During the mid 19th century many upheavals and rebellions launched China into a new course of modernization. These also lead to the creation of the Chinese Communist party (CCP) which in 1949 over through the government to take all government control.
Mao was born on December 26 in 1893, in a peasent family in Shao-shan in the Hunan province. As a child he worked in the fields and attended a local primary school. He was frequetly in conflict with his strict father.
Beginning in 1911, the year that the republican forces of Sun Yat-Sen launched the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty, Mao spent allmost ten years in Chang-sha, the province capital. He was exposed to the tides of rapid political change and the new cultural movement that was sweeping the country. He served for a brief period in the republican army and then spent half a year studying alone in the provincial library.
By 1918, Mao had graduated from the Hunan First Normal School and had left for Peking, the national capital. In Peking he briefly worked as a library assistant at Peking University. Mao lacked the funds to support a regular student status and therefore mastered no foreign language, which would have enabled him to go abroad to study. Some historians arguee that it may be partly due to this relative poverty during his student years that he never identified compltely with the cosmopolitan intellectuals who dominated Chinese university life. He did, instead, establish contact with intellectual radicals who later figured in the Chinese Communist party. In 1919, Mao returned to Hunan, where he engaged in radical political activity, organizing groups and publishing a political review.
Mao and The CCP
When the Chinese Communist party was founded in Shanghai in 1921, Mao was a founding member and the leader of the Hunan branch. At this stage the party formed a united front with the Koumintang, the party of republican followers of Sun Yat-sen. Mao worked with the united front in Shanghai, Hunan and Canton, concentrating on labour organization, party organization, propagande and the Peasant Movement Training Institute. His 1927 “Report on the Peasant Muvement in Hunan” expressed his view of the revolutionary potential of the peasantry although this view was not yet phrased in a proper Marxian form.
Chiang Kai Shek
Chiang was born in Fenghua, Zhejiang Province, on October 31, 1887. After some training at the National Military Academy in Baoding , he went to Tokyo in 1907. There he attended the Military Staff College and met Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary leader opposing the reigning Qing Manchu dynasty. Chiang joined Sun’s T’ung-meng Hui (Chinese for Revolutionary Alliance), a secret organization and the forerunner of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party, or KMT). When the 1911 uprising broke out in China, Chiang returned to Shanghai, where he took part in the overthrow of the imperial government and the establishment of the Republic of China . He also participated in the subsequent Second Revolution and the campaign against the warlord Yüan Shih-k’ai, in office from 1915 to 1916. In 1923, when seeking assistance from the Soviet government, Sun sent Chiang to the USSR to study the Soviet military and social systems. In 1924 he became superintendent of Whampoa Military Academy, the training center for the KMT army. Then he was confronted with the CCP
KMT meets the CCP
In 1927, Chiang, who had gained control of the Kuomintang after the death of Sun Yat-sen, reversed the party´s policy of cooperation with the Communists. By the next year, when he had control of the Nationalist armies as well as the Nationalist government, Chiang purged all the Communists from the movement. As a result, Mao was forced to flee to the countryside. In the mountains of south China he established with Chu Teh a rural base defended by a guerrilla army. It was this almost accidental inoovation that was to make Mao the leader of the CCP. Because of their growing military power, Mao and Chu were able by 1930 to defy orders of the Soviet-controlled CCP leadership that directed them to capture cities. In the following year, despite the fact that his position in the party was weak and his policies were criticized, A Chinese soviet was founded in Juichin in the Kiangsi province, with Mao as chairman. A series of extermination campaigns by Chiang Kai-shek´s Nationalist government forced the CCP to abandon Juichin in october 1934 and to commence the Long March. At Tsun-i in Kweichow, Mao for the first time gained effective control over the CCP, ending the era of Soviet direction of party leadership. Remnants of the Communist forces reached Shensi in October 1935, after a march of 10,000 km. They then established a new party headquarters at Yen-an. Mao’s Triumph
When the Japanese invasion of 1937 forced the CCP and the Kuomintang once again to form a united front, the Communists gained legitimacy as defenders of the Chinese homeland, and Mao rose in stature as a national leader. The soundness of Mao´s self-reliance and rural guerilla strategies was proved by the CCP`s rapid growth during the Yen-an period from 40,000 members in 1937 to 1,200,000 members in 1945.Shortly after Japan surrendered, fighting broke out between Communist and Kuomintang troops over the reoccupation of Manchuria. A temporary truce was reached in 1946 through the mediation of the U.S. General George C. Marshall. Although fighting was soon resumed, Marshall continued his efforts to bring the two sides together. In August 1946 the United States tried to strengthen Marshall’s hand as an impartial mediator by suspending its military aid to the Nationalist government. Nevertheless, hostilities continued, and in January 1947, convinced of the futility of further mediation, Marshall left China. The conflict quickly blossomed into full-scale civil war, and all hope of political rapprochement disappeared. In May 1947, U.S. aid to the Kuomintang was resumed. However, the government forces were wearied by two decades of nearly continuous warfare, the leadership was rent by internal disunity, and the economy was paralyzed by spiraling inflation. In 1948 military initiative passed to the Communists, and in the summer of 1949, Nationalist resistance collapsed. The government, with the forces it could salvage, sought refuge on the island of Taiwan.
In September 1949 the Communists convened the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an ad hoc quasi-constituent body of 662 members, which adopted a set of guiding principles and an organic law for governing the country. The conference elected the Central People’s Government Council, which was to serve as the supreme policymaking organ of the state while the conference was not in session. Mao Zedong, who served as chairman of this body, was, in fact, head of state. In accordance with the powers delegated to it by the conference, the Central People’s Government Council set up the various organs of the central and local governments. At the national level, the Government Administrative Council headed by Zhou Enlai performed both the legislative and executive functions of government. Subordinate to the council were more than 30 ministries and commissions charged with the conduct of various aspects of state affairs. The new regime, called the People’s Republic of China, was officially proclaimed on October 1, 1949.