Biography of Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong (aka Mao Tse-Tung), was born the son of a peasant farmer in Chaochan, China in 1893. Mao soon became a marxist while working as a library assistant at Peking University. And in 1911 served in the revolutionary army during the Chinese Revolution.
In 1921 Mao become one of the first members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and over the next five years Mao would study and adapt Lenin's ideas who had successfully achieved a revolution in Russia. The difference however, is that Mao and others believed that in Asia they must focus on the countryside instead of the towns.
Mao worked with the Nationalist Party, Kuomintang, as a political organizer in Shanghai. With the help of the Soviet Union the nationalists slowly gained power in China.
With the death of it's leader, Sun Yat-sen, in 1925 Chiang Kai-Shek emerged as head of the Kuomintang. Chiang however set out a purge which eliminated all communists in the organization. The communists who survived established the Jiangxi Soviet.
As the nationalists imposed a blockade, Mao and others decided to leave the area and establish a new stronghold in the north-west. Some 100,000 men and their children and wives headed west through mountainous areas in October of 1934. The marchers experienced terrible hardships as they passed through mountains, swampland and suspension bridges. Covering over fifty miles a day they reached Shensi in October of 1935. Only 30,000 men survived.
When the Japanese Army moved inland, Chiang Kai-Shek was forced to move his capital. As he lost control of coastal regions and major cities to Japan, Chiang agreed to ally with Mao and the communist army.
As WWII came to an end Mao's army quickly turned on the Nationalists and began gaining control of China until October 1st, 1949 when the People's Republic of China was created.
In 1958 the announcement of the Great Leap Forward took place. The program asked for the establisment of large agricultural communes which contained as many as 75,000 people. The communes would run collective farms and factories while each family received a share of the profits and a small plot of land. However the area was struck with floods and bad harvests over the next three years and Mao decided to shut the program down. It is estimated that up to 20 million people died from the Great Leap Forward.
As a result, Mao retired from his post and handed the position of head of state to Liu Shaoqi. However Mao remained an important figure in determining policy.
Mao then became highly critical of the Soviet Union's foreign policy and with Lin Biao in 1966 initiated the Cultural Revolution. The revolution caused for pupils of schools and colleges to criticize the party officials who were influenced by Nikita Khruschev, Soviet leader. Once again, millions of students and political activists suffered.
As the Cultural Revolution came to an end, Lin Shaoqi resigned from all posts on October 13th, 1968. Lin Biao then became Mao's successor.
Mao Zedong died in Beijing on September 9th, 1976.
Also check out Mao Zedong quotes