1893 (26th December)
Mao Zedong was born at Shaoshan, Xiangtan, Hunan Province, China to Mao Yichang, a wealthy farmer and his wife Wen Qimei.
1896 (3rd April)
Mao’s brother, Mao Zemin, was born at Shaoshan, Xiangtan, Hunan Province.
Mao began his education at Shaoshan Primary School.
Mao disliked the fact that his education was limited to traditional texts that focused on the teachings of Confucious and did not include any modern texts. He attempted to leave home but his father found him and brought him home.
1905 (25th September)
Mao’s brother, Mao Zetan, was born at Shaoshan, Xiangtan, Hunan Province, China to Mao Yichang, a wealthy farmer and his wife Wen Qimei.
Mao’s parents took in Mao Zejian, the baby daughter of 10 year old Lhamu Gyatso who had been raped by Mao’s uncle. Lahmu Gyatso had sold the baby to Mao’s parents.
Mao completed his education and began working with his father in their fields. In his spare time he read books. He was particularly influenced by what he learned of George Washington and Napoleon and their leadership qualities. He was also impressed with a booklet written by Zheng Guanying which argued for democracy and elections in China.
Mao was forced into an arranged marriage and married Luo Yixiu, the daughter of a wealthy family. He refused to acknowledge her as his wife.
1907 (14th November)
Guangxu, 11th Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, died.
1908 (2nd Decmeber)
Puyi became Emperor of China aged 2 years, 10 months.
Mao Zedibg was shocked by the effects of the famine in Hunan Province.
1910 (11th February)
Mao’s wife Luo Yixiu died of dysentery.
Mao moved to Changsha to continue his education. He became involved with revolutionary groups who wanted to overthrow Emperor Puyi’s absolute monarchy.
Mao joined the rebel army led by Sun Yat-sen in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy and set up a republic with an elected President. The revolution was successful in the south but not in the north. To avoid civil war the monarchy continued but Yuan Shikai served as President of the Republic of China.
1912 (12th February)
The child emperor Puyi was forced to abdicate the Imperial throne.
Mao resigned from the rebel army and began teacher training at the Fourth Normal School of Changsha in Hunan. He read publications written by Jiang Kangju, founder of the Chinese Socialist Party and was interested in his views. Professor Yang Changji suggested he also read the radical newspaper ‘New Youth’ which advocated a move towards democracy.
Mao Zedong was elected secretary of the Students’ Society and organised the Association for Student Self-Governmentand which made protests against school rules.
Mao was elected commander of the Student’s Volunteer Army which was set up to protect the school and students from Imperial soldiers.
The radical newspaper ‘New Youth’ published an article by Mao Zedong. It was the first of many articles to be published.
Mao founded the Renovation of the People Study Society to debate the ideas of Chen Duxiu, founder of the ‘New Youth’ radical newspaper.
1918 (19th August)
Mao moved to Peking (Beijing) and stayed with his former teacher Yang Changji. Changji found Mao a job as an assistant to the university librarian, Li Dazhao who was a Communist. Here he learned of the ideas of Karl Marx.
1919 (4th May)
May Fourth Movement
Mao was among the students that protested at the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Tienanmen Square, Peking (Beijing) against the Paris Peace Conference which had given German rights in China to Japan.
Mao graduated as a teacher.
Mao left Peking (Beijing) and became a History teacher at Xiuye Primary School, Changsha.
Mao began to organise protests against the Hunan Province governor, Zhang Jingyao. He also published a weekly radical magazine ‘Xiang River Review’ which called for the people to work towards gaining a modernised China.
1919 (5th October)
Mao’s mother died.
Mao helped to organise a general strike in Hunan Province. He returned to Peking (Beijing) shortly afterwards due to concerns of repercussions by the governor Zhang.
Mao’s former teacher and mentor, Yang Changji died.
1920 (23rd January)
Mao’s father died.
Mao Zedibg left Peking (Beijing) and moved to Shanghai where he met Yi Peiji, his former teacher and member of the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the Chinese Nationalist Party. Mao helped Tan Yankai, a senior member of the KMT, to organise the overthrow of governor Zhang.
Tan Yankai led his troops into Changsha and governor Zhang fled.
Mao founded the Cultural Book Institute in Changsha.
Mao Zedong was appointed director of the primary school in Changsha.
Mao married Yang Kaihui, daughter of Professor Yang Changji.
Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, who had been part of the Fourth May Movement in 1919, founded the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) in Shanghai.
Mao established a branch of the CPC in Changsha.
1921 (23rd July)
First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party
This was held to bring together the members of the party across China. Mao was one of 13 delegates to attend, representing the party’s 50 members.
1921 (30th July)
Police officers broke up the First National Congress Meeting. The delegates continued their meeting on a tourist boat and decided to establish a Communist Party with Chen Duxiu as leader.
Mao founded the Self-Study University which enabled members access to revolutionary literature.
Second National Congress of the Communist Party
Mao did not attend this meeting held in Shanghai. At this Congress the party agreed to form an alliance with the Nationalist Party, Kuomintang (KMT) in order to foment a nationalistic revolution in China and defeat the warlords that had controlled much of northern China since the fall of the Empire. Mao agreed with this strategy.
1922 (24th October)
A son, Mao Anying was born to Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui in Changsha, Hunan Province.
Third National Congress of the Communist Party
Delegates agreed to continue to work with the Kuomintang (KMT). Mao was elected to the KMT Party Committee in Shanghai and moved to the city to take up this position.
1923 (23rd November)
A son, Mao Anqing was born to Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui in Changsha, Hunan Province.
First Congress of the Kuomintang (KMT)
Mao was elected an alternate member of the KMT Central Executive Committee. He also put forward resolutions to decentralise power.
Mao returned to Shaoshan, Hunan Province. While there he found that the peasants were unhappy with the system and realised that they could be incited to revolution.
Mao wrote the poem ‘Changsha’.
1925 (12th March)
Sun Yat Sen died. Chiang Kai Shek took over as leader of the Kuomintang (KMT). Chiang was opposed to Communism and left wing politics.
Mao Zedong went to Guangzhou where he ran the 6th term of the Kuomintang (KMT)’s Peasant Movement Training Institute. Young idealists from all over China were instructed in the principals of the KMT, left wing politics and basic military training. They were then sent out to pass on their training to the peasants in the countryside.
The National Revolutionary Army of the Kuomintang (KMT) set out to curb the power of the Warlords in the north.
Following the success of the Northern Expedition, the peasants rose up and took the land of wealthy landowners. This angered many of the leaders of the Kuomintang (KMT) who were landowners themselves.
A son, Mao Anlong was born to Mao Zedong and Yang Kaihui in Changsha, Hunan Province.
Mao was present at the Kuomintang (KMT) Central Executive Committee in Wuhan. Those at the meeting tried to remove Chiang and replace him with Wang Jingwei. Mao spoke to the Committee stating that revolution cannot always be peaceful and backing the regulations that advocated the death penalty or life imprisonment for anyone found guilty of counter-revolutionary activity.
Mao was one of the five members of the Kuomintang (KMT)’s Central Land Committe and urged peasants to withhold rent payments. He also called for those corrupt officials, bad gentry and local bullies to have their land confiscated.
Chiang Kai Shek, leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) made an attack on the large number of Communists in the country. He marched on Shanghai, which was controlled by Communists, killing 5,000 people.
Between 15,000 and 25,000 Communists were killed.
1927 (15th July)
The Kuomintang (KMT) expelled all Communists.
The Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army of China (Red Army) was formed to fight back at Chiang and the Kuomintang (KMT).
1927 (1st August)
A section of the Red Army commanded by General Zhu De attempted to take Nanchang. Although they initially made some inroad they were forced to retreat.
1927 (9th September)
Autumn Harvest Uprisning
Mao was made Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army and led this Uprising against the Kuomintang (KMT) in Changsha, Hunan.
1927 (15th September)
Autumn Harvest Uprising
Mao was forced to accept defeat and withdrew from the battle. He and the survivors retreated to the Jinggang Mountains of Jiangxi.
Mao Zedong made Jinggangshan City his base and set about establishing his own system of government. He turned local villages into a self-governing state and set up his own army.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China told Mao to take troops to southern Hunan and foment a peasant uprising. Mao’s troops were atacked by the Kuomintang (KMT) and suffered heavy losses. At the same time KMT soldiers had taken Jingganshan City. After much fighting Mao, allied with Zhu De, managed to retake Jinggangshan. They were joined by others who had defected from the KMT.
Mao wrote the poem ‘The Double Ninth’.
A daughter, Mao Jinjua was born to Mao and He Zizhen in Longyan, Fujian.
Having realised that the mountainous region of Jingganshan was unable to provide sufficient food for the numbers of people with him, Mao and Zhu took their armies, a total of 2,000 men, to Jiangxi. Mao’s infant daughter, Mao Jinhua, was left behind and she was adopted by another family.
1929 (29th August)
Mao Zejian, who had been taken in by Mao’s parents, was executed by the Kuomintang (KMT).
Mao created the South West Jiangxi Provincial Soviet. The numbers of his followers continued to increase.
Concerned about the growing numbers of Mao’s group of Communists, the Kuomintang (KMT) sent more than 1 million soldiers to destroy Communists led by Mao.
Although he had not divorced his wife, Yang Kaihui, Mao Zedong married He Zizhen.
The Kuomintang (KMT) captured Mao’s wife, Yang Kaihui and their eldest son, Anying.
1930 (6th November)
Mao’s wife, Yang Kaihui was executed by the KMT.
Members of the Jiangxi Soviet felt that Mao was too moderate and tried to overthrow him. They were unsuccessful and many of them were executed by Mao’s loyal supporters.
Mao’s son, Mao Anlong died.
The Red Guard now totalled 45,000. There were also around 200,000 militia.
1933 (25th September)
Fifth Encirclement Campaign
Chiang Kai-shek surrounded the Communists in an attempt to starve them into submission.
1934 (14th October)
The Long March
Mao’s Red Army broke through the KMT lines. They began what has become known as the Long March – a move to the north west of China. Due to the distance and pace of the march, many sick, wounded, young and elderly were left behind. Around 100,000 began the journey.
Mao wrote the poems ‘Loushan Pass’ and ‘The Long March’.
Mao and his Communists were still continuing their Long March. They made a temporary stop in Zunyi which they had taken. Mao was elected Chairman of the Politburo, leader of the Communist Party and leader of the Red Army.
1935 (25th April)
Mao’s brother, Mao Zetan was captured by the Kuomintang (KMT) and executed.
1935 (19th October)
The Long March ended as Mao and his Communists reached the Yan’an Soviet. They had been relentlessly pursued by the Kuomintang (KMT) and only 8,000 had survived the journey.
Mao was made chairman of the Military Commission.
Mao wrote the poem ‘Snow’.
A daughter, Li Min was born to Mao Zedong and He Zizhen.
Mao’s army had reached 15,000, boosted by the arrival of new soldiers returning from Tibet and Hunan.
Mao wrote ‘On Guerrilla Warfare’, ‘On Contradiction’ and ‘On Practice’.
Mao’s third wife, He Zizhen went to the Soviet Union to seek treatment for a shrapnel wound to her head. While she was away Mao met Jiang Qing and began a relationship with her.
1937 (7th July)
Second Sino-Japanese War
War with Japan began. Mao believed that the only way to win against the Japanese was for the Communists and the KMT to work together.
The Communists allied with the Kuomintang in order to form a united force against the Japanese.
1937 (13th December)
Rape of Nanking
The Japanese took Nanking (Nanjing). The following six weeks saw Japanese soldiers murder Chinese inhabitants of the city, rape women and loot and pillage goods and supplies. The total number killed is unknown but estimated to be between 40,000 and 300,000.
Mao Zedong wrote ‘On Protracted War’.
The Rape of Nanking led to huge numbers of Chinese joining the Red Army and its numbers increased to 500,000.
The Red Army split into the New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army.
1938 (28th November)
Mao married Jiang Qing. He had divorced He Zizen in her absence.
Mao wrote ‘In Memory of Norman Bethune’.
Mao wrote ‘On New Democracy’.
A daughter, Li Na was born to Mao Zedong and Jiang Qing in Yan’an.
Hundred Regiments Campaign
Nearly half a million troops simultaneously attacked the Japanese in 5 provinces. The campaign led to the deaths of 20,000 Japanese. It also seriously disrupted rail lines making transportation difficult for the Japanese.
Mao wrote ‘Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art’.
Mao organised a purge of Communist Party leaders.
Mao became Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
1943 (27th September)
Mao’s brother, Mao Zemin, was executed by the warlord Sheng Shicai.
Mao wrote ‘Serve the People’.
1944 (22nd July)
The United States launched the United States Army Observation Group (known as the Dixie Mission) to form relations with the Communist Party of China (CCP).
Mao wrote ‘The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains’.
1945 (9th September)
War with Japan ended after Japan surrendered following dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States suggested that Mao unite with Chiang and form a coalition government but Mao refused, causing civil war.
Mao merged the New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army into one army and renamed it the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to fight against the Kuomintang (KMT) led by Chiang Kai-shek.
The American General George Marshall tried to effect a ceasefire between the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) led by Mao and the Kuomintang (KMT) led by Chiang Kai-shek. His mission failed and the Civil War continued.
1947 (11th March)
The United States abandoned the mission and left China.
1948 (June to October)
Siege of Changchun
Mao sent the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to place the city of Changchun which was occupied by the Kuomintang (KMT), under siege. Around 160,000 civilians died during the siege before the KMT were defeated and the city taken by the PLA.
Mao wrote the poem ‘The PLA Captures Nanjing’.
1949 (21st January)
The KMT suffered huge losses against the Red Guard. Chiang Kai-shek and other Nationalists fled to Taiwan.
1949 (1st October)
The People’s Republic of China was founded. Chairman Mao set out to put industry under state organisation.
1949 (after October)
Mao wanted to redistribute land to the people. In order to do this he sanctioned mass executions of land owners and other right wing people.
1949 (10th December)
Chengdu fell to the Communists. Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan.
1950 (14th February)
Sino Soviet Treaty
Mao and Stalin
signed a treaty of friendship.
Campaign to Suppress Counter-Revolutionaries
Mao launched this campaign to eradicate opposition groups, especially former members of the Kuomintang (KMT).
Mao sent a unit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Volunteer Army (PVA), to fight with North Korea in the Korean War.
1950 (7th October)
Mao’s forces invaded Tibet and placed it under Chinese control.
1950 (10th October)
Mao issued this new directive to step up the Campaign to Suppress Counter-Revolutionaries. Mass executions of former leaders and members of the Kuomintang (KMT) followed.
1950 (25th November)
Mao’s oldest son Mao Anying was killed fighting in the Korean War
1951 (21st January)
Mao was concerned that reform was not happening quickly enough and called for further executions to be carried out in order to break any remaining power of former landlords or members of the Kuomintang (KMT). As a result hundreds of thousands committed suicide or were executed.
This campaign, launched in Manchuria sought to reform China by purging government and party officials by placing emphasis on being anti-corruption, anti-waste and anti-bureaucracy.
This campaign sought to target capitalists within China by placing emphasis on bieng anti-bribery, anti-theft of state property, anti-tax evasion, anti-cheating on government contracts and anti stealing state economic information. Groups and trained workers spied on businesses and reported those that were guilty of any of the five-antis. Those found guilty were publicly humiliated, sent to hard labour camps or executed
Mao banned all parties except the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
First Five Year Plan
Mao introduced this plan to industrialise China and end dependence on agriculture. He wanted China to become a global power and recognised that industrialisation was essential to achieve this.
1954 (27th September)
Mao became President of the People’s Republic of China.
Hundred Flowers Campaign
Mao encouraged criticism of the government of China. However, as the criticism of his regime increased he hit back sending half a million opponents to hard labour.
Mao wrote the poem ‘Reply to Li Shuyi’.
Mao wrote ‘On the Correct Handling of the Contradictions Among the People’.
Half a million government critics were given hard labour or executed.
Great Leap Forward
Mao’s second five year plan introduced collectivisation with a view to an increased mobilisation of labour to improve agricultural and industrial ouput. Unfortunately, the move failed to increase output and officials, not wanting to be seen to be critical of Mao, over exaggerated output figures. This meant that the amount requisitioned by the government was too high and the peasants were left with insufficient food. This, combined with floods and a poor harvest led to famine and more than 20 million people starving to death.
1958 (31st July)
Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev visited Mao.
Chinese Communism split from Russian Communism. This was largely due to the fact that Mao saw Stalin’s successor, Khrushchev, as a more moderate Communist not committed to Marxism.
A Tibetan uprising for independence from China was ruthlessly put down. The Dalai Lama fled to India.
Mao gave up the presidency of the People’s Republic of China. He was succeeded by Liu Shaoqi.
This was a meeting of the leaders of the Communist Party of China (CCP). Defence Minister Peng Dehuai criticised The Great Leap Forward. He was dismissed and arrested, though many members of the Party viewed this as unfair treatment and against the principles of Communism. Mao viewed the dismissal of Peng as a sign of confidence in his policies.
Mao Zedong wrote the poem ‘Ode to the Plum Blossom’.
Chinese imported grain from Canada and Australia to help ease the food situation.
The President of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Liu Shaoqi, denounced the Great Leap Forward.
War broke out between China and India. Russia supported India.
The Sino-Indian War ended. China gained the Aksai Chin border region.
President Liu Shaoqi and General Secretary Deng Xiaoping believed that Mao’s role within the party should be confined to a symbolic figurehead and that power should be taken by the party. Together they began to take control of economic policy and became more vocal politically. Mao quickly became concerned that they were leading China towards capitalism and he began to take a more prominent role in politics again.
Little Red Book
This book, officially titled Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, was published. It was compiled by an office of the People’s Liberation Army Daily and edited by Lin Biao as an inspirational handbook.
1964 (16th October)
China tested its first nuclear weapon at Lop Nur.
1966 (16th May)
Instigated by Mao, this series of rallies involving young people planted the idea that the elite and middle class wanted a return to capitalism and that they should be removed. Schools and universities were closed and scholars sent to the countryside to be ‘re-educated’ by the peasants. In practice this meant hard labour in the fields. Opponents of the regime were eliminated. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping were arrested.
The Red Guard lay siege to the Soviet Embassy in Beijing.
1967 (14th June)
China tested its first Hydrogen Bomb.
Liu Shaoing died in prison.
Tension with the USSR increased when Soviet troops appeared along the border with Xinjiang.
Mao named Lin Biao Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China, a move which made Lin Mao’s successor.
Fighting broke out between China and the USSR along the Ussuri River.
The Soviet Union threatened China with a nuclear attack.
1970 (24th April)
China launched the satellite Dong Fang Hong 1.
The United States ping pong team were invited to Beijing by Mao.
Henry Kissinger visited Beijing.
China replaced Taiwan at the United Nations.
1971 (13th September)
Lin Biao, Vice Chairman of the Communist Party and Mao’s nominated successor, died in a plane crash over Mongolia. The official line was that he was planning to overthrow Mao and fled when it was unsuccessful. He was condemned by the Communist Party as a traitor.
President Nixon visited Beijing and met with Mao.
Mao’s health had deteriorated and he was unable to speak properly.
Chiang Kai-shek died in Taiwan.
1976 (27th May)
Mao Zedong met Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when he visited Beijing. It was Mao’s last public appearance.
Mao suffered a heart attack.
1976 (26th June)
Mao suffered a second heart attack.
1976 (5th September)
Mao suffered a third heart attack which left him very ill.
1976 (9th September)
Mao died in Beijing. His body was embalmed and lay in state in the Great Hall of the People.
1976 (18th September)
A three minute silence was imposed followed by a eulogy made by Hua Guofeng in Tiananmen Square. Afterwards Mao’s body was interred in a mausoleum in Beijing.