The Consolidation of Power 1949-53

HideShow resource information

The Consolidation of Power

Mao and Marxism

  • Mao argued the proletariat were such a small minority in China (1% in 1920s) that it would not be enough for a mass revolutionary party
  • Also, Chiang Kai-Shek drove communists out of cities in 1927
  • Mao wanted the peasants to be the 'mass'
  • In 1930s and 40s it made sure the party survived
  • it also meant mao was the main ideologist so he had to be the chairman
  • Mao Zedong Thought - set of ideas that changed over time, main concepts were self reliance, continuing revolution, class struggle, learning from the people and mass mobilisation


  • Mao wanted china to be free from western powers
  • although he sought out help from the USSR in the 1950s he never liked the unequal relationship
  • disliked how USSR wanted to china to follow their economic example

Continuing Revolution

  • Mao thought it was essential for every generation to be involved in the revolutionary struggle
  • it would continue support for his regime and stop a counter-revolution

Class Struggle

  • He wanted to avoid the party becoming a ruling 'elite' class 
  • he said the party should be periofically rectified
  • party members endures struggle meetings with the public and they had to make self criticisms
  • they were reeducated with attending indoctrination meetings and manual peasant labour

Learning from the people

  • He knew the party should listen to and learn from the people's concerns and the masses should discuss policy
  • he wanted to prevent an unjust dictatorship

Mass Mobilisation

  • Mobilise the pople in mass campaigns to achieve specific objectives
  • he believed chinas millions could achieve anything
  • major infrastructural works such as dams and roads
  • he did not believe in experts or managers
  • he did not think extra money would make people work harder 

Challenges facing the new government in 1949

  • Industrial and agricultural output had fallen
  • food shortages
  • GMD left hyperinflation and took all foreign currency
  • Communism cut off trade with the west
  • outer provinces were not under control and there was no national unity


  • Renminbi - new currency - introduced
  • Cut public expenditure and raised taxes
  • all GMD property was confiscated
  • All foreign assets (except USSR) were confiscated
  • Banks, gas, electricity and transport industries were all nationalised
  • 3 reunification campaigns to unite china in Tibet, Guangdong, and Xinjang
  • New government system established the dominance of the CCP
  • Mao used policies that would not alienate the middle class supporters

New Government System

  • State Bureaucracy at national, regional and local levels
  • Communist Party at national, regional and local levels
  • PLA
  • Party's Standing Committee (5 of the politburo) that made all the policy decisions

Mass Party Membership

  • October 1949 - 4,448,000
  • October 1950 - 5,821,604
  • Still a small number of a population of 500 million
  • Cadres were a select group of party members

The Role of PLA

  • 1950 - 41% of the state expenditure on PLA and it had 5 million men
  • 1953 cut back to 3.5 million to cut expenses and so men could work
  • 800,000 new conscripts every year who pass…




God bless you merciful stranger

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all China in the 20th century resources »