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3. Is it accurate to describe the Cultural Revolution as the ‘decade of disaster’?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the changing nature of the Cultural Revolution from its beginning in 1966 to its end in 1976, focusing in particular on: (i) the relatively abstruse event that triggered the Cultural Revolution; (ii) the establishment of the Red Guard movement, made up of high school and university students, its rapid growth; (iii) the shift of focus in the winter of 1966/67 to industrial workers in Shanghai, their clashes with local government; (iv) the spread of the Red Guard movement across China; (v) Mao’s attempts to use the PLA to restore order; (vi) the importance of the 9th National Congress of the CPC as a turning-point in the Cultural Revolution; and (vii) the nature of the Cultural Revolution in the final six years of Mao’s life.
In this course, Professor Michael Dillon (Durham University) explores the Cultural Revolution in China through nine key questions: (1) What was the meaning of the name ‘Cultural Revolution’?; (2) Why did Mao launch the Cultural Revolution when he did?; (3) Is it accurate to describe the Cultural Revolution as the ‘decade of disaster’?; (4) To what extent were Mao’s motives ideological rather than political?; (5) What was the role of the Red Guards in Mao’s strategy?; (6) Why was traditional Chinese culture a prime target in the Cultural Revolution?; (7) What part did Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, play in the Cultural Revolution?; (8) How important was Lin Biao in the Cultural Revolution?; and (9) To what extent was the Cultural Revolution a success?
Michael Dillon was founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University, where he taught courses on modern China, Chinese history, and Chinese language. He has also been a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Cite this Lecture
Dillon, M. (2020, November 29). China – The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76 - Is it accurate to describe the Cultural Revolution as the ‘decade of disaster’? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/china-the-cultural-revolution-1966-76/is-it-accurate-to-describe-the-cultural-revolution-as-the-decade-of-disaster
Dillon, M. "China – The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76 – Is it accurate to describe the Cultural Revolution as the ‘decade of disaster’?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Nov 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/china-the-cultural-revolution-1966-76/is-it-accurate-to-describe-the-cultural-revolution-as-the-decade-of-disaster