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Mao Zedong

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Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong was born in Chaochan in Hunan province in 1893. He is considered to be the father of Communist China and along side Sun Yat sen and Chiang Kai Shek played a fundamental part in China's recent history. He came from a peasant family. His education was hard and he experienced no luxuries same with all the peasants that living in 19th century China. He first became a Marxist while he worked as a library assistant at Peking University. In June 1921, he co-founded the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was established in Shanghai by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. Early members included Mao, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and Lin Biao. Mao gave a geographic slant to Marxism because he felt that within an Asia society, communists had to concentrate on the countryside rather than the industrial towns in order to create a revolutionary elite. In reality, this was a logical belief because China had very little industry but many millions involved with agriculture. Mao believed that a revolutionary elite would only be found in the farmers and not among those who worked in towns. Mao worked as a Guomindang political organizer in Shanghai. With the help of advisers from the Soviet Union, the Guomindang (Nationalist Party) gradually increased its power in China. Its leader, Sun Yat sen died on 12th March 1925. Chiang Kai Shek became the new leader of the Guomindang and he carried out a purge that eliminated the communists from the organization. Those communists who survived managed to established the Jiangxi Soviet. From 1937 to 1945, the enmity between the Guomindang and the Communists was put to one side because both concentrated their resources on Japanese who had launched a full scale invasion of China in 1937. And during this time, Mao developed his knowledge about guerrilla warfare in order to against the GuoMinDang once the war with Japan had ended in 1945. Finally by the spring in 1948, the Guomindang had been effectively backed down by the skill of Mao’s guerrilla tactics and moved to Taiwan. In October 1949, Mao was appointed as the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China and he decided to introduce radical solutions for China’s domestic weaknesses rather than rely on conservative ones. In 1958 Mao announced the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to increase agricultural and industrial production. However, three years of floods and bad harvests severely damaged levels of production. The scheme was also hurt by the decision of the Soviet Union to withdraw its large number of technical experts working in the country.

Because of the failure on the Great Leap Forward, Mao retired from the post of chairman of the People's Republic of China. And then his place as head of the state was taken by Liu Shaoqi. Mao remained important in determining overall policy. But from 1960 to 1965, a struggle took place between Liu and Mao over who were the more important, the industrial workers or the peasants. Mao still put his faith in the peasants but Liu prefered the workers. This quarrel formed the background of Cultural Revolution in 1966 when Mao successfully sided with the peasants. From 1966 on, some essays by Mao entitled "Thoughts" became compulsory reading for Chinese people and became Mao’s famous "Little Red Book". Mao Zedong died in Beijing on 9th September 1976 and plunged China into national grief.

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