Timeline Mao also joins the Chinese Nationalist Party (GMD) and works to unite the two parties. 1923 Mao joins the new Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 1921 Qing formally abdicate throne, ending Qing dynasty. 1912 Chinese Revolution of 1911. 1911 Mao Zedong born December 26. 1893
Timeline 2 After years of opposition, GMD allies with CCP to fight Japan. 1936 Mao builds peasant army while in exile in mountains. 1928 Chiang Kai-shek attacks the CCP and becomes leader of GMD. 1927 Nationalist general Chiang Kai-shek leads the Northern Expedition, a campaign that unites more than half of China under a Nationalist government. 1926
Timeline 3 Chiang Kai-shek and allies flee to Taiwan. Republic of China formed on October 1. Mao Zedong declares himself dictator. 1949 War erupts between CCP and GMP. Japan surrenders to China after US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 1945 Mao appointed Chairman of Communist Central Committee. 1943
Timeline 4 Mao dies on September 9. 1976 Mao invites President Richard Nixon to visit China. 1972 Mao launches the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution. 1966 Mao cedes his lawmaking position after an economic plan he called the “Great Leap Forward” failed dismally. 1958 Hundred Flowers Campaign begins. 1956
Mao Zedong was born on December 26, 1893 in the small Chinese village of Shaoshan. He worked on his family’s farm for most of his childhood. At sixteen, he left home to attend school in a nearby city.
Mao became one of the first members of the new Chinese Communist Party in 1921 as well as the Nationalist Party in 1923. He was a very influential member in both.
On October 1, 1949, as Chairman of the Communist Central Committee and one of the most influential men in China, Mao announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China. He declared himself emperor.
Mao died on September 9, 1976 at the age of 81.
Mao in Tiananmen Square, China, August 1966. Mao, age 34, at the First National Conference of the Communist Party of China.
Lin Biao was born in Wuhan, China, in 1908. He attended the Whampoa Military Academy at a young age.
Lin joined, and soon commanded, the Northwest People’s Liberation Army. By the time Mao Zedong had established the People’s Republic of China, Lin was a devoted supporter, assisting Mao in military as well as political campaigns, including the famed Cultural Revolution.
Lin was an expert in guerilla warfare.
He compiled some of Mao’s writings in the famous book The Quotations of Chairman Mao .
Lin died in an airplane crash in Mongolia in September 1971. He was supposedly involved in a failed assassination attempt against Mao Zedong.
Lin Biao, military Marshall. Lin and Mao Zedong in a propaganda poster for the People’s Republic of China.
Chiang Kai-shek was born in Fenghua, China, on October 31, 1887. His father died when he was a child, leaving the family in extreme poverty. He was sent to live with relatives but ran away and joined the provincial army, where he was then sent to a military academy in Paoting. In 1907 he attended the Military State College in Tokyo, Japan.
Chiang was a Nationalist, and he became head of the Whampoa Military Academy in 1924.
In 1926, Chiang commanded a powerful army which aimed to unify China and fight communism. He established a local government centered in Nanjing, China around this time.
In an effort to rebuff a Japanese invasion in 1937, Chiang collaborated with Mao Zedong and his army.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States helped to fund Chiang and his government.
When Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China, Chiang and his army fled to Taiwan.
During Mao’s rule, the Chinese Communist Party seized control of all media in the country and used it to promote Mao, his political strategy, and the party.
Some of Mao’s first and most controversial political campaigns included land reform, in which the government regulated land distribution and use and slaughtered countless landlords, and suppression of all “counter-revolutionaries.”
A 1976 estimate by the U.S. State Department placed the number killed during these campaigns, most often in public executions, at a minimum of 1.8 million.
Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966 as a response to threats to his power from fellow CCP members.
The Cultural Revolution created chaos throughout China, creating violence and driving many people to suicide. When Mao was informed of this issue, he allegedly commented: “People who try to commit suicide—don't attempt to save them! …China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people. ”
Mao declared the Cultural Revolution finished in 1969, but most historians cite Mao’s death in 1976 as the true end of the Revolution.
A Cultural Revolution poster featuring Mao as the “never-setting sun.”
Also known as the Hundred Flowers Movement or the Double Hundred Campaign, the Hundred Flowers Campaign was a 1956-57 campaign in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), headed by Mao Zedong, encouraged freedom of thought and expression, using the campaign slogan “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend. ”
In fact, officials of the CCP actually encouraged outright criticism of the government. However, the noncommunist intellectuals they were encouraging proved to be difficult to convince; it took until the spring of 1957 for citizens to begin to openly criticize communist policies.
A poster created during the Hundred Flowers Campaign opposing communism.
In June of 1957, an amended version of a February speech given by Mao Zedong entitled “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People” was published. This was the beginning of the CCP’s signals to critics that their freedom of expression had been carried too far.
In July, the CCP began rounding up specific critics they thought had expressed too much opposition to communism and imprisoning them or sending them to rural labor camps. With this act, the Hundred Flowers Campaign drew to a close.
On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People: An Essay by Mao Zedong
“… Our state is a people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance. What is this dictatorship for? Its first function is to suppress the reactionary classes and elements and those exploiters in our country who range themselves against the socialist revolution, to suppress all those who try to wreck our socialist construction, or in other words, to resolve the internal contradictions between ourselves and the enemy. For instance, to arrest, try and sentence certain counter- revolutionaries, and to deprive landlords and bureaucrat- capitalists of their right to vote and their freedom of speech for a specified period of time--all this comes within the scope of our dictatorship. To maintain public order and safeguard the interests of the people, it is likewise necessary to exercise dictatorship over embezzlers, swindlers, arsonists, murderers, criminal gangs and other scoundrels who seriously disrupt public order. The second function of this dictatorship is to protect our country from subversion and possible aggression by external enemies. In that event, it is the task of this dictatorship to resolve the external contradiction between ourselves and the enemy. The aim of this dictatorship is to protect all our people so that they can devote themselves to peaceful labor and build China into a socialist country with a modern industry, agriculture, science and culture.
Who is to exercise this dictatorship? Naturally, the working class and the entire people under its leadership. Dictatorship does not apply within the ranks of the people. The people cannot exercise dictatorship over themselves, nor must one section of the people oppress another. Law-breaking elements among the people will be punished according to law, but this is different in principle from the exercise of dictatorship to suppress enemies of the people. What applies among the people is democratic centralism. Our Constitution lays it down that citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, assembly, association, procession, demonstration, religious belief, and so on. Our Constitution also provides that the organs of state must practice democratic centralism, that they must rely on the masses and that their personnel must serve the people. Our socialist democracy is democracy in the broadest sense such as is not to be found in any capitalist country. Our dictatorship is the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance. That is to say, democracy operates within the ranks of the people, while the working class, uniting with all others enjoying civil rights, and in the first place with the peasantry, enforces dictatorship over the reactionary classes and elements and all those who resist socialist transformation and oppose socialist construction. By civil rights, we mean, politically the rights of freedom and democracy. But this freedom is freedom with leadership and this democracy is democracy under centralized guidance, not anarchy. Anarchy does not accord with the interests or wishes of the people.”