Mao Zedong

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communists, who by now numbered in the tens of thousands across China. Ignoring the orders of the Wuhan-based KMT government, he marched on Shanghai, a city controlled by communist militias. Although the communists welcomed Chiang's arrival, he turned on them, massacring 5000 with the aid of the Green Gang. [79][82] Chiang's army then marched on Wuhan, but was prevented from taking the city by communist General Ye Ting and his troops. [83] Chiang's allies also attacked communists; in Peking, 19 leading communists were killed by Zhang Zuolin, while in Changsha, Ho Chien's forces machine gunned hundreds of peasant militiamen. [84][85] That May, tens of thousands of communists and their sympathisers were killed by nationalists, with the CPC losing approximately 15,000 of its 25,000 members. [85]

The CPC continued supporting the Wuhan KMT government, a position Mao initially supported, [85] but he had changed his mind by the time of the CPC's Fifth Congress, deciding to stake all hope on the peasant militia. [87] The question was rendered moot when the Wuhan government expelled all communists from the KMT on 15 July. [87] The CMT founded the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of China, better known as the "Red Army", to battle Chiang. A battalion led by General Zhu De was ordered to take the city of Nanchang on 1 August 1927 in what became known as the Nanchang Uprising; initially successful, they were forced into retreat after five days, marching south to Swatow, and from there being driven into the wilderness of Fujian. [87] Appointed commander-in-chief of the Red Army, Mao led four regiments against Changsha in the Autumn Harvest Uprising, hoping to spark peasant uprisings across Hunan. On the eve of the attack, Mao composed a poem — the earliest of his to survive — titled "Changsha". His plan was to attack the KMT-held city from three directions on 9 September, but the Fourth Regiment deserted to the KMT cause, attacking the Third Regiment. Mao's army made it to...
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