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China – The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party, 1921-49

6. The Long March, 1934-35

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In this module, we think about the Long March, focusing in particular on: (i) the series of ‘encirclement campaigns’ launched by the KMT to flush the Communists out from their bases in the countryside; (ii) the effectiveness of each of these encirclement campaigns, especially the largest, final campaign – the fifth – which lasted between 1933-34; (iii) the withdrawal of the Communists; and (iv) the emergence of Mao as an important leader in this period.


In this course, Professor Michael Dillon (Durham University) explores the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) between 1921 (when it was founded) to 1949 (when it became the governing party of the newly-established People’s Republic of China). In the first module, we think about the conditions that prompted the creation of the CCP in July 1921. After that, we turn of the Chinese Nationalists, the Kuomintang (KMT), who formed the main antagonists the CCP in the years 1929-49, and remain a force even today. In the third module, we think about how and why the CCP cooperated with the KMT in the Northern Expedition, before turning in the fourth module to the severing of relations following the Shanghai Massacre on 12 April 1927. In the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth modules, we continue the story through the Long March (1934-5), the Yan’an Period (1936-43), the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45) and the second phase of the Chinese Civil War (1945-9), before turning in the ninth and final module to consider the creation of the People’s Republic of China (1949) and the ways in which the CCP established themselves as the legitimate government of China.


Michael Dillon was founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University, where he taught courses on modern China, Chinese history, and Chinese language. He has also been a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

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APA style

Dillon, M. (2020, December 05). China – The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party, 1921-49 - The Long March, 1934-35 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dillon, M. "China – The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party, 1921-49 – The Long March, 1934-35." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Dec 2020,

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