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Economic and Social Conditions Were the Main Reason for the Coming to Power of Authoritarian Leaders

Autor:   •  December 8, 2015  •  Essay  •  1,431 Words (6 Pages)  •  515 Views

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''Economic and Social conditions were the main reason for the coming to power of authoritarian leaders" With reference to one authoritarian leader, to what extent do you agree with this statement ?

The statement provides one example of the many conditions as to how an authoritarian leader (Mao Zedong) may come to power, and yes, I agree with this statement, as if you have a population that is 88% peasantry (China) , living under conditions of famine under richer, more influential people , there is a huge chance that when offered the opportunity to rebel, or have new leader, you will take it. However, there are many other reasons as to how he did come to power, such as the the fact that the previous government(run by Jiang Jieshi & the GMD) was significantly flawed and heavily corrupt, causing a lot of the chinese to want change, as well as the fact that Mao had a very powerful ideology and strong views.

At the time that Jiang Jieshi was in power in China, economic conditions were dreadful. Due to the persistent warfare of the 20th century,such as the ongoing war with Japan (1931/37) & WW2 (1945-49), there was much disunity among the people and quality of life in the countryside areas of China deteriorated rapidly, as the poor simply couldn’t keep up with the amount of inflation.

China had gone from having one of the most sophisticated, developed economies in the 16th century, to a country with high taxation and huge levels of inflation, that sapped the nation's economic and moral reserve and made paper money worthless. In August of 1948, the previous currency (the Fǎbì) was withdrawn and Jiang Jieshi introduced the gold yuan at a rate of 1 Gold Yuan to 3 million Yuan Fǎbì. However this had made the peasantry resentful, and susceptible to Mao Zedong’s ideology.

In terms of industrial growth, there was still very little in terms of factories, and manual labour was still relied upon for all agricultural activities, with the end result being many food shortages. This heavily affected many of the poorer areas of china, such as in the Henan province, where there were large peasant populations, yet also had an effect on the more privileged of chinese people. In such areas, predominantly cities and towns, hungry crowds stormed shops, riots broke out, and public order dissolved. A little over three million peasants died, and as China’s population was increasing by around 14 million a year, it would only make all the shortages worse, and the people would seek a new leader,

Little was done by local governments to resolve these issues, largely being down to them being used to bribery and corruption, thus making decision making extremely slow. The people wanted and needed change, and so it is evident to see how under this condition, Mao Zedong gained popularity. As well as the poverty and other problems, when Jiang Jieshi was finally


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