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Mao Zedong

Born on December 26, 1893, in Shaoshan, Hunan Province, China, Mao Tse-tung served as chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1959, and led the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 until his death. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" and the Cultural Revolution were ill-conceived and had disastrous consequences, but many of his goals, including stressing China's self-reliance, were generally laudable.

In July 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded China, forcing Chiang Kai-shek to flee the capital in Nanking. Chiang's forces soon lost control of the coastal regions and most of the major cities. Unable to fight a war on two fronts, Chiang reached out to the Communists for a truce and support. During this time, Mao established himself as a military leader and, with aid from Allied forces, helped fight the Japanese. With the Japanese defeat in 1945, Mao Tse-tung was able to set his sights on controlling all of China. Efforts were made—by the United States in particular—to establish a coalition government, but China slid into a bloody civil war. On October 1, 1949, in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek and his followers fled to the island of Taiwan, where they formed the Republic of China.

Mao Tse-tung was the principal Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier and statesman who led his nation's Cultural Revolution.

In the late 19th century, China was a shell of its once glorious past, led by the decrepit Qing Dynasty. Mao Tse-tung was born on December 26, 1893, in the farming community of Shaoshan, in the province of Hunan, China, to a peasant family that had tilled their three acres of land for several generations. Life was difficult for many Chinese citizens at the time, but Mao's family was better off than most. His authoritarian father, Mao Zedong, was a prosperous grain dealer, and his mother, Wen Qimei, was a nurturing parent.While Mao attended a small school in his village when he was 8 years old, he received little education. By age 13, he was working full-time in the fields, growing increasingly restless and ambitious. At the age of 14, Mao Tse-tung's father arranged a marriage for him, but he never accepted it. When he turned 17, he left home to enroll in a secondary school in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. In 1911, the Xinhua Revolution began against the monarchy, and Mao joined the Revolutionary Army and the Kuomintang, the Nationalist Party. Led by Chinese statesman Sun Yat-sen, the Kuomintang overthrew the monarchy in 1912 and founded the Republic of China. Spurred on by the promise of a new future for China and himself, Mao reveled in the political and cultural change sweeping the country.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mao_zedong.shtml



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