The Long March saved Mao Zedong and the Communist Party from the attacks by the Guomingdang. The Long March was organized when the Chinese Communists had to escape a Guomingdang attack that had been ordered by Chiang Kai Shek.
In Fall of 1933, the Guomindang leader Chiang Kai Shekorganized a huge attack against the Communists who were then based in the Jiangxi and Fujian provinces in south-east China.
Mao tried to win back support by pushing for a breakout by the Red Army followed up by an attack on the Guomindang in their rear. This was rejected in favour of Braun’s idea for a full-scale retreat from Jiangxi with a push for a communist base in Hunan where the Chinese Communist’s Party Second Army was based. The retreat – which was to be called the Long March – started in October 1934.
The Red Army started to Long March carrying whatever it could. 87,000 soldiers started the retreat carrying such items as typewriters, furniture, printing presses etc. They also took with them 33,000 guns and nearly 2 million ammunition cartridges. It took the Red Army 40 days to get through the blockhouses surrounding Jiangxi.
Mao, supported in his work by Zhu De, adopted new tactics. He wanted the Red Army to move in a completely unpredictable way. As the Red Army moved away from Xiang, it used twisting movement patterns that made predicting its direction very difficult. Mao also split up the Red Army into smaller units. In theory this made them more open to attack – in practice, they were more difficult to find in the open spaces on China.By October 1935, what was left of the original 87,000 Red Army soldiers reached their goal of Yanan. Less than 10,000 men had survived the march. These survivors had marched over 9000 kilometres. The march had taken 368 days. The Long March is considered one of the great physical feats of the Twentieth Century. However, when those who survived the march reached Yunan, they combined with the communist troops there to form a fighting strength of 80,000 which still made it a formidable fighting force against the Guomindang.