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Mao Tse-tung was the principal Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier and statesman who led his nation's Cultural Revolution.
Mao Tse Tung ruled a quarter of the world's population for twenty five years and made China one of the most powerful countries in the world. But behind the scenes he was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese people.
While China was caught up in the proletariat Cultural Revolution, Mao Tse Tung was creating this controversy in order to gain control over the country.
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Born on December 26, 1893, in Shaoshan, Hunan Province, China, Mao Tse-tung served as chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1959, and led the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" and the Cultural Revolution were ill-conceived and had disastrous consequences, but many of his goals, including stressing China's self-reliance, were generally laudable.
In the late 19th century, China was a shell of its once glorious past, led by the decrepit Qing Dynasty. Mao Tse-tung was born on December 26, 1893, in the farming community of Shaoshan, in the province of Hunan, China, to a peasant family that had tilled their three acres of land for several generations. Life was difficult for many Chinese citizens at the time, but Mao's family was better off than most. His authoritarian father, Mao Zedong, was a prosperous grain dealer, and his mother, Wen Qimei, was a nurturing parent.
While Mao attended a small school in his village when he was 8 years old, he received little education. By age 13, he was working full-time in the fields, growing increasingly restless and ambitious.
At the age of 14, Mao Tse-tung's father arranged a marriage for him, but he never accepted it. When he turned 17, he left home to enroll in a secondary school in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. In 1911, the Xinhua Revolution began against the monarchy, and Mao joined the Revolutionary Army and the Kuomintang, the Nationalist Party. Led by Chinese statesman Sun Yat-sen, the Kuomintang overthrew the monarchy in 1912 and founded the Republic of China. Spurred on by the promise of a new future for China and himself, Mao reveled in the political and cultural change sweeping the country.
In 1918, Mao Tse-tung graduated from the Hunan First Normal School, becoming a certified teacher. That same year, his mother died, and he had no desire to return home. He traveled to Beijing, but was unsuccessful in finding a job. He finally found a position as a librarian assistant at Beijing University and attended a few classes. At about this time, he heard of the successful Russian Revolution, which established the communist Soviet Union. In 1921, he became one of the inaugural members of the Chinese Communist Party.
In 1923, Chinese leader Sun Yat-sen began a policy of active cooperation with the Chinese Communists, who had grown in strength and number. Mao Tse-tung had supported both the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, but over the next few years, he adopted Leninist ideas and believed that appealing to the farming peasants was the key to establishing communism in Asia. He rose up through the ranks of the party as a delegate assemblyman and then executive to the Shanghai branch of the party.
In March 1925, Chinese President Sun Yat-sen died, and his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, became the chairman of the Kuomintang. Unlike Sun Yat-sen, Chiang was more conservative and traditional.
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