The son of a peasant, Mao Zedong (1893 - 1976)) was born in the village of Shao Shan, Hunan Province in China. At the age of 27, Mao attended the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened in Shanghai in July 1921. Two years later he was elected to the Central Committee of the Party at the Third Congress.
From 1931 to 1934, Mao helped establish the Chinese Soviet Republic in SE China, and was elected the chairman.
Starting in October 1934, "The Long March" began ¡ª a retreat from the SE to NW China. In 1937, Japan launched a full-scaled war of aggression against China, which gave the Chinese Communist Party cause to unite with the nationalist forces of the Kuomintang. After defeating the Japanese, in an ensuing civil war, the Communists defeated the Kuomintang, and established the People's Republic of China in October 1949.
Mao served as Chairman of the People's Republic of China until after the failure of the Great Leap Forward in 1959. Still chariman of the Communist Party, in May 1966, Mao initiated the Great Cultural Revolution with a directive denouncing "people like Khrushchev nestling beside us." In August 1966, Mao wrote a big poster entitled "Bombard the Headquarters."
Served as Party chairman until his death in 1976.