Homeworks academic service

A biography of mao zedong in the history of china

Maoism has clearly represented a revolutionary method based on a distinct revolutionary outlook not necessarily dependent on a Chinese or Marxist-Leninist context.

Early years Mao was born in the village of Shaoshan in Hunan province, the son of a former peasant who had become affluent as a farmer and grain dealer. He grew up in an environment in which education was valued only as training for keeping records and accounts. Rebelling against paternal authority which included an arranged marriage that was forced on him and that he never acknowledged or consummatedMao left his family to study at a higher primary school in a neighbouring county and then at a secondary school in the provincial capital, Changsha.

There he came in contact with new ideas from the West, as formulated by such political and cultural reformers as Liang Qichao and the Nationalist revolutionary Sun Yat-sen. Scarcely had he begun studying revolutionary ideas when a real revolution took place before his very eyes.

On October 10, 1911, fighting against the Qing dynasty broke out in Wuchangand within two weeks the revolt had spread to Changsha. Enlisting in a unit of the revolutionary army in Hunan, Mao spent six months as a soldier. In primary school days, his heroes had included not only the great warrior-emperors of the Chinese past but Napoleon I and George Washington as well. For a year he drifted from one thing to another, trying, in turn, a police school, a law school, and a business school; he studied history in a secondary school and then spent some months reading many of the classic works of the Western liberal tradition in the provincial library.

The abolition of the official civil service examination system in 1905 and the piecemeal introduction of Western learning in so-called modern schools had left young people in a state of uncertainty as to what type of training, Chinese or Western, could best prepare them for a career or for service to their country.

While officially an institution of secondary level rather than of higher educationthe normal school offered a high standard of instruction in Chinese history, literature, and philosophy as well as in Western ideas. While at the school, Mao also acquired his first experience in political activity by helping to establish a biography of mao zedong in the history of china student organizations.

Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu. Moreover, he found himself at Peking University precisely during the months leading up to the May Fourth Movement of 1919, which was to a considerable extent the fountainhead of all of the changes that were to take place in China in the ensuing half century. In a limited sense, May Fourth Movement is the name given to the student demonstrations protesting against the decision at the Paris Peace Conference to hand over former German concessions in Shandong province to Japan instead of returning them to China.

The shift from the difficult and esoteric classical written language to a far more-accessible vehicle of literary expression patterned on colloquial speech also took place during that period.

At the same time, a new and very young generation moved to the centre of the political stage.

Mao Zedong (1893-1976)

To be sure, the demonstration on May 4, 1919, was launched by Chen Duxiu, but the students soon realized that they themselves were the main actors. In an editorial published in July 1919, Mao wrote: The world is ours, the nation is ours, society is ours. If we do not speak, who will speak?

If we do not act, who will act? During the summer of 1919 Mao Zedong helped to establish in Changsha a variety of organizations that brought the students together with the merchants and the workers—but not yet with the peasants—in demonstrations aimed at forcing the government to oppose Japan. That winter he married Yang Kaihui, the daughter of his former ethics teacher.

In July 1921 he attended the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, together with representatives from the other communist groups in China and two delegates from the Moscow-based Comintern Communist International. Guomindang]Mao was one of the first communists to join the Nationalist Party and to work within it. In the winter of 1924—25, Mao returned to his native village of Shaoshan for a rest.

There, after witnessing demonstrations by peasants stirred into political consciousness by the shooting of several dozen Chinese by foreign police in Shanghai May and June 1925Mao suddenly became aware of the revolutionary potential inherent in the peasantry.

Mao Zedong

Following the example of other communists working within the Nationalist Party who had already begun to organize the peasants, Mao sought to channel the spontaneous protests of the Hunanese peasants into a network of peasant associations. The communists and the Nationalists Pursued by the military governor of Hunan, Mao was soon forced to flee his native province once more, and he returned for another year to an urban environment— Guangzhou Cantonthe main power base of the Nationalists.

However, though he lived in Guangzhou, Mao still focused his attention on the countryside. He became the acting head of the propaganda department of the Nationalist Party—in which capacity he edited its leading organ, the Political Weekly, and attended the Second Kuomintang Congress in January 1926—but he also a biography of mao zedong in the history of china at the Peasant Movement Training Institute, set up in Guangzhou under the auspices of the Nationalists, as principal of the sixth training session.

He therefore expelled most communists from responsible posts in the Nationalist Party in May 1926. Mao, however, stayed on at the institute until October of that year. Most of the young peasant activists Mao trained were shortly at work strengthening the position of the communists. Chiang Kai-shek, who was bent on an alliance with the propertied classes in the cities and in the countryside, turned against the worker and peasant revolution, and in April he massacred the very Shanghai workers who had delivered the city to him.

The strategy of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin for carrying out revolution in alliance with the Nationalists collapsed, and the CCP was virtually annihilated in the cities and decimated in the countryside. In October 1927 Mao led a few hundred peasants who had survived the autumn harvest uprising in Hunan to a base in the Jinggang Mountains, on the border between Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, and embarked on a new type of revolutionary warfare in the countryside in which the Red Army military arm of the CCPrather than the unarmed masses, would play the central role.

The first of those is the initial three years when Mao and Zhu Dethe commander in chief of the army, successfully developed the tactics of guerrilla warfare from base areas in the countryside. Those activities, however, were regarded even by their protagonists, and still more by the Central Committee in Shanghai and by the Comintern in Moscowas a holding operation until the next upsurge of revolution in the urban centres.

Mao Zedong Biography

In the summer of 1930 the Red Army was ordered by the Central Committee to occupy several major cities in south-central China in the hope of sparking a revolution by the workers.

When it became evident that persistence in that attempt could only lead to further costly losses, Mao disobeyed orders and abandoned the battle to return to the base in southern Jiangxi. Mao ZedongMao Zedong addressing a group of his followers in 1944. Since there was little support for the revolution in the cities, the promise of ultimate victory now seemed to reside in the gradual strengthening and expansion of the base areas.

The Soviet regime soon came to control a population of several million.

The Red Army, grown to a strength of some 200,000, easily defeated large forces of inferior troops sent against it by Chiang Kai-shek in the first four of the so-called encirclement and annihilation campaigns. The majority view is that, in the last years of the Jiangxi Soviet, Mao functioned to a considerable extent as a figurehead with little control over policy, especially in military matters. In any case, he achieved de facto leadership over the party though not the formal title of chairman only at the Zunyi Conference of January 1935 during the Long March.

In August 1935 the Comintern at its Seventh Congress in Moscow proclaimed the principle of an a biography of mao zedong in the history of china united front, and in May 1936 the Chinese communists for the first time accepted the prospect that such a united front might include Chiang Kai-shek himself, and not merely dissident elements in the Nationalist camp.

By the time the Japanese began their attempt to subjugate all of China in July 1937, the terms of a new united front between the communists and the Nationalists had been virtually settled, and the formal agreement was announced in September 1937. In the course of the anti-Japanese war, the communists broke up a substantial portion of their army into small units and sent them behind the enemy lines to serve as nuclei for guerrilla forces that effectively controlled vast areas of the countryside, stretching between the cities and communication lines occupied by the invader.

As a result, they not only expanded their military forces to somewhere between a half-million and a million at the time of the Japanese surrender but also established effective grassroots political control over a population that may have totaled as many as 90 million.

  1. Some have said that Mao was a visionary who slowly lost touch with reality as time went on.
  2. Many sources are cited at the end of the facts for which they are used.
  3. Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island of Taiwan.

It has been argued that the support of the rural population was won purely by appeals to their nationalist feeling in opposition to the Japanese. That certainly was fundamental, but communist agrarian policies likewise played a part in securing broad support among the peasantry.

During the years 1936—40, Mao had, for the first time since the 1920s, the leisure to devote himself to reflection and writing. As to his overall view of the events of those years, Mao adopted an extremely conciliatory attitude toward the Nationalists in his report entitled On the New Stage October 1938in which he attributed to it the leading role both in the war against Japan and in the ensuing phase of national reconstruction.

By the winter of 1939—40, however, the situation had changed sufficiently so that he could adopt a much firmer line, claiming leadership for the communists. For the time being, Mao felt, the aims of the CCP coincided with the aims of the Nationalists, and therefore communists should not try to rush ahead to socialism and thus disrupt the united front.

But neither should they have any doubts about the ultimate need to take power into their own hands in order to move forward to socialism. During that period, in 1939, Mao divorced He Zizhen and married a well-known film actress, Lan Ping who by that time had changed her name to Jiang Qing. Jiang Qing and Mao Zedong, 1945. Library of Congress, Washington, D. Mao could not claim the firsthand knowledge possessed by many other leading members of the CCP of how communism worked within the Soviet Union nor the ability to read Karl Marx or Vladimir Ilich Lenin in the original, which some of them enjoyed.

He could and did claim, however, to know and understand China.


The differences between him and the Soviet-oriented faction in the party came to a head at the time of the so-called Rectification Campaign of 1942—43. That program aimed at giving a basic grounding in Marxist theory and Leninist principles of party organization to the many thousands of new members who had been drawn into the party in the course of the expansion since 1937.

In March 1943 Mao achieved for the first time formal supremacy over the party, becoming chairman of the Secretariat and of the Political Bureau Politburo. Shortly thereafter the Rectification Campaign took, for a time, the form of a harsh purge of elements not sufficiently loyal to Mao.

  1. In the summer of 1930 the Red Army was ordered by the Central Committee to occupy several major cities in south-central China in the hope of sparking a revolution by the workers. He regarded his father as a disciplinarian whom he once said, "I learned to hate.
  2. In the face of the disorders called forth by de-Stalinization in Poland and Hungary , Mao did not retreat but rather pressed boldly forward with that policy, against the advice of many of his senior colleagues, in the belief that the contradictions that still existed in Chinese society were mainly nonantagonistic.
  3. It seemed for a while that the veterans, led by Deng Xiaoping, had won the day. Mao reportedly told his father to go to hell but then allowed him to save face by saying, "Confucius says elders must be kind and affectionate to the young.
  4. On September 9, 1976, Mao died in Beijing, China. As to his overall view of the events of those years, Mao adopted an extremely conciliatory attitude toward the Nationalists in his report entitled On the New Stage October 1938 , in which he attributed to it the leading role both in the war against Japan and in the ensuing phase of national reconstruction.

Looking back at that period in 1962, when the Sino-Soviet conflict had come to a head, Mao declared: In 1945, Stalin wanted to prevent China from making revolution, saying that we should not have a civil war and should cooperate with Chiang Kai-shek, otherwise the Chinese nation would perish.

But we did not do what he said. The revolution was victorious. After the victory of the revolution he [Stalin] next suspected China of being a Yugoslavia, and that I would become a second Tito. Before the Chinese had time to profit from the resources made available for economic development, however, they found themselves dragged into the Korean War in support of the Moscow-oriented regime in North Korea. Only after that baptism of fire did Stalin, according to Mao, begin to have confidence in him and believe he was not first and foremost a Chinese nationalist.

In such circumstances the Soviet Union provided the only available model.

Cookies on the BBC website

A five-year plan was therefore drawn up under Soviet guidance; it was put into effect in 1953 and included Soviet technical assistance and a number of complete industrial plants. Yet, within two years, Mao had taken steps that were to lead to the breakdown of the political and ideological alliance with Moscow. In a report of July 1955, he reversed that position, arguing that in China the social transformation could run ahead of the technical transformation.

Deeply impressed by the achievements of certain cooperatives that claimed to have radically improved their material conditions without any outside assistance, he came to believe in the limitless capacity of the Chinese people, especially of the rural masses, to transform at will both nature and their own social relations when mobilized for revolutionary goals.

The tendency thus manifested to pursue his own ends outside the collective decision-making processes of the party was to continue and to be accentuated. In the face of the disorders called forth by de-Stalinization in Poland and HungaryMao did not retreat but rather pressed boldly forward with that policy, against the advice of many of his senior colleagues, in the belief that the contradictions that still existed in Chinese society were mainly nonantagonistic. Henceforth he would rely primarily on the creativity of the rank and file as the agent of modernization.

It was against that background that Mao, during the winter of 1957—58, worked out the policies that were to characterize the Great Leap Forwardformally launched in May 1958. As a result, the peasants, who had been organized into cooperatives in 1955—56 and then into fully socialist collectives in 1956—57, found their world turned upside down once again a biography of mao zedong in the history of china 1958. Neither the resources nor the administrative experience necessary to operate such enormous new social units of several thousand households were in fact available, a biography of mao zedong in the history of china, not surprisingly, the consequences of those changes were chaos and economic disaster.

By the winter of 1958—59, Mao himself had come to recognize that some adjustments were necessary, including decentralization of ownership to the constituent elements of the communes and a scaling down of the unrealistically high production targets in both industry and agriculture.

At the Lushan meeting of the Central Committee in July—August 1959, Peng Dehuaithe minister of defense, denounced the excesses of the Great Leap and the economic losses they had caused. He was immediately removed from all party and state posts and placed in detention until his death during the Cultural Revolution. Retreat and counterattack Though few spoke up at Lushan in support of Peng, a considerable number of the top leaders sympathized with him in private.

Khrushchev also tried to put pressure on China in its dealings with Taiwan and India and in other foreign policy issues. The disorganization and waste created by the Great Leap, compounded by natural disasters and by the termination of Soviet economic aid, led to widespread famine in which, according to much later official Chinese accounts, millions of people died.

At first Mao agreed reluctantly that such steps were necessary, but during the first half of 1962 he came increasingly to perceive the methods used to promote recovery as implying the repudiation of the whole thrust of the Great Leap strategy. It also represented, beyond any doubt or question, however, a deliberate effort to eliminate those in the leadership who, over the years, had dared to cross him. The victims, from throughout the party hierarchysuffered more than mere political disgrace.

All were publicly humiliated and detained for varying periods, sometimes under very harsh conditions; many were beaten and tortured, and not a few were killed or driven to suicide. Among the casualties was Liu, who died because he was denied proper medical attention. Eastfoto The justification for those sacrifices was defined in a key slogan of the time: