The Long March, undertaken by the Red Army of China, is a tale of extraordinary adventure against impossible odds. Yet, it was completely unnecessary. The Fifth Extermination Campaign was a failure. Also, there were at least two ways for them to establish themselves in Shanghai without marching all the way to Yenan. Even though the Long March helped the Communist Revolution, they did not have to undertake a mission which would kill so many of their people. It is true that if the Long March had not taken place, China might not be a Communist nation, and a capitalist society would be a good thing for China. This march, no matter how wonderful it seems, was a huge mistake in history.

The Fifth Extermination Campaign was launched in October 1933. The Nationalists had many more men and arms than the other four campaigns, which explains why all the other campaigns failed. This campaign had a strategy of caution and patience as they marched on Kiangsi and met the Red Army. While diversionary troops sacrificed themselves in delaying actions elsewhere on the front, the main body of Communist forces broke through a comparatively weak point in the Nationalists’ encirclement and escaped toward southwestern Kiangsi.

Around five o’clock in the evening, Mao and about twenty others left Yutu by the North Gate, and then turned to the left towards the river, which was all yellow, roaring and foaming, as though calling on the enemies to advance. Soon the sun set, and the gusts bitter cold wind chilled us. The Chairman wore a gray cloth uniform and an eight-cornered military cap, with no overcoat. He walked with enormous strides around the river bank.
‘When we were some miles beyond Yutu, we saw flashing lights and heard strange sounds coming from the distance. Chuang Fu-wu, the male nurse, was puzzled, and asked what was happening.
“’They’re our troops,” the Chairman said.
‘I was puzzled, for I remembered I had not seen a single soldier on the road from Yutu, and how could so many soldiers have appeared from nowhere?
‘We found a bridge made of barges spanning the river, and the Red Army was crossing over, waving myriads of torches so that they resembled fire dragons. Their laughter mingled with songs and shouts, echoing backward and forward along the line.
“’How is it there are so many?” I asked the Chairman.
“’Oh, that’s not many,” he replied. “There are far, far more ahead of us.”
‘So we walked over to the floating bridge, crowded with Calvary and foot soldiers, porters and peasants who had come to say good-bye. The Chairman would step aside to let them pass. At midnight some peasants shouted,”They are going to capture Kupo and Hsingtien soon!” and when daylight came the news was confirmed. We were very pleased, because both t these towns had salt wells, and salt was lacking where we had come from. We had won the first victories of the Long March.”12

No one knew where they were going. They set out in 1934, but they did not know that they would be in Yenan (which was 6,000 miles away) by the end of 1935.
“If you mean, did we have any exact plans, the answer is that we had none. We intended to break out of the encirclement and join up with the other soviets. Beyond that, there was only a very deliberate desire to put ourselves in a position where we could fight the Japanese.” Mao said.3

The Zunyi Conference was held in January 1935. Policies of twenty-eight Bolsheviks were repudiated, and Mao Tse-tung was installed as effective leader of the Party.
“Mao was not so powerless before the Conference, nor did he become so powerful after it.”4

When the Communists reached the Wu River in Kweichow they found themselves surrounded by Nationalists. They had already crossed the river, but the enemy waited on both banks, waiting to spring forth. At that time, the Communists had a firm belief in the power of one man to win a battle. They sent one soldier out at night after they had silenced the guns with mortars. The swimmer acquired a boat hidden against the shore and brought it back. The boat was sent backward and forward with the Red Army all through the