people survived the extermination of the Guo Min Dang. Within the 200,000 participants of the march, only 40,000 endured. Further details, the Army took as much weaponry as it could. 33,000 guns, 1,800,000 cartridges, 76,000 grenades, 38 mortars and 25,000 mortar shells. In October 1934, the GMD military had formed a blockhouse surrounding the Jiangxi base capital. The base was in a complicated position, desertion from the red army increased, and there were even several cases of suicide’s for fear of torture after being captured. On October 16,1934, 90,000 of the red army started to retreat to the province of Hunan. It took them six weeks to break through the blockhouse strategy at the cost of 45,000 men, more than half the number they started with.
The Long march covered 6000 miles within a period of 368 days. After struggling through rivers, mountain ranges and provinces, Mao arrived at the Yenan province located in the northern part of china on October 22, 1936 where he joined forces with the First, second and fourth font. Once the red army reached Zunyi on January, 9, 1935, Otto Braun was suspended and all military control was given to Mao and Zhu De. Under Mao’s guidance, The red army started using tactics which involved going in a series of twists, splitting into groups and reforming, making the GMD to lose its main focus. This strategy prevented many more deaths and through Mao’s leadership, The red army achieved people’s respect as a form of propaganda. The famous act of Dadu river was performed by 22 brave men to capture a bridge occupied by the GMD. Mao’s original plan was to lure the GMD to an area inhabited by the Lolo, then to persuade the Lolo tribe to attack the GMD through their hatred of the Chinese. After convincing the Lolo tribe that the GMD were savages, they attempted to take a shortcut from the Lolo area across to the Dadu river. The floods in the river were too strong rendering the red army to take a 130 km path over the Himalayas. The GMD arrived before the Communists controlling the 120 meter stretching across the Dadu River. There the 22 heroic commanders risked their lives to capture the bridge to continue their journey.
How did Mao change the nature of the Long March? As soon as the adviser Otto Braun was suspended and the military control was given back to Mao Zedong and Zhu De, learning from Otto’s mistake of planning a predictable route in the strategy, Mao made a significant improvement and change in his tactics towards the Long March. Instead of moving in a straight line how it was under Otto’s control, the Red Army progressed with twisting, turning, spilitting and reforming directions following the leadership of Mao’s and Zhu’s. The nature of the Long March, which was simply retreating from the block house lines, was transformed into escaping from Guo Min Dang with an unpredictable route to Shaanxi province, to maximize the chance of the Red Army’s survival from GMD.
What happened at the Dadu River In the Long March, because the Red Army was chased by the Guo Min Dang, the Red Army faced many battles and obstacles, and one of the most important battles of all was the battle at Dadu River. It was located in the province of Si Chuan The reason that makes the river so famous is the valiant act of twenty two elite troops equipped with best weapons who have managed to swing across the river on chains to help the rest of the Red Army to cross, while they were under enemy’s rapid fire Although suspicious speculations have been done by historians, who argue that the incident may have been exaggerated for the use of propaganda by Mao Zedong, it is indisputable that the battle at Dadu river is one of the most important memoirs and key events from the Long March.
What were the problems in the Snowy Mountains and the Qinghai Grasslands? The snowy mountains are located in the Yunnan province. The mountains were cold and the soldiers didn’t have the necessary amount of clothing to withstand the cold. The Qinghai Grasslands were marshy and created a problem for the army to march across. But the brave men of the Red Army managed to overcome those obstacles, completed the Long March, and allowed them to take over China in future years.
What problems did the KMT and the non-Chinese tribesmen present? Mao and his First Army were ambushed by the Hui people and the Tibetans. The communists were also attacked by the KMT, the local warlords and the ethnic minorities they met on the way. The communists had to cross gorges, rivers, climb mountains under the threat of the KMT, the warlords and the ethnic groups against them. The Ma Clique was also in abundance. They attacked the Fourth Red Army and destroyed most of it with the help of their KMT allies. The remains of the Fourth Army joined up with Mao in Shaanxi. The KMT and the local tribesmen were dangerous to the communists. The communists didn’t know the terrain while their enemies did. This caused a lot of problems for the communists. The tribesmen can easily ambush them and kill them all.
The GMD’s View of the Long March The following is considered as GMD propaganda, and so the general view of the Long March to most GMD members – the actual leaders of the party may feel very differently. The GMD refused to name the march as “The Long March”, instead calling it “The Great Retreat” or “The 25,000 Li Pursuit”. This suited them as propaganda, as both these names place the CCP as the lower hand. In GMD reports, the march was regarded as the CCP fleeing from “the Chinese Government”, to the contrary of the CCP’s idea that the march was a advance to freedom. Many degrading terms were used to describe the CCP’s march, including “fled to the west”, “exhausted force”, “communist remnants”, and “completely helpless”. “At last, the provinces of the south – west were unified under government control.” The GMD deemed the Long March as a unspoken surrender, and considered the whole event as a victory in claiming the Jiangxi Soviet area.
The CCP’s View of the Long March The following is also propaganda. The CCP, strangely enough, also viewed the Long March as a victory. Their idea of the march as a unparalleled demonstration of the CCP’s vitality and endurance was the complete opposite of the GMD’s. In the CCP’s reports, there are phrases such as “all conquering fighting strength” and “courage and endurance” etc. The march was a “turning point” in the Civil War. The Long March was also viewed as a exhibition of the “greatness” of the CCP and the Red Army to the peasants, therefore increasing the CCP’s popularity. The CCP attempted to show themselves as the way to a just and advanced society. The CCP also regarded the Long March as explicit proof that the GMD was weak, inefficient and a failure; the GMD was defeated in their eyes. Both parties believed that they had achieved the upper hand after the Long March.
Mao’s View of the Long March In December 1935 Mao gave a speech giving his view of the long march. Mao viewed the long march as a victorious, never-before-seen feat of bravery by heroes. He also thought that China was the strongest, “history ever known a long march to equal ours?…No, never.” He saw the long march as a propaganda that proved to all China that Communism was the only way to liberation. The long mach was also a “seeding machine”, sowing seeds of communism and propaganda. He said the long march proved that the Red Army were heroes and the GMD were powerless.
Historians view of Long March Many historians believe that Mao and the CCP exaggerated and may have even made up some parts of the Long March as propaganda. The number of men who took part in the Long March and the number who survived is unclear as the figures were covered up. New evidence can even suggest that the “heroic” actions on the Luding suspension bridge were fake.
Bibliography Wikipedia History Learning Site.co.uk 20 th Century History Series: China since 1900 China-Modern World Study
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