War of Resistance
1937-1945 After Japanese forces invaded China in July 1937, the Nationalists and Communists united to fight them off, though neither invested as many men or as much equipment as they might, for they did not trust each other. The war ended with the end of WWII in the Pacific stage, and by the end, the Communists had recovered a degree of their strength.
The escape of the Red Army in 1934 from the Nationalist effort to eliminate them. Over the course of a year, the army marched 6,000 miles to Shaanxi and formed a base camp there.
1945-1949 Immediately after the War of Resistance ended, the Nationalists and Communists fought for control of China. Though the Nationalists appeared to have the upper hand, their support crumbled due to economic troubles and corruption. The Communists' base grew, and they took control in 1949.
October 1, 1949
The date that Mao Zedong declared victory over the Nationalists, instituting the People's Republic of China.
December 8, 1949
The date that Chiang Kai-Shek and the Guomindang fled the mainland to form the ROC on the island of Taiwan.
"Mass Line" Strategy
Mao's idea that if he gathered enough support from the peasants and workers, they would combine to create a force large enough to usurp the Imperialists/Capitalists by using guerrilla tactics.
People's Liberation Army
The Communist military in the Chinese Civil War, comprised largely of peasant recruits from rural areas and increasingly from urban areas. This army's strength was greater than that of the Nationalists', and was able to win the war in 1949.
Great Proletariat Class
The united force of industrial workers who, according to Marx, would overtake the higher classes of society and rule through a Communist Party.
The school of thought originating with Karl Marx which included the belief that all history was created out of a dialectic (class struggle) between the workers, or Proletariat and the rich, or Bourgeosie, ultimately ending in the proletariat holding control.
The Communist Manifesto
Marx's work outlining the his belief that the working class would overtake the ruling elite. This inspired Communist revolutionaries in the 19th and 20th century.
The wealthy and powerful capitalists who controlled the economy according to Marx.
Dictatorship of the proletariat
The government set up by the proletariat after having taken control from the wealthy capitalists, which was in essence Communism.
1870-1924 Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, the Russian Communist Revolutionary who built on Marxism to include an idea or outline on how to seize power before instituting a Communist government.
The combination of Marxism with Lenin's ideas to include provisions for peasant states like Russia, the belief that a ruling elite was necessary in Communism, and the idea that the end justifies the means.
"The end justifies the means."
The idea that the end result of a revolution was more significant the the means of reaching that result. This, added to Marxism by Lenin, was particularly evident in his use of the Bolsheviks, or secret police, to suppress dissent.
The system of government involving collective ownership and/or access of a given resource through government, such as healthcare or money.
The subcategory of socialists who believe a central authority, such as the government or ruling party, should control property.
The subcategory of socialists who believe that decisions regarding property should be made by those persons who are most affected by the decisions that are made.
The modified form of Marxist-Leninism that Mao Zedong created. It included a totalitarian government controlled by an elite group, but also a personality cult and nearly religious following.
The followers and belief the Mao Zedong was the ultimate leader, without flaw, and godlike (ironic considering the atheistic policies of Mao's government). An important aspect of this was the enforcement of the idea that reading Mao's work and following him would lead to miracles.
"Enemies of the people"
The Chinese term for political opposition during Mao's leadership. Any such dissent was met with harsh penalties, often capital punishment or forced labor; guilt was assumed. This helped the government to maintain control.
The practice of peasants joining together their labor and tools to cultivate the same land and collect benefits based on their contribution, becoming very common in 1956.
First Five Year Plan
The plan, based on a Soviet model, that Chinese officials adopted in 1953 to stimulate heavy industry (coal, steel, electric) with surplus workers from the country. It ended in 1957.
Great Leap Forward
The campaign designed by Mao after the failure of the First Five Year Plan. It was intended to industrialize China rapidly and maximize production, particularly in steel.
The areas created by the Great Leap Forward which were made up of dozens of cooperatives and about 750,000 people. These, governed by the all-powerful Communist Party, were expected to increase production of crops to nearly impossible levels.
The devices used by ordinary peasants taken from the fields to create steel as Mao had ordered.
The Minister of Defense in the late 1950s who was removed from his position after criticizing Mao and the Great Leap Forward for their
Great Proletariat Revolution
The movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Communist Party and Red Guards to attempt to eradicate all elements of capitalism and political dissent. The movement was characterized by brutality.
The groups of Mao's youth supporters which comprised his personality cult. During the Cultural Revolution, they persecuted intellectuals and political opposition. They were known for brutal beatings and killings until they were disbanded in 1968.
The four items sought out by Maoists to be destroyed- old ideas, customs, habits, and culture.
Ten Lost Years
The decade of anarchy leading up to Mao Zedong's death which were characterized by extreme violence. These years are called 'lost years' because intellectuals were persecuted and China lost those years of progress in its society.
One of several prominent Communist officials after he grab leap forward, he eventually became the head of state until being attacked by Red Guards in 1967. He died two years later from abuse.
A prominent Communist Party official who frequently opposed radicalism in the party, yet was skilled enough as a politician to avoid persecution during the Cultural Revolution. His death in 1976 emboldened some of his supporters to oppose the government.
1904-1997 The leader of China and the Communist party following Mao Zedong's death who implemented new policies that led China toward a mix of a socialist and market economy. Although his policies increased the living standards of many, he was known for brutality, like at Tiananmen Square.
1914-1991 Mao Zedong's wife, who was a key figure in the Cultural Revolution, often standing in for him. She was known for promoting the arts as a means of distributing propaganda.
Quotations from Chairman Mao/Little Red Book
The compilation of Maoist ideology which was distributed originally as part of military training, but became almost a religious book for the Red Guards.
The Minister of Defense under Mao Zedong who fled to the Soviet Union after hearing of Mao's plot to assassinate him. He died in a plane crash on the way. This all seems odd because he was widely perceived to be close and devoted to Mao.
Gang of Four
Jiang Qing and three others, who were key figures of the Cultural Revolution. They were convicted in 1981 of most crimes relating to the revolution.
70% Success, 30% Failure
The official Communist Party ruling on the quality of Mao's leadership.
Open Door Policy
The foreign policy of Deng Xiaoping that encouraged foreign contact with China; it included his efforts to improve relations with the US.
Special Economic Zones
Areas like Hong Kong and Taiwan designated by Deng Xiaoping to enjoy low taxes better transportation, and other incentives to attract foreign investment and innovation.
Chinese Style Socialism
The the term used by Deng Xiaoping to describe his system of government-a mix of private enterprise and socialism, which improved the living standards of most Chinese.
A special economic zone near Hong Kong that grew dramatically when manufacturers moved their business there, attracted by low wages and other incentives.
The system implemented by Deng Xiaoping that discouraged collective farming and allowed farmers to keep whatever crops above their rent quota to sell and earn a profit.
Four Cardinal Principles
Part of Deng Xiaoping's reforms that included retaining the socialist path, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the leadership of the Communist Party, and the ideology of Marx, Lenin, and Mao.
Part of Deng Xiaoping's reforms, these were modernization efforts by the Chinese government to modernize agriculture, industry, technology, and defense
The Communist Party secretary who acknowledged that the Tiananmen Square protesters had a point. He was not seen again in public with party officials.
Goddess of Democracy
A statue erected by student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 to symbolize their defiance.
A brick wall in Beijing on which people expressed their grievances with the Chinese government. After a great deal of criticism directed at Deng Xiaoping and the Communists, the wall was restricted from the public.
June 4/5 1989
The days when the Chinese government used military force to put down anti-Communist protests in Tiananment Square.