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Mao Zedong (also known as Chairman Mao) was a Chinese communist revolutionary. He founded the People's Republic of China in 1949 and led it until 1976. In this article, you'll learn about Mao Zedong's political philosophy, childhood, education, and alliance with the KMT. You'll also learn about how Mao Zedong came to be one of the most influential leaders in history.
Mao Zedong's political philosophy focuses on the need for unity in society. He wanted democracy to triumph over warlords. To achieve this, Mao argued for a united front in the country. He also criticized two types of subjectivist deviation: dogmatism and excessive reliance on abstract theory. The former has the effect of creating divisions and hindering the success of a political system. The latter has the opposite effect.
Mao's political philosophy is based on Marxism. He studied Marxism for many years, but formulated his own philosophy as "sinification" of Marxism. He saw the need for a revolutionary movement against capitalism and imperialism and promoted grass-roots democracy. This political philosophy also called for a strong state. He wrote "the guiding thought of a revolution".
Mao Zedong's early childhood is a pivotal point in understanding his political philosophy. He was expelled from three primary schools for his misbehavior, and later declared Buddhism his religion of choice. As a child, he followed his mother everywhere, and his mother was the source of his spiritual and physical upbringing. Despite his growing distaste for his father, Mao's devotion to his mother remained the core of his philosophy throughout his life.
In the late Qing Dynasty, land pawning became increasingly widespread. Most landed went to bureaucratic clans, causing the lack of land for the common people. As a result, most state fiscal revenue went to these clans. It became one of the worst disasters of a peasant economy. During Mao Zedong's early years, he studied everything he could find. He often wore a long coat and was surrounded by children of the gentry and official classes. He was often a popular target among schoolkids, causing dissatisfaction in the crowd.
In 1915, Mao Zedong was 21 years old and enrolled in Class 3 of Hunan's First Normal School. After completing his basic course, he transferred to the First Normal School. He spent half a year reading preparatory material, but eventually switched to a normal school in 1921. At that time, his education was still limited, and it did not include any formal science classes. Despite this, he developed a strong written style and developed an impressive knowledge of Chinese history, social problems, and current affairs. The practical tradition of Hunan's education helped him to create his political and military ideas and later launch a series of'saving the country through education' policies.
Mao Zedong's education was based on classical Chinese literature. From his youth, he composed poetry in classical style. The image of him as a poet became part of his public persona when he rose to power in China. Hence, a thorough knowledge of his childhood education is essential. While the curriculum in his education was rigorous, his personal choices were far more impulsive. It is also necessary to consider Mao's goals for the future.
The first United Front was formed in 1924. Chiang Kai-shek had the KMT sign an alliance agreement with the CCP as a "bloc within". This alliance was strong and held together because of Sun Yat-sen's prestige. But after Sun's death in 1925, tensions between the communists and the right-wing KMT grew. Soon after, Chiang expelled all communists from high leadership positions.
In May 1925, Mao was still supporting the KMT government. But at the Fifth Congress of the CPC, Mao changed his mind. After the incident, Chiang and his KMT colleagues were expelled from the KMT, and the communists formed the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (also known as the "Red Army"). This alliance was successful, and the Communist Party's first victory was achieved. The alliance was also the catalyst for Mao's rise to power.
In 1934, the KMT resisted Mao and the CPC army. In addition to retreating from the KMT, Mao and his followers embarked on the 6,000-mile Long March, under KMT pressure. The CCP eventually won the war against the KMT, capturing Manchuria and working south to establish the People's Republic of China. However, the KMT remained the enemy throughout the Second World War.
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