Mao and China Revision Guide

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Revision Guide

Dates of Leadership


        Country and Regime Replaced

        China, Qing dynasty , Guomindang (GMD), A republic(a form of government in which there is no monarch and power is exercised by elected representatives) took power after the 1911 revolution, until Mao came to power

        Conditions which allowed leader’s rise to power

        There were two main revolutionary parties, the Nationalists (Guomindang) (GMD), led by Chiang Kaishek, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), led in the late 1920s by Mao Zedong.  When China's most populated and richest parts were occupied by Japan, the GMD had a half-hearted response which compromised the power they had.

The Civil war between the CCP and the GMD

Internal turmoil- warlords

        Failures of previous regime

        The Qing dynasty's inability to protect China

By 1900 over 50 of China's key ports and towns were in foreign possession

* in 1937, Japan militarily occupied many of the richest and most densely populated parts of the Chinese mainland

   * The Nationalist did not respond with full heart

   * The CCP led by Mao Zedong went from its bases in Jiangxi (Kiangsi) and Yanan (Yenan) in a spirited resistance to the Japanese occupation.

        Leader’s Political Party and Political System

        The CCP, Chinese Communist Party, and Communist political system

        Means by which power was obtained

        In 1945, when the Japanese were defeated:

* Mao's CCP had become a more powerful force in China than the Nationalists.

4 years later Chiang and the GMD forces were forced to take refuge on the island of Formosa (Taiwan) after suffering a series of shattering military defeats at the hands of Mao's armies.

        Steps to gaining power

        1893: Born in Hunan province

1901-6: Attended primary school

1912: Joined anti-Qing army in Hunan

1912-18: Trained as a teacher

1918: Joined the Hunan independence movement

1919: Worked as a librarian at Beijing University                                         Helped to organize strikes in Hunan

1921: Became a founder member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)

1923: Joined Guomindang (GMD)

1924-7: Involved in planning CCP-GMD alliance against the warlords

1927-34: Created the Jiangxi Soviet - Mao worked here to establish the Jiangxi Soviet, dedicated to achieve a peasant revolution. When other communists came to join the Jiangxi Soviet, Mao lost his leadership to the people who mere more experienced that he was who just assumed power.

1930: Suppressed a mutiny in the Red Army at Futian

1934-5: Led the Long March to Yanan - Was a journey to Yanan, took over a year to complete, the CCP lost most of its men. Mao imposed on his party the idea that the revolution should be based on the peasants in the countryside. He seemed like the man who knew what he was doing, but he still was not in charge.

1935: New Year – The Zunyi Conference

1935-45: Created the Yanan Soviet

1942: Crushed opposition within the CCP

1945-9: Led the CCP to victory over Chiang Kaishek and the Nationalists

1949: Declared the creation of the People's Republic of China

        Methods used to obtain goals

        Violence, indoctrination, copying of Stalinist model

        Specific Examples of those methods being used

        Violence - Removal of officials

the officials of GMD were told that they would not be harmed if they worked for the PRC, but once they provided the young PRC with the necessary continuity of administration, they were persecuted as class enemies (Those reactionaries who refused to accept the new China that the Communist government was creating).

Stalinist model – Multiple five year plans

Indoctrination – Cultural Revolution

He indoctrinated Chinese youthes to opposing the old ways, their parents that were viewed as traitors, their teachers, and the olden ways. In 1966, he urged the youth to form a mass and destroy anything that went against the present revolution.

        Supporting Groups: Where support for regime was gotten

        The regime was mainly supported by peasants

Most people supported them in the beginning because their nationalist aims to rid China of the Japanese increased the Communists' popularity among the people. They believed that the Communist did have China's best at heart and started to support them.

        Early Background of leader and early participation in politics

        * Mao as a Chinese revolutionary 1911-27

* – Mao believed that the 1911 revolution had brought China little benefit because warlords and factions were struggling to behold power throughout China.

*       – “During by student days in Hunan, the city was overrun by the forces of rival warlords – not once but half a dozen times. Twice the school was occupied by troops and all the school funds confiscated. Th brutal punishments inflicted on the peasant included such things as gouging out eyes, ripping out tongues, disemboweling and decapitation, slashing with knives and grinding with sand, burning with kerosene and branding with red-hot irons.”

* This made Mao realize “that it was the strongest and most ruthless who always won”. Therefore, “he concluded that the only way to gain power was through violence”

* Mao –

*                         -“all power grows out of the barrel of a gun”.

*                          -“a revolution is not a tea-party; it is an act of violence, by which one class overthrows another”.

*                          -Impressed by the extreme methods used by the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution that began in 1917.

* Mao at Jiangxi 1927-34

   * GMD-CCP unity was formed in 1924 against the warlords, but GMD's aim was to destroy the Communists.

   * 1927 – GMD launched an extermination campaign on CCP, but Mao survived by taking hiss CCP forces to the mountains of Jiangxi province, where he organized guerrilla resistance against the Nationalists.

   * In the next 7 years Mao helped to establish the Jiangxi Soviet (A system of government organized on Communist principles) dedicated to achieving a peasant revolution.

   * He did not follow orders from the Comintern (Communist International, the body set up in Moscow in 1919 to organize world-wide revolution). He refused to base his activities in the towns rather than the countryside.

   * “Futian incident” in 1930 – Mao tortured and executed some 4000 Red Army (The title given to the Communist troops that Mao led, later to be known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA)), whom he regarded as rebels.

      * Mao – “do not kill the important leaders too quickly, but squeeze out of them the maximum information; then from the clues they give you can go and unearth others”.

* The Long March 1934-5

   * GMD was weak due to Japan invasion.

   * In 1934, Chiang encircled Jiangxi to destroy CCP, but Mao escaped again through north to Yanan in Shaanxi province with other Communists.

   * This journey to Yanan, which took over a year to complete, was later elevated by CCP propaganda into one of the great epics of Communist folklore: the Long March.

      * Of 100,000 who fled from Jiangxi, scarcely 20,000 survived to reach their destination.

      * Was critical because a critical strategy meeting took place at Zunyi in which Mao outmaneuvered his opponents in the CCP and imposed that the revolution must be based on the peasants in the countryside, not the workers in towns.

* The Yanan Years 1935-45

   * Mao succeeded in imposing his personal authority on the CCP thought a combination of political and military skill.

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   * The Comintern tried to dominate the CCP

      * Mao launched a series of 'rectification of conduct' campaigns (A series of ferocious purges by which Mao removed any member of the CCP he suspected of opposing him.)

   * Mao wrote his major political works setting out his revolutionary ideas.

* Victory over the GMD 1945-9

   * after the defeat of Japan in WWII, Mao reinstated the intermittent civil war

      * after 4 years of struggle, the Communists won completely.

* Mao's policy in the Countryside 1945-9

   * The CCP forced ...

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