The Origins of the Cultural Revolution: Volume II, the Great Leap Forward 1958--1960

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Columbia University Press, 1983 - History - 470 pages
This is the final volume in a trilogy that examines the politics, personalities, economics, culture, and international relations of China from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. It seeks to answer the central question: Why did Chairman Mao Zedong launch the Cultural Revolution (1966--76), which plunged China into chaos and almost destroyed its Communist Party? The Coming of the Cataclysm starts with the great famine of the early 1960s, which resulted in tens of millions of deaths and set in train a series of emergency measures that increasingly divided Mao from his comrades-in-arms. His anger that they were prepared to adopt "capitalist" methods to rescue the country was sharpened by his belief that Moscow had actually gone capitalist and sold out to the "imperialist" West. From 1961 to 1966, the period covered by this volume, the increasingly urgent question for Mao was how to prevent a similar revolutionary degeneration in China. The Cultural Revolution was his answer.Drawing upon new evidence from Party documents, personal interviews, books, and journals, MacFarquhar details the growing rift between Mao and his colleagues as they attempted to cope with domestic privation and an increasingly hostile international environment -- until the Chairman finally decided to smash the unity of the Yan'an Round Table by unleashing society against the party-state.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Mao in Moscow
7
The Politburo Tours China
20
The Chengtu Conference
35
The Leap Is Launched
51
The Coming of the Communes
77
High Tide
91
Withdrawal at Wuhan
119
High Noon at Lushan
187
The SinoSoviet Split Emerges
255
The End of the Leap
293
Conclusions
326
Abbreviations used in notes
337
Notes
339
Bibliographical Note
434
Bibliography
436

Mao Veers Right
136
Chairman Liu
160
A Rectification of Names terminological turbulence in the communes
181

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About the author (1983)

Roderick MacFarquhar, a former British Member of Parliament, is Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science at Harvard, chairman of its Government Department, and a research associate of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research.

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