"The Revolutionary war is of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the
masses and relying on them."
China had been in a volatile state since the end of the Qing Dynasty. It was Mao Zedong
who united China after years of colonization, war, and domestic unrest. Many have
studied the philosophy of Mao in school, and in any college course covering Chinese
History, you will certainly have a section on the great leader. He is perhaps one of this
centuries greatest politicians, and his reputation around the world survives to this day -
over 20 years after his death.
Mao Zedong was born on Dec.26, 1893, into a well-to-do peasant family in Shao-shan, Hunan
province. As a child he was smart, and often argued down adults. When he was six years old
his father sent him to work in the fields. In contrast to his gentle Buddhist mother, his
father was strict and hard. Mao was frequently in conflict with him. Mao's diligence and
absorption in work might be a result of these early impressions of his father. He read
books, and often memorized them. School had a big impact on him emotionally, as did the
social times. When he was young, there was rioting in Chang-sha, the capital of Hunan
province. The people, suffering from famine, marched the streets in protest, and many were
killed. The incident had a great impact on Mao. All his life people had been telling him
what to do, and soon he would grow to hate all forms of authority. He left primary school,
and went on to do many things like middle school, the army, and middle school again, and
was even a library assistant at Beijing University. He didn't have the funds to be a
regular student, so he couldn't master foreign languages and go abroad to study like the
other students. It may be partly due to the misfortune during his student years that he
showed hatred against intellectuals and the bourgeois later.
It is no exaggeration that studying for five years at normal school made the structure of
Mao's ideology later in life. In those days, he read a lot of books concerning Communism.
For example, he read "Class Struggle" written by Kautsky and "the Communist
Manifesto" written by Marx. These books turned Mao to Marxism. When he promoted the
Cultural Revolution later, he used the term "class struggle", which may be an
ideal from his experiences as a student. In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was
organized in Shanghai, and he joined it. He has been honored as one of the CCP's founders.
In the beginning, his position in the party was weak, and his policy was criticized. But
he became chairman of the Chinese Soviet, and he lead the Long March, and soon his
reputation proceeded him. After that, his power was maintained, and in 1945 at the Seventh
Party's Congress, he became chairman of the CCP. In the civil war, he won peasant's over
to his side, and overthrew the Kuomintang. In 1949 finally the People's Republic of China
He became the "chief" of the People's Republic of China. Mao hadn't expected
this job to be so difficult; for it was easier to imagine his vision for China, than it
was to make it a reality. For Mao it was simple, China was "a country filled with
people who have diverse knowledge about politics, military, culture and common
sense.". It was the original form of utopia in Mao's mind. Following his ideas, he
created the People's Commune. The People's Commune is the type of country Mao expected.
They included organizations in farms, schools, stores, factories, and amongst individuals.
He started a campaign to raise each person's consciousness. It was the revolution of human
consciousness as he saw it. His way was to make the people think correctly, and to try to
make the people accept a new way of life. It led to some campaigns such as
the"anti-rightist campaign" and the "Three, Five anti Campaign ". The
"criticize" campaign to reform thought was escalated. It's absolute result was
"the Cultural Revolution". Just before the Cultural Revolution, the relations
between China and the Soviet Union started to deteriorate. However, Mao remained strong,
and his morale was fierce.
Although the Cultural Revolution was destructive and tragic, it was partly due to the Cult
of Mao that the it couldn't be stopped. Mao, the founder of the People's Republic, was a
hero to the people. He was a diligent and obstinate person. He wouldn't change what once
he said; his yes was his yes, and his no was his no. During the Cultural Revolution, the
top officials resented the cruel acts of the Red Guards. However, many considered Mao a
good force in China. He is said to have been sentimental. He liked poetry and left about
fifty pieces of poetry when he died. His guards said he had a tender heart, and many would
agree he did help China a great deal.
Mao died On Sept. 9, 1976. He was 83. Many years later in 1989, many years after the
Cultural Revolution, a newspaper ran a stunning article. The official Beijing newspaper
read, "Mao was a great man who embodied the calamities of the Chinese people, but in
his later years he made big mistakes over a long period, and the result caused great
disaster for the people and the country. He created a historical tragedy." In a sense
it was true, he promoted many programs and policies such as the "Great Leap
Forward" and the "People's Commune", in his effort to make China a great
socialist country. He did after all in 1966, start the CR, "a historical