The Long March
While CCP historians would paint this momentous event as a heroic 6,000 mile (10,000 kilometer) march to emerge triumphant at a time when all the odds were stacked against the Chinese Communist Party, when in fact it was a failed military operation that cost the lives of ten of thousands of CCP members.
By 1934, Chiang Kai-shek, who was leading the KMT, had almost total control over China with the only thorn in his side being the continued clashes with the guerrilla forces of the fledgling CCP. Battles that they would fight and lose to the larger KMT troops, forcing them to flee it southern base and relocate to the north.
With Mao now guiding the CCP’s remaining 75,000 troops and 20,000 non-combatants across 18 mountain ranges, and 24 river while being regularly attacked (again, according to the official history) to the safety of the city of Yan’an, only 7,000 people would make it. It would be from their base in Yan’an that Mao would rebuild the party in his own image and go on to take over the whole of China with his cult of personality.