Mao Zedong: A Lost Pragmatist

Bradley James Burns

Abstract


This paper calls for a reassessment of the life and career of Mao Zedong, especially actions such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, arguing that Mao committed these acts primarily out of a desire for pragmatic outcomes rather than a desire to maintain power and terrorize the people. While Mao ultimately failed in his pursuit of beneficial outcomes and caused a large amount of suffering as a result, that was largely due to his lack of experience and knowledge running a country, and this paper seeks to show how his intentions were good and while he may be culpable for these tragedies, he should not draw comparisons to leaders such as Adolf Hitler, whose intentions were clearly in the wrong. In this vein, Mao should be viewed as a pragmatist who simply didn't know the right course of action, rather than as a cruel tyrant who only wished to maintain power.

Keywords


China; Cultural Revolution; Great Leap Forward; Mao Zedong; Hundred Flowers Campaign; Chinese Communist Party

References


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