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Leader and leading theorist of the Chinese communist revolution born in the village of Shaoshan Hunan Province China the son of a farmer He graduated from Changsha teachers training college then worked at Beijing University where he was influenced by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao He took a leading part in the May Fourth Movement becoming a Marxist and a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party 1921During the first united front with the Guomindang Nationalist Party he concentrated on political work among the peasants of his native province and advocated a rural revolution creating a soviet in Jiangxi province in 1928 After the break with the Guomindang in 1927 the Communists were driven from the cities and with the assistance first of Zhu De later of Lin Biao he evolved the guerrilla tactics of peoples warIn 1934 the Guomindang was at last able to destroy the Jiangxi Soviet and in the subsequent Long March the Communist forces retreated to Shanxi to set up a new base This established Maos supremacy in the PartyWhen in 1936 under the increasing threat of Japanese invasion the Guomindang renewed their alliance with the Communists Mao restored and vastly increased the political and military power of his Party His claim to share in the government led to civil war the regime of Jiang Jieshi was ousted from the Chinese mainland and the new Peoples Republic of China was proclaimed 1949 with Mao as both Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and President of the RepublicHe followed the Soviet model of economic development and social change until 1958 then broke with the USSR and launched his Great Leap Forward which encouraged the establishment of rural industry and the use of surplus rural labour to create a new infrastructure for agricultureThe failure of the Great Leap lost him most of his influence but by 1966 with Chinas armed forces securely in the hands of his ally Lin Biao he launched the
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