Theme 3 - The Cultural Revolution and its aftermath 1966-76


Why did Mao launch the Cultural Revolution?

Divisions within the CCP between ideologues and pragmatists

  • Mao an ideologue - accused Liu and Deng's measures as 'revisionism', and they were 'capitalist roaders'
  • Mao wanted to remove those responsible that held old attitudes, including party members who tolerated intellectuals in the party
  • Divide between pragmatists and ideologues more apparent after 1962 conference - Mao withdrew and left Liu, Deng, and Zhou to lead
  • Pragmatists believed ideological compromises needed to achieve economic stablitly
  • Pragmatists also believed in better foreign policy
  • Mao believed in mass mobilisation, even if not efficient. It continued revolution
  • 1963 Socialist Education Movement - preached communist values and targeted corruption
  • Mao wanted to use mass mobilisation to attack corrupt party officials - Liu controlled program - made Mao unhappy

The quest for permanent revolution

  • Mao needed mass mobilisation to continue revolution - people more likely to be loyal if they join in
  • Mao condemned Khrushchev - said he failed to continue the revolution
  • Needed to include young in revolution - they weren't part of revolution - needed them to commit violence for the party

Attacks on the bureaucracy

  • Mao didn't want bureaucrats to become a priveleged elite and lose touch with the masses
  • Criticisms from urban bureaucrats on Great Leap - Cultural Revolution could be seen as attack on these bureaucrats
  • Mao thought 'capitalist roaders' were filling the party (Liu and Zhou moderating Mao's policies) - needed to cleanse party

Divisions within the CCP between supporters and opponents of Mao's policies

  • Mao's main supporters - Lin Biao, Jiang Qing, Kang Sheng, Chen Boda
  • Mao's main opponents - Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, Bo Yibo
  • 1964 - Mao accuses Liu of choosing 'capitalist road'. Accuses Deng of running own kingdom
  • 1965 - Attack on Wu Han (wrote a contreversial play). Mao targeted Peng Zhen (Wu's boss), one of Liu's allies.
  • Lin Biao escalated into crisis
  • March 1966 - Mao assigned Liu to remove Peng Zhen from office
  • CCRG set up to control Cultural Revolution. Could be blamed for mistakes
  • Liu and Deng still believed they were in control - just a culture remodelling
  • May 1966 - Kang Sheng pushes wall poster campaigns
  • Liu and Deng try to control campaign - Mao not happy - wanted chaos!
  • July 1966 - Mao swims in Yangtze river - show of strength
  • Mao forces Liu and Deng to make self-criticisms

How effective were the red guards in carrying out the cultural revolution?

Mao's hold on young people

  • Would help ensure long-term survival of communism ideology
  • Realised their enthusiasm
  • Able to control through personalilty cult and 'little red book'
  • Personality cult seperated Mao from the party - Mao a hero, party repressive and a threat to Mao's achievement, because there were too many 'capitalist roaders'
  • Mass rallies made students feel involved - also peer pressure
  • Young people with 'wrong' class backgrounds were keen to join revolution

The mass rallies of 1966

  • 18th August 1966 - Mao greets 1 million Red Guards in Tiananmen Square
  • Chaos…


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