Mao Zedong Essay, Research Paper
Mao Zedong is one of the most controversial leaders of the twentieth century. He has been known both as a savior and a tyrant to the Chinese people. From his tactical success of the Long March to his embarrassing failure of the Great Leap Forward, Mao has greatly influenced the result of what China is today. Most of Mao’s major successes have been in the CCP’s rise to power, while Mao’s failures have come at a time when the CCP was in power. Mao Zedong was born on December 26, 1893 is Shaoshan village in Hunan. He experienced a middle peasant upbringing with a very conservative father. Ironically Mao went to an old-fashioned school where he learned the traditional Chinese curriculum. At this time in his childhood, the whole country could foresee the fall of the previous dynasty. Mao studied to be a teacher at The First Provincial Normal School , in Ch’ansha, which influenced his future thinking and beliefs. Mao believed that the Chinese way of thinking needed reform, therefore focused on younger people and peasants to build his political career. Mao ruled one quarter of the worlds population for one quarter of a century, and the way in which he was brought up and studied influenced his future decisions greatly.Mao was known to be rebellious when he was younger, but his first real experience came in 1912 when he decided to go to Wuhan and serve in the revolutionary army. For five years Mao studied and received an education in academics, but also politics. When Mao graduated in 1918 he was a political writer with a notable following. Mao had studied Marxism and other socialist ideas and by 1919 considered himself to be a Marxist. For a couple of years Mao wrote on his beliefs and even began organizing groups to share their ideas. Mao had organized a group of Communists in Changsha and in 1921 he went to Shanghai to participate in the First National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. By the 1930s Mao was at the center of the Communist party after its defeat in 1927 by Chiang and the KMT. Mao organized and developed plans of a peasant-based guerilla strategy. Based in the province of Jiangxi, otherwise known as the Jiangxi soviet, Mao ruled nine million people and the CCP was begin to be a reckoning force. The KMT seeing the CCP as a threat attacked the Jiangxi soviet. Chiang’s forces were badly beaten in four of these campaigns by Mao guerilla tactics. In 1934 Chiang was able to oust Mao and the CCP with an encirclement campaign developed by German advisors. In October 1934, the CCP decided to flee the Jiangxi province and head north to the soviet in north Shensi. 100,000 communists begin this trek known as the Long March but only 10,000 managed to survive this 6,000-mile migration. The Long March, though having a very high fatality rate was a huge success for Mao and the CCP. Mao had been demoted in the Jiangxi soviet by other Communists and upon advisement from Moscow. After the long March, and mainly the Tsunyi conference, Mao emerged as the unquestionable leader of the CCP. The Long March helped in spreading the word and “seed” of the CCP. The Long March also severely aided in building nationalism and pride within and around the CCP, because though many had lost their lives The Long March told the world that the CCP was invulnerable and can not be extinguished. World War II was the turning point for the CCP. Mao, having decided that the Japanese was the true enemy, pushed for a second united front with the KMT. The KMT having been highly discredited by the Japanese forces and unable to successfully defend the cities were pushed to East and agreed on the United Front issue. Mao seeing an opportunity in millions of leaderless peasants presented the CCP as a refuge and successful resistance against the invaders. The Communists used their well-practiced guerilla warfare to cause havoc among the Japanese and increase the notoriety of the CCP. After the war in 1946, Mao was heralded as a brave yet fair leader.The Civil in war in China from 1946 to 1949 would see the fall of Chiang and the appointment of Mao as the head of China. The CCP, which was now strengthened and organized along with high popular support, was now ready to take on the KMT. Stalin and many of Mao’s advisors recommended that China was tired of war and needed a break. Mao, firm in his quest for a Communist China pressed the assault anyway. Chiang was confident of a KMT victory, because the KMT had 1) American aid. 2) Eleven times the troops as Mao. Through a series of battles and campaigns the CCP started to win emerge as the victors against the corrupt and weak KMT. The Communists were very successful and by 1949 the KMT retreated to Taiwan. On October 1, 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.In 1951 Mao invented the Three Anti-Campaign, which was actually just a prototype for the Five Anti-Campaign, which came a year later in 1952. The original campaign focused on the aspects of corruption, waste and beaurocratic practice. The people it focused on, were the capitalists, merchants, financiers, officials and Communist Party members. When the campaign was switched to the Five-Anti campaign, it focused on bribery, tax evasion, and leakage of state and industrial secrets. Mao also had a system of thought put in place, especially for the scholars and professors from Japan and the West. These scholars had to participate in land reform and study Leninism, Marxism, and Mao’s thought. With this studying, the scholar had to write reports on the intellectual progress that they had made and express their opinion in public newspapers. This was form of punishment for the scholars, for their thoughts were being persecuted and controlled. By having the correct opinions of reputable scholars published, Mao was able to change the thought processes of some of his followers. Another political idea of Mao was the Three Transformations. These transformations consisted of Agriculture, Business and Service Industry, and Industry. Agriculture reform occurred when everybody got their own land and then they were content. This progressed to a volunteer mutual aide unit, where labor, tools, oxen and other animals were shared.After the Three Transformations came the Junior Co-op, where everyone was forced into following the rules of the mutual aid unit. The farmers were not happy with this, but tolerated it because they still owned their own land, though in 1957 when the farmers were forced to pool their land in the Higher Co-op they became upset. The second aspect of the Three Transformations was the Business and Service Industry. All the businesses and services turned into co-operatives. The workers were paid the same amount of money and could not get tips or work more for extra money. This resulted in poor service and less business being done. The third part of the Three Transformations was the Industry aspect. Factories that were privately owned were bought by the government and the owners could not leave China with their money, but could stay on and take orders from a commissar. This program proved unsuccessful, for in 1979 the owners were given back the money to jack up the economy again. In 1952 Mao put into effect what was to be called The Five-Year Plan. This was a plan to reform China and its economy and thought processes by was of agricultural development, land reforms and social campaigns. This was the only successful five-year plan, and it ended up bringing around the Industrial revolution of China, and made a very great impact on the future of the Chinese people and their way of thinking.The Hundred Flowers movement came right after the Five-Year Plan ended in 1956. This was a campaign that Mao started to, “lift restrictions on the expressions of views by educated people and intellectuals, and to encourage more variety in art and literature.” This proved an unsuccessful campaign for Mao, because too many people were attacking the policies of the regime itself, when Mao thought they would discretely be used to criticize the way things were done, not why things were done.In 1958, Mao introduced the Great Leap Forward, which was to be the second five-year plan. This became one of Mao biggest failures as ruler of the CCP. The Great Leap Forward is more commonly known to history as the Great Leap Backward. Many were suprised at Mao’s stupidity about the Great Leap Forward, especially since Mao used to be a farmer himself. The Great Leap Forward ended up killing 20-30 million people as a result of starvation and diseases related to poor supplies and famine. The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were Mao’s greatest failures.The Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969, was a power struggle between Mao and the older officers in the government. Mao used youth and freedom to rally against the older powers in an attempt to show the people that he was really the one with the best idea of Chinese thought. The army became involved, because Mao could not control the followers by words alone. Since Lin Biao, in charge of the military, thought that the army would keep the newfound power it had gained through the Cultural Revolution, he decided he would change Mao’s power. The army took care of gathering youth from around China to produce the Red Army. This displayed that Mao was still in power and had the Army behind him.Mao had ruled a quarter of the population for a quarter of a century. Mao kept a firm grasp of all politics happening around him. Mao was able to hold for power by placing himself as Chairman of the CCP, Chairman of the Politburo, Chairman of the Central Committee, Chairman of the Secretariat, and Chairman of the Military. By holding all these power centers, Mao was able to control all levels of Society and all levels of the Government. Mao left behind him a legacy that can not be forgotten easily. By changing the thoughts of the Chinese people from very reserved and old fashioned, to a new age of thinking. Mao was famous for making pamphlets of red that contained quotations and publicity for himself and his party. These publications compete with the New Testament in circulation. Being in power for such a long period of time, and uniting China to make it stronger was a great accomplishment. Although some of his ideas did not work, he was a great leader and was able to control China absolutely until he was no longer in power.