In 1921 Mao went to his first communist party meeting. He soon became a leader in the party. When the communists allied with the Kuomintang, Moa went to work for Sun Yat-sen in Hunan. Since Mao grew up a peasant he believed strongly in communist ideas. He studied Marxism and felt that communism was the best way to get the peasants behind him in overthrowing the government. After the Communist party came into power, Mao moved into the Zhongnanhai Palace, a few blocks from Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Mao liked to go for walks and encouraged others to take them. As part of the "Forge Good Iron Foot Soles Scheme" he ordered workers to go on 20 mile hikes on their days off to harden their "iron foot soles." Mao also encouraged people to breed rabbits and smoked. He preferred the British cigarette brand 555.

Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China and was the primary leader of the country from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Mao also led the communist revolution in China and fought against the Nationalist Party in the Chinese Civil War. His ideas and philosophies regarding communism and Marxism are often referred to as Maoism.Mao was born December 26, 1893 and grew up in a China that had been invaded, and divided up by Britain, France, the U.S., Russia, and Japan. These colonial powers controlled the economics and politics of China. They treated the Chinese people like dogs and rounded them up to be used as “coolie labor” on plantations and in mines all over the world. Foreign troops were in every main city. A sign posted in a park in the big city of Shanghai read: “No Dogs or Chinese Allowed.” China was so oppressed that it was known as “the sick man of Asia.”In the China where Mao grew up, most people were poor peasants suffering under the system of feudalism. Big landlords owned most of the land and landless peasants were forced to work for them, getting barely enough to survive. The peasants lived in constant debt, subjected to the tyranny of the landlords and conditions of poverty, hunger and disease. Families sold their children because they couldn’t feed them. Hundreds of thousands starved to death. And life for common people in the cities wasn’t much better. In Shanghai as many as 25,000 dead bodies were picked up off the streets each year. The British flooded China with opium, turning over 60 million Chinese people into addicts while British and American capitalists got rich off this drug trade. Take a minute and think about the people behind those numbers—the degree of human misery and suffering this represented, year in and year out.Mao also grew up in a time of peasant uprisings. From 1901 to 1910 there were nearly 1,000 such spontaneous struggles, involving tens of millions of people. As a student, Mao studied the Taiping Rebellion, where peasants took up arms and set up a revolutionary government (from 1850 to 1864). Mao learned how some 20 million people died when the Chinese government, along with the U.S, Britain and France, sent in troops to put the rebellion down. Again, think about the people behind that number.

As Mao put it: “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” This quote emphasizes the importance of party control of the military. In the People’s Republic, the military will never tell the party what to do; it will always be the party telling the military what to do. In the military, the most senior political officer is the political commissar, who can override any military official in the event of a crisis. The political commissar reports back to party central, not to any military authorities.World War II in China, a conflict that claimed the lives of about 20 million Chinese.But also muted is a candid memory of this brutal struggle for survival, in which the Chinese Nationalist government victoriously led the country’s eight-year-long war of resistance against Japanese invasion before being ousted in 1949 by communist forces following an additional four years of civil war.

In an attempt to re-assert his authority, Mao launched the 'Cultural Revolution' in 1966, aiming to purge the country of 'impure' elements and revive the revolutionary spirit. One-and-a-half million people died and much of the country's cultural heritage was destroyed. In September 1967, with many cities on the verge of anarchy, Mao sent in the army to restore order.

In 1906, when Mao was 12 years old, all of China was hit by war, famine and flood. When the “Hunan Insurrection” happened, Mao said this influenced his whole life. Thousands of miners and peasants marched through the provincial capital and raided the grain stores of the landlords. Soldiers put the rebellion down and the heads of slaughtered rebels were stuck on the city gates as a warning to the people. Mao said: “This incident was discussed in my school for many days. It made a deep impression on me. Most of the other students sympathized with the ‘insurrectionists’ but only from an observer’s point of view. They did not understand that it had any relation to their own lives.The Cultural Revolution was then seen as a bold social experiment to be studied, and perhaps even emulated in Paris and Bonn.Mao and his social model found virtually no admirers in the Soviet Union of the 1960s and 1970s. Across the then Soviet political spectrum, Chairman Mao was arguably the most despised foreign politician. When Russian intellectuals learnt about the Mao craze of their Western peers they were really surprised and perplexed. For them, China of the 1960s was a nightmare of the first order.Relations between the USSR and China went sour in the late 1950s, and by 1963-64 their mutual hostility was clear for all to see. In its heated quarrel with Maoist China, the Soviet Government enjoyed near universal support from below. For the majority of Soviet people in the 1960s, Mao’s China (as well as Kim Il Sung’s North Korea) stood for everything that was wrong in the Soviet system itself.Liberal-orientated communists (yet to become a rare species in the Soviet intelligentsia) saw in Mao’s regime the embodiment of the worst excesses of Stalinism. Nationalist communists, as well as Russian nationalists in general, saw him as a dangerous and ungrateful ally who dared to bite the feeding hand of Mother Russia.Maoist propaganda, which occasionally reached the Soviet audience, was usually ridiculed and further reinforced a highly negative image of Mao’s China.

Nikita Khrushchev, USSR premier, and Mao Zedong, president of the People's Republic of China, during their meeting in Beijing on August 8,1958 in Beijing, China.August 08, 1958 Lizenz Sino-Soviet Nuclear Relations:China backed Soviet disarmament proposals in exchange for technical assistance in nuclear weapons development. When Soviet aid stopped, so did China’s support.

Chairman Mao Zedong meets former US president Richard Nixon at Zhongnanhai in Beijing on Feb 21, 1972.Both the US and Chinese officials were surprised that 78-year-old Chairman Mao Zedong decided to meet then US president Richard Nixon only three hours after his arrival in Beijing on Feb 21, 1972, Mao was so ill that he seldom met foreign leaders in person in his later years, at least not before any negotiation had started, said Tang Wensheng on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Nixon's landmark visit to China, which marked the beginning of the normalization of bilateral ties.

He had led the Chinese people, against all odds, to make a revolution. For the many millions who passionately fought for justice and liberation in those days, the Chinese Revolution stood out like a beacon. And Mao himself was most famous for restlessly refusing to stop the revolution halfway for never settling in, never ceasing to fight for a world without any division into classes, into nations, into oppressor and oppressed. A lot of people teachers, workers, doctors, scientists, students, and revolutionaries from many different countries, went to China to witness the socialist society being built under Mao’s leadership. And many returned home, inspired and hopeful about the possibility of a truly liberating society.In China itself, the masses revered Mao as leader of the revolutionary vanguard in China, the Communist Party of China, he had led the victory in a 22-year war of liberation against both foreign invaders and domestic reactionaries. Following that epic struggle, he led the people to construct a new society and new lives in socialist China, and to go further in defending the revolution and transforming society during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. But there were those who opposed Mao, right in the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Like Mao, they had come into the revolution, and the Communist Party, burning with anger over China’s treatment by imperialism. Like Mao, they fought in the revolution for liberation. But unlike Mao their sights did not go all the way to communism; in fact, their aims really went no further than building China into a powerful nation. And in the name of building a strong and modern China they adopted programs and policies that essentially reinforced capitalist relations and thinking. After Mao died in 1976, these “capitalist roaders” in the Chinese Communist Party seized power and overthrew socialism and restored capitalism, arresting hundreds of thousands and killing thousands in the process. And even though the Chinese government has continued to call itself socialist and communist, China has been a capitalist country ever since. Mao’s principles what he stood for have been gutted, while China’s new rulers have turned Mao into a nationalist icon.

Chinese  people Mourning Mao Zedong’s Death in 1976.1976 September 9th, 10 minutes past the midnight, Mao Zedong departed from this world. September 18th, representatives from the capital and other regions of the country paid their last respects to Chairman Mao. Textile women in the capital, when faced with the remains of Chairman Mao, cried in deep grief.

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