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24 - What Was the Great Leap Forward?

Mao Zedong, Famine and the Cultural Revolution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2022

Johan Fourie
Affiliation:
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
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Summary

One of the most influential individuals of modern history is Mao Zedong – or Chairman Mao. He lived an extraordinary life. Influenced by the Marxist-Leninist ideology of communism while a student at Peking University, Mao was a founding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1927. He immediately led an insurrection – the Autumn Harvest Uprising – that initiated a civil war with the Kuomintang (KMT), the nationalist party that then ruled China. It was a war that would last until 1949 (although interrupted by the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945). When Mao’s CPC finally defeated the nationalists, the KMT and its followers retreated to Taiwan. This is the reason that China still does not recognise Taiwan as an independent country today.

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Chapter
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Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom
Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History
, pp. 141 - 146
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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