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Mao Zedong LeadershipMao Zedong Leadership


Mao Zedong (1893-1976)


Chinese leader who successfully led the communists in the Chinese Civil War (1927-50).

A brutal dictator who was responsible for the deaths of many millions of Chinese but still a big influence in China today.


Why was he so influential?

 Mao Zedong Leadership

1. Fear and violence

 Mao (pictured right in 1927) killed anyone who opposed him, as in the Cultural Revolution (1966-9).

 “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, he said.

 Mao Zedong Leadership

2. Ruthlessness

Mao (pictured right in 1931) was an immoral man who was prepared to do anything (however cruel) to keep himself in power and turn China into a military superpower.

He caused the greatest famine in Chinese history from 1958 to 1961 (as many as 38 million might have died), because most of China’s grain was sold to Russia in exchange for weapons and the atomic bomb.

In 1958 he said he was prepared to let half of China die. He was completely selfish.

“People like me only have a duty to ourselves; we have no duty to other people”, he said.


3. Pragmatic action

He believed that principles were worthless, if they could not be successfully applied.

So they had to be adapted to meet the needs of different situations and every opportunity seized.

“Ideas are important but reality is even more important”, he said.

 Mao Zedong Leadership

4. Communication

At home and abroad, he was brilliant at:

  • promoting his image as the people’s politician (pictured right with the American president, Richard Nixon in 1972).
  • giving the Chinese a sense of unity and national pride to their previously divided country

He controlled the media and suppressed other people’s ideas.

His quotations, known as the Little Red Book, became the national bible.

 Mao Zedong Leadership

5. Ideology

He was heavily influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx (pictured right above) and Lenin (pictured right below), who supported a revolution by working people to improve their welfare.Mao Zedong Leadership

Despite his ruthlessness, he greatly improved education, health, the economy and the position of women.

He abolished prostitution, and once said, “Women hold up half the heavens”.


6. Military leadership

Mao was brilliant at guerrilla warfare.

His slogan was:

“The enemy advances, we retreat. The enemy camps, we harass. The enemy tires, we attack. The enemy retreats, we pursue”.

 Mao Zedong Leadership

7. Determination and courage

Pursued by the troops of his enemy, Chiang Kai-shek (pictured right) in the Civil War, he led his army 7,000 miles to safety in north China in the Long March in 1934.

Only a tenth of his 100,000 troops survived, but Mao managed to get the support of 100 million peasants in the next four years.


Key quotes on politics and government

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.

 We must have faith in the masses and we must have faith in the Party. These are two cardinal principles.


Key quotes on leadership and management

Be a pupil before you become a teacher.

Officers teach soldiers, soldiers teach officers and soldiers teach each other.


Key quotes on education

To read too many books is harmful.


Key quote on society

The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.


Key quote on creativity

Ideas are important but reality is even more important


Key quote on time management

Seize the day - seize the hour

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