MAO TSE-TUNG biography



The credit of establishing The People's Republic of China after a hard bitter struggle of twenty five years goes to Mao Tse-tung. A visionary, a guerrilla leader, a philosopher Mao‘s revolution of 700 million Chinese left the world dumfounded as ' the largest communist state in the world came into being and Mao became the chairman of the Communist Party of China at the age of 54.
Challenging the USSR's orthodoxy, Mao strayed from the Soviet Marxist model. He attempted to build a socialist society based on peasant farming rather than on a centralized, bureaucratic, industrlized economy. He believed that humility and hard work went hand in hand and in a speech to the party congress in 1956, he said, "Even though we have attained extraordinary great achievements, there is no reason to be arrogant. Modesty makes you move forward, arrogance makes you go backwards. I should always remember this truth. "He also believed in the need to continually strive for progress and never to let complacency take over. That was the secret to success.
Mao belonged to the peasant class. His childhood exposed him to the hard life of the peasants, but it also made him aware of the dormant strength that the peasant population possessed. They could be the influencing factor in any decision by virtue of sheer population, Mao realized this. He saw the tremendous source of energy the peasants possessed and came to the conclusion that it only needed to be tapped and channelized. It would he had no doubt about it, reap great results. And it did.
Mac was born on 26 December, 1893, in the village of Shaoshan, Hunan province. Carrying manure for his father's field did not interest Mao. Instead, China‘s history fascinated young Mao. During his long sojourns in the world of books he came in contact with the great Taiping rebellion where the peasants rising in rebellion had tried to form a communist community of sorts. They had been inspired by Christianity but were suppressed by the Manchus. He also read of the legendary Sun-Yat Sen who overthrowing the Manchu dynasty founded the republic of China. His readings made him more than ever determined to do something for the peasants of China.
To obtain an education Mao had to struggle against the iron will of his father who thought education was futile and who could not spare him from the daily chores of farming. But Mao struggled, borrowed money from his friends and attended school whenever he could. He joined a library at Changsha and devoured all the books and periodicals there. From dawn to dusk he poured over the written word and tried to satisfy his insatiable appetite. He graduated from the Chansha's teacher‘s training school in 1918.
      During the 1911-1912 revolution against the Manchu dynasty he served briefly in the Nationalist army . He worked as a library assistant in the Beijing University when the anti Japanese Fourth of May movement began. He returned to Changsha in 1920 as head of a primary school. Here his attempts to organize mass education were suppressed. By this time he was very much influenced by Marxist thought. On reading the Communist Manifesto in 1920 Mao said, "I had become in theory and to some extent in action a Marxist.“
Mao married the daughter of his old tutor, Yang Kai-hui. She too like him was a Communist and was executed in Shanghai in 1930. In May 1921 Mao went to Shanghai and founded together with the others the Chinese Communist Party. He became a full time party worker. By the time he was thirty three he was acting Director of the Kuomintang Propaganda Department and also Director of the National Peasant Movement Institute which was the chief center for training cadres of peasants.
In the meanwhile in 1925 Dr SunYat -sen died . Chaing Kai-Shek succeeded him. As a result of the agreement between the Russian Bolsheviks and SunYat-Sen’s Kuomintang, a combined front was formed with the Communists. Under Chaing Kai-Shek soon differences cropped up with the Communists who were not being taken into the complete confidence and were alienated from the directives given from the Communist international at Moscow. Friction also increased between the right wing of the Kuomingtang, that was backed by the landlords and Communists. The Kuomingtang were suspicious of the Communist plans for the peasant land reforms.
In early 1927, mao wrote Report of . . . . the Peasant Movement in Hunan, after witnessing a rising of impoverished peasants in his home province. In it he argued that the peasant discontent was the major force in China and deserved Communist support. His advice was rejected because the Moscow-based Cimintern wanted to maintain Communist alliance with the Nationalists under Chiang Kai—Shek. Kuomingtang forces suppressed an "Autumn Harvest" an uprising of peasants, a remnant of which Mao led to safety in the mountains of Jiangxi (Kiangsi). Chaing promptly dismantled the Kuomingtang grass-roots organizations, Suspecting Communist infiltration, while Mao, in Jiangxi, continued to exert Communist influence over the peasants. The result was that, in a country where village power was critical, the Communists gained the advantage.
In the snow covered mountains of Chingkangshan Mao displayed great qualities of leadership. He motivated about a thousand peasants into communist thinking. He set up a soviet government and mobilized the First Red Army. In May 1928, he was encouraged and aided by the arrival of Chu the from Nanchang. The govt. of Stalin recognized Mao's contribution to Communism and he reinstated Mao in the Central Committee and in the Politburo at the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party held at Moscow. The Kuomingtang army under Chaing Kai-Shek however continued in its effort to disrupt and destroy the activities of the Communists. Between December 1930 and October 1933 he sent large armies against the Communists only to incur repeated defeats. Mao’s guerrilla tactics and Chu Teh's disciplined army and the unconditional support of the local peasants were causes for the defeat the Kuomingtang army. But Chiang Kai-Shek‘s fifth campaign proved difficult for the Communists. They were forced to break out of the Kiangsi Mountains. They decided to move the North West province of Shensi and Kansu near the Great Wall of China. But their move was not going to be easy and had to carefully plan. A-part from the threat posed by the Kuomingtang army they were aware of the Japanese threat from the north-east.
    In October 1934, Mao began the long march of the communist army towards the Great Wall of China. In route the soldiers not only had to combat the Kuomingtang army but the local tribes, flooded rivers. Swampy grasslands and the hazardous snow capped mountains. It was one of the bravest marches recorded in modern history. They reached Shensi in October 1935.
At Shensi they trained local recruits, taught the local peasants, set up soviets and collected information on Japanese movements and the latest developments of the Kuomintang army. Chiang Kai-Shek had become a Generalissimo 0f the Kuomingtang armies and the chairman of the Executive Yuan.
The arrest of Chiang Kai-Shek at Sian proved to the turning point in history. Instead of having him executed as the other Communists desired Mao impressed upon the Genneralissimo to co-operate against the Japanese. The Japanese were defeated and on October 1st 1949, the Central People's Government was established at Peking. Mao TseTung was appointed the Chairman of the largest Communist state in the world.
At first Mao followed the Soviet model for constructing a socialist society through redistribution of land, heavy industrialization, and centralized bureaucracy. But during the years in Shaanxi he had evolved an alternative that reflected China's demography, his own experience with the pesants and his hostility to bureaucracy. Economically he stressed self reliance through labour-intensive rather than technologically advanced cooperative agriculture and through local community effort. Politically he created the concept of "mass~line" leadership, which integrated intellectuals with peasant guerrilla leaders as a fundamental economic and social strategy.
In 1956 his slogan “let a hundred flowers bloom, let diverse schools of thought contend" was a reaction to the Soviet condemnation of Stalin. It was intended to conciliate intellectuals by allowing them to criticize bureaucracy. His speech, "On the Ten Great Relationships” rejected Soviet emphasis on heavy industry, arguing that increasing peasant purchasing power was the key to rapid socialist and economic development. His 1957 speech "On correct handling of Contradictions among the People," repudiated the Soviet denial of contradictions in a socialist society, insisting that conflict was both inevitable and healthy.
In 1958 he applied his policies in the Great Leap Forward. This attempted to substitute the bureaucratic state with a cellular system of local communes and projects united by a common ideology. The Great Leap failed and the Communists returned to the East European practice of giving autonomy to large undertakings, suppressing small ones and being led by a handful of educated elite. Though Mao retired he never let go of his belief that the maximum participation was the only route to true socialism. In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-69) he mobilized youth into the Red Guard to attack the party establishment. After much rioting and near destruction of the party, he allowed the army to restore order and the party to be rebuilt. He was made Supreme Commander of China in 1970. His book “The Thoughts of Chairman Mao” is widely read. He died in Beijing on September 9, 1976.

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