Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 75: Mao and the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

Social Matter
June 23, 2018

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Adam Smith, Hank Oslo, Alex Nicholson, Nick Mason and special guest Ethnarch


The Mandate of Heaven is a Chinese political and spiritual concept that goes back to ancient times to explain the state of Chinese society and that of the Emperor’s authority. It is said that if a Emperor has power, he has received the heavenly mandate to rule – yet if misfortune befalls China – Heaven has removed that same mandate accordingly. In the case of Mao Zedong, who rose to prominence in the aftermath of the second world war in the turmoil that ensued in China as the Japanese Empire surrendered and communist and nationalist forces vied for control of Beijing, his reign as de facto emperor of China from 1949 to 1976 was a tumultuous one. After implementing sweeping land reforms, plunging headlong into a war with the United States in Korea, and despite overturning the country’s economic base that led to tens of millions dead from starvation – Mao’s political control never seemed to waver. Communist China – caught up in the revolution of standing up for itself against foreign powers – never seemed to be able to stand up to its emperor.


– Life and Death in Shanghai, Cheng (1987)
– The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Courtois (1997)
– Korea, The Never Ending War, Myth of the 20th Century (2017) –


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