红军长征 (Hóngjūn Chángzhēng), the Long March of the Red Army, was the trial-by-fire of the Chinese Communist Party, and ”the greatest strategic retreat in military history”, according to sinologist Roderick MacFarquhar.
When Chiang Kai-shek became the leader of the Nationalist party, the Communists had to retreat to fight from the countryside. In 1934, Máo’s stronghold in the Jiāngxī mountains was surrounded by the Nationalists, and they made a bold escape move, setting out on an epic quest for survival that lasted for just over a year.
The First Red Army, counting tens of thousands, marched through half of China, crossing 18 mountain ranges and 24 rivers, before meeting up with other red armies and establishing the famous Yán’ān base, from where they would continue the revolution.
The Long March established Máo as the absolute key leader of the Party, and helped inspire many people to join the red banner.
Home is behind, the world ahead / And there are many paths to tread.