Understanding The Relationship Between Zhou Enlai And Mao Zedong

1630 WordsOct 3, 20177 Pages
Understanding the relationship between Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong is critical in determining Zhou’s true motives for providing sanctuary to the victims of the Cultural Revolution. The mystery of Zhou and Mao’s relationship is not that of Mao’s sadism, which has been exposed by numerous writers, but Zhou’s submission. Their relationship, and Zhou’s role in Communist China, and therefore the Cultural Revolution is questioned by few historians other than Gao Wenqian, Andrew Nathan, and Jonathan Spence. Their revisionist perspectives on Zhou were controversial, labelling him as the “man who let it happen”, and even as a fully aware bystander when it came to the monster he helped create inside Mao, but contradicting most of what historians have…show more content…
However, reviews of his book have mostly considered Gao’s work as a reliable source of chinese history, especially in regards to beloved Zhou. Historian Jonathan Spence wrote, “With Gao’s book, I feel like we are edging towards a clearer understanding of Mao and Zhou and the Revolution.” The historians Spence and Nathan find Gao’s book riveting, and add value to his already credible narrative. As someone who experienced Chinese history through the archives, it is only right that Gao’s book is deemed credible in evaluating the life of Zhou Enlai. Andrew Nathan portrays the famous relationship between the two leaders as mutually dependent on one another, yet simultaneously unequal. Nathan’s portrayal of Mao and Zhou is not only an addition to Gao’s piece but is valued in that it is written by someone of an outside perspective, and written from the knowledgeable outsider’s point of view. Nathan, who is a professor of Chinese history and politics at Columbia, is an expert of Chinese history. He implies that although Zhou believed firmly in Communism, he did not share Mao 's fanaticism. Mao 's internal policies were becoming more and more extreme; Mao’s launch of the Cultural Revolution led Zhou to further disagree with his comrade and leader. The Cultural Revolution was a political strategy of Mao, to bring those who opposed him out into the open. It encouraged the youth of China to be more involved with
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