The Nationalist Era in China, 1927-1949
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However, as a result of the complete dominance the new communist leadership achieved after the fourth counter encirclement campaign, the Red Army was nearly halved, with most its equipment lost during Chiang's fifth encirclement campaign , started in and orchestrated by his German advisors, that involved the systematic encirclement of the Jiangxi Soviet region with fortified blockhouses.
The Nationalist Era in China, 1927–1949
This method proved to be very effective. In an effort to break the blockade, the Red Army under the orders of the three man committee besieged the forts many times but suffered heavy casualties with little success, resulting in the Jiangxi Soviet shrinking significantly in size due to the Chinese Red Army's disastrous manpower and material losses. On October 10, , the three-man committee communist leadership formally issued the order of the general retreat, and on October 16, , the Chinese Red Army begun what was later known as the Long March , fully abandoning the Jiangxi Soviet.
Contrary to the common erroneous belief, the original destination was He Long 's communist base in Hubei , and the final destination Yan'an was not decided on until much later during the Long March, well after the rise of Mao Zedong. By the fall of , the communists faced total annihilation. This situation had already convinced Mao Zedong and his supporters to believe that the communists should abandon their bases in the Jiangxi Soviet republic. However, the communist leadership stubbornly refused to accept the inevitable failure and still daydreamed of defeating the victorious nationalist forces.
The three man committee devised a plan of diversions, and then a regroup after a temporary retreat. Once the regroup was complete, a counterattack would be launched in conjunction with the earlier diversion forces, driving the enemy out of the Jiangxi Soviet. The first movements of the retreating diversion were undertaken by Fang Zhimin.
These movements surprised the Kuomintang, who were numerically superior to the communists at the time and did not expect an attack on their fortified perimeter.
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However, things did not turn out as the communists had hoped: Fang Zhimin's force was crushed after its initial success, and with Xun Weizhou killed in action, nearly every commander in this force was wounded and captured alive, including Fang Zhimin himself, and all were executed later by the nationalists. The only exception was Su Yu , who managed to escape. Xiao Ke fared no better: although his force initially managed to break through and then reached He Long 's communist base in Hubei , but even with their combined forces, they were unable to challenge the far superior nationalist force besieging the Jiangxi Soviet, never to return until the establishment of the People's Republic of China 15 years later.
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The CSR Central Mint issued three kinds of currency, including the paper bill, the copper coin, and the silver dollar. The Central Mint briefly issued both the paper bills and copper coins, but neither circulated for long, primarily because the currency could not be used in the rest of China. However, these coins are currently rarer than the paper bill, mainly because the copper used was in dire need to make cartridges so that these copper coins were recalled and replaced by silver dollars.
The largest and most predominant currency produced by the Central Mint was the silver dollar. Unlike the paper bills and the copper coins, the silver dollars had no Communist symbols and instead, they were the direct copy of other silver dollars produced by other mints in China, including the most popular Chinese silver dollar with Yuan Shikai 's head engraved, and the eagle silver dollar of the Mexican peso. This and the fact that the coin was made of the precious metal silver, enabled them to be circulated in the rest of China and thus was the trade currency of choice.
When the Chinese Red Army's First Front began their Long March in October , the Communist bank was part of the retreating force, with 14 bank employees, over a hundred coolies and a company of soldiers escorting them while they carried all of the money and mint machinery. One of the important tasks of the bank during the Long March whenever the Chinese Red Army stayed in a place for longer than a day was to tell the local population to exchange any Communist paper bills and copper coins to goods and currency used in nationalist controlled regions, so that the local population would not be persecuted by the pursuing nationalists after the Communists had left.
By the time the Long March had concluded in October , only 8 out of the 14 original employees survived; the other 6 had died along the way. The communists seemed to be doomed under the crushing blows of the nationalists.
However, Zhou Enlai had previously achieved a brilliant intelligence success by planting more than a dozen moles in Chiang Kai-shek 's inner circle, including at the general headquarters for the nationalist forces at Nanchang. In January , Chiang Kai-shek named him as the administrator and commander-in-chief of the Fourth Special District in northern Jiangxi. After successfully besieging the adjacent regions of Ruijin , the capital of the Jiangxi Soviet, and occupying most of Jiangxi Soviet itself, Chiang was confident that he would finish off the communists in a final decisive strike.
In late September , Chiang distributed his top secret plan named "Iron Bucket Plan" to everyone in his general headquarter at Lushan the alternative summer site to Nanchang , which detailed the final push to totally annihilate the communist forces.
The Nationalist Era in China, 1927-1949 / Edition 1
In addition, more than 1, trucks were to be mobilized to form a rapid reaction force in order to prevent any communist breakout. The trip was hazardous, as the nationalist force would arrest and even execute anyone who attempted to cross the blockade. Disguised as a beggar, he tore off the covers of the four dictionaries and hid them at the bottom of his bag with rotten food, then successfully crossed several lines of the blockade and reached Ruijin on October 7, The portion of the First Front Red Army engaged in the so-called mobile warfare was actually the bulk of the communist force making a general retreat, but this force was only much diminished from its peak of more than , men army.
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