The PLA reading Mao’s Little Red Book Elena Songster & Jessica Stowell, OU
8 August 1966 • 16 point decision • Red Guards destroy the “four olds”: • Thought • Culture • Customs • Habits
Phase I: Red Guards (1966-69) • Purge of party cadres • Deng Xiaoping • Purge of intellectuals
The Red Guards • Galvanized by the August 1966 Rally, the Red Guards became the primary instruments of the Cultural Revolution • “We have to depend on them to start a rebellion, a revolution, otherwise we may not be able to overthrow the demons and monsters. We must liberate the little devils. We need more monkeys to disrupt the palace” (Mao, 1965-interesting!)
The Red Guards • One of the key instruments employed during the Great Cultural Revolution by Mao is The Red Guards. • These are people in their teens and twenties who supported the shake-ups within the Communist Party in the Cultural Revolution. • Their key activity was to terrorise closet capitalists. • They attacked and tortured respected teachers, abused elderly citizens, humiliated old revolutionaries, and, in many cases, battled former friends in bloody confrontations. • They carried Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book with religious fervour, often using the quotations to justify their revolutionary efforts. • Most of the Red Guards did not finish their education as a result of the cultural revolution.
Red Guard • The Red Guard is the name given to the hundreds of thousands of students who left their schools to spread Mao’s message; that the Moderates were bringing China down the ‘Capitalist Road’, and needed to return to pure Communism once again • They were responsible for a majority of the chaos created during the Cultural Revolution • They traveled the countryside and visited factories, etc. to spread the message • At the end of the Cultural Revolution, they were sent to the countryside to ‘learn from the peasants’
Red Guard • Red Guard activities were promoted as a reflection of Mao's policy of rekindling revolutionary enthusiasm and destroying "outdated," "counterrevolutionary" symbols and values. • Mao's ideas, popularized in the Quotations from Chairman Mao, became the standard by which all revolutionary efforts were to be judged.
A Young group of Red Guards Mao gathered to fight against democratic society.
Red Guards • Schools closed so the kids could join • They beat anyone that they thought were counterrevolutionaries • Most of these people with authority. • They were publicly humiliated, beaten, and sometimes killed
Struggle Sessions Elena Songster & Jessica Stowell, OU
The Red Guard • They had the workers arrange meetings so frequent that production came to a standstill • Anyone who complained was accused of being a bourgeois, etc. • Vandalism was also common, as the Red Guard started to stamp out authorities, like the leader of the factory, etc. • High levels of violence ensued • This meant that national output fell dramatically during the course of the Cultural Revolution • This caused the Chinese economy to be crippled through the three-year duration of the Cultural Revolution
Youth: Red Guards Elena Songster & Jessica Stowell, OU
Renamed streets and buildings Lined the streets with pictures of Mao Attacked and humiliated those in Western or traditional clothing As early as 1967, the Red Guards were seen by many in the Party to be a liability. Red Guards (1966-69)
Red Guards: Struggle Sessions (Purges) • Red Guard denounce teachers, parents, school leaders in public facing hundreds of people for crimes against Mao and the Revolution. • This was a unique method used by the Communist Party of China in the Mao era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, and/or execute political rivals, so-called class enemies .
Cultural Revolution • In June 1966 middle schools and universities throughout the country closed down as students devoted all their time to Red Guard activities. Millions of these young students were encouraged to attack "counterrevolutionaries (teachers school leaders, and parents) " and criticize those in the party who appeared to have deviated from Maoist thought. • Left is a painting of a young "Red Guard" participating in the campaign. The big characters on the board read "Field for Criticism." The head of Mao Zedong appears in the upper left corner. • Why do you think the artist chose to include Mao's image in this poster?