Mao Tse-Tung
1893 - 1976
Chinese Statesman
Leader and revolutionary strategist of the Chinese communist revolution, born in the village of Shaoshan, Hunan Province, China. He graduated from Changsha teachers' training college, then worked at Beijing University. He became a Marxist and a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party (1921).

Mao concentrated on political work among the peasants of his native province, and advocated a rural revolution, creating a soviet in Hunan province in 1928. After the break with the Kuomintang in 1927, his forces were driven out from Hunan.

Mao led his guerrilla army on a 6,000 miles 'Long March' from Hunan in the South to Yenan in northern China. In Yenan he organized a revolutionary base strong enough to fight the Japanese invaders and later the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-check.

In 1949, after victory over the Kuomin-tang, he established the Peoples Republic. He followed the Soviet model of economic development and social change until 1958, then broke with the USSR and launched his 'Great Leap', which encouraged the establishment of rural industry. This experiment led to wide-spread famine.

The failure of the Great Leap lost him much of his influence, but in 1966 he launched the Cultural Revolution, which lead to widespread terror and chaos.

After he died reaction set in against the excessive collectivism and egalitarianism which had emerged during his time in power.

  • See map East Asia 1938
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