The Long March was a series of marches that the Red Army undertook to flee concerted attacks by the Guomingdang. It was started by Otto Braun, who convinced the Communist Party to expel Mao Zedong and retreat to Hunan, causing a loss of over 50 percent of their fighting force along the way. Control returned to Mao Zedong, whose success with the Red Army ascended him to power.
Unlike Braun, Mao Zedong's strategy during the Long March revolved around splitting the Red Army into various small groups that were better able to hide from their pursuers. Rather than retreating to Hunan, Mao Zedong changed the destination to the Shaanxi province where the Red Army hoped to repel Japanese invaders and drum up popular support. Although only 10,000 men survived the grueling journey, they combined with communist troops to form an army of 80,000 men who fought the Guomingdang, creating an inspiring myth around Mao Zedong that attracted young Chinese men and women to his cause. In Mao Zedong's own words, the Red Army became a symbol for China's liberation and the Communist Party's strength and endurance with him positioned as its undisputed leader. His popularity allowed him to form the People's Republic of China.