Mao Zedong – Assess Mao’s rise to power
Born on December 26th 1893 in Shaoshan.
According to Chinese astrology, Mao was born in the year of the snake. Tradition held that his life would therefore be dominated by concern over financial matters, that he would be a nocturnal person given to working late at night, unconventional but politically minded, adept at befriending strangers, and preferring a quiet home life without disturbances. Was the son of a peasant farmer and went on to become the ruler of the world’s most populous nation. Mao came to manifest all these characteristics although, as a good communist, he set no store by superstition. Relatively well off by local standards.
As a farmer’s son, Mao grew up with an immediate, innate appreciation of a truth that better-off communist scholars would have to learn: land is a means of production. He was expected to lend a hand as soon as he was able.
His leadership of the communist revolution and the establishment of the people’s republic of China in 1949 earned him the title of Chairman Mao and the Great Leader. His launch of rapid and extensive collectivisation and industrialisation in his second Five Year Plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, had catastrophic repercussions for millions in rural China, and the Cultural Revolution that he instigated in the sixties lead directly to the destruction of a large part of the country’s cultural heritage. He remained untouched by the turmoil around him, protected by the formidable cult he had created and by his ruthless elimination of political rivals. Alternately glorified and demonised, not only in the West but also in the China he once ruled, his influence persists to this day. For many hundreds of years, China was a feudal society. This means that people were ranked in different levels. At its very top was the emperor, who claimed to be appointed by heaven. Was able to educate himself, being influenced by many revolutionary writings of the time....
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