According to the documentary Declassified: The Mao Zedong Years the outlook of General Secretary Mao Zedong was fundamentally different with the rest of the leadership in the Chinese Communist Party. Mao struggled against people who were much more pragmatic than him, but who did not have such an extreme vision of collectivization of the agriculture. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party argued how to improve economic of the country. From 1920s to 1949, there was no leader similar to Mao in China. His military victory in revolution was breathtaking and successful. Mao had become the poll star of the Chinese revolution and charismatic leader. Unlike his opponents, Mao had the most radical views on economic development based on collectivization of everything and no private property at all. He managed to unified the country genuinely. He transformed Marxist teaching, and organized the revolution of peasants instead of workers. Contrast to his opposition, Mao fought against the Japanese invasion and occupation of China. After that, he established the Communist Revolution in China. Mao’s opposition, including Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, followed a moderate political course and relied on Europe. Mao considered these actions as that could possibly lead to revolution in the country.
Contrast to the opposition, Mao linked up with the Soviet Union. He did everything in Soviet style, including central planning, governmental ownership of the means of production, single party control. In 1962, Great Leap Forward was implemented which required to stop farming and force steel production. The Great Leap Forward led to thousands of deaths, economic collapse, and poverty. The documentary highlights that “it was possibly the worst farming the history of humankind” (Declassified: The Mao Zedong Years, 7:15).
The Cultural Revolution was aimed at saving and establishing the ideology of Communism and getting rid of capitalist values. That supposed to be the open agenda of the revolution. However, in the 1960s, Mao Zedong actually lost his power. He had numerous opponents who did not agree with his economic and political course. The Great Leap Forward and its tragic results weakened Mao’s political position. Thus, the revolution was necessary to reestablish his power. That was the secret agenda of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
“Madame” Mao or Jiang Qing was Mao’s fourth wife and one of the most influential political leaders during the Cultural Revolution in China. Her role included being an emissary for her husband, leading the propaganda department during the revolutions, made the Chinese art and culture serve for Mao’s dominance. She was the leader of media and propaganda in Communist China. Mao needed a particular help of one person, his wife. However, Mao neglected for years after their marriage and spent decades very ill because of cancer (Declassified: The Mao Zedong Years, 10:57). During the Cultural Revolution, Madame Mao was the leader of the Central Cultural Revolution Group. She directed everything that was connected with art and culture at that time.
Despite political and economic failures, despotic outlook, Mao was a beloved leader for the Chinese. Unified China, drawback of Chiang Kai-shek, restored country to a certain dignified position in the world – these were the reasons why people love him.
The documentary appears to be interesting for me, because it demonstrates a lot of controversial and provocative facts I have not found before. The most particular were the facts that covered the foreign policy and relationships of China with other countries. For example, in the 1960s, Mao told Khruschev to provoke the Americans into military actions. He promised to give the USSR as many divisions as they needed to crush the USA. In their turn, the CIA trained Tibetanm guerillas at a covert mountain base in Colorado for secret operations against China. In 1965, the Cia planned to extend the American bombing campaign of North Vietnam into mainland China. These facts confirm shaky political status of totalitarian regimes and possibly terrific results of their foreign policy.
- Declassified: The Mao Zedong Years. (2012). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AHz9sRNZ2E