文化大革命 or 文革 = Cultural Revolution

Key Terms

'Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong'
Or also known as the 'Little Red Book' was used to spread his views and ideas concerning communism.
Red Guards
They were military groups formed through student participation and numbered in millions. The Red Guards caused mayhem and chaos all over China in order to get rid of anything bourgeois or Western. They were also the main supporters of Mao Zedong and spread propaganda about him and communism all over China.
PLA (People's Liberation Army)
The PLA supported Mao Zedong since Mao was able to gain control of them after he became friends with Lin Biao (Minister of Defense). The PLA were committed to Mao's ideas and spent their time studying the Little Red Book. During the Cultural Revolution they also gave enthusiastic support to the Red Gaurds.
Lin Biao
The Minister of Defense and an ally of Mao Zedong. Mao was able to access the PLA through Lin's influence and during the Cultural Revolution his influence helped the police from interfering with the Red Guard's activities.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
Or simply known as the Cultural Revolution started in 1966 and officially ended in 1976 which was the same year as Mao Zedong's death. The Cultural Revolution's original aim was to restore China to true communism and purge anything bourgeois or Western. However it resulted in social, economic, and political persecution with the destruction of historical sites, antiques, and culture.

Background Information:

The Great leap Forward 1958-1961

From 1962-1966 there was conflict between the communists arguing which path China should take. The people in charge of making the decisions or moderates were Liu Shaoqi acting as Head of State, Deng Xiaoping as Party Secretary, Zhou Enlai as Prime Minister, and Mao Zedong acting as the Party Chairman. This meant that Mao was no longer involved in the act of governing China after the failure of his great plan the Great Leap Forward. The task of this plan was to make China into one of the world's leading industrial nations and improve agriculture at the same time. Mao also envisioned that China would overtake Britain in 15 years and America in 20-30 years. The key to achieving the plan was to reorganize the people to live in communes so that they could do a variety of tasks or what Mao called 'the tremendous energy of the masses'. However this plan was not a great success and can be called 'Chaos on a grand scale' since everything was made to quickly degrading quality. Products such as steel were made too fast making them impure and the furnaces used for smelting used to much coal causing locomotives to have no fuel. Without the locomotives the steel couldn't be transported to major industrial centers making it useless.

Production
Production
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Farming Crisis

The plan also failed in terms of agricultural development and production. Two problems were caused preventing the harvests to be good. Too much manpower was involved in the industry, in making steel, and because the officials ignored the fact that there was not enough man power for the harvest to be effective. They then made a claim that the harvest had yielded 260 million tonnes of grain causing communal eating halls to serve more food to the workers using the valuable grain.

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The result of the failure caused a famine from 1959-1961 and naturally, most party members blamed Mao for what had happened. This then caused Mao Zedong to hand over the post of Head of State to Liu Shaoqi. Around 14-20 million people died as a result of this famine.

Mao admitted in a speech in 1959:
'Coal and iron cannot walk by themselves. They need vehicles to support them. This I did not foresee. I and the Premier did not concern ourselves with this point. You could say we were ignorant of it...I am a complete outsider when it comes to economic construction. I understand nothing about industrial planning. Comrades, in 1958 and 1959, the main responsibility was mine, and you should take me to task...The chaos caused was on a grand scale, and I take responsibility. Comrades, you must all analyze your own responsibility'

Mao Zedong opposed the methods and tactics of the moderates since he thought they were making China into a capitalist country and making them forget the original aims of the Communist Party. The Socialist Education Movement was then launched in 1962 to once again inform the people of Communism.

Support for Mao

After he was taken off the post as Head of State most of his advice to urge the Party to keep in touch with the ordinary people to the moderates were largely ignored. However in 1965 he gained powerful support from Lin Biao, the Minister of Defense. Once Lin Biao was influenced by Mao he abolished all the ranks in the PLA (People's Liberation Army) making all the soldiers have equal ranking. The book 'Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong' was also given to every soldier to read and study. He now had the support of four million people in the PLA although no one in the government supported him. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was then launched with the backing of Lin Biao and the PLA to rid China of capitalists and other ideas that stood in the way of Communism. Schoolchildren were the first primary targets of the Cultural Revolution since they easy manipulate and influence. Thus, the Red Guards were formed into military groups from student participation. Schools and colleges were also shutdown for 6 months to write a new curriculum that would incorporate Communism ideas into the education of Chinese people. The Red Guards were made up largely of students so once schools were shutdown the had a lot of time to take action politically.

Lin Biao and Mao Zedong with the backing of the PLA
Lin Biao and Mao Zedong with the backing of the PLA

Lin Biao
Lin Biao


The Red Guards

The Red Guard's first campaign was called the 'Four Olds' which was about old culture, old customs, old ideas, and old habits which the Red Guards were against and expressed their criticisms by using propaganda. Propaganda was used by means such as posting hundreds of thousands of posters on walls and by marching through the streets of Beijing in gigantic parades with around a million people participating in the march. Anything that seemed 'capitalist' or 'bourgeois' was attacked by the Red Guards by means of violence. Anything that was western was also torn down so people with Western hairstyles were shaved and Western clothing was burned. As a result of this many shops containing items such as cosmetics, fur, coats, were burned down causing chaos and mayhem.
Chinese promotion poster saying: "Destroy the old world; Forge the new world."
Chinese promotion poster saying: "Destroy the old world; Forge the new world."
Mao Zedong and the Red Guards
Mao Zedong and the Red Guards


Despite all the violence and mayhem, Mao Zedong supported and encouraged all these activities and actions saying that 'To rebel is justified'. These activities were fully supported with Mao Zedong and his allies providing supplies to help their campaign such as the Red Guards were able to travel free on the Chinese railways so that their activities would go more smoothly. Orders were also given to the police to not oppose the Red Guards and the PLA, which were on Mao's side, gave the Red Guards support in every way. Law and order was nonexistent in many parts of China by 1967 and much of the country was in a state of civil war since the Guards were fighting against reactionaries causing conflicts within the country. Around 400,000 people were killed from the Red Guard's activities and hundred of thousands more were imprisoned, humiliated, tortured, and hospitalized.

Mao's Influence and Aftermath

While the Red Guards were going ahead with their violent campaign they also spread word of Mao Zedong and they were all committed to his ideas. Mao's influence was spread everywhere as the Guards put pictures, busts, and statues of him on every street and shop making his face commonly known and the people respected him. A lot of people bowed before his picture when getting up and they worshiped him like a savior and hated Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, the moderates. His book 'Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong' (also known as the 'Little Red Book') sold 740 million copies which were printed between 1966 and 1969. The Red Guards spent their time reading and memorizing sections from this book much like what the PLA did. After the Red Guards were left to rampage for a while, Mao tried to restore order to China in September 1967. Schools and colleges were reopened and Mao encouraged the young people to continue their education. The PLA were then used to disarm the millions of Red Guards and disband them. Mao also used his idea of the common people associating themselves and learning from the peasants. About 18 million men agreed and went to educate themselves with the peasants.
Monster rallys at Tienanen Square, Beijing. People are raising the Little Red Book
Monster rallys at Tienanen Square, Beijing. People are raising the Little Red Book

This is a picture of a girl dancing the loyalty dance which was to show respect to Mao Zedong.
This is a picture of a girl dancing the loyalty dance which was to show respect to Mao Zedong.


By 1969, most order had been restored and the Cultural Revolution was over however there were major consequences to China. By 1981, around 120 million people under the age of 45 could not read and write because the young people had missed so much attending parades and rally's and being Red Guards. The country's economy was also heavily affected since the country was in chaos so industrial and agricultural output were severely affected. China had once suffered 'Chaos on a grand scale' now the Cultural Revolution made China suffer the second 'chaos on a grand scale' under Mao Zedong's rule.



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Bloom's Question:

How many people were lost to the Cultural Revolution?
What was the aim of the Cultural Revolution?
Could this have happened in other countries?
What were some of the Cultural Revolution's flaws?
Is there a possible solution to make the casualties lower and keep the Red Guards in a tighter reign?
How effective were the Red Guards?

Two Essay Questions:

Compare and contrast Russia and China's First Five Year Plan
Russia's and China's first five year plan set overambitious goals for their citizens to achieve and it can be said that the both governments traded the population's happiness with production. China had also Russia's format of the Five Year Plan by focusing on heavy industry which were things such as steel and iron production. Millions of workers were transported to factories in producing backyard steel causing the lowered production in the agricultural sector. These two communist countries were very aware that they were behind other economically developed countries such as America. They believed that these five year plans would enable them to catch up with these countries economically within a time span of 20-30 years. Both Russia's and China's five year plans yielded similarities and differences.

Both China and Russia had policies to increase the production in the agricultural sector. Stalin called his policy the collectivization program while Mao created the Cooperative Farms policy. In China before the Five-Year Plan was introduced the government allowed the people to legally own little plots of their own land. Jobs in the lower-stage cooperatives were encouraged by the government and families in these cooperatives usually numbered around 30-50 families. However once the Five-Year Plan was introduced the Chinese government turned the lower-stage cooperatives into higher-stage cooperatives which were gigantic farms consisting of 200-300 families causing these farms to yield more output. The Five-Year Plan also produced change since now they no longer officially owned their own plots of land because they had to surrender the title deeds to their land, equipment, and animals to the cooperative. The only land they personally owned was a few square meters for raising animals and growing vegetables. The small ownership of land in China even though it was very small, was not similar to Russia's collectivization program which allowed no private ownership of land. Another difference between China's and Russia's agricultural policies was that Russia's collectivization program was met with a lot of resistance from the kulaks and people who owned their owned land. Millions were killed and exiled to Siberia in the process of collectivization in Russia. The resistance from the peasants caused a drastic reduction in the agricultural output later causing a famine in Russia since there was not enough food to feed the work force. In China there was not as much resistance as Russia since the Communist party was popular and the citizens looked at Mao Zedong as a hero. Therefore, they complied and accepted the change although it might not have been in every citizens best interest.

When compared the two plans are very similar yielding little contrasts since the China's First Five Year Plan was based on Russia's method of Five Year Plans. So both Russia and China focused on improving their heavy industry and economy while using this plan. They also had the same policies to increase and control the efficiency of the agricultural sector using collectivization or known as cooperative farms in China. However this is when difference is seen in China and Russia. Force and a lot of blood was shed in order to enforce collectivization in Russia which was unlike China in which the citizens complied and followed Mao's orders because they revered him as a hero. Russia's agricultural production was reduced because of the killings however China's agricultural output was reduced because there wasn't enough people maintaining the farms and light industry. Both countries however did go through famine causing the population to starve and die. A difference in Russia and China's collectivization program was that the Chinese people were allowed to have a small plot of land for growing vegetables and some stock while in Russia private ownership of land was abolished and made illegal. Although the Chinese government received the deeds of land from the peasants they still allowed a small plot of land to the peasants so it is a difference between the policies. Overall the First Five year Plan of China and Russia made several economic accomplishments however they still traded happiness for advancement and production.


The 10 Key Terms of Russia and China

China
Communism
Communism is an economic system founded by Karl Marx and its main aim is a classless society where everyone is equal, that is pure communism. Before entering communism however Socialism has to be achieved and maintained first. China has a communist form of economy however China's political system is Socialism since Communism can exist without a government.
Mao Zedong
Leader of the Communist party from 1943-1976.His brand of Communist policies and ideas are now known as Maoism. He is known as a great revolutionary, political strategist, military mastermind, and savior of China. He was born on 26th December 1893 and died 9th September 1976 at the age of 82.
The Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward was Mao Zedong's plan to modernize China and catch up with America's economy with in 20-30 years. The plan was too focused on backyard steel production causing famine because there was not enough workers in farms and fields.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
Or simply known as the Cultural Revolution started in 1966 and officially ended in 1976 which was the same year as Mao Zedong's death. The Cultural Revolution's original aim was to restore China to true communism and purge anything bourgeois or Western. However it resulted in social, economic, and political persecution with the destruction of historical sites, antiques, and culture.
The Long March
The Long March lasted 368 days crossed over 9,000 kilometers of land starting on October 1934 and ended on October 1935. The Long March was a retreat from the south to the north of China and caused great casualties for the communists however it was a turning point for the Communists in the war.
Russia
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin was the head of state of the USSR and was in office from 3rd April 1922 - 5th March 1953 acting as the First General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He also killed more citizens than Hitler or Mao Zedong which was approximately 20 million people.
First Three Five Year Plans
These plans were developed by Stalin and the State Planning Committee for extensive growth industrially and economically. The Plans brought changes to Russian society and it can be said that happiness was traded for progress. The first three plans extended from 1928-1941 when World War II began.
The Great Purge
The Great Purge, 1936-1938, was when Stalin "purged" (killed, imprisoned, tortured) members of the state whose loyalty he doubted. The Purge also spread to the army and the NKVD.
Vladimir Lenin
He was the leader of the Bolsheviks and led the October Revolution. He was born 22nd April 1870 and died 21st January 1924. Lenin was the head of the state from 1917-1924
Tsar Nicholas II
Tsar Nicholas II was the last emperor of Russia and ruled from 1894 until his abdication on 15th March 1917.


Links


Pre-Communist China and China under Communist Rule

Unit Two - The Rise of Communism

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