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What role did Maoism play in the Chinese Civil War, the Great Leap forward, and the Cultural Revolution?

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Although Maoism is derived from Marxism and remained fairly close to it in many respects, Mao's focus was on the peasantry and escape from China's feudal past rather than the proletariat and collective ownership of the means of production. The Great Leap Forward was driven by agricultural reform, the aim being to abolish private ownership of land and allow (or force) every peasant to join an agricultural collective. This was achieved by 1958. The collectivization of farming was accompanied by Maoist social policies, as well as banning all religious ceremonies and such feudal cultural practices as foot-binding.

The Cultural Revolution was even more focused on Maoist ideology than the Great Leap Forward. Its aim was to banish the final remaining elements of feudalism, capitalism, and traditional religion and philosophy from China, leaving Maoism without competition as the dominant ideology. Mao identified five types of people who opposed his ideology: landlords, rich farmers, counter-revolutionaries, conservatives, and so-called "bad elements." Those who belonged, or were accused of belonging, to any of these "Five Black Categories" were persecuted, and millions of them were killed.

Unlike the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Civil War is an ill-defined period. Many historians consider that it occurred intermittently between 1927 and 1949, but others argue that it lasted longer or even that it is still going on, given the lack of resolution between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. It was around 1927 that Mao began to differentiate his ideas from mainstream Marxism, so the entire development of Maoism may be said to fall within the Civil War period, but the ideology had little or no influence on the way in which the war was actually fought.

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