The 25th Red Army Long March Departure Site in Tiepu Town, Luoshan County
The main part of the Red Army forces 红军 moved from inland provinces to China’s Northwest during 1934-1935 to avoid the assaults by the Nationalist (GMD) troops under their leader Chiang Kai-shek 蒋介石 (1887-1975). This military retreat was retrospectively named the Long March 长征 in December 1935 by Mao Zedong (Gao 2006). As stated in an article published in the People’s Daily 人民日报, a combat force consisting of young fighters was left behind in Henan Province 河南省 after the main force of the Fourth Front Army 红四方面军 moved westwards in November 1932 (People’s Daily 2006). This left-behind force came to be known as the 25th Red Army, which continued fighting in this area till late 1934.
In May 1934, Zhou Enlai 周恩来 (1898-1976) instructed Chen Zihua 程子华 (1905-1991), a Red Army political commissar, to take command of this army and to lead it to a new combat base (Salisbury 1985: 73). After he arrived in Henan province, Chen assembled the 25th Army forces at the village Hejiachong 何家冲, in the South of Luoshan County 罗山县 and ordered their departure on 26th November 1934. According to a book on revolutionary bases in Henan, around 2,900 officers and soldiers participated in this march, which ended several months later in the North of Shaanxi province 陕西省 (Wang 1997: 321). In addition, the 25th Red Army has been considered the first Red Army force that reached the mountains of Shaanxi (Yi qi zhui ji). In 2004, the 25th Red Army Long March Departure Site 红二十五军长征出发地 was announced as a site of Red Tourism and functions as a memorial site that commemorates the decampment of this combat force.
According to the website “Yi qi zhui ji” the memorial site consists of three parts today, namely the “Original Site of the 25th Red Army Hospital 红二十五军医院旧址”, the “Site of Assembly before the Long March Departure 长征出发集合地遗址” and the “Original Site of the 25th Red Army Headquarter红二十五军军部旧址”. The last was located at the Ancestral Temple of the He Family 何氏祠, which was turned into a memorial hall dedicated to the 25th Army and its achievements. According to the People’s Daily, not only the administrative staff of the army had its headquarter at this temple, but also the former guardhouse and the political department were located there. Like other memorials dealing with the theme of the Long March, the 25th Red Army Departure Site intends to commemorate the exploits of the Red Army that led to the establishment of a new safe haven at Shaanxi Province. Due to this, the history of the Long March is intrinsically tied to the history of the Communist combat forces that were fighting for the survival of the Party.
Gao Hua 高华 (2006): “Hongjun changcheng de lishi xushu shi zenyang xingcheng de 红军长征的历史叙述是怎样形成的 (How the historical narrative of the Long March of the Red Army was formed).” In: Yanhuang Chunjiu 炎黄春秋 10 (2006). Pp. 27-32.
Li Zhongchun 李忠春 and Dai Peng 戴鹏 (11.10.2006): “Da bie gaoge yong xiangqian – fang hong ershiwu jun changzheng chufa di 大别高歌永向前——访红二十五军长征出发地 (A great farwell sings forever forward – Visit the 25th Red Army Departure Place of the Long March)”. In: People’s Daily 人民日报.
Wang Wanbang 王万邦 (1997): Henan geming genjudi shi lu 河南革命根据地实录 (The real record of revolutionary bases at Henan). Zhengzhou 郑州: Henan renmin chubanshe
Salisbury, Harrisone E. (1985): Der Lange Marsch. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag.
Website Yi qi zhui ji:
List of Pictures:
Featured Image: “The revolutionary main force establishes a foundation in the Northwest” (source: https://chineseposters.net/posters/e15-847 , designer: Xiao Hui 肖辉, Call number: BG E15/847 (Stefan R. Landsberger Collection)).