13. Mao Zedong - Leader of the Chinese Revolution, head of the CPC. The child of relatively well of parents in rural Hunan, he had some education. During the 1911 Revolution, he joined up with a Revolutionary Army in his province. In 1921 he attended the first National Congress of the Communist Party in Shanghai. He was sent back to Hunan to organize peasants as part of the KMT-Communist alliance movement. After this he returned to Shanghai and stayed there for a few years. In 1927, he returned to Hunan and wrote a report on peasant uprisings in the wake of the Northern Expedition. Called " Report on the Peasant Movement in Hunan ", it was of incredible importance to Mao’s evolution of thought. After the 1927 purge of Communists from the KMT, Mao tried to lead an uprising. The KMT broke the movement and Mao and his followers fled to Jiangxi, where he was first able to begin implementing and testing his policies, including land reform. As the KMT got closer, Mao and his followers were forced to escape from Jiangxi to Shaanxi. After this 6,000 mile long march, Mao emerged as the leader of the Communist Party. During the Sino-Japanese War, Mao won popular support for his refusal to acquiesce to the Japanese and his advocacy for guerrilla warfare. He continued to mobilize peasants and build support throughout the Chinese Civil War. In 1949, the CCP won a decisive victory against the KMT, forcing Chiang Kai-shek to flee to Taiwan. Mao declared a new People’s Republic of China. In 1950 he decided to send his military forces into Korea to
fight in the Korean War. He further consolidated support because he was seen as fighting the Americans to a stalemate. In 1951 he started the three anti-/five anti- campaigns, where struggle sessions were common. People became very fearful as workers turned against capitalists, etc. He launched the first Five Year Plan in 1953. The goal of this first Plan was to move China from an agricultural to an industrial country. With the help of the USSR, the Chinese economy did rapidly improve. Based on the success of this first plan, Mao launched the Second Five Year Plan. During this time he also launched the 100 Flowers Campaign. He strongly supported communes, rapid collectivization, and huge industrial projects. During the Great Leap Forward, he refused to revise his policies or beliefs, instead thinking that any failures or loss of life were either necessary or the result of a failure to properly implement his beliefs. Moving people from agriculture to industry, especially in rural regions, meant that huge amounts of grain would rot before they could be collected. This greatly contributed to the Chinese Famine. Once it became clear that a famine was indeed unavoidable, Mao tried to steer the worst of it toward those with bad class labels.
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