Mao and the Cultural Revolution

Topics: Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping Pages: 5 (1642 words) Published: September 13, 2008
China in the Cultural Revolution

The historically unprecedented great peoples proletarian cultural revolution was a struggle for supremacy within the Chinese communist party which manifested into a wide scale social and political upheaval which brought china in 1966 to the brink of all out civil war. Although millions of people were murdered and tortured during its bloody course the cultural revolution is a chapter of china’s history rarely talked about, its just bad business to bring it up with someone who’s buying 26 percent of the world’s oil and 42% of all concrete produced globally. The Cultural Revolution was a period of vast upheaval and organized vandalism the likes of which had never occurred before, and through historical analysis it is reasonable to conclude that the great Cultural Revolution of 1966-67 was merely a means for Mao Zedong to purge the Chinese Communist Party and consolidate his own personal power.

A period of calm and stable economic conservatism had settled over china after the upheaval and fervor of the great leap forward, and with its spectacular failure the moderates inside the CCP gained more power as Mao and his fiercely socialist policies lost considerable support. In this environment of political moderation and conservatism the ailing Mao felt capitalist and elitist ideology was infiltrating the party and the main goals of the 1949 revolution were being abandoned, and that to ensure the future of the communist party and china as a socialist state a reinvigoration of revolutionary spirit among the youths and children of china was necessary. It was from this small struggle to regain control over the party apparatus that a great public movement among students and the urban youth took hold all throughout china, and its destructive effects touched the lives of almost every Chinese person, from its epicenter in Beijing to the furthest provinces in Xiamen. For a little while, Mao disappeared from the centre of Chinese politics, and after his resignation as party secretary he retreated to his own devices to plan his next move against his growing enemies Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai. On August 8, 1966 Mao returned to Beijing in a flurry of energy and revolutionary spirit and published a manifesto of 16 points in which he outlined his intentions for the future of china. Coinciding with this move was a great call to all workers and students to rededicate themselves to unwavering class struggle and eliminate bourgeoisie and upper class thinking and ideals and focus on promoting the virtues of the agrarian proletariat. This opportunity to escape work and indulge in blind ideological hysteria proved very tempting for most Chinese students and by the 16th of October millions of Red Guards, as they were dubbed, flocked to mass rallies in Tiananmen Square, where Mao and Lin Biao made frequent appearances to over 11 million adoring youths. With this call to arms throughout all major institutions Mao enlisted the impressionable and easily led youth of china as his instrument for reimposing his will upon the nation and reshaping it. The revolutionary fervor and blind fanaticism of the red guards was matched by no other in Chinese society, and indoctrinated teenagers all over china rushed to do his bidding and destroy the 4 Olds, the 4 enemies of the continuing revolution as outlined by Mao, old culture, old thoughts, old customs and old habits. In a practical sense Mao had ordained the destruction of religious sites and relics as well as the torture and imprisonment of anyone seen to be an “enemy of the revolution”. It was in this way that the Cultural Revolution broadened from an internal communist party purge to a mass public movement in line with the self preserving aims of Mao. Giant posters in universities and schools encouraged students to join the struggle against all those who had diverted from the revolutionary path, and in July in a carefully orchestrated propaganda event Mao...
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