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date: 06 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Whereas recent historiography has tended to minimize ideological differences between Stalinism and Maoism, this chapter explores the distinctions between them, arguing that it was a belief in revolutionary will and heroic sacrifice, complemented by an instinctive antipathy to bureaucracy and a far-reaching commitment to social equality (which, of course, did not rule out privilege for some), that set Maoism apart from Stalinism. The ideological differences between the two found their most dramatic expression in the Cultural Revolution, an event that was quite unthinkable in Stalin’s Russia. The personalities of Stalin and Mao are also shown to explain crucial differences between the two regimes, which are compared and contrasted in this chapter across a wide range of political, social, and economic themes.

Keywords: Stalinism, Mao, mass mobilization, Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward, Five-Year Plans, peasant society, collectivization, sexual relations, Sino–Soviet split

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