Mao Zedong and “The Great Leap Forward”

The name Mao Zedong only has to be mentioned and instantly your opinions on the man form, as well as the understanding of what this single man represents. Having been born into a peasant family in the province of Hunan, Mao experienced the poverty and deprivation that the country was in at the time and received a personal insight of the hardships, which many say can create a strong and iron willed human being, especially from such cultural, environmental and social issues as well as change the country had. Maybe making him into the man that he was later to become.

Mao started out as a simple teacher, which gave him at the period a power, the power to use the powers of the school he was teaching in, he had the resources of libraries, a luxury to a peasant and many folk of China, many not able to afford books or such. But its what he was reading about that shaped his history and path. Marxist theories and general literature became his focal point, after all Marxism taught a basis for working class peoples and folk to gain and earn themselves a higher place in human society, a higher form almost of humanity, perhaps known in today’s terms as socialism. They were just ideas at the time of Mao, but soon to be established by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, they started to form and create a vision for many, obviously speaking out to and catching on with Mao, which made him in turn head the Communist party causing even further unrest in a nation the was cracked from the core outwards. The country needed firmer foundations to start growth and finally heal, this could only be achieved by Kuomintang or the Communists, not both, so with different views as well as leaders horns where soon to be crossed and guns pulled on fellow Chinese people. Mao soon was to become a even bigger name with his leadership styles, with both the “Long March” of over 6000 miles just to separate himself from the Kuomintang  (KMT), dedication to a cause which he supported and later having finally won his battle with power through any means possible, formed the peoples republic of China, with the idea of getting to bring his ambition to life, a reshaped China, in the image of many communist leaders and himself who shared similar visions.

Whether the image actually helped the people themselves and forming a country that was more united, is another matter, he pushed the industrial and agricultural fields to great lengths, which was too much itself for the people, they were worn out I find after the years of warfare and lack of stability as a whole. I see this as the reason why the country stared going into a decline in both production, happiness and communism, with a food shortages due to overfarming and tiredness from over working, millions were soon to die, and become a huge toll on the country seeing Mao’s power and public image fall to lower depths than ever before, where he never really picked himself up again from. This was to be known as his “Great leap forward” plan, having failed became the plan of “The Cultural Revolution”, remoulding the cities, people and system of life, what I saw with this idea is Mao following the guidelines of the Marxist theory and philosophies that where the beginning of him earlier in his life. The idea in my eyes was one that had potential and was beyond the years and time that China was in, the country was ready  for such a rapid move towards a new future, causing anarchy and disrupt in cities and within leaders, people sought to overthrow the regime, a thing that can’t stand in the way for a Marxist/communist leader, there is only one path and nothing stands in its way, so bloodshed was going to be the end result. With Mao sending in the army to assert authority gaining him victory but deaths beyond belief.

The man who once was a great figure, soon fell down in power, down in the ladder of the Marxist order and saw the destruction of his vision both in what it caused and how it ended, only restored at the end from a path he never wanted to take, but was the only way after giving to much power to the people as he’d always wanted, was to take it apart with military. The deaths and bloodshed is all that is now remembered or brought to mind when mentioning Mao Zedong and his legacy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mao_zedong.shtml 20/09/2012

http://www.marxism.org.uk/pack/intro.html 20/09/2012

http://www.marxist.com/what-is-marxism-economics-materialism.htm 20/09/2012

http://kasamaproject.org/2010/08/28/the-red-guards-youth-storming-heaven-in-revolutionary-china/ 20/09/2012

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