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Mao Zedong

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Mao Zedong: Harry Truman was the 33rd American President who served in office from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953. One of the important events during his presidency was the rise of Mao Zedong with the 1949 Chinese Revolution and the spread of the Cold War beyond Europe into East Asia.

Definition and Summary of the Mao Zedong
Summary and definition:
Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), was the Leader of the Communist Party of China and the Founding Father of the People's Republic of China. He is also known by the name of Mao Tse-tung or simply Chairman Mao.

After WW2 Mao Zedong and the Communists led the Chinese Revolution and ousted Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the National People's Party, and took control of China in 1949.

Mao Zedong and the communists became popular with the peasants in China by promising land reforms to the people who were on the brink of mass starvation. Chairman Mao was a brutal leader and temporarily lost power in 1958 when his plans to industrialize China, called the 'Great Leap Forward' failed. Mao Zedong regained power in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution with the support of the Red Guard. The philosophy of Mao Zedong regarding communism is referred to as Maoism. The philosophy of Mao Zedong regarding communism are referred to as Maoism and he is famous for the "Little Red Book" that contained his thoughts and quotes.

Who was Mao Zedong? Mao Zedong was a famous Chinese communist leader and founder of the People's Republic of China.

When was he born and what was his date of death? Mao Zedong was born to a family of farmers on December 26, 1893 and died on September 9, 1976. He was married 4 times and had 10 children.

Why did peasants support Mao Zedong? Mao Zedong gained the support of peasants by promising land reforms to the Chinese peasants who were on the brink of mass starvation. Peasants preferred Mao Zedong to the unpopular and corrupt Chiang Kai-shek.

Mao Zedong - Main events: The main events in the career of  Mao Zedong were the 'Long March', the founding of the People's Republic of China, the 'Great Leap Forward', Maoism and his "Little Red Book", the Red Guard, the Cultural Revolution and his meetings with Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon.

Mao Zedong Facts for kids: The Cold War
The rise of Mao Zedong and Communism in China resulted in the spread of
The Cold War beyond Europe into East Asia. Mao Zedong  and the Chinese Communists had been fighting against Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang (KMT) nationalist party since the 1920's. Hostilities between the two factions ceased due to their temporary alliance during eight years of war with Japan (1937-1945) but after WW2 the Chinese Civil War erupted again. The United States became involved in Chinese politics by providing financial aid to Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist government to halt the threat of Mao Zedong and the spread of communism in Asia. Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang (KMT) nationalist party were defeated in 1949 and fled to Taiwan. In 1950  the USSR and the People’s Republic of China announced the signed a treaty agreeing to mutual defense and assistance. The Americans were horrified that the two largest communist nations in the world had formed an alliance and the Cold War moved to a critical level as China enters the Korean War.

Facts about Mao Zedong
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Mao Zedong.

December 26, 1893: Mao Zedong was born in 1893 to a family of farmers at Shaoshan, Xiangtan County, Hunan Province, China where he is educated at a local primary school.

1906: He was forced into an arranged marriage at age of seventeen joining together two wealthy families who owned a large amount of land.

1910: He witnesses the effects of a terrible famine in Hunan.

1911: He fights on revolutionary side in the Revolution of 1911 (Xinhai Revolution) that overthrows China's last imperial dynasty (the Qing dynasty), and establishes the Republic of China (ROC)

1912: He returns to education in the Fourth Normal School of Changsha and graduates

1919: Travels to Beijing where he worked in the University Library where he began to read Marxist literature.

1921:  Becomes a founder member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and sets up a branch in Hunan.

1923: The Kuomintang (KMT) nationalist party allied with the Chinese Communist Party to defeat the Chinese warlords who controlled most of northern China.

1927:  Chiang Kai-shek, the KMT leader, launches a violent anti-communist purge and Mao Zedong leads the Autumn Harvest Uprising, the first armed uprising by the Communists, in Changsha, Hunan

1927: The Autumn Harvest Uprising was defeated by Kuomintang forces and the communists were forced to retreat to the Jinggang Mountains. Mao Zedong, and Red Army founder Zhu De begin to develop a rural-based strategy that centers on guerrilla tactics.

October 1934: The Red Guard numbers 45,000 fighters, plus 200,000 militia.  The Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek’s forces surround the communists who escape via the Long March.

October 14, 1934: The Long March, (1934–1935). The Long March was the 6,000-mile trek of the Chinese communists over 8 mountain ranges and 24 rivers, which resulted in the relocation of the communist revolutionary base from southeastern China to the province of Shaanxi in the northwest.

1937: Hostilities between the two factions ceased due to their temporary alliance to fight against the Japanese during 8 years of war with Japan (Second Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945)

1939 - 1945: During World War 2, Chiang Kai-shek, was recognized as one of the "Big Four" Allied leaders along with Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill and traveled to attend the Cairo Conference in November 1943.

1945: Second Sino-Japanese War ended when Japan was defeated in WW2. The Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists and the communists erupted again.

1946: The United States became involved in Chinese politics by providing financial aid to Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist government to halt the threat of Mao Zedong and the spread of communism in Asia.

1949:  Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalist party were defeated by the communists in 1949 Chinese Revolution and fled to Taiwan.

1 October 1949: Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China and became the Chairman of the Communist Party and the absolute leader of China. Like Stalin he became a brutal, oppressive dictator. Any objections to his regime were immediately suppressed leading to countless executions or imprisonment in labor camps.

February 15, 1950:  The USSR and the People’s Republic of China announced the signed a treaty agreeing to mutual defense and assistance (Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship). This treaty between the two largest communist nations in the world coincided with the Soviets successful tests of its first atomic bomb that sparked the Cold War Arms Race.

June 25, 1950: The Korean War (June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953) began between the Soviet-backed communist North, and the US and UN-backed South.

October, 1950: China enters the Korean War enabling the communist North Koreans to regain lost territory. General Macarthur wanted to expand the Korean war into China. President Truman refused and relieved Macarthur of his command.

July 27, 1953: The Korean War ended with an armistice that was signed by the United States, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea in July 1953.

March 5, 1953: When Stalin died on March 5, 1953, Mao Zedong felt he was now the senior communist leader and was resentful when the new Soviet leaders Khrushchev and Malenkov did not recognize this. At this point the alliance between the Soviets and China began to cool.

March 8, 1954: The U.S. and Japan signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement in Tokyo. With the victory of the Mao Zedong and the Communists in the 1949 Chinese Revolution the United States had lost its chief ally in Asia. The US now viewed Japan as they key to defending Asia against communism during the Cold War.

May 1956: The Hundred Flowers Campaign began with a movement within the communist government of China to lift the restrictions imposed upon Chinese intellectuals and granting greater freedom of thought and speech.

1958: Chairman Mao introduced his plan called the 'Great Leap Forward' (1958 to 1961). The 'Great Leap Forward' was an economic and social campaign aimed at rapidly transforming China  from an agrarian economy into a socialist society through rapid industrialization.

1961: The 'Great Leap Forward' relied on the commune system and the mass mobilization of labor to improve agricultural and industrial production. The policy led to a massive decline in agricultural output, which, together with poor harvests, led to famine and the deaths of millions. The 'Great Leap Forward' policy was abandoned and Chairman Mao's position was weakened.

1962: The final split between the Soviet Union and China occurred when Chairman Mao criticized President Khrushchev for backing down in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev responded by declaring that Chairman Mao's policies would lead to a nuclear war.

October 16, 1964: China tests its first nuclear weapon at Lop Nur, a former salt lake in China.

1966 - 1976: Chairman Mao leads the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" to purge China of 'impure' elements and renew the spirit of the Chinese Revolution. He shut down China’s schools, and encouraged Red Guards to attack all traditional values. The Cultural Revolution

1966: The Little Red Book was first published by the Chinese government during the Cultural Revolution. The Little Red Book, aka ‘The Quotations of Mao Zedong’ consists of a collection of 427 quotations from Mao Zedong on subjects such as Socialism and Communism, patriotism, discipline, and the role of women.

Not carrying, reading, knowing its contents and quoting from the Little Red Book would have been seen as a sign of divergence from the teachings of Maoism, leading to oppression or even death.

The Little Red Book was a successful form of propaganda for Mao Zedong as was the "cult of personality" which ensured that his picture was everywhere in China.

1969: The split between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China escalate into fighting on Sino-Soviet borders resulting in the threat of a Soviet nuclear strike against China.

1971: The US plans to strengthen ties with the Chinese government Henry Kissinger is sent to China for a secret meeting with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, paving the way for a meeting with President Nixon.

1972: President Nixon travels to mostly meeting with Chairman Mao's second-in-command Zhou Enlai, due to Mao's declining health The meeting was an important part of the Cold War as China begins to move closer to the United States and away from the Soviet Union.

September 9, 1976: Mao Zedong dies from Parkinson's disease at the age of 82 years

US American History
1945-1993: Cold War Era

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