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The Long March (1934–1935) was a strategic retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China to evade destruction at the hands of the Chinese Nationalist (Guomindang) army. Although the distance covered by the Red Army during the Long March remains contested, a conservative estimate is 3,700 miles—most of it on foot—across China’s most difficult terrain. The Long March was significant for the development of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because it hastened the rise of Mao Zedong to party leadership. Over time, the Long March transformed into one of the founding myths of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), demonstrating CCP resilience and the righteousness of Mao’s leadership.

The Long March began on October 16, 1934, when 86,000 Red Army soldiers attempted ...

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