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The Mystery of the Battle of La-Tzu-k`ou in the Long March

J. Chester Cheng
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 31, No. 3 (May, 1972), pp. 593-598
DOI: 10.2307/2052238
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2052238
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Mystery of the Battle of La-Tzu-k`ou in the Long March
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Abstract

The historical experience of the Chinese Communist Party before 1949 has often assumed the dimension of a myth. As in any myth, what actually happens is not as important as the significant lesson to be learned. A case in point is the battle of "the last and the most strategic pass" of La-tzu-k'ou in the Long March. The Chinese annals contain at least five differing versions of this encounter on September 17-18, 1935. This may be attributed, inter alia, to the desire of the authors to glorify their own part in the Long March as much as that the battle of La-tzu-k'ou is of greater political than military significance. By publishing these accounts, the Chinese authorities hope to prove the correctness of Mao Tse-tung's policy of the northward march in mid-1935. Indeed Lin Piao's role was largely a magniloquent account of relevant events at La-tzu-k'ou, following his appointment as Minister of National Defense to succeed the disgraced P'eng Te-huao in 1959--notwithstanding the fact that Mao Tse-tung had in 1935 composed a well-known poem praising only P'eng's valor during the battle. True, history is historiography and historiography is politics in the People's Republic of China.

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