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U.S. & World History


Submitted By jkent
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An outsider’s understanding of Mao requires a feat of imagination, first to recognize the nature of his supremacy. Mao had two careers, one as rebel leader, one as an updated emperor. He had gained the power of the latter but evidently retained the self-image of the former. Because authority in China came form the top down, as was recognized even in the mass line, once the CCP had taken power its leader became sacrosanct, above all the rest of mankind, not only the object of a cult of veneration but also the acknowledge superior of everyone in the organization. Such of the CCP had been put together by Mao that it could be regarded as his creation, and if he wanted to reform it, that was his privilege. Only if we regard him as a monarch in succession to scores of emperors can we imagine why the leadership of the CPP, trained to be loyal, went along with his piecemeal assault on and destruction of them.
Mao also seems to have had in mind the idea that student youth could be mobilized to attack the evils in the establishment and purge China revisionism. It would be a form to manipulate mass movement, which his experience told him, was the engine of social change. (387)

The Cultural Revolution, like the Hundred Flowers Campaign and the Great Leap Forward, turned out to be something he had not envisioned. Allowing for many variations, the purge rate among party officials was somewhere around 60 percent. It has been estimated that 400,000 people died as a result of maltreatment. (387)

How the Cultural Revolution Unfolded
From late 1965 to the summer of 1966, tensions rose between Mao’s group and the CCP establishment. To his support from the repoliticized PLA under Lin Biao Mao added, thorugh his wife Jiang Qing, a group of radical Shanghai intellectuals who later would form his Central Cultural Revolution Group. (389)

In the second phase of the Cultural

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