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Mao Zedong - Essay Example

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Mao Zedong was one of the founding members of the Chinese Communist Party. He is one of the most famous political and social figures of the 20th century. Mao was both revered and despised during his lifetime. Strong opinions about his leadership ability, political philosophy and role as leader of the Chinese Communist Party are debated to this day more than three decades after his death in the 1970’s…
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Download file to see previous pages Mao Zedong was one of several children growing up in a rural part of China. His father was a peasant farmer. As far as one can be successful as a peasant farmer, Mao’s father was a success. He consolidated parcels of land, building them up slowly until he owned twenty acres of ground, the largest land holding in the village. Farming in China was backbreaking work. There were no machines to help in the filed labor, so crops were cultivated by hand using rudimentary tools. Mao Zedong was sent to school by his father because he wanted his sons to be prominent among the village boys. After five years of education, Mao’s father wanted him to return to the farm. Mao obeyed, but he was restless. He became a voracious reader and a substandard peasant farmer. During this period of his life, Mao’s glorification of strong political leaders such as George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte began to develop (Chang & Halliday, 1980). Mao Zedong eventually left his father’s farm and moved to the provincial capital of Changsha. He completed his education and eventually landed a position in Beijing. This is where Mao met the individuals that would introduce him to the teaching and philosophy of Karl Marx. Mao was above all else a Marxist. He believed strongly in the idea that eliminating the differences between classes in a society would lead to the best form of government. He strongly believed that the only way this could occur in China was to organize the masses of peasants that held little or no political power under the rule of the emperor. The exciting thing about Mao’s life was the last emperor of China was dying before his eyes. He could feel that it was time for something new for China, and Mao believed that the best development would be a broad-based peasant revolt that would usher in a Marxist state. He was determined to be the leader of that state. Mao was a forceful personality and he did not shy away from doing brave and audacious things. One of his early rivals in China for power was the leader of the nationalist Chinese, Chang Kai-shek. A civil war broke out between these two groups but was interrupted by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, a part of northeastern China. This was a difficult time for China because there was no central government to stand up to the Japanese. Mao and Chang Kai-shek decided to join forces to withstand the Japanese. For a while, there was cooperation, but soon it was clear that the truce would not hold. Mao took his army and followers far into the north of china to escape the Nationalists. This was known as the Long March. Most of the army died, but Mao lived to lead the Communists over the nationalists, who fled to Taiwan when they were defeated on mainland China. Once Mao established himself ruler of China through his authority as President of the Chinese Communist Party, his penchant for strong leaders started to show. He conducted a series of political purges that eliminated his political rivals through mass executions and starvation. Mao undertook a program of transforming China in every way, not just through politics. He wanted to change the very nature of China. He outlawed traditional arts and crafts, discouraged Buddhist and Confucian teachings and branded anyone that got in his way as “counter-revolutionary.” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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