1. 1949-1958 The Golden Years of the Sino-Soviet Alliance
Domestic Affairs - The CCP was left with a very difficult task, they had been largely a rural force, now they were responsible for the government of all of China. They were succesful as revolutionaries, how would they be as administrators?
- employment of former KMT officials and the initial acceptance of former teachers, managers, police, etc. This occured as long as they agree to be reeducated.
- launching of campaings against prostitution and opium addiction. Poppy fields were destroyed and addicts were forced to go cold turkey. Drug dealers were taken out and shot.
- CCP membership
- 4.4 million at the end of 1949
- 5.8 million at the end of 1950
- CCP members integrated throughout society. While political power grows out of the barrell of a gun, it would be the party which would have its hand on the trigger.
- Standing Committee of the Politburo - Mao, Zhu De, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Chen Yun. Mao more a less a new emperor, initially he was more or less satisfied with veto power, but as we shall see this changed by the middle of the 1950s.
- Enforcement of discipline through periodic struggle sessions and mass campaigns. 1950 - Three Anti; 1952 - Five Anti. Aimed at rooting out those who had joined the party out of convenience. Keeping control of a rapidly growing party.
- Sense of purpose - China for the Chinese - returning Chinese
- Gaining the people's trust
- Using nationalism to legitimize their goals. Use of propaganda transmitted through the media, loudspeakers, theater, movies, radio, group meetings. Efforts to inculcate the people into communist rule. The preeminent message was the degree of exploitation that the people had suffered under previous rule - be it Qing, Warlord, nationalist, or Japanese, and how the CCP would right these wrongs.
- The land reform took the pattern established in the post WWII period. The peasants would be inspired to rise up and claim the land by cadres sent to the villages. At this time the emergence of a new pecking order emerged that sought to turn the previous system on its head. The poorest peasants were those who were to receive the greatest degree of compensation. Especially if they had a relative who had been martyred in the cause - the family had sacrificed for the emergence of socialism. This movement involved not only the famous struggle sessions (explain what a struggle session was) but also a great deal of violence - the estimates of the number of landlords murdered during this time vary greatly but the most plausible seem to be somewhere between 1 and 2m landlords murdered. (prybyla)
- Little Great Leap - 100% collectivized
- One of the objectives of land reform was to make the land public, the CCP, did not undertake the process of taking the land from the landlords to stop by merely putting another name on the lease. Their ultimate objective was to create communes, so that the land could be held, tilled and reaped, publically.
- The first step of land reform was to encourage the peasants to form mutual aid teams of 5 to 7 households, which would allow them to pool labour, tools, and draft animals. The cadres who had come to the countryside to assist in the process of land reform, were encouraging this idea, rather than simply having the peasants take individual control of private plots. Formation of mutual aid teams became prevalent nationally by 1952. Increase in the size in 1952 and 1953 to 20 to 30 households (lower level producers cooperatives), also this began the process of pooling land as well as labor and impliments. At the end of each year, after they had submitted the government procurement quota had been met, and some money had been set aside for investment, the income from the surplus was divided among the peasants based on the acreage commited to the collective and the share of the labour that each family had performed. This was only semi-socialist, as there were clear differences in rewards.
- Creation of reverse class systems in the countryside and in the cities after the five anti campaign. In the countryside, the former landlords and the formerly richer peasants were prohibited from joining the mutual aid teams. Whole panopoly of names for the various social groups
Ex. Landlords - Hidden, Bankrupt, Enlightened, Overseas Chinese, Despotic
Middle Peasants - Old, New, Well to do
Preference given to those of purer class backgrounds
- The PRC was immediatelly recognized by the Soviet Union and its sattelites, about the only Western country that recognized the PRC was Britain. Did a devils deal with the Brits in order that the latter might preserve Hong Kong. At the time, China did not wish to undertake any additional responsibilities, and was willing to allow Britain to govern the colony for the short term future. The Brits realized that Hong Kong could not exist without the consent of China, it drew almost all of its water from the mainland and was willing to recognize China in order to gain their cooperation re HK.
- The United States refused to recognize the new Chinese government, held to the policy that their was only one China and the legitimate government of China was in Taiwan. This is the origin of America’s China dilemma. In essence there was intense hositlity between China and the United States for the next 20+ years. There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether or not this hostility could have been avoided.
- Two Statements - Mao’s Lean to One Side
- Zhou Enlai’s qualifier
- Again, this time period was important, followed the collapse of the coalition governments in Eastern Europe - belief that a monolithic communism was advancing.
- Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance(1950)
-Mao/Stalin - takes train - "meat from tiger's mouth.
- Leaning to one side (1949)
- Form alliances against principle contradictions
- Soviet Aid ($300 million), Not free but Soviets extended aid to no other country between 1950 and 1952.
- Training of specialists in the Soviet Union - tens of thousands of Chinese were educated in technical skills in the Soviet Union. Including the present Prime Minister Li Peng.
- Soviet technical specialists and the transfer of over 100 complete industrial plants from the Soviet Union to China. Now, these plants were not exactly state of the art, but they would represent the backbone of Chinese industry for the next 30 years. Would also prove to be an important bargaining chip in Sino-soviet relations.
- After the UN troops drove toward China, the Chinese fearful that MacArthur would seek to extend the war into the PRC, sent troops across the border in an effort to deter the UN. Initially, this was intended as a short term incursion. The troops were withdrawn after three weeks. However, the Chinese believed that this did not adequately deter the United States, and the troops were sent back in a couple of weeks later.
- The United States, in an effort to speed up the negotiations at the Geneva peace talks, stated that if the Chinese did not become less intransigent, they would not be constrained from using any weapon in their arsenal. Clear threat of Nukes. Also threatened during the Quemoy crises of 1954 and 1958.
- Dulles’ refusal to shake Zhou Enlai’s hand at Geneva in 1954
- Soviet response was very cautious in all of the instances, the Chinese believed that they had been abandoned in a time of need.
- Took tibet in 1951 & 1952
First Five Year Plan (1952-1957)
- By 1955, the state began to further communize the land. After extensive propaganda campaigns, and testing in key points (mention how this works), the state first began by whittling away at the share of renumeration given based on the land utilized, and focused the distribution toward labour contributions. They also sought to increase the size of the producer’s cooperatives from the 20 to 30 families of earlier in the decade to 200 to 300 families. The government coerced those who were recalcitrant by witholding state credit and other facilities from them. By 1956, this transformation was well under way throughout the country and the government stopped emphasizing mutual aid teams and lower level producers cooperatives and placed the emphasis on higher level coopertatives.
- However, even beyond the ability to keep surpluses, the peasants could also generate income from their private plots, the state allowed the peasants to set aside small areas for their individual use. Supposed to be not more than 5% of the cooperatives land, the peasants could take the products from this land and sell it at private markets in the cities. Used to supplement the income that they recieved from labour contributions to the collective. Generally the plots were used to raise vegetables, as much as 20 to 30 percent of all farm income came from these private plots by the mid 1950s. Then the income used from this surplus was used to purchase feed grains so that the peasants could raise pigs and chickens, furthering the gains. Then the excrement produced by these animals could be used to fertilize the private plots furthering their vegetable yields. The productivity of these private plots greatly alarmed elements of the Chinese leadership (especially Mao) who were concerned about the potential inequalities emerging among the peasantry - as not all were prospering equally. Raised the potentially horrifying spectacle of the reemergence of an unfavorable class system in the countryside. The reemergence of a wealthy group of peasants who would be able to rise at the expense of their less aggressive neighbors.
- Reveals a key problem in agriculture in communist societies, the productivity of the private plots. Why are they so much more productive than the communal lands? The obvious answer is that the people care more about what benefits them directly, and are more willing to work for private, rather than public gains. However, to accept this conclusion is to abandon the idea of Marxism, which presumes that humankind will work for the benefit of all rather than individual gain. Yet, the produce from the private plots was also necessary to alleviate hunger in the cities. Produced a dilemma for communist leadership.
- Their Opinions.
- Trend toward nationalization that began during the five-anti campaign - it was aimed not only against potentially tainted CP members but also against any form of old and non-socialist values. The CP nationalized industry, usually with little to no compensation, and by the mid 1950s, wholly private industry had been eliminated. The only two forms of industry that were left were either state enterprises or entities that were owned jointly between the state and the community.
- In terms of Domestic development, the Chineses followed the Soviet model. Little choice, it was the only existing model of Communist development. Rather ironic in that it was only after the Chinese ignored the Soviets advice conerning revolution that the CCP began to gain strength and move toward their objectives.
- Stalinist Model of Economic Development
- Draws Resources From the Countryside to fuel the expansion of heavy industry
- Creation of an industrial proletariat
- Abscence of investment in Ag (8% of total), Consumption
- Consequences as Seen By Mao
- Unequal development
- Emergence of Revisionism
- Too much capital as opposed to Human investment
- Ideological differences begin to enter Sino-Soviet relations
- Chinese pissed that Mao not considered senior theorist in the wake of Stalin's death. Origins of hostility between Mao and Khrushchev.
- Also, miffed about K’s secret speech in 1956, where he criticized Stalin’s cult of personality - clear ramifications for Mao - and his promotion of the idea of peaceful coexitence, also had ramifications for the PRC.
100 Flowers - April/June 1957
- In terms of intellectual education, at least early in the days of the PRC there was a great deal of optimism about the PRC. Most of the Chinese intellectuals had risen to their position in pre-reolutionary China due to the abilities of their families to pay for their education. IE they were from questionable class backgrounds. However, they embraced the new China, it was able to clean up many of the most visible inequities of pre-revolutionary China - hookers, opium. Also, the redistribution of land to the peasants was something that was seen as inevitable if China was to advance.
- Reeducation in the early years.
- Five Antis - wide spread participation. Either out of sincerity or out of a desire to not see themselves prosecuted.
- Mao - “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend”. Encouragement of criticism from the intellectuals. Mao assumed that they would echo his criticisms about the FFYP and would also criticize abuses by lower rank party members - corruption, showing of capitalist tendancies, etc.
- However, the intellectuals, after being prodded by Mao to speak out, had broader targets. Many criticized the rule of the party as a whole, the continuation of poverty, the atmosphere that stifled their creativity, etc. Some even went so far as to call for the need for democracy in China, so that the people might have more of a direct ability to choose in the matters that affect their lives. This was unacceptible to the CCP leadership and Mao. He had been planning on using this as a springboard to a new economic direction, instead the intellectuals were criticizing the sacrosanct topic of party rule.
- This led to the initiation of the Anti-Rightist Campaign in the summer of 1957. The intellectuals were branded as allies of Chiang Kai-shek who wished to destroy communism. Hundred Flowers was now cast as an effort by the party to smoke the rightists out of their nests. The party line was that now that the shackles had been removed, they had shown their true anti-revolutionary colors.
- By the end of the year, 300,000 of the intelllectuals had been branded ‘rightists’ and either been imprisoned or sent down to the countryside to learn from the peasants.
- Preconditions for the Great Leap Forward.
Great Leap Forward (1958-59)
- There were concerns throughout the CCP as to the imbalances in growth in the First Five Year Plan. While industrial growth had advanced at the pace of 18.7% a year, agricultural growth had only increased by 3.8% per year. Population increases cut the average increase in grain consumption to 3%.
- The countryside was simply not capable of producing the sort of surpluses required by the Stalinist model of industrialization.
- Two proposed Solutions: The central planners - such as Zhou Enlai and Chen Yun favored the offering of increased material incentives to the peasantry along with an increased access to consumer goods. They also wanted to improve the access of the peasants to fertilizer and agricultural machinery. If the production of these goods, slowed overall industrial growth so be it, China would still be able to achieve steady gains.
- Mao, supported by Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi, favored a more dramatic approach. He believed that an increase in moral incentives and campaigns of mass mobilization would be sufficient to inspire the masses to reach new heights. China’s woes would be solved by a spontaneous enlivening of the whole nation.
- Overriding faith in human will based on the experiences of the CCP during the Long March and the succeeding wars.
- Also favored a decentralization of decision making, decline in the influence of the economic planners and an increase in the influence of local cadres. Believed that the planners were overly cautious and that once the human will of the masses was unshackeled, the peasantry would prove to be capable of enormous change.
- Proper motivation, humans can achieve anything.
- Naturally Mao’s point carried the day, the Great Leap Forward Policy was announced in 1958, it would enable China to make the Great Leap to pure communism.
- Mass Mobilizations
Ex. Irrigation - 100 million peasants had allegedly opened up 7.8 million hectares of land by end of 1958.
This was accompanied by a shift of industry from the cities to the countryside, peasants could learn from the development of industry. Problem arose of how do you replace the peasants taken for mass campaigns and industrial labour in the fields. Answer - women work the fields. How do you then replace the household tasks preformed by the women? You centralize the tasks of cooking, child rearing etc. This led to an increase in the size of the Communes, from the higher producers cooperatives containing 200-300 families to the Communes of 3-4000 families.
- Initially Mao’s agricultural policies seemed to be vindicated. In 1958, promises of a fine harvest led to the abolishing of private plots, and euphoria among the leadership.
- However, this proved to be short lived, many of the industrial enterprised proved to be dismal failures (backyard furnaces), and subsequent harvest failed to yield any improvement.
- Trend among rural cadres to exaggerate the harvests to avoid the displeasure of the centre. This led the centre to have no idea about the amount of grain actually availible. Series of natural disasters in 1959. Led to a tremendous famine in the countryside - 20 to 30 million extra deaths between 1959 and 1962. Peasants were reduced to eating corn cobs, tree barks, apricot pits and virtually anything else that they could find.
- Policy abandoned in 1959, when Mao stepped down as the head of state. Lushan Plenum and Peng Dehuai - Peng had offered a private letter to Mao detailing his skepticism about the GLF and tried to tell the emperor that he had no clothes on. Mao read the letter in public and the Minister of Defense was purged.
- Challenge to the Soviets
- Need Not Worry - Worst Famine in a century
- Soviet Pullout - Note other reasons - Split end monolithic communism
- More or less the formal end of the Sino-Soviet alliance
Foreign Affairs:The Sino-Soviet Split
The Breaking of the Alliance 1958-60
The years of 1958-60 saw the end of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the two went from close, though suspicious allies in 1950 to openly critical of each other by the early 1960s.
Reasons for the End
1. Ideological - The Great Leap Forward
- As mentioned earlier, Mao was very dissatisfied with the Soviet model of economic development, he believed that it essentially led to the imposition of state capitalism - the cadres and managers had take on the role of a new elite. He also contended that in order for communism to succeed, that the political nature of humankind had to be changed.
- Decentralization of Decision Making,ideology, human will, mass mobilizations
- Failure Based on bizarre Economic Programs - Backyard Furnaces
- Mass Communizations
- Challenge to the Soviets
- Need Not Worry - Worst Famine in a century
- Soviet Pullout - Note other reasons - Split end monolithic communism
- More or less the formal end of the Sino-Soviet alliance
2. Geographic - Unresolved border problems
- Nuclear Weapons - The Soviets had agreed to provide the Chinese with a nuclear weapon in 1957 and the arrangement was scuttled by Khrushchev prior to meeting Eisenhower in 1958.
- Soviets were terrified of being trapped into a conflict with the United States over something as insignificant as Taiwan. Also, Mao had demonstrated a rather cavalier attitude to nuclear weapons.
"The Atom bomb is a paper tiger with which the American reactionaries try to terrify the people. It looks terrible, but in fact is not. Of course the atom bomb is a weapon of annihilation; but the outcome of a war is decided by people and not by one or two new weapons."
- Argument that after WWI, Russia went socialist, WWII China and Eastern Europe, another world war would lead to the world wide triumph of socialism. Dismissive of the casualties.
-The United States made no effort to disguise the possibility that it might employ nuclear weapons against the PRC if the ceasefire negotiations to end the Korean War failed to produce a result that they viewed as acceptable. Eisenhower made it quite clear that the United States would not be dissuaded from considering using every weapon in its arsenal if the Chinese did not adopt a less intransigent negotiating stance. The United States also threatened to use nuclear weapons during the Taiwan Straits crises of 1954-55 and 1958. While it may be argued that these were threats that the United States would have hesitated to carry out, the Chinese could not afford to be so sanguine. Their soil was being threatened by a class of weapons that they did not possess, in effect they were the recipient of a threat that they could not match. The results of the 1958 incident also left China concerned about the credibility of extended deterrence provided by the Soviet Union. The Soviet response to the American threat was rather ambiguous, they did not equivocally state that they would enter the conflict even if China was directly attacked. The Soviets only offered unconditional support after the crisis had passed and the issue was all but resolved. The Chinese were not mollified by the Soviet response, in fact it increased their determination to create a nuclear force not subject to Soviet control. This was an effort to remove the ability of the United States to issue compellent threats to China.
The Chinese began their efforts to create a nuclear force in the wake of the first Quemoy crisis in 1955. The Politburo appointed a three member committee to preside over policy making for the nuclear weapons program, these three men were Bo Yibo, Chen Yun and Nie Rongzhen. The stature of these men indicated the importance of this program to the Chinese Communist Party. They secured Soviet support for this venture through the training of Chinese scientists in the Soviet Union, the efforts of Soviet technicians in China, and the transfer of blueprints and a Soviet prototype to the PRC.
In the latter half of the 1950's, Mao began to express increasing confidence in the military strength of the Soviet Union and in the superiority of its nuclear force to that possessed by the United States. After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Mao made his famous 'East Wind' speech:
I believe that it is characteristic of the situation today that the East Wind is prevailing over the West Wind. That is to say, the forces of socialism have become overwhelmingly superior to the forces of imperialism.
Khrushchev was not as confident in the overwhelming superiority of the Soviet military. He did not believe that the Soviet Union now had the power to issue compellent threats to the United States, rather that this rough parity would ensure that war between the two states was no longer inevitable.
The creation and expansion of the Soviet nuclear force led to disagreements between Mao and Khrushchev as to how this force could best be employed. At the 20th CPSU congress, Khrushchev put forth the policy of 'peaceful coexistence'; and the attendant idea that the struggle for the hearts and minds of the emerging world could be waged on a socio-economic rather than a military level. Mao believed that the Soviets were too reticent in the employment of their military power, that the launch of Sputnik and the relevant inter-continental capability of Soviet nuclear weapons should be used to further the goals of world revolution. Specifically, to further the revolutionary goal of the Chinese to conquer Taiwan.
This dispute over the policy of peaceful co-existence was one of the primary causes of the Sino-Soviet split, and led the Chinese to further question the resolve of the Soviet Union. This caused them to intensify their efforts to create an independent nuclear force.
While the Soviets had promised to deliver a prototype atomic weapon to the PRC in 1955, by the late 1950's Khrushchev began to have second thoughts about the wisdom of this decision (assuming that he intended to deliver the weapon in the first place). Mao's seemingly flippant attitude to the consequences of war, and the brazen policies of the CCP led the Soviets to question whether they wished to supply China with the capability to embroil them in a nuclear exchange with the United States. Khrushchev realized that an ally with a nascent nuclear capability and limited signs of restraint might initiate a conflict that would force the Soviets to either become involved or witness a nuclear attack on China.
This led to the Soviet decision, made in early 1958, not to supply China with further nuclear assistance. At this time the prototype was actually packed and ready for shipment, and the Chinese had prepared a room for the exhibition of the model. Initially the Soviets contended that the room was not secure and the shipment would have to be delayed. Finally, in 1959, the CCP's Central Committee received a letter from the corresponding body in the CPSU stating that due to the negotiations taking place in Geneva (the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty) that Moscow would be unable to supply them with blueprints, technical data, or the prototype itself.
The Chinese were outraged by this decision and saw this as a clear example of Moscow placing Soviet-American relations over obligations to an ally. This was interpreted as being the cost of Khrushchev's policy of peaceful co-existence, and Mao later claimed that this policy was the first signs of Soviet revisionism.
- Natural Disasters
- By 1960, the Great Leap Forward was over, all except for Mao judged the movement to be a colossal failure. Mao was convinced that it was simply the failings of the local cadres that led to the program’s lack of success. The people had not been properly motivated - again, he was living in an unreal world, where the truth seldom penetrated.
- The problem that confronted the country was how do they begin to repair the damage of the GLF. The answer was a return to the planned economy of the first five year plan. Now, we have, and will continue to hear of the shortcomings of a planned economy, but it is nirvana when compared to the chaos of Mao’s Great Leap Forward.
- Future growth was to be based on Pragmatism, there were not going to be any great leaps or grand economic schemes, rather the emphasis was on steady economic growth.
- In terms of agriculture, Chen Yun - the early opponent of the GLF (mention his passing this summer and how he related to Deng)-
made a trip to the countryside in the summer of 1961 and was horrified by the conditions he encountered. In a visit to a commune near Shanghai he found peasants, who should have been prospering due to their proximity to the market, instead facing dire straits. He argued that agricultural policy must be based on best meeting their needs - therefore, the material incentives for the farmers were reintroduced, the private plots (now 6% of the total land) were restored, the size of the communes was to be reduced to 20 to 30 families, and investment in agriculture was to be increased. In short, the new agricultural policy was intended to be more pragmatic, and less dependent on the ideological motivations of Mao. This trend toward more tangible rewards for effort also played on the growing cynicism in the countryside re the Communist Party. The peasants had been asked to make enormous sacrifices during the GLF, and the results were catastrophic. This led to a serious questioning of the party. However, it is useful to mention that Mao was never publicly blamed for the mistakes of the GLF. He represented an important symbol for the revolution and one that could not be tarnished.
Chen’s visit to the countryside also revealed an unsuspected level of corruption and abuse by local officials. In rural China, the local officials had often utilized the increased freedom that they had been granted to line their own pockets and to protect those that they favored from the harshest conditions of the famine. In order to meet the quotas, they confiscated grain from the weakest of the peasants or those who were not in their favor. Widespread abuses were reported where the peasants gambled, or even engaged in the sale of local girls as “wives” to other cadres or peasants in other villages. At that time the going rate for a 14 year old girl was 750 yuan and on occasion a girl was “married” 13 times.
There were two schools of thought as to how best handle this corruption in the countryside. Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, and Chen Yun all believed that the correction of these matters was best achieved by internal means. The imposition of tighter controls on the local officials and the sending down of cadres from the centre as investigators was seen as the best manner in which to combat these local abuses.
On the other hand, Mao believed that the castigation of the local leaders should be a public matter and should be undertaken by the people themselves. There was also a dispute over the causes of these problems, Li, et al, believed that they stemmed from a lack of control by the centre, while Mao believed that they were a natural result of a bureaucratized system that promoted the CCP cadres as a new elite. Mao believed that continuous revolution was necessary to remove those who had adopted pretentions of the elite, and were displaying capitalist tendencies. Explain Mao’s ideas of permanent revolution and how this would come to be in the PRC.
This got to the heart of Mao’s differences with the planners such as Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. He believed that their adherence to the Soviet model would basically be the reintroduction of capitalism under another name.
Mao's Dissatisfaction with the Soviet Model
1. Education - Red vs. Expert
2. Policy Planning - Mass Line
3. Emergence of new elites
4. Resource Allocation
5. Economic Growth - human will vs economic planning
6. Permanent Revolution
Of course, there were practical considerations involved as well, Mao had seen his power base erode steadily since the failure of the GLF. He had essentially retired from day to day decision making and was chafing at his newfound inactivity. Further, the reimposition of the planned economy clashed with his vision of the revolution.
- Mao is treated "like a dead uncle"
- He would go back to the countryside and form a new Red Army
- Essentially, this is what happened during the cultural revolution. While it was a power struggle between Mao and the other leaders of the CCP, this was not berift of issues, at stake was the future direction of policy in China.
The GPCR (1966-76)
Mao’s Cult of Personality
- In a godless society, where do you find your deities? In China the answer had been the promotion of Mao as the father of the revolution and as the infallible leader who would guide the transformation of China. “The Great Helmsman”.
- The Maoist “Cult of Personality” had been underway since the Revolution, but the campaign was intensified in the 1960s. It began in the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), where Peng Dehuai’s successor as Minister of Defense - Lin Biao required his charges to know and be able to apply the thoughts of Mao.
- In 1963, Lin oversaw the publication of a series of excerpts and adages taken from the many speeches and articles Mao had written. The result was a small red pocketbook, “Quotations From the Works of Chairman Mao” or Mao’s little red book. The selections emphasized self-sacrifice, self-reliance, and the retention of revolutionary zeal.
- The other members of the CCP leadership did not at first appreciate the ramifications of this development. First, the document was studied by the thousands of officers in the PLA, later this would spread to the millions of soldiers. All of whom were finding that their army training largely consisted of studying Mao’s works.
- Ongoing debate between people’s war and professional military training.
- Also, the position of the PLA within Chinese society was raised by Mao’s idea that society should “learn from the army”. Represented his key power base for the forthcoming struggle with Lin Biao and Deng Xiaoping.
- Army still untainted by scandal, success in Korea and place in society.
- Cult also drew on the need for heroes by the Chinese. Failings of the preceding century.
- Lin forged alliances within the internal security forces - Kang Sheng and with Mao’s wife - Jiang Qing. All of the above felt that China’s culture, was rife with criticism of the party and of Chairman Mao.
- Ancient tradition in China for criticism to exist in the arts and literature, it would be veiled in allegory or illusion to make points that no one could dare express openly. Trio believed that this was being practiced in the early to mid 1960s.
- Jiang Qing, Mao’s third wife, was basically ignored by the Chairman at this time. She had little to do, and as a former actress, considered herself to be the guardian of Chinese culture. Vision that the three had was of a culture that was untainted by capitalism or traditional values - they sought to promote the peasant and the worker as ideals. All of the culture that they promoted contained messages, re the heroism of the masses, and the general evil of the landlords, etc. Usual message would involve an evil landlord, a noble peasant who would be martyred at some point in the exercise and the eventual triumph of the people.
- First victim that Jiang, Lin and Kang Sheng targetted was a historian, playwright, and deputy mayor of Beijing named Wu Han. Wu had been invited by Mao in the 1950s to write about a Ming Dynasty official named Hai Rui who fought for the economic rights of the people against shortsighted and conservative officials. However, the piece that Wu chose centered on how Hai Rui, while loyal to his emperor, criticized policies that squandered the resources of the country while the people were starving. This was a less than subtle reference to the case of Peng Dehuai. By the mid 1960s this had developed into a play that was being staged in Beijing.
- By November of 1965, Mao who was disgusted with his role in the government, had withrawn to Shanghai. There a party functionary named Yao Wenyuan, published a scathing attack on “The Dismissal of Hai Rui”, this was picked up by the Beijing Press and this soon became a national debate among the CCP leaders. Were they for or against Hai Rui, and therefore were they for or against Mao and Lin Biao?
- Battle lines were drawn, but what was it all about.
1. Vision for China - Mao believed that the traditional elements of Chinese Culture must be eradicated. He advocated permanent revolution partly as a means of destroying the old confucian values. Mao believed that the revolution was being derailed, the party bureaucrats “were taking the capitalist road” even as they were trumpeting the cause of socialism. Periodic revolution would be necessary to cleanse the revolution of the tendency toward stagnation. Mao believed that the Chinese people were in a historic position to realize communism and that this opportunity was being frittered away by the overly bureaucratized party.
- Attempt to change human nature.
As far as the other members of the party were concerned, for Jiang Qing and Lin Biao this provided an opportunity to increase their power - for Jiang Qing this was seen as a chance to build a power base independent of Mao. She could use her role as a former actress to become China’s cultural watchdog.
For Lin Biao, this was an effort to craft out his position as Mao’s successor, and the Army would become an important vehicle. The PLA, as the “mainstay and hope of the Chinese people and of the revolutionary people of the world”. Both he and Jiang Qing followed the Marxist idea of the superstructure and of cultural hegemony by the intelligentsia (explain these concepts). Briefly stated, Lin Biao’s message was that “if the proletariat does not occupy the positions in the literature and the arts, the bourgeosie certainly will”. Glorification of the workers and the peasants.
2. Factional Politics - Mao as the forgotten leader. Mao learned the ancient lesson of politics, if you do not believe that you can win a dispute at one level, then expand the scope of the conflict. Mao realized that the party leadership was no longer in his corner, so it was necessary to involve the people of China, who had been raised to revere him.
Jiang Qing and her acolytes as essentially irrelevant in the formation of policy. Jiang Qing had the ability to terrify lower level officials and her personal attendants, her opinions were usually ignored by both Mao and the Senior leaders. The GPCR would enable her to become influential in national policy. Even beyond this, and indicative of the direction that the GPCR would take, was personal animosity - Jiang Qing felt that the other leaders wives, especially Liu Shaoqi’s wife, did not treat her with adequate respect, and they would be made to pay for these mistakes.
Events of the GPCR
The Cultural Revolution began as an attack on traditional Chinese culture and the retention of bourgeoise values. Attemt to create a new culture for a new China. However, this was not confined to the arts. Clearly the movement had political ramifications, at its essence it was an effort by Mao to reassert himself as the primary determinant of Chinese policy. Mao exhorted the Chinese to challenge authority at all levels - especially the party and its leaders. Of course, there was always one person above the challenge and that was Mao.
Options for the party cadres were rather stark, either face the attacks or attempt to mitigate the damage by proving their loyalty to Mao and his thought. Castigate others. This spread throughout society, if you did not continually trumpet Mao’s vision and behave in an appropriate manner, you were suspect.
- The footsoldiers of the GPCR were the students, groups were organized through the spring and early summer of 1966 by the party activists loyal to Jiang Qing. There were several groups of students who were motivated to take up Mao’s challenge of challenging authority at all levels.
1. Students who were related to a former Guomindang official, landlord, or capitalist. These students found their career paths blocked by the tainted class backgrounds. They had every incentive to prove their loyalty to the Maoist cause.
2. Those students who had been sent down to the countryside during the periodic campaigns to reduce urban overpopulation, they were very unhappy with the cadres that had carried out these orders and resentful of those who had been allowed to stay.
3. The students who had been denied admission to the top schools within the cities, that had basically become the purview of children of the elites.
4. Ambitious young party members who believed that it was time to ease out the old guard to allow for their advancement.
- Lest we forget the targets of their attacks, who were anxious to prove their devotion to the cause.
- In July of 1966, Mao went for a swim in the Yangzi river to prove his vigor, the Chinese press had Mao cutting through the water like a speedboat. Following his dip, Mao returned to Beijing where he addressed a mass of students - by this time they had been formed into “Red Guard” units - Mao called them the heirs of the revolution and stated that it was their duty to carry on the struggle.This led to chaos, at least until 1968.
- During this time there was a deification of Mao - earlier mistakes blamed on others - the process was intensified during GPCR. Every utterance of Mao was seen to have some special significance, and it was presumed that his writings had relevance for all aspects of life. Portraits of Mao were examined for possible hidden meanings and the students competed to see who could exhibit the greatest degree of loyalty.
- The students, with the support of the army, were instructed to challenge Authority at all levels. To facilitate this end all of the schools and the Universities had been closed for the staging of revolutionary struggle, the country was effectively paralyzed.
- People with ties to the West
- Expert vs. Red
- Status Represented Capitalism to Mao
- scientists, doctors, teachers
- Mao and necessity of permanent revolution - remove those who would take the capitalist road - capitalist roaders and revisionists
- Yet, under the surface this was an effort by Mao to retake unqualified power - others sought to use his name to gain power in their own right - Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four
- Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping were key targets. The January power seizure of 1967, the Red Guards were told that “everything that does not fit the socialist system and proletarian dictatorship should be attacked.” Some party leaders attempted to use the Red Guards to eliminate rivals, others were simply swept aside.
- By the end of 1968, the army had been called in to restore order. The Red Guard leaders were sent down to the countryside to learn from the peasants, and Mao began to curtail the party puges by 1970.
- However, by this time his objectives had been met. All of his key rivals for leadership had been removed from power, Liu Shaoqi died in 1969 and Deng Xiaoping was off on a collective farm. Mao now feared that Lin Biao had accumulated too much power and turned his sights on him.
- Annointed Successor - 1968, removed from his position of Chairman of the State (post abolished) in 1970.
- Lin died in a plane crash in Manchuria in September of 1971, supposedly fleeing China after an aborted coup attempt.
- collateral damage
- personal insults
- Spirit of the GPCR lasted until Mao croaked in 1976.
Post Cultural Revolution (1976-1979)
- Power struggle when it became evident that Mao was in poor health.
- Radicals - Gang of Four
- Moderates - Zhou Enlai, Deng
- Compromise candidate of Hua Guofeng
- Deng reemerged in 1978 - Advocated the 4 modernizations
- Agriculture, Industry, Science and Technology, Military
- Originally proposed by Zhou Enlai
- Triunph of Pragmatism - Black Cats
- Effects of GPCR - a population terribly tired of political struggle and more interested in economic gain.
- Gang of Four was removed and tried, they were held as the scapegoats for the GPCR, Mao was not to be implicated.