Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)




College of Humanities and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Kimberly Hale


Across the globe, the 20th century witnessed several instances of tyrannical regimes and leaders; Chairman Mao Zedong was argued by many to have been one of the most merciless tyrants that this era witnessed. A founder of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong was one of the most significant and controversial political actors in the last century. Chairman Mao became the leader of the People’s Republic of China after declaring its existence in 1949, marking the beginning of both a communist regime in the East Asian territory and Mao’s tyrannical reign. Zedong can be remembered for several of his failed policies or programs aimed at converting China into a prosperous communist nation, such as his first Five-Year Plan, and The Great Leap Forward. Many also remember Mao for the Great Sparrow Campaign, part of his Four Pests Campaign that resulted in a great famine that ended with over 30 million individuals dying. The most significant portion of Mao’s legacy, however, is the decade-long Cultural Revolution, aimed at eliminating old ideas, habits, customs, and cultures of China, also known as the Old Four and his infamous political philosophical beliefs and writings. The Cultural Revolution severely crippled China’s society, economy, and political atmosphere and millions of citizens died in its midst, one of the most violent and catastrophic times in modern China. Mao’s rise to power and the Cultural Revolution and all that contributed to and resulted from both will be the main focus of this paper.