Mao Study Guide

Last Updated: 12 May 2021
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Mao’s Rise To Power I. Mao first got into radical issues in his home province of Hunan, because there were large spheres of influences there II. In 1920, Mao stumbled upon Professor Chen Tu-hsiu, China’s foremost Marxist. He gave Mao a position selling party literature in a bookshop III. Mao rose in status to provincial party leader soon afterward IV. In 1923, the Nationalist Party sought help and money from another source, so they joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP was being given money from the Soviets V.

Soon after the Nationalist Party leader’s (Sun Yat-sen) death, Chiang Kai-shek took leadership of the Nationalists and separated themselves from the CCP because they didn’t want China to turn into a Soviet satellite state VI. Chiang began killing off the CCP. Mao and the CCP went on a Long March, or retreat using guerilla tactics, to Yan’an to flee from the Nationalists. They set up their base there because it was in the north, closer to the Soviet Union, where they could get help VII. Chiang was very violent and killed many of his political opponents in the cities.

This was more visible to the people than Mao’s violence in the countryside VIII. Most people knew that Chiang’s regime was corrupt, inefficient, and could not deal with inflation and famine IX. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident led to the full-scale invasion of the Japanese in 1937. This would last until the end of WWII in 1945. During this time: a. A truce was called between the Nationalists and CCP b. The Nationalists did the brunt of the fighting against the Japanese c. The Nationalists and CCP were given weapons from the U. S. to fight the Japanese.

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The Red Army was built up and members of the CCP were built up by the “mass line”  Trained communists were sent in groups into the communities, where they said they had come to listen to the desires and ideas of the people. On their return, the party would then learn what measures would appeal and adapt to their own policies which would be presented to the people e. To brainwash newcomers, Mao did the Yenan Terror during WWII: Used a Chinese KGB. Held denunciation rallies (you were forced to stand in front of peers and admit guilt (things that you did against the Communist ideology) even though you didn’t do them). Singing, dancing, and humor were stopped .

All types of torture were used

  1.  Whipping
  2.  Hanging
  3.  Sleep deprivation

Thought examination (you were forced to write down thoughts against the Communist ideology and accuse others of the same) . After the Yenan Terror, Mao had gotten rid of enough opponents to claim himself, supreme leader of the CCP . After WWII, the Nationalists didn’t have enough manpower because China was so large in the territory:  Manchuria (rich in mineral and coal deposits) was turned over from the Soviets to the CCP . CCP took over many areas that the Japanese formerly held . The Marshall Mission led to a cease-fire between the Nationalists and CCP, so the Nationalists demilitarized over a million troops.

Many troops did not have strong ties to the Nationalists (because they were former warlord troops) . They were not helped to integrate into society, so they joined the CCP . These troops located former Japanese weapons depots and showed the CCP how to work the weapons . The civil war started up again in 1946 and by October 1949, Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China Rise/Consolidation of Power . Eliminated political parties and churches . Land was seized from landlords and many were executed. Sanfan, Wufan, and Sufan campaigns were purges against ntelligentsia and CCP . Hundred Flowers Campaign was sneaky way to seek out political opponents by allowing them temporarily to speak out. The Anti-Rightist Campaign got rid of anyone who had spoken out against Mao. Cultural Revolution called for students (called Red Guards) to safeguard Mao by getting rid of art, teachers, members of the CCP, or anything counter to the revolution . Laogoi were forced labor camps. A compilation of Mao’s essays were put together in the “Little Red Book” and taught in all schools . Rectification movements” served to eliminate intellectuals who Mao thought were dangerous by sending them to the countryside or killing them . Used speeches, propaganda posters, media, poets, film, etc. to prop up Mao’s “cult of personality”.

Previous Conditions

  1. I. China was dominated by spheres of influence – places of foreign domination where the Chinese were looked upon as inferiors
  2. The country was not unified and had many provinces run by warlords, who were people not subservient to the government
  3. Previous governments were unstable and corrupt – the Manchu Dynasty had recently fallen - 1911, Yuan Shikai (a military general) ran the country for the next four years – 1912-1916, the warlord era was a period of chaos and great disunity – 1916-1925

There were many economic problems:

  • Widespread poverty
  • Heavy taxes c
  • Large disparity between rich and poor
  • Backward industry
  • Few owned land

Chiang was totalitarian and used violence to suppress political opponents; his government was also corrupt and took money from the peasants Successes . Built-up a following through charm and manipulation, allowing him to rise up in the CCP. Escaped the Nationalist army and set up base in the north during the Long March. Built up the CCP army and following during WWII through the “mass line” . Used the Yenan Terror to instill the ideology, brainwash and instill fear in his followers. All were loyal to Mao after the terror. Yenan Terror was also used to brainwash people into thinking that Chiang was the enemy so that Mao would garner more support. Used the end of WWII to grab former Japanese occupied territory in China .

Acquired and successfully used demilitarized, former Nationalist troops in the Civil War after the Marshall Mission VIII. Won the Chinese Civil War because of the weakened Nationalist army and became dictator of the People’s Republic of China IX. Ousted all political parties so that his CCP was the only one . Churches were closed; Christianity, Buddhism, and Confucianism were denounced – this allowed less potential sources of opposition . Marriage Law gave more rights to women, such as the right to own property, no more foot binding, and consensual marriage .

Health reforms were made to take the nation off it’s opium addiction, such as harsher penalties, rehabilitation, and education campaigns . Under the Agrarian Reform Law, peasants were given land from rich landlords . Ousted foreigners, so he got rid of all possible spheres of influence and any semblance of outside control . Hundred Flowers Campaign revealed those who opposed the regime, enabling Mao to get rid of them later on through the Anti-Rightist Campaign . Mao regained power (after his Great Leap Forward failure) through the Cultural Revolution, a purge of teachers, art, and party officials.

Used the Little Red Book, speeches, posters, badges, etc. to successfully build up his “cult of personality”. His face was everywhere Failures . Didn’t have the amphibious forces to pursue the Nationalists in Taiwan . First Five Year Plan built up industry, but failed to reach the target goals and lagged behind the industry of large industrial countries . Mao also wanted to raise output in factories, so common sense and rules went to the wayside in the name of speed. Accidents frequently caused tens of thousands of deaths .

Anything that peasants could melt down into steel was put in backyard furnaces. Much of the steel was unusable for industry . Forests were stripped of trees to be used as fuel, so deforestation was widespread . Mao ordered huge drives to build irrigation systems using poor equipment. Some of these projects are still unstable today. In the Great Leap Forward, collectivization failed, as food was forcefully taken from the peasants because Mao wanted to export the food for industry/weapons (he wanted to be a superpower). 38 million died of famine and disease.

Agriculture continued to lag. Mao temporarily fell from power . Sanfan, Wufan, Sufan, Anti-Rightist, and Cultural Revolution terror campaigns were against intellectuals (as well as others), but this got rid of most of the educated people in the country who could’ve helped the economy grow . One of the Cultural Revolution’s objectives was to wipe out anything cultural, so a generation of culture was wiped out . The people responsible for carrying out the Cultural Revolution were students, so schools were closed during this time. Education was stopped completely during this period.

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Mao Study Guide. (2018, Jan 14). Retrieved from

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