One of the most influential revolutionaries of the mid-twentieth century, Mao has been revered as a liberator and reviled as a ruthless oppressor by millions of people and thousands of academics and politicians around the world. There is ample empirical evidence for almost every characterization. A fierce Chinese nationalist, he was for a time a beacon of international socialism, who laid the foundations for what became the world’s fastest-growing, and most ruthless, capitalist economy, under state supervision, controlled by the world’s largest remaining Communist Party.
There is little doubt that the success, in 1949, of the revolutionary movement, party, and armies Mao led, vindicated the wounded national pride of China, burdened by unequal treaties imposed by European nations, Japan, and the United States. He brought a rapid leveling process to the sharply unequal distribution of property and wealth within China, mobilizing vast popular participation in the process. Mao chased out...
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