Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Comparison between Stalin and Chairman Mao

During our study of China under the rule of Mao, I noticed he had many similarities to Stalin and the tactics Stalin used while in power. A few of the similarities and differences between the two men and their tactics are listed below.

Qualities/conditions only belonging to Stalin
·            25 million people died
·            The Five Year Plan (Stalin’s five year plan)
·            Pro communism actions if not necessarily ideals
·            People re-educated in gulags
·            Shot the sailors who argued for democracy
·            18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953

Qualities/conditions belonging to both Stalin and Mao
·            Millions died because of them
·            A five year plan
o   Both plans failed, to varying degrees
·            Pro communism
·            Thought of as heroes at the time
·            Cult personality
o   Songs written praising them, etc
·            Knocked off political opposition and people who protested too loudly
·            Sent people off for ‘re-education’ via hard labor
·            Supported in their efforts by armed forces and terror
·            Communal farms
·            Their lifetimes overlap between 1893 and 1953.
·            Revolution requires violence
·            Everyone encouraged to turn ‘traitors’/non-believers in, even friends and family

Qualities/Conditions only belonging to Mao
·            15 million people killed
·            The Great Leap Forward (Mao’s five year plan)
·            Pro strict communism
·            Wrote his own book and told everyone to use it to answer any questions
o   The Little Red Book sounds like it was treated almost religiously
·            People wrote song and dance numbers praising him
·            People re-educated working farms in the country
·            Involved the children and people via bug and sparrow catching
·            Red Guards
·            December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976
·            “Revolution is not a dinner party…” –Mao

It is very interesting exactly how many similarities exist between the two of them. They seem to have had similar view on revolution and violence, and were equally talented at inspiring love in the people. Their lifetimes overlapped by a total of sixty years, and they may well have been influencing each other, one way or the other, as early as 1918.  Did the rising of one of these men inspire the rise of the other?


  1. Mao and Stalin met only once, the relations between them were not great. Stalin thought Mao was a peasant boor who didn't understand Marxism (the emphasis on peasants, rather than workers), and Mao always felt that the Soviet-controlled Comintern was trying to limit his power.

  2. Huh. I didn't know that. All the same, you don't have to like someone to admire or mimic their tactics: to a certain extent, China and their opinion on the west is a good example of that. It would seem to me that if Mao knew enough about Russia to implement their 5 year plans, he probably knew about several of the other things Russia did. If he copied one technique from them, mightn't he copy another?

  3. It's certainly true that the Chinese copied the Soviets in the early days, though after about 1960 or so there was a falling out, and they became rivals.

  4. Mao killed 70 million people, your way off... Unless your only referring to GLF numbers.

  5. Stalin had the best mustache, so he was the best dictator. He was deposed because the other communist party members were jealous or his beautiful mustache, and were afraid that the peasants would overthrow the other communist party members following the orders of Stalin's mustache