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Zhou Enlai in the Cultural Revolution: The Motivations and Influences

2020-03-18 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面51due教员组为大家整理一篇优秀的代写范文- Zhou Enlai in the Cultural Revolution: The Motivations and Influences,供大家参考学习。这篇文章讲述的是作为中国最受尊敬的领导人之一,前总理周恩来在中国人民和国际上享有盛誉。民众对周恩来的敬仰程度和毛泽东本人一样高,甚至比毛泽东本人还要高。1976年周恩来去世时,上万人自愿上街向他表示敬意。然而,周恩来在1966年至1976年的文化大革命中所扮演的角色是值得怀疑的,而且对公众来说仍然是神秘的。本文将探讨当时中国的社会和政治状况,分析周作人在文化大革命期间和之后所进行的斗争和妥协,从而得出周作人在文化大革命期间和之后的动机和影响。

Zhou Enlai in the Cultural Revolution: The Motivations and Influences

As one of the most widely respected leaders in China, former prime minister Zhou Enlai enjoys a great reputation from both the Chinese people and internationally. The admiration of Zhou among the people was as high as, or even higher than for the leader, Mao himself. When Zhou died in 1976, tens of thousands of people came on to the street in Beijing voluntarily to pay him respect. However, the role that Zhou played in the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 are questionable, and remain mysterious to the public. The actions he took in the madness may have caused the deaths of several of the top leaders in the Communist Party of China, including Vice President Liu Shaoqi, Defense Secretary Lin Biao, and General He Long. This essay will discuss the social and political situations in China back then, and analyze the struggles and compromises that Zhou had to make, leading to the motivations and influences Zhou had during and after the Cultural Revolution.

Before starting to criticize Zhou, it should be noted first that his decision to back Mao was somewhat forced, by the social status during the period. The Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, is one of the darkest times in the modern history of China. Millions of “Red Guards” stormed through the country, prosecuting those with knowledge and wealth. The number of victims during the cultural revolution are in tens of millions nationwide, with a devastating effect on the nation’s economy which took more than a decade to recover. However, the biggest influence of the Cultural Revolution was on people’s mind. When evil and ignorance were promoted, knowledge and rationality suppressed, nobody dare to voice their opinions anymore.

The origin of the Cultural Revolution was from the power struggles in the leadership level of the communist party. A popular point of view by the western historians is that seeing what happened to Stalin in the Soviet Union, Mao was afraid that the same would happen to him. But one can only imagine what was the thinking and motivation behind all this. Hannah Arendt (2004) believes that it is inevitable for Totalitarianism to arouse the public continuously into political actions, so that it can maintain its legitimacy. The Culture Revolution is an example. Caught in the struggles between Mao and the other leaders, Zhou Enlai had no choice but to pick a side, and his chose to side with Mao, which marks the start of a series of tragic events.

Although many of the things Zhou did in prosecuting high level party members were under Mao’s command, his participations should not be underestimated. Mao may have been a great man of war, and he sure was a great poet, but he lacks the rationality and skills in running the country. Failure of the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s showed that clearly. By the end of the 1960s, voices of criticism within the party drove him mad, and Vice President Liu Shaoqi became his main target. When it became obvious that Mao was only trying to hide his failures and get rid of the men opposing him, it was rather curious why Zhou would want to support him.

Zhou was an incredibly intelligent man, even regarded as a genius from an early age. Besides Zhou being blinded by his friendship with Mao, one of the possible explanations for the decision is that Zhou believes that Mao was too powerful to be challenged. Therefore, he would rather remain in power and do dirty work for Mao than to be in exile, or worse. Later in the letter full of false accusation against Liu, which Zhou drafted himself, he listed all the crimes that he could possibly think of, a “traitor, spy and thief”, which is the final kick off the cliff for Liu (Barnouin, & Yu, 2006). In the unjust case for his friend for decades, He Long, Zhou was also partly responsible for his death, which he showed great remorse for on He’s funeral.

By the end of the Cultural Revolution, Zhou had finally realized the devastating effect of the Cultural Revolution nationwide. Instead of being the political tool of Mao in the 1960s, Zhou began to consciously form an alliance with Deng Xiaoping and Ye Jianying, who played crucial roles in the later overthrow of the Gang of Four and restoration of the nation back to norm. However, he still had to keep up the appearances of the good old prime minister and endorsed Mao all the time. Even at his deathbed he asked his caretaker to read to his works of Mao. By 1975, when Zhou was in bed suffering from pain caused by cancer, he still wrote to Mao regularly in extremely humble tones (Wu, 2016). From the actions of Zhou, one can almost sense that he was fearful of Mao.

In conclusion, no one will ever truly understand the motivations of Zhou during the Cultural Revolution, and why he drafted the letter that framed Liu to death. It is even harder to tell whether his actions were true to his heart under such abnormal circumstances, at least at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. However, it should be noted that despite the unforgivable things Zhou did in the cases of Liu, He and many others, he was one of the few influential yet rational voices remaining in the leadership level of the party. His rationality was the determining factor in crushing the Gang of Four after the Cultural Revolution. Throughout his life, Zhou had countless contributions to the communist party and the establishment of the new China, but under the madness of the Cultural Revolution, even a great man like him could not keep his integrity.

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