Mao Zedong’s ideas varied between flexible pragmatism and utopian visions, exemplified in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. As Professor Nutter says, Mao established a regime that was based upon his own personality. Ruthless and ambitious, Mao turned China into a world military power and created a cult of personality, forcing the distribution of his image and his “Little Red Book” (a collection of political maxims) upon the Chinese people.
As far as the world was concerned for 25 years Mao was China. As Kakutani, Macfarqhar and Schoenhals all mention, Mao was a complete monster who was responsible for the deaths of millions in his country. The American journalist Edgar Snow in Red Star over China projected Mao to be a “simple, uncorrupt, populist hero who was the icon of a good, hardworking, incorruptible Asian. ” When he turned out to be a communist, he was immediately demoted by the West to have become the godless AntiChrist!
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Mao definitely opened up China to the outside world and created the foundations of an industrial, economic and cultural infrastructure to allow China’s economy to grow???but this was at the alarming cost of millions of human lives???the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Mao using Professor Nutters leadership spectrum scale for sure started off as a great revolutionary leader, political strategist and military mastermind playing divide and rule amongst his people to achieve the Chinese version of a Marxist/Leninist country.
Mao was a rebel against injustice and an early sense of injured nationalism. Due to his reluctance to listen and allow for sensible economic and political advice to be delivered to him, Mao was unable to efficiently utilize his cabinet and government officials to constructively work for the genuine utilitarian good of overall China. Mao had created a toxic nest for himself — people feared him and would say things to please him or things that they thought he would want to hear.
Mao, besides Zhou had no other allies. He was his own enemy leading the most populous country in the world. As Professor Nutter very correctly says, his blinkard linear thinking blinded Mao from reality that eventually led him to not understand the current political and economic climate of his time leading him to further spiral down the whirlpool of hysteria, loneliness, depression and paranoia. when to wait and when to act; how to draw the enemy in and then pounce; hen to be flexible and when to compromise; the importance and art of what we today call image, branding and marketing; he never lost sight of his long term goals. Mao aroused a proud and self-reliant nationalism among the masses, and used a political idiom that borrowed heavily from popular tradition and culture. Mao’s objective was to make a revolution under the guise of socialism- it was an armed struggle that never eneded.