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After rising to power in China in 1949 with the aid of Stalin, Mao Zedong initially applied what can best be described as a Stalinist model, striving for enormous industrial gains underpinned by massive agricultural production. These "five-year plans" were very similar to Stalin's modernization efforts in both planning and human costs. The Soviets also very supported and underwrote China's role in the Korean conflict, though Stalin was very careful to avoid dragging his country into war with the United States. The two, in short, at least during Stalin's lifetime, enjoyed relatively friendly relations, though they were never as cozy as many in the United States believed, and China was certainly never a client state of the Soviet Union. As time went on, and Stalin was disavowed by Soviet leadership after his death, Mao began to drift away from the Soviet Union. The Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s was predicated on the belief that that China might achieve communism before the Soviets, and the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s was in many ways Mao's attempt to rid his government of its Soviet-influenced members, who tended to advocate more moderate, pragmatic policies.
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