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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2009

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 5(1)


Peer Editor: Nicholas Wilbar; Faculty Mentor: Robert Hegel

The Long March (1934-1935), the Chinese Communist Party’s military retreat from the Nationalists, has become the founding myth in modern Chinese history. According to the standard narrative, during the yearlong 6,000-mile journey through Western and Northern China, Mao Zedong’s leadership and military strategy saved the Red Army from Nationalist forces, leading to his position as Party Chairman. Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China, a travel memoir based on his interviews with Mao after the Long March, established the legend. After examining survivor and second- hand accounts of the March and reviewing Snow’s personal archives, this paper concludes that Snow’s retelling of the Long March is incomplete, and whether intended or not, was and still is used as the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece. As such, the widely accepted Long March narrative must be reevaluated in view of its many flaws.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 5, Issue 1, Fall 2009. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Co-editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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