The period from 1927-37, regarded as the ‘Nanjing Decade” refers to a period in China’s political history that was overwhelmingly dominated by the presence of the Guomindang or GMD through the actions committed in the Shanghai spring, which saw the purge of hundreds of members of the Chinese Communist Party or CCP from major cities such as Shanghai. During this period, there was a great deal of threat towards the CCP from the movements of the GMD such as the Encirclement campaigns, however, despite these attempts to eradicate the CCP, it was able to survive through the development of Mao Zedong as a leader, in both Military and Political spheres. However, this is undermined by the lack of effectiveness of the GMD as a threat towards the CCP and the ineffectiveness of Jiang Jieshi as the leader of the GMD.Firstly, the statement is accurate through the overwhelming threat shown by the use of military force by the GMD towards the CCP through what was known as encirclement campaigns.
As the name suggests, the GMD engaged in attrition warfare, encircling the CCP’s base in Jiangxi, central China throughout the decade, over a total of 5 campaigns. This followed in the wake of the Shanghai Spring in 1927 which resulted in the purge of CCP members from the cities, with over 10,000 communists being arrested and killed within a span of 20 days from the beginning of the massacre, this shows a continual effort on the part of the GMD to attack the CCP, thus posing a serious threat. This is substantiated by the 5th such campaign from 1933-34 causing Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of the GMD to mobilize 900,000 troops with 400,000 which comprise close to 360 regiments which actively took part in the fighting directly against the Red army, causing the CCP to suffer 60,000 casualties and lose 50% of the territory that they controlled at the beginning of 1933 through the course of this final campaign. This means that the GMD’s protracted and systematic strategy to attack the CCP would have a very powerful impact on its overall strength concurrently throughout the decade, directly showing how the CCP faced a major threat throughout this time period. Additionally, the Statement is accurate as the CCP was able to survive through the strength of Mao’s military leadership. This can be seen most prominently in the long march, which highlighted Mao’s military prowess through his shift in tactics to ensure the survival of the CCP. The Long March was a response to the continual encirclement campaigns that served to slowly reduce the CCP’s overall presence in terms of land occupied, people and influence in the regions taken over.
The Long march involved the movement of the Jiangxi Soviet which accounted for 87,000 soldiers over 9000 km over the course of 370 days travelling towards Shaanxi province. However, initially, the key figure in instigating the long march, Otto Braun planned for the Red Army to march in a straight line, which allowed the GMD to clearly see the direction that they would be travelling in and therefore fortify defenses accordingly, as well as having the troops carry heavy equipment such as typewriters, furniture and printing presses, which lead to their loss of 45,000 men at the battle of Xiang, accounting for close to 60% of their forces. Because of this loss, and the understanding that change needed to occur if the CCP was to survive, Mao took charge and implemented a new strategy of varying his movements, maneuvering to avoid conventional battle and instead, shifting to the use of guerrilla tactics that allowed for less risky engagements as well as separating his troops into smaller groups to make them more difficult to find. This shift in tactics a clear understanding on Mao’s part of the demands incurred through the initial heavy loss at the battle of Xiang and therefore his prowess as a military leader, allowing him to survive the march whilst gaining support throughout the move. Furthermore, the statement is accurate as the CCP was able to survive through the merit of Mao’s political leadership.
This can be seen through the implementation of the mass line method which focused directly on the masses to rally support from the peasantry in the region. This can be seen through his implementation of the 8 points of attention, a set of rules for Red army soldiers to follow which included rules such as to be polite when speaking, not harassing females and not damaging crops and the three rules which included prompt obedience to orders, no confiscating peasants’ property and delivery of all items confiscated from landlords to the authorities. This is important not only because of the tactical importance posed by having local support through the resources that they would more readily obtain and the attrition factor towards GMD forces, but also because of the increase in influence and membership that the CCP gained additional members of the red army, which aided them in their fight. This was particularly important because while it had a direct impact in aiding the CCP during the march, it also had a prevalent long-term impact in the effect on increasing communist influence in the areas that they visited, which is significant primarily due to the wide range of areas visited throughout the 9000km march. This shows a strong political leadership on behalf of Mao as he understood the importance of the peasantry and chose to focus on them as a key demographic rather than focus on the urban worker as others such as the 28 Bolsheviks would have done.
This is substantiated by the growth of the combined Red army forces in Shaanxi to a total of 80,000 members following the march which left the Red army with 10,000 troops. This shows the direct benefit of involving the peasantry in terms of ensuring the CCP’s survival, primarily due to its impact towards helping the CCP return to its previous levels of strength, thus showing how Mao’s political leadership allowed the CCP to survive despite serious threats to it during this time period.However, on the other hand, the statement is inaccurate due to the reduced effectivity of the