Mao Zedong- communist China

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  • Mao Zedong

  • Deng Xiaoping

  • Nelson Mandela

  • Mikhail Gorbachev

  • Ho Chi Minh

Mao Zedong- Communist China: key terms—Long March, Chinese Communist Revolution, Great Leap forward, Cultural Revolution

Mao Zedong, one of the original founders of the Chinese Communist Party, became its undisputed ruler during the Long March of 1935, a 6000 mile journey to escape Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist troops.

Mao won the support of the peasants because he promised to redistribute land by creating communes. He believed that this would lead to economic fairness and prosperity. During WW II Mao and Chiang Kai-shek temporarily joined forces to fight the Japanese, but after World War II, Mao defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist forces in the Chinese Communist Revolution of 1949-1950. As a result, China was unified as a communist nation. Although he was a good revolutionary, his economic policies proved disastrous during the Great Leap Forward in which twenty million people died. To eliminate criticism of his economic failures, Mao established the Cultural Revolution. This led to a severe crackdown on freedom of speech. Under Mao’s influence, Red Guards, students of Mao, quit attending classes. They staged marches and rallies where critics of Mao were turned in to government authorities. These officials would humiliate, torture, and even execute the teachers who were critical of Mao. Rejecting the family values of Confucianism, the Red Guards drew their inspiration from Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. It was only after his death in 1976 that China began to recover.

  1. Which political party did Mao help establish? _______________________________

  2. After which event did Mao become the head of the Chinese Communist Party?


  1. Why did Mao and his supporters go on the Long March?



  1. Which foreign nation attacked China during WWII?


  1. Who did the Communists temporarily join forces with in WWII?


  1. When was the Chinese Communist revolution fought? What was the result


  1. Which class of Chinese people supported Mao? Why? _______________________________________


  1. Describe the Great Leap Forward. __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Why did Mao start the Cultural Revolution?

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

  1. During the Cultural Revolution, what role did the Red Guards play? _______________________ ______________________________________________________________________________


  1. Evaluation: In which ways was Mao very successful? ___________________________________ In which ways was he very unsuccessful? _____________


After Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping became the most influential political official in China. He initiated a series of reforms known as the Four Modernizations which had a positive impact on China. Under this policy farming was mechanized

and the unpopular system of communes (large collective farms) was discontinued. Farmers could

now grow and sell crops for a profit after they had reached a quota established by the government.

Industry was expanded and private businesses were established. Today almost half of China’s

Gross Domestic Product is produced by private businesses. Deng improved China’s military and

defense systems as well.

In order to develop China’s technology, Deng allowed Chinese students to study in Western nations. This is where problems came in. When students returned to China from their overseas

studies, they not only brought back technological ideas, they brought back notions of democracy.

After students gathered in Tiananmen Square in 1989 to demand democratic reforms, the

government warned them to disperse. When they didn’t the military was ordered to break up the

demonstration with tanks and weapons. Over 2000 people were killed in this event. Protest leaders were tried one day and executed the next. The Tiananmen Massacre left a stain on Deng Xiaoping’s


Furthermore, the Chinese government’s One Child Policy led to the deaths of millions of

unwanted babies who were allowed to waste away in orphanages that became known as Dying Rooms. Although he was a successful economic reformer, Deng Xiaoping clearly gets low marks for his human rights record.

1) Which leader replaced Mao Zedong? When? _______________________________

2) What was Deng Xiaoping’s series of reforms known as? ______________________

3) Give two examples of how farming improved under Deng.

a) __________________________________________________________________

b) __________________________________________________________________

4) Which other areas did the Four Modernizations improve? _____________________


5) Why did students gather at Tiananmen Square in Beijing? _____________________


6) What happened? ______________________________________________________


7) What tragedy occurred due to the One Child Policy? _________________________


8) Evaluate Deng Xiaoping.

Positive impact: ______________________________________________________


Negative impact: _____________________________________________________


Nelson Mandela

In the 1940s, Nelson Mandela became involved in the political struggle against apartheid, an oppressive form of racial discrimination practiced in South Africa. During this time he became increasingly involved in the African National Congress (ANC). This group sought to bring about democratic political change in South Africa. In 1948, the policy of apartheid was made law in South Africa. Apartheid was a strict regime of racial segregation, instituted by the Afrikaners when they gained power. Under apartheid, native Africans were ruled by the white minority and had little personal rights and freedom. They couldn’t vote and they were often forced to work in gold and diamond mines for very low wages. Dissent was crushed; Dissidents were punished. Native Africans were not allowed to live in the cities; instead they were forced to live in bantustans, decrepit townships located miles from urban areas. Educational opportunities and health facilities were minimal. Those who worked in the cities were forced to carry passes. In some cases people were immediately killed for not having passes!

To put an end to apartheid, Nelson Mandela and the ANC organized only nonviolent protests and demonstrations at first. But in the 1960, after the Sharpeville massacre where about 100 protestors were slaughtered, the ANC turned violent. Until that event, nonviolence was a part of Mandela’s philosophy, but after the massacre, he decided that violence necessary to bring change. He helped organize and became the leader of the ANC’S military wing, Spear of the Nation. Mandela was arrested in 1964 for sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. He became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid to people in South Africa, and around the world. In 1990, under international pressure, South Africa’s President de Klerk released Mandela from jail.

In 1991, apartheid was abolished, and in 1993, Mandela helped write a new constitution for South Africa which allowed everyone to vote. The following year, the country held its first multiracial, democratic elections. Mandela won by a landslide and became the first black president in the history of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela Questions

  1. Which country was Nelson Mandela from?_____________________________

  2. What did he become involved in during the 1940’s?__________________________________________________________

  3. What was the name of his political organization? ________________________


  1. Who were Afrikaners? _____________________________________________


  1. Describe how the human rights of native South Africans were violated under Apartheid vis a vis (with relation to)

  1. Jobs__________________________________________________________

  2. Voting ________________________________________________________

  3. Where they lived _______________________________________________

  4. Health & education _____________________________________________

  5. Pass laws _____________________________________________________

  1. How did the Sharpeville massacre change Mandela’s approach to fighting Apartheid? He switched from _________________ to ____________________.

  2. After his arrest for ____________ in 1964, Mandela was sentenced to ________

in prison. He wasn’t ___________ until 1990.

  1. In 1991, _____________________ was abolished.

  2. According to the new ___________________ written in 1993, South Africa became a multi-racial democracy which allowed everyone to ______

  3. In 1994, Mandela became the first ___________________________________________________________________

Mikhail Gorbachev- Soviet Union

Gorbachev led the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He instituted

an economic policy known as perestroika, which allowed small amounts of free enterprise for the first time in the Soviet Union since Lenin’s New Economic Policy

(NEP). He also initiated glasnost, a policy which allowed free speech and dissent

against the government. Due to these reforms, many regions of the USSR began to

demand swift changes and soon they broke away. As a result the Soviet Union

collapsed, and Russia changed from a totalitarian dictatorship to a more democratic

form of government.


  1. When did Gorbachev lead the Soviet Union? _______________________

  2. State the name of his economic policy and describe it? ________________


3) Describe glasnost. ______________________________________________


4) Explain the effect that Gorbachev’s policies had on the Soviet Union.



  1. How did the Russian government change after the Soviet Union collapsed?



HO CHI MINH questions

Ho Chi Minh was president of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1969. He spent his entire adult life devoted to removing French and American domination of Vietnam. He took the name “Ho Chi Minh” (which means he who enlightens) in 1940 while he was in China

Forming the Indo-Chinese Communist Party. In 1941 Ho founded the Vietminh (League for the Independence of Vietnam).

By 1945, The Japanese had defeated the French colonial powers in Vietnam. Later in that year the U.S. defeated Japan by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After WWII, Ho Chi Minh asked the U.S. for help in keeping foreign colonial powers out of Vietnam. The U.S., however, refused this request because Ho Chi Minh was a communist. Helping him would have violated the Truman Doctrine which sought to contain the spread of communism. At this time the French reestablished their colonial control of Vietnam.

In 1954, however, the French were defeated at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. After the

French left, Vietnam was divided into a communist North and non-communist South.

The United States then came in to help South Vietnam stop the spread of communism but this led to the Vietnam War. After a stalemate had been reached, a peace treaty was signed in 1973. During the

Watergate scandal in 1975, the North Vietnamese conquered South Vietnam and proclaimed Vietnam

a unified communist country.

  1. During what time period was Ho Chi Minh president of North Vietnam? _______

  2. What was his adult life devoted to? __________________________________


  1. What does “Ho Chi Minh” mean? When did he take on this name? __________


  1. What organization did Ho Chi Minh help establish in 1941? ________________

  2. By 1945 which country had defeated the French colonial powers in Vietnam?

____________. Then who defeated Japan in 1945? _____________________

How? ____________ bombs on ______________ and Nagasaki.

6) Whose help did Ho Chi Minh seek in order to keep out colonial rule?


  1. Which foreign power reestablished colonial power in Vietnam after WWII?

______________. What happened to the French at Dienbienphu? __________


  1. After the French left what happened to Vietnam? ________________________


  1. Which country came in to help South Vietnam stop the spread of communism?

__________________. What did this lead to? __________________________

  1. The U.S. didn’t help Ho Chi Minh because this would have violated the idea

behind the _____________ Doctrine which sought to stop the spread of _________.

11) What happened after Ho Chi Minh died in 1969?

  1. 1973 _______________________________________________________

  2. 1975 __________________________________________________

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