Assess the origins and consequences of the Cultural Revolution in China.

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                                  Assess the origins and consequences of the Cultural Revolution

The Cultural Revolution had a massive impact on China from 1965 to 1968. The Cultural Revolution is the name given to Mao’s attempt to reassert his beliefs in China. Mao had been less than a dynamic leader from the late 1950’s on, and feared others in the party might be taking on a leading role that weakened his power within the party and the country. This explains the Cultural Revolution –as it was an attempt by Mao to re-impose his authority on the party and therefore the country.

One of the most significant origins of the Cultural Revolution was Mao. This is because he was the key figure which planned, launched and directed it, emphasising Mao’s prestige and power also complex psyche pushed the revolution to take place as it is wasn’t for Mao’s resistance to change within the party and the country the Cultural Revolution would not have taken place .The new system introduced which Mao detested was pragmatism by the new ministers Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping after Mao stepped down as president. This was a system which Dealt with things sensibly and realistically in a way which is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations unlike Mao whom was obsessed with ideology, this is where a system of ideas and ideals (Maoism), especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy introduced by ministers. Furthermore Mao was a key figure because when he saw the new ministers as a threat as they succeeded in ending the famine, growing increasingly popular within the party unlike Mao whom actually started the catastrophic famine and failed to meet industrial targets during the Great leap forward. Mao’s fear of losing power to Liu and Deng also later to his supporters which took over the government in the 1960s whom reversed the collectivisation programme. This played a big part in the launch of the Cultural Revolution emphasising that again Mao was a significant origin because although majority of the provincial leaders remained loyal to him, he judged the situation as losing grip on the party and that a power struggle was looming. He also considered that it was an error to have largely withdrawn from the forefront political scene as his absence had enabled factions to develop. He saw the Cultural Revolution as a key programme to regain his dominance and power within the party and China. Mao’s control of the PLA through Lin Biao was also significant in the launch of the scheme, as Biao the field marshal of The People's Liberation Army was a dedicated Maoist helping Mao through different methods to not only regain dominance over China but to most importantly win over the Chinese public and spread Maoism. Building up to the CR One of the ways in which this was done was by publishing a ‘little red book’ which was a collection of sayings of Mao since the 1920s. Lin made the little red book the secular bible of China, the source of truth. Every solider was issued a copy to study during compulsory study sessions which Lin had made a daily part of military training. Mao used the soldiers in the PLA to represent the revolutionary sprit as role models to the people to copy. Moreover it was successful because it became a necessity to have one in China with one at all times, it developed into the required text, used to define all issues and settle all arguments. This enabled Mao to win the military force and the public over before the launching the Cultural Revolution which was the step for Mao to regain the dominance he had lost over China. This displays that Mao’s actions were the most significant origin because Mao was the one that wanted to reintroduce communism and regain power through the support of the public, so he was the one which launched, planned and directed the Cultural Revolution in order to regain dominance in China through a revolution which was supported by the young generation. Mao especially wanted to attract the younger generation because he thought they needed to be tested as they had not undergone the tests of the older generation eg the White terror. So they needed hardening in the crucible of revolutionary struggle.

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The second most significant origin was the political rivalry in the CCP. Mao stepped down as president of the PRC after the disaster of the Great Leap Forward which started the catastrophic famine, diseases, cannibalism and China also failed to meet its industrial targets. However Liu and Deng the new ministers succeeded in ending the famine, and were growing increasingly popular within the party. This was a threat to Mao as he was frightened that they would replace him (leaving him to be dismissed like the Russian leader Khrushchev) and his ideology of Maoism (communism) with the new pragmatism which ...

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