During World War II, many colonial countries in the East formerly under the imperialist rule of Britain, the United States, France and the Netherlands were occupied by the Japanese imperialists. Led by their Communist Parties, the masses of workers, peasants and urban petty bourgeoisie and members of the national bourgeoisie in these countries took advantage of the contradictions between the British, U.S., French and Dutch imperialists on the one hand and the Japanese imperialists on the other, organized a broad united front against fascist aggression, built anti-Japanese base areas and waged bitter guerrilla warfare against the Japanese. Thus the political situation existing prior to World War II began to change. When the Japanese imperialists were driven out of these countries at the end of World War II, the imperialists of the United States, Britain, France and the Netherlands attempted to restore their colonial rule, but, having built up armed forces of considerable strength during the anti-Japanese war, these colonial peoples refused to return to the old way of life. Moreover, the imperialist system all over the world was profoundly shaken because the Soviet Union had become strong, because all the imperialist powers, except the United States, had either been overthrown or weakened in the war, and finally because the imperialist front was breached in China by the victorious Chinese revolution. Thus, much as in China, it has become possible for the peoples of all, or at least some, of the colonial countries in the East to maintain big and small revolutionary base areas and revolutionary regimes over a long period of time, and to carry on long-term revolutionary war in which to surround the cities from the countryside, and then gradually to advance to take the cities and win nation-wide victory. The view held by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in 1928 on the question of establishing independent regimes in colonies under direct imperialist rule has changed as a result of the changes in the situation.
These were the first counter-attacks which the people under Communist leadership launched in various places against the forces of the counter-revolution after Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei successively turned traitor to the revolution in 1927. On December 11, 1927, the workers and revolutionary soldiers of Canton united to stage an uprising, and set up the people's political power. They fought fiercely against the counter-revolutionary forces, which were directly supported by imperialism, but failed because the disparity in strength was too great. Peasants in Haifeng and Lufeng on the eastern coast of Kwangtung Province had started a powerful revolutionary movement during 1923-25 under the leadership of Comrade Peng Pai, a member of the Communist Party, and this movement contributed greatly to the victory of the two eastern campaigns launched from Canton by the National Revolutionary Army against the counter-revolutionary clique headed by Chen Chiung-ming. After Chiang Kai-shek's betrayal of the revolution on April 12, 1927, these peasants staged three uprisings in April, September and October, and established a revolutionary regime which held out until April 1928. In eastern Hunan Province, insurrectionary peasants captured an area embracing Liuyang, Pingkiang, Liling and Chuchow in September 1927. At about the same time, tens of thousands of peasants staged an armed uprising in Hsiaokan, Macheng and Huangan in northeastern Hupeh Province and occupied the county town of Huangan for over thirty days. In southern Hunan, peasants in the counties of Yichang, Chenchow, Leiyang, Yunghsing and Tzehsing rose in arms in January 1928 and set up a revolutionary regime, which lasted for three months.
The Red Guards were armed units of the masses in the revolutionary base areas, whose members carried on their regular productive work.
The Lohsiao mountain range is a large range running along the borders of Kiangsi and Hunan Provinces. The Chingkang Mountains are in its middle section.
By the term "petty bourgeoisie" Comrade Mao Tse-tung means those elements other than the peasants -- handicraftsmen, small merchants, professional people of various kinds and petty-bourgeois intellectuals. In China they mostly live in cities, but there are quite a number in the countryside.
Five Wells designates the villages of Big Well, Small Well, Upper Well, Middle Well and Lower Well, in the Chingkang Mountains, which are situated between Yunghsin, Ningkang and Suichuan in western Kiangsi and Linghsien County in eastern Hunan.