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Analyse Mao Zedong’s years in power.

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Introduction

Analyse Mao Zedong's years in power When Mao Zedong and the Communist party in 1949 seized power over China they set out on a great mission to change the social structure, apply socialism and eventually communism. They were to raise China out of poverty through improving industry and agriculture. And they did do this. However, at what costs? Communism under Mao was a dictatorship which lasted until his death in 1976. Life in China changed drastically during the years of Mao. All changes made naturally had consequences and in this essay I will focus on Mao's actions and their importance, whether they had positive or negative effects. The Communist party had control over banks, media, agriculture, industry and schools. China was a totalitarian state and people didn't have a right to their own opinion which would later show with the "100 Flowers Campaign" and the purges of those who the party considered to oppose communism, the "right" way of politics. However, after the communists first came into power they were very popular. Only after a few years they had created a strong central government which had proved to be able to stop the inflation that had hit the nation and they had fulfilled their promise about land-reforms. Land-owners' lands had been confiscated and redistributed among the peasants. They had begun a campaign against corrupt officials and women had been given more rights, such as the Marriage Reform Law which allowed people to choose their partner in marriage, women to initiate divorce and wives and daughters to inherit property. ...read more.

Middle

The main idea with the Great Leap Forward was that China would stand on her own two legs. Much of the earlier changes to the country had been based on a Soviet model, for example the Five-year Plan. This however was not based on a USSR idea. Mao accused USSR for turning more capitalist than communist and emphasised in his speech to the nation about the Great Leap Forward that the Chinese communism was made up of the truth of Marxism-Leninisn combined with the concrete reality of China. Instead of having co-operatives of farms, communes were now created. A commune was an even larger co-operative with 25 000 inhabitants on average. These communes would stand on their own "two legs", with their own local governments that managed schools, medical services and even a small peasant military. They were also in charge of building roads, canals, dams, reservoirs and irrigation channels. The communes produced their own goods and the surplus of industrial workers in the cities had to move to the communes where they received a job. The communes even had what Mao called "backyard furnaces" which produced steel. However, the results were not, once again, what Mao had expected. Only after a year it was obvious the communes didn't solve China's problems and opposition among the peasants had also grown as they weren't allowed to any private ownership. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the Cultural Revolution measures became very harsh and communism was pushed even harder than before. For example, farmers weren't even allowed to raise chickens because it was seen as a capitalist activity if it was done for your own benefit. The people marked as coming from bad classes, such as sons and daughters of intellectuals and rich peasants etc. were turned scapegoats as they were for all the mistakes made by Mao. They were denounced and maltreated. During Mao Zedong's years in power he managed to make many drastic changes in China. He collectivised agriculture and created communes, large co-operatives which short-term had devastating results. However, long-term they were somewhat positive as industry and agriculture slowly stabilised and increased production. However, in order to achieve better output in industry and agriculture the population of China had been forced into positions they did not know of when they supported Mao before he came into power in 1949. Peasants thought they would get land form the landlords but in reality they were pushed together not owning any land and had the state as the absolute landlord. The had quotas to fulfil and not many were brave enough to tell Mao they couldn't which contributed to the famine. The little food grown were given away in order to achieve the goals Mao had set during his Five-year Plans. They lived under a terror regime, with no rights to air an opinion which was clearly stated in the 100 Flowers campaign. Linda Eriksson 2003-10-17 IB1 2 ...read more.

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