Why did Mao rise to power in China?
“Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. “Mao Zedong clearly referring to the Kuomintang. After a bitter civil war (1946-1949), which faced the major Chinese parties Kuomintang and CCP, Kuomintang’s defeat, evidenced with Chiang’s and 200.000 people´s fled to Formosa, Mao Zedong (1893-1976), born in Shoshan, Hunan, proclaimed the new People´s Republic of China with himself as both Chairman of the CCP and President of the republic in October 1949. How did the under numbered and weak CCP, founded by the same person in 1921 manage to survive several extermination campaigns and re-organize the party to win the civil war, crushing opposition and establish the Chinese Republic in 1949? There are diverse factors which explain his unexpected rise to power: Regionalism in China, Foreign intervention in China, lack of opposition due to the failure of the KMT and its leader and Mao´s leadership. One of the reasons for Mao’s rise to power was the fact that due to long-term regionalism in China, it was a divided country, whereas he benefited from political instability to grow and defeat the warlords, boosting his popularity. Starting with Regionalism in China, following the 1911 Revolution, where the child Emperor Pu Yi was crushed down and replaced with Yuan Shih-kai, who ruled until 1915 based on military support, which was lost, as he proclaimed himself Emperor. This emptiness of power let to huge political instability, where different areas proclaimed themselves independent from Beijing, creating hundreds of states of varying sizes, each controlled by a warlord and his private army. Therefore, to support increasing army forces, which fought against each other, peasants, which numbered 95% of Chinese population, were charged huge taxes, living on terrible conditions. The fact that until 1928, China was a divided country offered huge opportunity to the CCP, founded in 1921, to attract peasant discontent and boost their popularity by defeating the warlords. The fact that there was no strong leader and united army, enabled the CCP to grow into a considerable size with about 10,000,000 members in 1927, as there was no powerful army to face them, making them the second largest party in the country with the Kuomintang. In addition, they used the already weak position of the remaining warlords to co-operate with the Kuomintang, aided heavily by Soviet Russia to drive them away, improving their image. In addition, in conquered areas they offered land reform, taking away from landlords and given to peasants, quickly improving their devastated situation and their own influence on them. All in all, Mao benefited from political instability to boost patriotism and nationalism, as they played an important role in crushing the warlords and converting them into Communism offering better living standards based on the land reform. The main advantage of that was that with few casualties he could “free” huge areas from ruthless and oppressing warlords control and convert them into Communist, having a source of new soldiers, labor and food for the growth of the CCP. Another important point is China’s long history of foreign interventions, boosted sense of nationalism and weakened the Kuomintang, as they were blamed for the doubtful exemplar management, benefitting Mao’s CCP, as they specifically targeted that audience. Starting with the Opium Wars (1839-1842) against Britain and countries such as Germany followed, China was forced to hand over crucial cities such as Hong-Kong, 80 ports and other towns, weakening their financial position and slowing down industrialization. Furthermore, Japan used the instability to gain territory in the war against Japan (1894-1895), the Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905) and the occupation of Manchuria in 1931, followed by World War 2 (until 1945). Interventions until 1905 were one of the main reasons for the Revolution in 1911, as the state proved to...
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