AS AQA Impact of Chairman Mao - Consolidation of Power 1949-53

Notes I've made from the AQA History book on The Impact of Chairman Mao: China, 1946-76

This section is on Mao's Consolidation of Power, 1949-53

Hope this helps :)

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Mao and the Party
1 October 1949, Mao announced the beginning of the People's Republic of China
The Ideology and Leadership of Mao Zedong
Mao and Marxism
1949 -> Mao established leader of Communist Party
Early leaders were revolutionaries trained in Soviet Union, '28 Bolsheviks'. So believed revolution
came from the workers in the factories.
Mao argued how workers only made 1%, not majority! SO.. believed it was the peasants who could
lead a revolution. Rural areas ensured Communist survival & helped Mao overcome power struggle.
As Chairman, Mao's `Mao Zedong Thought' was the official doctrine of the CPC
o Based on Marxism but adapted to China's situation.
o Ideas were: self-reliance, continuing revolution, class struggle, learning from the
people and mass mobilisation.
Mao believed his role was to lead and keep ideology alive, not day-to-day policies which he
delegated to officials.
He purged on those who didn't believed. AND SOO, sought to control the Party and Gov'
Mao shared nationalist belief that China needed to be restored as powerful and independent nation.
[affected by China's humiliation by West and Japan.] He didn't want to rely on foreign nations. [E.g SovU]
Revolution suppose to liberate China from foreign control and free people from feudal landlords.
Continuing Revolution
There were still landlords and bourgeoisie in control, and Mao wanted people to be violence to
ensure they are committed to the revolution.
Mao believed it essential for the young generation to be involved in revolutionary struggle.
o To prevent threat of counter-rev and continue their support for the regime.
Mao made revolution priority, despite officials suggesting stabilising the economy should be 1st aim.
Class Struggle
Revolution [to Mao] = a class struggle
Mao didn't want his government to exploit the people of China like to previous one. Officials would
get detached from the people when enjoying rewards and benefits of ranks.
SO -> Mao subjected officials to `struggle meetings', where:
Faced public criticism and forced to make self-criticism.
Had to undergo re-education and work in the fields with peasants.
Learning from the People
Mao believed the party should listen to people's concerns and learn from them, masses should also
discuss policies. Ensuring the party is `checked' by the people so didn't become unjust or dictatorial.
[Unlike the Soviet Union, issuing orders and not listening to the people]
Mass Mobilisation
The Consolidation of Power [1949-1953]Page 1

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Mao argued mass mobilisation into mass campaigns would achieve specific objectives, believing once
China's millions were mobilised, they could achieve anything, building dams, cultivation areas.
Mao believed -> experts weren't needed for economic advance
People didn't need extra money to be persuade to work hard once convinced on Socialism
HOWEVER -> not ever leading figure agreed.
Disagreement in 1949, hard for people to accept Mao's ideas. But he was flexible, and made tactical
alliances with useful groups. [E.g.…read more

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Provided gov' officials and factory managers.
So Mao build new regime to adapt to ensure possible middle class support
[by shareholders given compensation and prepared to tolerate other political parties.]
[But only tolerate as long as they didn't threaten CPC control]
Continuing with his `general line' or `United Front Policy' invited national bourgeoisies and landlords
to help build a new China under CPC.…read more

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1950 ->demobilisation of the PLA. 1953, reduced to 3.5 million.
[PLA still received 800,000 conscripts pa]
PLA was the largest army in the world and meant young men had trained for 3 years in military and
ideology of the Communist Party.
PLA were held as role-models, and put in myths describing their self-sacrifice, endurance and
perseverance. (Show in Korean War 1950-3, `volunteer' forces fought) Endurances and heroism was
celebrated through films and plays.…read more

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The Resist America and Aid Korea Campaign
After Korean War, 1950, foreigners were declared enemies of PRC.
Westerns there were persecuted, other foreigners [missionaries] arrested. Christian Churches
End 1950, most foreigners left [apart from soviets] Also used to accuse targets of spying for
Anything with western links was suspicious. Police confiscated radios and weapons at home.
Mass rallies drew out citizens into frenzy of suspicion.…read more

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The Suppression of Counter-Revolutionaries Campaign
Launched in October 1950, lasted a year. Focused on internal threats on the Chinese revolution.
`Counter-revolutionaries' [anyone associated with GMD] were denounced and punished, large amount.
In Shanghai, 40,000 had evidence against them, Guangdong, 52,620 `bandits', similar for other
regions. 28,332 were executed in public for max impact.
Mao ordered police to sent progress reports directly to him so he could monitor it.…read more

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Mao and the Purges of the CPC:
The Purge of Gao Gang and Rao Shushi, 1953
Late 1953, Mao began to purge on leading party members.
This came about during the Five-Year Plan, the planning led leading Communist figures debated the
pace of economic changes that the plan would bring out.
Gao Gang ­ a CPC rising star. Leading official in Manchuria in 1949 holding 4 senior posts. Later head
of Central Planning Commission, director of Five-Year Plan.…read more

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30/40 CPC cadres and peasants spread revolution to remote area. Local peasants encouraged to
identity and humiliate their landlords, creating class conflict [peasant vs landlords] what Mao wanted.
Many landlord and their relatives were sentenced to DEATH!
Peasants who killed with their bare hands the landlords who oppressed them were
wedded to the new revolutionary order in a way that passive spectators could never
[P.Short, Mao: A Life, 1999]
1950s, the Landlord class soon seized to exist.…read more

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Represented in Government
Ban on concubinage
Easier divorces
Right to vote
DING LING [feminist writer] -> Mao and CCP were hypocrites, exploited
women who worked for them.
Improvements in Education:
Mao wanted to spread education. 1949, most Chinese people were illiterate.
Middle 1950s, Primary education was set up.
It was hard to get into schools and Uni through the high cost, and the pass rate was at 5% pa.
Creating an elite administration squad.…read more

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Emphasis in health care on prevention rather than cure, as there was a lack in hospitals.
Mass Campaigns used -> `Patriotic Health Campaign' to improve sanitation and hygiene and
so prevent endemic diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Improved death rates
Emphasis on drinking water too, by digging wells. Peasants also encouraged storing waste
away from habitant.
Schistosomiasis, internal bleeding etc from microscopic worm in snails, was common in countryside.…read more


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