Mao Zedong An Ultimate Influence Essay

1043 words - 5 pages

Mao Zedong: An Ultimate Influence

The influence of Mao Zedong (1893-1976) can be linked to his unorthodox choice to use peasants, not workers, in his Communist Revolution. China, an unindustrialized country in the mid eighteenth century, did not have the working class required by Marxist theory to overthrow the state and begin Communism. That said, a large peasant and student population grasped to Mao’s leadership and started a new style of communist revolution. The creation of a cult of personality in which Mao Zedong was idealized as a supreme leader (and in some cases even a godlike emperor) enabled him to rule absolutely and extend his influence.
After the Chinese Civil War ...view middle of the document...

The failures of this modernization attempt were highly criticized by fellow party leaders. Eventually these criticisms lead Mao to his last campaign, The Great Proletariat Revolution. Mao soon had a following of radical young students who he encouraged to take to the streets and promote the Maoist vision of revolution. These students and the peasantry became the catalyst for revolution in China, revolting against positions of power and bourgeois characters in the name of Mao.
The power behind Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution (the call for peasants and students to overthrow the class system and officials such as teacher, party leaders, etc.) stems from the cult of personality created around him. As a farmer, Zhang Yuxi (1984), states in a collection of interview years after Mao’s death, “He was better than an emperor. No emperor ever saved the poor. Chairman Mao was the savior of the poor from the moment he was born.” Mao targeted class in China with the new concept that peasants struggled under wealthy landowners and high-class citizens. The purpose of the movement was to liberate the peasantry and equalize society. That said, the idealization of Mao goes even further when considering the student population. Rae Yang recounts her experience of seeing Mao for the first time, “My blood was boiling inside me. I jumped and shouted and cried in unison with a million people in the square. At that moment, I forgot myself; all barriers that existed between me and others broke down.” This extreme reverence toward Mao heightened the strength of every statement he made. His word became undoubted law that was to be carried out by everyone. This cult of personality became so strong, young students took drastic measure in the name of Mao Zedong “thought” and revolution.
As Chairman Mao called for uprising against education and capitalist roaders, his young Red Guards (students who wore red arm bands and traveled the country making revolution) followed every command with zeal. What first started with dazibao posters, (public criticisms of teachers, or those thought to be capitalists) quickly moved toward struggle meetings and...

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