Mao Zedong and the Chinese Revolution

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In 1949 a powerful communist leader by the name of Mao Zedong came to power based on his idea for a, “Great Leap Forward.” This idea was meant to bring China’s economy into the twentieth century. He had assembled a revolutionary government using traditional Chinese ideals of filial piety, harmony, and order. Mao's cult of personality, party purges, and political policies reflect Mao's esteem of these traditional Chinese ideals and history. However, the product of this revolution created a massive national shortage in vital materials and initiated a wide scale famine to China’s people (Gabriel).

Mao Zedong was a powerful leader, who was able to insight action into his followers. The author of forty poems and a charismatic speaker, it is no mystery how he was able to win his office. Mao was born in a Hunan provenience, his father was a peasant farmer, and his mother was a devout Buddhist. With a teaching degree from Changsha, Mao went to work as a library assistant at the University of Bejing, this is where he was first introduced to Marxism.

In 1921 Mao became the founder of the Chinese Communist party. It is interesting that Mao was one of only three peasants able to gain power of his country, the others are the founders of the Han, and Ming dynasties (Liukkonen). In 1923, after the Communists formed an alliance with the Guomingdang, the Chinese National People's Party, Mao became a leader in the combined party. He was sent in 1925 to organize the Peasants of Hunan province. This event and Mao's report of it became a pivotal point in documenting and disseminating Mao's hallmark of Chinese Communism. Mao Zedong spent many years purging nationalists, and growing in political power. He was quoted at one time to say, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.(Dunster)" In 1927, the Guomingdang broke with the Communists. Chased from the urban areas, the Communists fled to the countryside.This proved to be a blessing. Throughout the 1930's, the Communists organized the rural areas and solidified the party organization. The Japanese invasion of China during World War II, also provided Mao with opportunity to draw the Chinese people behind him in an united front against the Japanese invaders.

Mao's stature within the party continued to grow. After leading the Communists on the Long March to the City of Yunan in Northern China in 1935, he assumed leadership of the party at age 42. Mao's belief in harmony, set him upon a campaign that would solidify his power, and further strengthen his role, the Rectification Campaign (1942-1943). The Rectification Campaign was a harbinger of the purges that Mao would initiate again during the Cultural Revolution; it was a symbol of Mao's belief in harmony and order. This campaign aimed at purging the party of Stalinist supporters. Purging of dissident elements within the party created unity according to Mao. The Rectification Campaign was a turning point for the Communists. With a strong leader, unity within, and a specifically tailored Chinese political ideology, the Communists made steady gains against the Guomingdang in the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949). By 1949 Mao was elected the leader of communist China which is when he began plans to modernize China’s economy. (Liukkonen) During the next five years, Mao focused on structuring the new Chinese government.

With Mao as the head of the Chinese Communist Party, 1953 is the first year of a five year plan which would end with the great leap forward. This is when Mao began to negotiate trade and aid from Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union. Important resources such as food, oil, concrete, and engineers were given to China in order to help with industrialization and thus the economy. ("The Great Leap Forward"). Mao’s plan to modernize the industrialization of China was meant to strengthen his countries economy enough to rival America by 1988. In the year 1952, after Mao Zedong toured China and concluded that his country needed to...
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