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Why did the Communists start the Long March?

Mao’s China, c.1930–1976

Why did China become a Communist state?

Why did the Communists start the Long March?
How far was the Long March a success?
How far did the Second World War weaken the Nationalist government and strengthen the Communists?
Why did the Communists win the Civil War?

How far had Communist rule changed China by the mid 1960s?

What changes in agriculture did Communist rule bring?
What was the impact of the Communists’ social reforms?
How successful were the Five-Year Plans in increasing production?
Did the Chinese people benefit from Communist rule?

What was the impact of Communist rule on China’s relations with other countries?

What have been China’s changing relationships with neighbouring states?
Why did China try to improve relations with the USA after 1970?
How far was China established as a superpower by the time of Mao’s death?

Did Communism produce a cruel dictatorship in China?

How successful was ‘The Hundred Flowers Movement’?
Why did Mao launch the Cultural Revolution?
What was the impact of the Cultural Revolution on China?
How far was Mao a great leader of China?

Why did the Communists start the Long March?


In 1934 the Communists suffered huge losses against the nationalists in the Chinese Civil War. Faced with the prospect of annhilation the leaders of the Comunist army shose to start what is now called the Long March. This was a tactic of withdrawal into mountainous areas, some 2500 miles to the north and west. The purpose was simple: survival. By undertaking a tactical withdrawal the Communists could ensure that they still had an effective fighting force; could select easy to defend locations; could regroup and could ensure that the Nationalists supply lines were long and susceptible to attacks.


The Long March.




San Jose University - excellent and very detailed account of the Long March.

History Learning Site - very good narrative explaining why the Communists decided to undertake the Long March.

On War - short article that looks at the motives and outcomes of the Long March.

UniMap.com - Map showing the route of the Long March.

Youtube - first in a six part series of videos about the Long March





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