Meaning of MAO ZEDONG in English

MAO ZEDONG

born Dec. 26, 1893, Shao-shan, Hunan province, China died Sept. 9, 1976, Peking Wade-Giles romanization Mao Tse-tung principal Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier, and statesman who led his nation's communist revolution. Leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1931, he was chairman (chief of state) of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1959 and chairman of the party until his death. When China emerged from a half century of revolution as the world's most populous nation and launched itself on a path of economic development and social change, Mao Zedong occupied a critical place in the story of the country's resurgence. To be sure, he did not play a dominant role throughout the whole struggle. In the early years of the Chinese Socialist Party, he was a secondary figure, though by no means a negligible one, and even after the 1940s (except perhaps during the Cultural Revolution) the crucial decisions were not his alone. Nevertheless, looking at the whole period from the foundation of the Chinese Socialist Party in 1921 to Mao's death in 1976, one can fairly regard Mao Zedong as the principal architect of the new China. born Dec. 26, 1893, Shao-shan, Hunan province, China died Sept. 9, 1976, Peking Wade-Giles romanization Mao Tse-tung principal Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier, and statesman who led his nation's communist revolution. Leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1931, he was chairman (chief of state) of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1959 and chairman of the party until his death. Attracted to Chinese reformers and the nationalistic ideas of Sun Yat-sen, Mao enlisted in the revolutionary army in Hunan during the Chinese Revolution of 1911 that overthrew the Manchu dynasty. At Peking University (1919) he participated in the May Fourth Movement of students. Disillusioned with Western liberalism, he committed himself to Marxism and in 1921 helped to found the Chinese Communist Party. From 1927 to 1934 he organized Communist guerrilla units, composed mainly of peasants, to defend his bases in the countryside against the forces of General Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party. Successful attacks by Chiang Kai-shek's armies prompted Mao in 193435 to lead the Red Army from its major base in southeastern China to northwestern China in a retreat known as the Long March. During the period 193640 he wrote his major theoretical and practical works on revolution and became the acknowledged leader of the Chinese Communists. His victory over the Nationalists at Nanking (April 1949) was decisive, and the Communist People's Republic of China was established. Mao became chairman of the Communist Party and of the republic. The failure of the Great Leap Forward (195860), his attempt to restructure the economy along communist lines, led to his retirement (1959) as chairman of the republic, but he remained chairman of the party. Mao reasserted his control in the upheaval known as the Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966 and did not officially end until 1976. Although the cult of Chairman Mao and his thought continued, Mao's final years were spent in declining health and virtual seclusion. His death in 1976 was followed by the abandonment of many of the radical socioeconomic policies he had promulgated. Additional reading A detailed biography of Mao Zedong is Ross Terrill, Mao (1980, reissued 1981). Two earlier works that remain useful for the pre-1949 period are Jerome Ch'en, Mao and the Chinese Revolution (1965, reissued 1972); and Stuart R. Schram, Mao Tse-tung, rev. ed. (1967, reprinted 1974). See also Schram's Mao Zedong, A Preliminary Reassessment (1983). The most vivid account of Mao's youth is his autobiography as recounted in 1936 in Edgar Snow, Red Star over China, rev. ed. (1968, reissued 1974). Jui Li, The Early Revolutionary Activities of Comrade Mao Tse-tung (1977; originally published in Chinese, 1957), is also an important source.Regarding Mao Zedong's thought, a substantial collection of source materials for the period before 1949 is available in Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, 5 vol. (196177). A variorum in Chinese of the collected writings of Mao to 1949 is Mao Tse-tung chi, ed. by Minoru Takeuchi, 10 vol. (197072), completed by a set of supplements, Mao Tse-tung chi pu chan (198385). Mao's talks and letters from 1956 to 1971 are found in Stuart R. Schram (ed.), Mao Tse-tung Unrehearsed (1974, U.S. title, Chairman Mao Talks to the People, 1975). See also Jerome Ch'en (ed.), Mao Papers (1970); and Mao Tsetung, A Critique of Soviet Economics (1977), trans. from Chinese by Moss Roberts. On Mao's thought in his early years, see Brantly Womack, The Foundation of Mao Zedong's Political Thought, 19171935 (1982); Frederic Wakeman, Jr., History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of Mao Tse-tung's Thought (1973, reprinted 1975), which links Mao's ideas of the May Fourth period with those of the Cultural Revolution; and Raymond F. Wylie, The Emergence of Maoism (1980). John Bryan Starr, Continuing the Revolution: The Political Thought of Mao (1979), is a comprehensive overview that accepts at face value the Chinese view of the Chairman during his lifetime. Among the older works, Arthur A. Cohen, The Communism of Mao Tse-tung (1964, reprinted 1971), stresses the Stalinist roots of Mao's thought; and James Hsiung, Ideology and Practice: The Evolution of Chinese Communism (1970), emphasizes the links between Mao's thought and Chinese tradition. See also Stuart R. Schram (ed.), The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung, rev. ed. (1969). Finally, a series of useful if somewhat premature appreciations are in Dick Wilson (ed.), Mao Tse-tung in the Scales of History (1977). Stuart Reynolds Schram

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