The Role of the Red Guards in the Cultural RevolutionInspired by the towering figure of Mao, the Red Guards attacked anything and anyone they deemed a threat to the people'scollective prosperity.Among the most important players in theCultural Revolutionwere groups of young students whowere fiercely loyal to Mao. Known as the Red Guards, they answered Mao's call for revolution byattacking intellectuals, destroying traditional Chinese art, and harassing anyone seen as an enemyofcommunism. Mao shut down all of China's schools to encourage even more youth to join the RedGuards. He also ordered the military to protect and support the students. At its peak, the RedGuards included up to 10 million students.The Red Guards created chaos in China for two years. Economic productivity ground to a halt asworkers, managers, and party leaders were targeted for persecution. Red Guards even begandividing into warring factions, leading parts of China into civil war. By 1968, Mao had seen enough.