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Thread: Mao's motivations

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    Mao's motivations

    We have all heard the number of people Mao "murdered".

    He's been said to be pure evil.

    As a general principle, I don't believe in absolutes.

    I'm wondering what his motivations were when he:

    Confiscated grain to sell on the international market in order to import machinery;

    Started the Great Leap Forward; and

    Started the Cultural Revolution.

    Did he have noble intentions but ended up screwing shit up or?

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Last time the numbers of people was brought up, people here were comfortable with a few million dead over tens of millions

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    Delusions of Grandeur.

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    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    I'm wondering what his motivations were when he:

    Confiscated grain to sell on the international market in order to import machinery;
    Pride. The USSR lent grain to the PRC in the early 1950s, and when the Sino-Soviet split began to get serious, Mao wanted to repay it. The USSR didn't even need the grain at the time, but Mao insisted that China would pay its debts in full, and early.

    Even if it killed people.

    Started the Great Leap Forward;
    Ignorance and ego. Mao didn't understand economics, and certainly didn't understand the difference between lots and lots of steel and steel that's actually useful. He wanted to "catch up" to the UK and US in tons produced, and didn't care what the cost might be.

    and

    Started the Cultural Revolution.
    Anger and fear.
    After the Great Leap Forward and the purge of Peng Dehuai, Mao was sidelined by the other leaders. In the early 1960s, he started seeing signs that the PRC was following the USSR model of state capitalism. When he tried to reinstill some revolutionary zeal into the party, it balked and just paid lip service to his wild ideas. So, he decided the only choice was to drive most of his colleagues out of power. His only power was the cult of personality, and therefore the only means was mass revolution.

    Did he have noble intentions but ended up screwing shit up or?
    Both. Unlike his cat, it isn't black and white.
    He didn't want to harm China or its people, but he certainly ended up doing so.
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    the road to hell is pave with good intention.

    the great leap, basically he want to catch up UK/US alike, something like industrial revolution at the expense of agriculture, it end up everybody making worthless steel and ignore farming for food.

    culture revolution is his idea to purge some of his colleagues by using "the gang of four", it got way out of control pretty fast.

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    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weaponww View Post
    the road to hell is pave with good intention.

    the great leap, basically he want to catch up UK/US alike, something like industrial revolution at the expense of agriculture, it end up everybody making worthless steel and ignore farming for food.

    culture revolution is his idea to purge some of his colleagues by using "the gang of four", it got way out of control pretty fast.
    The Gang of Four wasn't much of a factor in the mid-1960s when Mao launched the GPCR. That came after the 9th National Party Congress, in 1969.
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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Both. Unlike his cat, it isn't black and white.
    He didn't want to harm China or its people, but he certainly ended up doing so.
    Like a lot of mass murdering leaders he also merged his concept of himself with that of the nation. What was good for him - retaining power by bulldozing the party and the state - was good for China.

    It should come as no surprise that he was a model for Pol Pot, whose attempts to boost agricultural output were drawn directly from Mao and which had even more disastrous results. Even Mao had limits.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Like a lot of mass murdering leaders he also merged his concept of himself with that of the nation. What was good for him - retaining power by bulldozing the party and the state - was good for China.

    It should come as no surprise that he was a model for Pol Pot, whose attempts to boost agricultural output were drawn directly from Mao and which had even more disastrous results. Even Mao had limits.
    It sounds like Pol Pot was stupid for some one who received Western education. Must be because the uni didn't force him to take electives from other disciplines.

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    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    Mao may have been intentionally ignorant. He believed willpower can overcome materiel factors, which wasn't very Marxist, or particularly modernist, for that matter. He was allegedly contemptuous of experts, since their views didn't help him much as a guerilla leader.

    In part, Cultural Revolution may have been motivated by simple self-aggrandizement, a way for him take back personal power after he was forced to surrender much of it at Lushan Conference to party leaders like Zhu De, who forced an end to the Great Leap Forward.

    Also, his view to the value of human life had always been calloused.
    Last edited by Triple C; 03 May 18, at 02:14.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    It sounds like Pol Pot was stupid for some one who received Western education. Must be because the uni didn't force him to take electives from other disciplines.
    Not sure why 'Western education' should protect a person from stupidity. If that were the case Marxism would have died at birth.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    Mao may have been intentionally ignorant. He believed willpower can overcome materiel factors, which wasn't very Marxist, or particularly modernist, for that matter. He was allegedly contemptuous of experts, since their views didn't help him much as a guerilla leader.

    In part, Cultural Revolution may have been motivated by simple self-aggrandizement, a way for him take back personal power after he was forced to surrender much of it at Lushan Conference to party leaders like Zhu De, who forced an end to the Great Leap Forward.

    Also, his view to the value of human life had always been calloused.
    Zhu De was an important figurehead after the 8th party congress (1956), and not much more. The driving force after Lushan was Liu Shaoqi, backed by Zhou Enlai, Chen Yun and Deng Xiaoping.
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    So how many did he kill after the civil war?

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    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    So how many did he kill after the civil war?
    Define "kill."

    Mao personally pulling the trigger?
    Policy decisions leading to inadvertent death?
    Or, the vast wasteland in between those two?
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