Now let us discuss the situation in the camp of China's national
First, the Red Army. As you know, comrades, for almost a year and a half
the three main contingents of the Chinese Red Army have carried out great shifts
of position. The Sixth Corps led by Jen Pi-shih18 and other comrades
began to shift to Comrade Ho Lung's area19 in August last year, and
in October we ourselves started to shift position20. In March this
year the Red Army in the Szechuan-Shensi border area21 began its
shift. All three Red Army contingents have abandoned their old positions and
moved to new regions. These great shifts have turned the old areas into
guerrilla zones. The Red Army has been considerably weakened in the process.
From this aspect of the over-all situation, we can see that the enemy has won a
temporary and partial victory, while we have suffered a temporary and partial
defeat. Is this statement correct? I think it is. For it is a statement of fact.
However, some people (Chang Kuo-tao22 for instance) say that the
Central Red Army23 has failed. Is that correct? No. For it is not a
statement of fact. In approaching a problem a Marxist should see the whole as
well as the parts. A frog in a well says, "The sky is no bigger than the mouth
of the well." That is untrue, for the sky is not just the size of the mouth of
the well. If it said, "A part of the sky is the size of the mouth of a well",
that would be true, for it tallies with the facts. What we say is that in one
respect the Red Army has failed (i.e., failed to maintain its original
positions), but in another respect it has won a victory (i.e ., in
executing the plan of the Long March). In one respect the enemy won a victory
(i.e., in occupying our original positions), but in another respect he has
failed (i.e., failed to execute his plan of "encirclement and suppression" and
of "pursuit and suppression"). That is the only appropriate formulation, for we
have completed the Long March.
Speaking of the Long March, one may ask, "What is its significance?" We
answer that the Long March is the first of its kind in the annals of history,
that it is a manifesto, a propaganda force, a seeding-machine. Since Pan Ku
divided the heaven from the earth and the Three Sovereigns and Five
Emperors24 reigned, has history ever witnessed a long march such as
ours? For twelve months we were under daily reconnaissance and bombing from the
skies by scores of plans, while on land we were encircled and pursued,
obstructed and intercepted by a huge force of several hundred thousand men, and
we encountered untold difficulties and dangers on the way; yet by using our two
legs we swept across a distance of more than twenty thousand li through
the length and breadth of eleven provinces. Let us ask, has history ever known a
long march to equal ours? No, never. The Long March is a manifesto. It has
proclaimed to the world that the Red Army is an army of heroes, while the
imperialists and their running dogs, Chiang Kai-shek and his like, are impotent.
It has proclaimed their utter failure to encircle, pursue, obstruct and
intercept us. The Long March is also a propaganda force. It has announced to
some 200 million people in eleven provinces that the road of the Red Army is
their only road to liberation. Without the Long March, how could the broad
masses have learned so quickly about the existence of the great truth which the
Red Army embodies? The Long March is also a seeding-machine. In the eleven
provinces it has sown many seeds which will sprout, leaf, blossom, and bear
fruit, and will yield a harvest in the future. In a word, the Long March has
ended with a victory for us and defeat for the enemy. Who brought the Long March
to victory? The Communist Party. Without the Communist Party, a long march of
this kind would have been inconceivable. The Chinese Communist Party, its
leadership, its cadres and its members fear no difficulties or hardships.
Whoever questions our ability to lead the revolutionary war will fall into the
morass of opportunism. A new situation arose as soon as the Long March was over.
In the battle of Chihlochen the Central Red Army and the Northwestern Red Army,
fighting in fraternal solidarity, shattered the traitor Chiang Kai-shek's
campaign of "encirclement and suppression" against the Shensi-Kansu border
area25 and thus laid the cornerstone for the task undertaken by the
Central Committee of the Party, the task of setting up the national headquarters
of the revolution in northwestern China.
(Excerpted from ON TACTICS AGAINST JAPANESE IMPERIALISM written by
Comrade Mao Zedong on December 27, 1935.)
18. Comrade Jen Pi-shih was a veteran member of the
Chinese Communist Party and one of its first organizers. He was member of the
Party's Central Committee from its Fifth National Congress in 1927 onwards. He
was elected to the Political Bureau at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Sixth
Central Committee in 1931. In 1933 he served as secretary of the Provincial
Party Committee of the Hunan-Kiangsi Border Area and concurrently as political
commissar of the Sixth Army Group of the Red Army. When the Sixth and Second
Army Groups joined forces and formed the Second Front Army, he was appointed its
political commissar. He was Director of the General Political Department of the
Eighth Route Army in the first years of the War of Resistance. In 1940 he began
to serve in the Secretariat of the Party's Central Committee. At the First
Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee in 1945 he was elected a member
of the Political Bureau and of the Secretariat. Comrade Jen Pi-shih died in
Peking on October 27, 1950.
19. The Sixth Army Group of the Chinese Workers' and
Peasants' Red Army, originally stationed in the Hunan-Kiangsi borders area,
broke through the enemy's siege and shifted its position in August 1934 on the
orders of the Party's Central Committee. In October it joined forces with the
Second Army Group led by Comrade Ho Lung in eastern Kweichow, and together they
formed the Second Front Army of the Red Army and created the
Hunan-Hupeh-Szechuan-Kweichow revolutionary base area.
20. In October 1934 the First, Third and Fifth Army Groups
of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (that is, the First Front Army of
the Red Army, also known as the Central Red Army) set out from Changting and
Ninghua in western Fukien and from Juichin, Yutu and other places in southern
Kiangsi and started a major strategic movement. In traversing the eleven
provinces of Fukien, Kiangsi, Kwangtung, Hunan, Kwangsi, Kweichow, Szechuan,
Yunnan, Sikang, Kansu and Shensi, crossing perpetually snow-capped mountains and
trackless grass-lands, sustaining untold hardships and frustrating the enemy's
repeated encirclements, pursuits, obstructions and interceptions, the Red Army
covered 25,000 li (12,500 kilometers) on this march and finally arrived
triumphantly at the revolutionary base area in northern Shensi in October 1935.
21. The Red Army in the Szechuan-Shensi border area was
the Fourth Front Army of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. In March
1935, it shifted from its base in the Szechuan-Shensi border area to the borders
of Szechuan and Sikang Provinces. In June, it joined forces with the First Front
Army in Mukung in western Szechuan and advanced northward by two routes, a right
route and a left route. But on arriving in the Maoerhkai area near Hsungpan in
September, Chang Kuo-tao of the Fourth Front Army led the troops on the left
route in a southward direction, in defiance of the Central Committee's orders,
thus causing a disruption in the Red Army. The Second Front Army, which had
broken through the enemy's siege and left the Hunan-Hupeh-Szechuan-Kweichow
border area, arrived at Kantse, Sikang Province, in June 1936 via Hunan,
Kweichow and Yunnan, and there it joined forces with the Fourth Front Army.
Acting against Chang Kuo-tao's wishes, the comrades in the Fourth Front Army
resumed the shift northward together with the Second Front Army. In October, the
entire Second Front Army and a part of the Fourth Front Army arrived in northern
Shensi and succeeded in joining forces with First Front Army.
22. Chang Kuo-tao was a traitor to the Chinese revolution.
Speculating on the revolution, he joined the Chinese Communist Party in his
youth. In the Party he made many mistakes and ended by committing grave crimes.
Most notoriously, in 1935 he opposed the Red Army's northward march, advocating
a defeatist and liquidationist withdrawal by the Red Army to the
minority-nationality areas on the Szechuan-Sikang border, and he engaged in
openly traitorous activities against the Party and the Central Committee,
established his own bogus central committee, disrupted the unity of the Party
and the Red Army, and caused heavy losses to its Fourth Front Army. Thanks to
patient education by Comrade Mao Tse-tung and the Central Committee, the Fourth
Front Army and its numerous cadres soon came back under the correct leadership
of the Central Committee and played an honorable part in subsequent struggles.
Chang Kuo-tao, however, proved incorrigible, escaped by himself from the
Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region in the spring of 1938 and joined the
Kuomintang secret police.
23. The Central Red Army, or the First Front Army, refers
to the Red Army that was built up in the Kiangsi-Fukien area directly under the
leadership of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
24. Pan Ku, according to Chinese mythology, was the
creator of the world and the first ruler of mankind. The Three Sovereigns and
Five Emperors were legendary rulers in ancient China.