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Nearly eight decades ago, Mao Zedong and his Red Army were surrounded and on the verge of defeat at the hands of the nationalist Kuomintang. The Communists broke out into coastal Guangdong province and began what became known as The Long March, a strategic retreat that took them west into China's interior and then north until they reached the safety of their base in the city of Yan'an, in Shaanxi province.
The much-mythologized march allowed the Communists to regroup for Mao's eventual victory in the Chinese civil war, setting the stage for the birth of the People's Republic in 1949.