History - The Cultural Revolution & Aftermath, 1966-76 (Theme 3)

  • Created by: AshLia
  • Created on: 15-04-18 09:44

Explanation 1

An ideological desire for a 'permanent revolution'

The economy had 'evolved' through communes, communal living, Danwei (work units) and five-year plans. 

However, the culture was still thriving on the 'four olds' and remanents of bourgeois culture still lingered:

The Four Olds are:

  • Old Culture
  • Old Customs
  • Old Habits
  • Old Ideas
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Explanation 2

A personal political desire to regain power

Mao, after the Gtreat Leap Forward, retired from day-to-day politics... But now he wished to return

Legacy of the Great Leap Forward: Liu spoke out against the GLF at 7,000 cadres conference (1962), saying that the disaster was 70% human error

Attitude towards ideology: Deng stated that 'It doesn't matter if the cat is white or black, so long as it catches rats'

Marxism-Leninism versus Mao Zedong Though: Report of March 1960 cautioned against crediting MZT for technical breakthroughs; it should not surpass Marxism-Leninism

Socialist Education Campaign: In Feb (1963) Mao called for the masses to be mobilise to criticide party, but in autumn Deng replaced Mao's 'Early 10 Points' with the 'Later 10 Poins' in order to maintain overall Party control

Economic Successes: By 1965 agricult. production had retured to 1957 levels. Light industry = 27% growth per year and heavy industry = 17% growth per year

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Initial 'launches' of the CR (1966)

In July 1966, Mao swan the Yangtze River, symbolically marking his return to front-line politics

Mao also:

  • Criticised the play Hai Rui Dismissed from Office (1965)
    • The play itself had been written by Wu Han, an ally of Liu and Deng - Mao's policitcal enemies
  • Formed Cultural Revolution Group, March 1966, dominated by ideologues
    • Members of the CRG: Chen Boda, Yeo Wenyuan, Zhang Chunqiao, Jiang Qing
  • Had announced '16-Point Directive on the Cultural Revolution', August 1966
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Motives for the CR

  • To rid China of bourgeois culture and ensure that the economic revolution was consoliated through a cultural revolution
  • To prevent the Party from becoming bureaucratic and party cadres from becoming too settled in their jobs
  • To undermine the leadership of Liu and Deng and make it easier for Mao to return to the front-line of politics
  • To carry out a specific cultural revolution within the arts, but this got out of control during the early stages of the movement
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Initial Victims of the CR

Lao She:

She was a famous Chinese playwright, who was denounced by Red Guards at a struggle meeting in August 1966 and made to wear a dunce's hat. Shortly afterwards he drowned himself in Taiping Lake near Beijing

Ding Ling:

Ling was a writer who was denounced by Red Guards in struggle meetings and forced to stand for hours in the painful 'airplane' position. At night she was made to sleep in a stable 

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Why did young people join the Red Guards?

Indoctriniation and Education

  • Young people had been educated under communism
  • Issued with copies of Mao's Little Red Book

The Cult of Mao:

  • Mao appeared at 8 mass rallies in autumn 1966
  • Maoist anthem 'The East is Red' sung at rallies

To Prove Themselves:

  • Children of Party cadres wanted their time fo glory
  • Children of 'Black Elements' wanted to prove themselves

Sense of Adventure:

  • Many simply seized the chance to travel
  • Some chanted slogans rather than used violence
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The 'Four Olds Campaign'

In August 1966, Mao launched the 'Four Olds Campaign' targeting:

  • Old ideas
  • Old culture
  • Old customs
  • Old habits

The result was a wave of chaos, anarchy and violence as Red Guards soight to destroy all symbols of old feudal China

By the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1969 around a thrid of China's libraries had been closed and more than 7 million libraries books lost, stolen or destroyed

In addition, specific symbols were targeted

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Destruction of the CR

  • Confucius Temple in Shandong attacked by 200 teachers and students from Bejing Normal University. They destroyed 6,600 registered cultural artefacts
  • Burial site of Ming-era official Hai Rui defaced
  • Qing-era archwat smashed into a pile of broken stone
  • Many aspects of Tibetan culture were destroyed by the Red Guards, including Buddhist artefacts
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Chaos & Restoration of Order, 1966-9

Examples of Chaos:

  • Red elements versus Black elements
  • Students versus Workers
  • Red Guards clashed with farmers
  • Shanghai workers set up commune (January 1967)

Mao's Attitude:

  • Called those who were against chaos 'February adverse current' (1967)
  • Told Red Guards 'Have no fear of chaos' (April 1967)
  • But, he also stated 'There will always be 'Heads''
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Chaos & Restoration of Order, 1966-9

Restoring Order:

  • Revolutionary committee set up (Sept. 1967) - Party, State and PLA
  • In 1968, PLA used violence against the Red Guards
  • Last push against class enemies - 1.8 million arrested ('68)

Ending Violence:

  • Violence phase of CR ended in April 1969
  • Legacy of fear and terror bequeathed to Chinese
  • PLA chief Lin Biao officially declared as Mao's successor
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Attack on Liu Shaoqi

Liu was president of China and expected to be Mao's successor. However, by 1966 Mao had become jealous of him and also angry at the way that Liu had adopted more pragmatic policies following the failed Great Leap Forward

He was one of the 'capitalist roaders' criticised in the ;Sixteen Points' of August 1966 and from the beginning of 1967 he was subjected to regular struggle meetings and beaten

In April 1967, his wife, Wang Guangmei, was humiliated in front of a crowd of 300,000 Red Guards. She was forced to ward a necklace of ping-pong balls to represent a pearl necklace that she had worn on a state visit to Indonesia

Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, led the attacks against Liu, presenting 'evidence' in October 1968 of his 'treachery'. He died in an unheated building in Novemeber 1968. He had already been stripped of his titles and subjected to neglect

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Attack of Deng Xiaoping

Deng angered Mao because of his comments about the irrelevance of the colour of cats! Mao claimed that 'from 1959 to the present, Deng has never consulted me over anything'

Deng was damned as 'the number two person in authority taking the capitalist road' - another reference to Mao's 'Sixteen Points' of August 1966 which had officially launched the CR

Deng's personal punishment was not as harsh as Liu's but he disappeared from public sight, being sent to work at a rural tractor factory

However, his family suffered. In an attempt to escape torture by Red Guards, his son jumped from a window aand was paralysed from the waist down

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Other Victims of the CR

Peng Dehuai (of military and Lushan fame) was subjected to struggle meetings and beaten so much that four of his ribs were broken. He eventually died of neglect in 1974

The Coal Minister was forced to wear an iron hat that weighed 60 kilograms. He was then beaten to death by Red Guards

Only 9 of the 23 Politburo members survived the purge

Two-thirds of the Central Committee had been deposed

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Foreign Victims of the CR

A mob with loud speakers blared out Maoist slogans to the French, Soviet and Yogoslavian embassies, trapping the diplomats inside

Posters were put up a train stations declaring 'Smash Brezhnev's head'

Staff at the British embassy in Beijing were manhandled and beaten while the embassy itself was set on fire

A British journalist was put into solitary confinement for 26 months and had his cat killed by Red Guards

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'Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages' (19

As the Cultural Revolution wound down, 18 million Red Guards were sent to the countryside to 'cool off'

The idea was that they would learn more from peasents than from school and university education

This became known as the 'lost generation'

It can probably be assumed that the peasents were not happy with the forcible placement of the Red Guards in their villages but due to the nature of the time could not do anything about it

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Rise and Fall of Lin Biao

Lin had benefited from the Cultural Revolution, but he quickly made Mao suspicious

He tried to re-create the position of Head of State for himself, formerly held by Liu

As head of the PLA, Lin had immense power after the CR

In 1971 he fled in panic, believing he was about to be purged. His plane crashed over Mongolia and he died

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Deng's Return to Power

By the early 1970s, Mao's health was poor, his speech and eyesight were failing

He was concerned about the succession, as Lin died in 1971 and Zhou had cancer

Therefore, Deng was rehabilitated to provide much-needed expertise

In 1975, Deng joined the Politburo's Standing Committee and became Chief of Staff of the PLA

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The Gang of Four

Howver, Deng was opposed by those who had led the Cultural Revolution

The radical group known as the 'Gang of Four' was led by Mao's wife, Jiang Qing

In 1973 she launched a 'criticise Confucius' campaign as a way of attacking Deng and Zhou indirectly

However, on this occasion she failed to mobilise the masses

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Mao's Death and After

Mao's long-term ally Zhou Enlai died of cancer in January 1976, causing a genuine outpouring of national grief

Jiang Qing and her allies saw this as an indirect attack on them, as Zhou had been an ally of Deng in the 1970s

The 'Gang of Four' succeeded in purging Deng again, but Mao's death in September 1976 was followed by the arrest of Jiang and her allies

Deng became the new leader and introduced a more moderate approach

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