The Long March was a military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the National Army of the Chinese Nationalist Party. Strictly speaking, the Long March was a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south escaped to the north and west. However, the most famous began in the Jiangxi province in October 1934 and ended in the Shaanxi province in October 1935. The First Front Army of the Chinese Soviet Republic, led by an inexperienced military commission, was on the brink of annihilation by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's troops in their stronghold in Jiangxi province. The CPC, under the eventual command of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, escaped in a circling retreat to the west and north, which reportedly traversed over 9,000 kilometres over 370 days. The route passed through some of the most difficult terrain of western China by traveling west, then north, to Shaanxi.