The Cultural Revolution

  • Created by: Alex2017
  • Created on: 08-05-17 18:36

Divisions in the CCP

  • CR was the climax of the power struggle- ideological battle over the amount of pragmatism
  • Ideologues (Mao) emphasises the path, pragmatists (Liu and Deng) the final outcome
  • Pragmatists approach became 'capitalist roaders'- for taking the capitalist road
  • China could not advance until bourgeois attitudes had been eliminated
  • Divide had become more apparent after the 7,000-cadre conference 
  • Had been summoned in January 1962- with the intention of rallying support from inside the party against any further drift from his socialist ideals
  • Pragamatsists believed that ideological compromises was essential for the economy to recover after the GLF and critical of mass mobilisation- technical experts were necessary
  • They also argued that China should persue a more concilliatory foreign policy as they couldn't afford confrotation with America
  • Mao thought that these ideas were unnecessary- ideological means was most important
  • Mass movements were important as it engaged the current generations in the revolution 
  • Socialist Education Movement (1963) -supposed to cleanse China's reactionary elements,by allowing attacks on corrupt party officials. It's failure led to the 'Four olds' campaign
  • Failed due to its central control by Liu, discipline was restored by party work teams 
  • Thousdands were executed for their crimes- lacked element of class struggle that Mao wanted
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Quest for permanent revolution

  • People who were directly involved in campaigns would fight to defend the changes that had been made
  • Doesn't mean that the form that the CR took was inevitable, but Mao would've initiated another mass movement in its place
  • Also prevented the return of bourgeois ideals 
  • Mao felt that Khrushchev and his successors had betrayed the revolution by taking de-stalinisation too far and had squandered Lenin's legacy
  • Also younger members of the party hadn't yet been seriously tested
  • Would help them to identify with it as well as prepare them for what Mao saw was the inevitable future war with the west
  • Having engaged in acts of violence and murder they would commit fully to defending the revolution
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Attacks on Bureaucracy

  • Closely linked with Mao's obsession with permanent revolution
  • He feared that the new bureaucracy that had been created was becoming a self-satisfied elite
  • Needed to be purged
  • However intellectuals and bureaucrats had run the country because they were the only people educated enough to do so
  • Urban intellectuals were the most critical of the GLF -the CR can be partly seen as an act of vengeance against them
  • Mao was convinced that the 'capitalist roaders' were hijacking the party had intensified after the SEM and increased further when Liu and Zhou tried to calm student unrest
  • Party had to be cleansed
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Divisons over Mao's policies

  • CR began as a purge of pragmatists
  • Mao always left himself and exit strategy in case things didn't go as planned
  • Mao's policies were opposed principally by Liu and Deng- wanted experts to have a bigger role in the economy
  • Zhou Enlai tried to prevent divisons from widening
  • Although the pragmatists had different ideas on police there was no evidence to suggest that they were plotting against Mao politically
  • Until the 7,000 cadre conference, Liu was widely seen as Mao's chosen successor- but after he was openly accused of being a capitalist roader at the 1964 party conference 
  • They had too much support in the politburo-  indirectly attack them by using Wu Han
  • March 1966- Mao was able to remove Peg Zhen, which was left to Liu to fire him
  • Central Cultural Revolution Group (CCRG) set up in May- dominated by Mao's supporters
  • Kang Sheng launched the wall poster campaign which was a counter-revolution campaign approved by the Politburo- spread nationwide and Lui and Deng couldn't stop it
  • Mao wanted a full-blooded attack on CCP from below, not imposition of disipline from above
  • July 1966- Mao completed his comeback to politics with his highly advertised swim in the Yangtze river- demonstrated he was physicall fit (aged 72) 
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Mao's control of the Red Guards

  • Owes much to his personality cult
  • 1966- carring the 'little red book' (written by Lin Biao) was a social necessity -it was consulted to find an appropriate comment from Mao was regared as a normal way to settle an arguement
  • 750 Million copies were distributed across China
  • Ground work had aleady been prepared in 'The Diary of Lei Feng' -claimed to be a journal of a PLA lorry driver whose every thought and action was inspired by his devotion to Mao
  • Young people could see a contrast to Mao (hero of China) and the CCP who repressed them
  • Mass rallies had proved successful- it made students feel important as they were to direct the revolution themselves
  • Mao's wall poster campaign "Bombard the Headquarters" of August 1966
  • Despite ingrained values of respecting authority- young people had no problems with challenging traditional authorative figures
  • Young people also responded enthusitically was due to the lack of career opportunities available for students whose families carried the wrong class label- gave them a chance to prove by their actions that they were true communists
  • Also many felt they had been treated unfairly by the Party and this gave them the opportunity to hit back at party cadres
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Mass Rallies

  • The first Mass Rally was held in Tiananmen Square on August 18th 1966 -attended by 1 million red guards
  • The first of eight mass rallies held
  • Mao's army uniform demonstrated his closeness to the PLA and was flanked by its leader, Lin Biao -addressed the crowd on Mao's behalf
  • Lui, Deng and Zhou were also on the balcony but positioned some distance from Mao
  • Lin Biao told the red guards to smash the 'four olds' which caused chaos and violence to spread over China in the following days
  • Was a testiment to enthusiasm of Red Guards and of the PLA's organisational skills
  • Without the Army's logistical support students wouldn't have been able to access the rallies
  • Free rail passes made it easier to attend rallies and indulge in 'revolutionary tourism'
  • Reassured the students that they had official approval for their actions
  • Mao rarely attended subsequent rallies, claiming they were too tiring -but it was important to repeat the process for new recruits
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Attacks on the 'Four Olds'

  • Instructed by Lin Biao to attack old culture, old ideas, old customs, old habits
  • Imposible to separate and kept intentionally vague
  • Anything representing past values was denouced as "Confucius and Co."
  • Red Guards were quick to target western fashion -correction stations were set up on street corners- offenders had their heads shaved
  • Street names changed to reflect new values- British embassy was on 'Anti-imperialist street'
  • Some people adopted new names
  • It took all of Zhou's diplomatic skills to dissuade the red guards from changing the colours of the traffic lights -Red should mean go as it was the colour of revolution
  • Houses were ransacked in search of Bourgeois items- owners were beaten, some fatal
  • Religion fell into an 'old' catagory-no public worship or ceremonies were allowed
  • Clergy who had survived were imprisoned -criticism for the outside world
  • Young people urged to treat Mao and CCP as their true parents: expected to inform on relatives
  • Jiang Qing in charge of 'purifying' culture 
  • Effects of four olds was insense and violent but campaign was short-lived, old attitudes and views reappeared- eg. respecting dead: demonstrated by huge tibute after Zhou's death in April 1976
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Growth of anarchy and terror

  • Given free rein to attack figure of authority- motivated by wall poster campaign
  • Mao had described chaos as more virtuous than order -very few restrictions
  • Previous contributions didn't guarantee immunity- Xinting, military leader of Chengdu- was too close a friend of Peng Dehuai
  • Random attacks in August and September 1966 -soon became systematic as the ministry of public security passed names onto the red guards
  • The Babaoshan crematorium, Beijing disposed of 2,000 bodies in a two-week period in 1966
  • Trial of Gang of Four in 1980- were accused of having sanctioned the deaths of 1/2 million 
  • The formation of new red guard units in Nov 1966 escalated the violence as they came from non-party bourgeois backgrounds as they seized the chance to demostrated credentials
  • Splits and rivalries emerged led to infighting -particularly in Shanghai; known as the January Storm. Mao had to intervened and the city was placed under control of the Shanghai revolutionary committee -became the model that was applied to all cities over the next year
  • PLA anxious to be exempted from struggle sessons- CCRG wanted the same criteria to apply to every institution
  • PLA took matters into own hands during the February crackdown of radicals but Mao called for CCRG to override them and fighting continued until he realised PLA could be seriously undermind. authorised PLA to crack down when needed. Ended radical phase of CR
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Cultural destruction

  • Frenzy of destruction of cultural objects- august and september 1966
  • Destroyed 2/3rds of 7,000 places of historical and cultural importance in Beijing
  • Broke into 100,000 homes in search of 'old' artifacts
  • Zhou Enlai prevented them from attacking the Forbidden City by bring in the PLA to defend it
  • Greatest single act was the destruction of Confucius' home town 'Qufu' in shandong where they spent four weeks vandalising countless books, paintings, statues and graves
  • Local people intervened to protect some historical treasures from destruction
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Attacks on Liu and Deng

  • Both President Liu and General Secretary Deng were removed from their posts for ideological reasons- they continued to advocate pragamatic policies
  • Were seen to be less committed than Mao to a collectivist approach
  • Had no qualms about restoring private farming 
  • Their difference to Mao became clear during the Socialist Education Movement as they wanted a top-down approach
  • 1964 -Mao accused Liu of taking the Capitalist Road and Deng of acting independently
  • Instigated the Wu Han attack
  • October 1966 following a red guard demonstration against them they were formally dismissed
  • Position of president was left unfilled until it was scrapped in 1969
  • Liu and his wife Wang were dragged from their house and beaten up by a mob -Liu was forced to undergo brutal struggle sessions before being imprisoned in conditions to break his health
  • He was refused permission to go to hospital when he got Pneumonia and died Nov 1969
  • Wang was sentenced to death but Mao intervened to save her
  • Deng was treated less harshly- sent to perform corrective labour which he survived and was rehabilitated back into the party by his connection with Zhou in 1973
  • His son was left paralysed after being thrown from an upstairs window
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Attack on Lin Biao

  • Only Mao stood above him, he was the principle architech of Mao personality cult
  • Under Lin, the PLA became an even more radical force
  • His rise of political prominence wasn't due to his own ambition
  • Reluctantly agreed to take over as defense minister in 1959 and was forced to accept elevation in 1966 only because the decision was passed to the Party Central Committee and to refuse would've ended his career
  • His role was mainly reactive- endorsing whatever Mao said
  • Failed to support the PLA leaders who wanted the February Crackdown
  • Lin hadn't outlived his usefulness but had become too popular
  • The 1969 amendment to the constitution confirmed Lin as Mao's successor
  • Mao began to fear that he would become a Bonaparte
  • Began by undermining the positions of Lin's allies- reorganising so his allies were elsewhere
  • Official version: 1971 Lin and son were planning Mao's assasination. details were passed onto Zhou by Lin's daughter. Fled to Russia, but plane crashed.Official records were destroyed 
  • News of his fall wasn't released until 1972 -Qing discredited Lin as a soviet spy
  • Lin was made a modern day Confucius; Mao began to be regarded with scepticism
  • Fractional rivalry increased as there was no obvious successor
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Purging of the CCP membership

  • CR developed into a purge of CCP membership
  • Only 9 of 23 Politiburo members of 1966 held onto their post
  • Four of six regional first secretaries purged and 70% of reigional and provincial officers purged
  • Two-thirds of Central committee (CC) members purged between 1966-1968
  • 20% of Party officials purged
  • 3 million cadres sent to May 7th cadre schools- camps, labour with peasants and political study
  • 1967 January storm- militant factory and office workers overthrew their red guard units
  • New revolutionary committees formed to run cities
  • Power of party reduced but not destroyed -power lay with the PLA
  • 25 of 29 first secretaries lost jobs to serving PLA officers
  • Oct 1968- CC meeting declared CR a success and expelled Liu from party
  • April 1969- 9th party congress; declared CR over, and adopted new party constitution stressing Mao Zedong Thought
  • Increased influence of the PLA- 2/3rds to congress, 45% of CC and 1/2 of Politburo
  • Veteran members replaced by less experienced newcomers -easy to manipulate
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Purging of 'Capitalist Roaders' and Foreigners

  • Used to describe anyone who was percieved to have a capitalist mindset -pragmatists
  • Focused in Urban areas- everyone was subject to scrutiny in case they had bourgeois lifestyles
  • Disruption to working life led to a serious fall of industrial production
  • Continued after red guards were disbanded as it fell under the 'cleaning up the class ranks' campaign in early 1968
  • Result was more vicious than anything staged by the Red Guards- accounted for 100,000 deaths
  • 1970- 'One strike and three antis' campaign to remove all attitudes that were preventing economic progress. 
  • Mao intervened in 1971
  • Violence was at its peak between 1968-71: After the Red Guards were sent away
  • Foreign embassies and their staff were attacked by Red Guards while police stood aside- 1967
  • August- Red Guards broke into British Embassy and physically attacked the staff
  • One week later- Staff poured out of the Chinese embassy in London armed with sticks and machetes and staged a demonstration against continued British control of Hong Kong
  • Retreated back inside as their diplomatic immunity was respected
  • 30 countries experienced violent incidents involving Chinese militants
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Restoration of order by the PLA

  • August 1967 -Mao allowed PLA to clamp down on Red Guards
  • The ease at which the PLA did this suggest Mao had always been in control
  • Mao had no objection to the Red Guard's violence but they had begun to undermine the PLA and were inflicting unsustainable damage on the economy and education
  • PLA didn't want to risk being opened up to criticism 
  • Mao ordered the Red Guards and workers to form alliances and stop fighting each other
  • Also sped up the creation of the new revolutionary committees - all in place at by Sept 1968
  • Membership of these were dominated by PLA officers 
  • PLA began a full-scale purge of the Red Guards by dispanding their units 
  • It had to take military action to end the most serious unrest- the civil war in Shanxi and the looting of weapons headed for Vietnam in Guangxi- both were pacified by summer 1968
  • PLA also entrusted with re-establishing discipline in schools and universities- had been closed for 2 years
  • Most difficult at Qinghua uni where Red Guards refused to lay down arms- 10 died in the fighting the ensued
  • Education could resume- urban youth unemployment became a serious issue
  • Contributory factor behind the Rustication programme of 1968
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'Up to the mountains...' campaign

  • 'Up to the mountains, down to the villages' rustication campaign began 1968-1970
  • Compulsory movement of 5 million young people from cities to countryside
  • Eased unemployment, reminded youth that revolution was based on the peasants
  • Introduced them to the realities of manual labour
  • Reinforced the armies control
  • Most had a miserable time- had to learn new skills from the hostile peasantry who had little extra food to feed them with
  • Standards of living much lower than what they were used to
  • Many became disillusioned with Mao and felt they had been used as a pawn in his power struggle
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Return of Deng and Zhou

  • Zhou was the ultimate surviver- he was too useful and was skillful at distancing himself from awkward situations: His role in uncoving Lin's plot emphasised his loyalty to Mao
  • Mao didn't know whether to present his treachery as far left or right? Gave Zhou the opportunity to revive his call for the four modernisations (pragmatic programme to develop agriculture, industry, defense and education)
  • Also wanted to establish closer links with the west to acquire more technical experts
  • Facilitated Nixon's visit in 1972- although full diplomatic relations weren't activated until 1979
  • Tried to restore exonomic production and stability after CR
  • Introduction of Uni entrance exams raised standards in higher education
  • Zhou was unable to move radicals from posts- slowed progress and he became their target
  • Zhou did manage to get Deng back in 1973- who was employed to help train Mao's newly chosen successor, Wang Hongwen
  • Deng played an important role in helping Mao strike a balance between radicals and Pragmatistts- and led China's delegation to the UN after they were admitted in 1971
  • Appointed Army chief of staff to keep officials in check and prevent warlordism
  • March 1973 appointed vice premeir and then in 1974 regained his old post as party secretary
  • However was purged again in April 1976 when he got blamed for the Tiananmen Incident
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Reining in the Gang of Four

  • Gang of four (GoF) continued to exert influence over CCRG after 1969, but PLA was in control
  • PLA saw themselves as Guards of the revolution
  • Restoration of moderate politics made CCP leader question if the CR went too far -made them reluctant to risk futher radical initiatives
  • GoF successfully reasserted influence in 1973 during their anti-Confucius campaign 
  • Discredit pragmatists as they were critical of conciliatory attitudes to the west
  • GoF called for a boycott of Western technology and a renewal of the people's communes
  • Revived Mao's slogan "Learn from Dazhai"- a model commune
  • Lost Mao's support when it became clear they were just jockeying for position in the succession struggle
  • Mao backed Zhou Enlai instead
  • Radicals reasserted power in 1976- took advantage of Zhou's death and Mao's worsening health
  • The Tiananmen Incident- A low key memorial for Zhou turned into a hugh demonstration. Violent and bloody confrontations with police before order was restored. Deng was blamed and went into exile. 
  • Fact that demonstration took place and so critical of radicals shows their declining power
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The death of Mao

  • Mao died September 1976, health was in serious decline after Lin Biao's death
  • Suffered from lung infections from smoking, possible parkinsons disease, had a heart attack in may
  • Was dependent on massive injections of drugs that rendered him comatose most of the time. From January until his death he was incapable of giving any decisive guidance.
  • Succession struggle was never decisive
  •  Zhang Chunqiao was reject for have too limited support base (GoF)
  • 1973- appeared to have chosen Wang Hongwen- by 1975 rejected as he was still under the influence of the GoF
  • The politburos decision to blame Deng for the Tiananmen incident and removed from his post
  • Mao made the his final decision of successor Hua Guofeng
  • GoF was confident they could outmaouvre him and tryed to undermine his position
  • Drove Hua into an alliance with the PLA- who arrested the GoF after Hua took over head of party and state after Mao died
  • In this way civil war was avoided and moderate policies of Zhou and Deng were reintroduced
  • Deng then returned from exile and in 1980 had managed to replace Hua
  • In the same year, the GoF went on trial
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The Wu Han Affair

  • Wu Han wrote the play 'Hai Rui Dismissed from office'
  • Set in the Ming dynasty, Hai Rui was dismissed from his post for justifiably objecting to the cruel policies of his empoeror 
  • Obvious parallel to Peng Dehai
  • Made little impact when it was first performed in 1961 -even attracted some praise from Mao
  • Provided an ideal avenue in which to attack Liu Shaoqi 
  • Wu Han's boss, Peng Zhen was won of Liu's closest allies and the politburo member responsible for culture
  • By laming Zhen for failing to deal with his reactionary deputy, Mao was able to discredit Liu by association
  • Yao Wenyuan (member of GoF) denounced Wu Han in the press in November 1965 on Mao behalf
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