On This Day, Oct. 20, 1935 – Mao’s Long March Arrives in Hanoi


1935 – Mao Zedong arrived in Hanoi after his Long March that took just over a year. He then set up the Chinese Communist Headquarters.

The Long March came about when the Chinese Communists had to flee a concerted Guomingdang attack that had been ordered by Chiang Kai-shek.

The Guomindang was advised by the German general, Hans von Seeckt. who advised Chiang Kai-shek to have 500,000 Guomindang troops surrounded Jiangxi in an attempt to strangulate the Communists. Seeckt wanted a war of attrition but with minimal contact with the Communists as Seeckt wanted to starve them out rather engage in combat with them.

Seeckt was a skilled soldier and his strategy worked very well. His ‘slow-but-sure’ process lead to the area controlled by the Communists shrinking quite rapidly. Within 12 months, the Communists had lost 50% of the territory they had controlled in 1933 and 60,000 Communist soldiers (the Red Army) were killed.

It was then that the Communists changed tactics. Against the advice of Mao, the Communists used full-scale attacks against the Guomindang. They were advised by Russian agents lead by Otto Braun, who advised full-frontal attacks and he convinced the Communist hierarchy that Mao was wrong. He also branded Mao as being politically wrong because peasants in Jiangxi were being killed by the Guomindang and the Red Army did nothing to assist them. Mao was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Mao tried to win back support by pushing for a breakout by the Red Army followed up by an attack on the Guomindang in their rear. This was rejected in favour of Braun’s idea for a full-scale retreat from Jiangxi with a push for a communist base in Hunan where the Chinese Communist’s Party Second Army was based. The retreat – which was to be called the Long March – started in October 1934.

The Red Army started to Long March carrying whatever it could. 87,000 soldiers started the retreat carrying such items as typewriters, furniture, printing presses etc. They also took with them 33,000 guns and nearly 2 million ammunition cartridges. It took the Red Army 40 days to get through the blockhouses surrounding Jiangxi but no sooner had they done this than they were attacked at Xiang by the Guomindang. In the Battle of Xiang, the Red Army lost 45,000 men – over 50% of their fighting force

1774 – The new Continental Congress, the governing body of America’s colonies, passed an order proclaiming that all citizens of the colonies “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainment.”

1803 – The U.S. Senate approved the Louisiana Purchase.

1818 – The U.S. and Great Britain established the boundary between the U.S. and Canada to be the 49th parallel.

1873 – A Hippodrome was opened in New York City by showman Phineus T. (P.T.) Barnum.

1892 – The city of Chicago dedicated the World’s Columbian Exposition.

1903 – A joint commission ruled in favor of the U.S. concerning a dispute over the boundary between Canada and the District of Alaska.

1910 – A baseball with a cork center was used in a World Series game for the first time.

1930 – “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” debuted on NBC radio.

1944 – Allied forces invaded the Philippines.

1947 – Hollywood came under scrutiny as the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence within the motion picture industry.

1952 – The Mau Mau uprising against white settlers began in Kenya.

1957 – Walter Cronkite began hosting “The 20th Century.” The show aired until January 4, 1970.

1968 – Jackie Lee Bouvier Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.

1977 – Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines (Steve’s sister) and road manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed when their plane crashed in Gillsburg, MS. The other four members of the band were seriously injured but survived the crash.

1979 – The John F. Kennedy Library in Boston was dedicated.

1984 – The U.S. State Department reduced the number of Americans assigned to the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

1993 – Attorney General Janet Reno warned the TV industry to limit the violence in their programs.

1995 – Britain, France and the U.S. announced a treaty that banned atomic blasts in the South Pacific.

2003 – A 40-year-old man went over Niagara Falls without safety devices and survived. He was charged with illegally performing a stunt.

2009 – European astronomers discover 32 exoplanets.


Source: historylearningsite.co.uk; On-This-Day.com