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Question 9
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Assess the reasons for the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s

  • Identify and analyse a range of policies and assess their success; this can be done against aims, results and/or historical context
  • Discuss some of the following developments: the failure of the Great Leap forward; Mao’s retreat from public life, the ‘Little Red book’ and developing ‘cult of personality’, the Wu Han affair, divisions in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), role of the People’s Liberation Army, The Group of Five, the Shanghai forum and The Gang of Four, The Central Cultural Revolution Group, roles of Lin Biao and Jiang Qing, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping
  • Discuss the relative merits of:
    • the reaction to the failure of the Great Leap Forward,
    • the desire to remove rivals to Mao and to purge the CCP of ‘rightists’ and ‘bourgeois elements’
    • the re-emphasis of the peasant revolution and the idea of permanent revolution
    • the attack on the ‘four olds’ and the desire to re-create Chinese culture
  • Argue that there were personal reasons for the Cultural Revolution (Mao’s suspicion of rivals and desire to rehabilitate himself) as well as concerns over the direction and nature of the Communist Revolution
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