Describe Mao Zedong's influence during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

Quick answer:

Mao Zedong controlled the Communist Party of China from 1949 to 1976 and aspired to create a Marxist-inspired communist state. He implemented many social and economic policies that proved disadvantageous, including the Great Leap Forward. The Cultural Revolution was a violent attempt to silence his opposition and destroy any capitalist influences.

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Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China (PRC), ruling as the chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1949 until his death in 1976. Mao's policies were an attempt to follow the USSR's vision, and Mao copied the Soviets to implement a Marxist-inspired communist state. A five-year plan to revolutionize Chinese industry was drafted and then implemented in 1953 in pursuit of this goal.

The Communist Party of China was, however, determined not to emulate any of the Soviet Union's previous errors. For that reason, Mao allowed a policy of "letting a hundred flowers bloom" in an effort to encourage freedom of speech and prevent the repressive political atmosphere developed in the USSR. After facing harsh criticism from the elite and intellectuals, Mao revoked this policy and set out to squash any dissenting voices, creating an equally as repressive environment in China.

Mao's crackdown on those he deemed politically subversive culminated in the Cultural Revolution. After the failure of the Great Leap Forward, an economic policy that led to 45 million deaths from famine between 1958 and 1962, Mao was determined to revitalize his rule and repress opposition. The Cultural Revolution was aimed at purging all capitalist elements of society and punishing intellectuals, party officials, and citizens who went against Maoism. Mao's Red Guardyoung Chinese communists who carried around Mao's teachings in the "Little Red Book"killed all believed to be anti-revolutionaries. Similarly, in an effort to erase the old, many cultural institutions and religious spaces were destroyed and "Western" books, films, and music were banned.

All in all, Mao led a brutal, oppressive dictatorship that crippled the Chinese economy and persecuted all who he thought to be against his revolution.

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