Victims of the cultural revolution are estimated around 500,000 and two million.
There were reported mass killings and even in some towns were reported cannibalism. The cause of this mayhem was when the new party posed a war against the old ways. However Mao’s greatest enemy was capitalism.These old ways consisted of old culture, customs, habits, and beliefs. Schools and universities were closed by Mao as one of his initial acts.In 1966 a a group of middle school students in Beijing, created a group called the Red Guard. This group spread quickly spreading to high schools and colleges, these young people were swept up in excitement and change. Chairman Mao supported this group seeing the potential of the youthful energy.
The Red Guards were instructed to report anyone supporting or practicing the old ways. This lead these kids to report friends, family, and teachers. Because they were so invested in Maos ways they saw it as the future and the people in the old ways were wrong. The Red Guard were also able to punish or humiliate anyone they found suspected of practicing the old ways. Another mission the Red Guards had were to destroy temples were the old ways were practices, as well as religious statues or idols. This group became so out of hand because of the lack of education.
These young minds were so susceptible to the propaganda of Mao because of the lack of education. This should be an example of how important education is to societies to function. Without education children will believe whatever they are told and can be manipulated. Another part of Mao’s reign was his little red book.
This book was widely distributed and at one point was the most printed book in the world. If a Red Guard came up to you they could ask you recite from the book and you would have to be able to recite passages from memory. The little red book was written by Mao himself and consisted of quotes from Mao, the book was considered his teachings. Sessions were held publicly to study this book, it became a social thing within younger people.
Some point to Mao’s strong feelings on industrialization and how progressive he was in trying to move China forward reward him with the credit of how China is today.