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"The Long March was a Great Retreat" what evidence is there to support or contradict this interpretation of the Long March?

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Introduction

Question 5: "The Long March was a Great Retreat" what evidence is there to support or contradict this interpretation of the Long March? Explain your answer using both the sources and your own knowledge A retreat is a withdrawal of a military force from a dangerous position or from an enemy attack. The above quote originates from source C and as such portrays purely a GMD view on the significance of the Long March, which is therefore bound to be a negative view. However the Long March undeniably had a great long term impact, as the communist ideals formed by Zedong now form the basis for China's constitution. Therefore it is questionable as to how much The Long March really was a 'Great Retreat' if such an outcome was achieved. Though how far do the other sources and my own knowledge help to contradict or support this view? Interestingly, the word 'Great' can be interpreted differently depending on the view of the historian. For example it could be seen that the Long March was a beneficial retreat and that the word 'Great' is a positive way of describing the March. However it could also be seen that the Long March was 'Great' in the terms of the size of the retreat and is therefore not such a positive thing as source C demonstrates. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, as an isolated year it is undeniable that the Long March began as a retreat, yet how far did this continue, and when did it cease to be a retreat? The answer can be obtained when analysing Source C. A key date which is vital to the interpretation of the Long March is 1935, when the CCP reached Zunyi and assessed their position. At this point the focus of the Long March altered, it was no longer a retreat as they had reached their destination. From here the aim of the March became to unite peasants against the GMD, the retreat can be seen as over. From Zunyi onwards the Long March became things Zedong referred to in Source G; propaganda, a message and a seeding machine. However the motive of this Source should be taken into consideration, as Zedong may have glorified his version of the Long March. Thus lessening the focus on the fact it began as a retreat. After the March was seen by historians such as Graham Hutchings as a 'road to victory', rather than a retreat. Hutchings also believed that the CCP's area of control was expanding, which contradicts directly with the definition of retreat, as determined by Source C. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Long March can only be seen as a victory in a modern context, as China, a communist country has been accepted by the world and this is evidenced through the fact they will be holding the Olympics in 2008 and how Mao's face remains on all currency in China. In conclusion, the Long March was both a retreat and a road to victory yet neither could have been possible without the other. The initial retreat was inescapable, but at the same time can be seen as an example of tactical excellence on Mao's part as it allowed him to generate the support he needed. Hence it would be incorrect to assume that the word 'Great Retreat' always has negative associations for the CCP, especially as Source C portrays the Long March as negative. This retreat proved beneficial in the end. Once the CCP had reached Zunyi this was the turning point. The March was no longer a Great Retreat but became a long-term road to victory. Here it altered into the seeding machine Mao referred to, and this fact is proven by the fact the CCP were victorious and communist theories are still in practice today. WORD COUNT: 1172 OVERALL WORD COUNT: 3917 ?? ?? ?? ?? Rebecca Sigrist 11T History 01/03/2007 ...read more.

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