China that Mao ZeDong was born into seemed to be falling apart. The Qin
dynasty that ruled China was on the verge of collapse, and there was
social and economic unrest. All this opened
the doors for Mao to one day become its leader. To some he would be called
a hero and to others a dictator and mass murderer. He probably was both.
greatest achievements were the unification of China, the creation of a
unified Republic of China and becoming the leader of the greatest social
revolution in history. The revolution involved taking most land and
property, destroying the landlord class, weakening the middle class and
raising the status of the peasant and industrial workers.
believed in the ability of the peasants and workers to organize and rule,
which was at the heart of the Communists success in coming to power. Civil
war broke out between the Communists and the Nationalists, and would last
for more than 20 years. In 1949 the Communists finally won the war. Mao
becomes its leader and founded the People’s Republic of China. To
increase China’s wealth, Mao forced millions to work on government owned
farms and factories. Those who wouldn’t were sent to jail.
the 1950's Mao wanted to finally get rid of the last privately held property
and wanted to form people’s communes. He wanted rapid industrial and
agricultural growth and this program became known as the “Great Leap
Forward." The goals he set were too high and the time to do it too
short, causing the program to fail. There was famine and food shortages,
which caused millions to die. Some of this was the result of bad weather
and other natural disasters, but bad planning on the part of Mao and the
Communist Party caused the rest. For this he lost most of his power.
the Cultural Revolution started and Mao used his influence on the
army and student population to revolt and unseat his enemies. The
revolution was an attack on expression of art, religion, scholarly
teaching and western influences. He needed the chaos to gain control. Once
again many people suffered and died.
further separate China's ties to USSR, in 1972 Mao received a visit from U.S. President Richard Nixon. For the first time in years
communication was opened between the two countries.
1976, Mao ZeDong died. Even though some thought he failed with his economic
policies, his basic foreign policy continues to be used. His theories on
the revolutionary potential of the peasantry are still an influence today.
"Biography: Mao ZeDong." at <http://.il.essortment.com/maozedongbiogr-rkok.htm> (February 2003).
Online Books. "Mao ZeDong." at <http://www.pitara.com/magazine/people/21.htm> (February, 2003).
Time for Kids. "Go Places: China." at <http://www.timeforkids.com/tfk/specials/goplaces/0,12405,408635,00.html> (February, 2003).
Time for Kids. "Major Events in Modern China." at <http://www.timeforkids.com/tfk/magazines/story/0,6277,93341,00.html> (February, 2003).
Image of army vehicles from "Microsoft Office Design Gallery Live" <http://dgl.microsoft.com/?CAG=1> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (December-March, 2003).
Images of Mao and map of China from "ArtToday.com" <http://members.clipart.com/en/index> (2003).
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