Mao Zedong, commonly referred to as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary, and political theorist. The founding father of the People's Republic of China from its establishment in 1949, he governed the country as Chairman of the Communist Party of China until his death. In this position he converted China into a single-party socialist state, with industry and business being nationalized under state ownership and socialist reforms implemented in all areas of society. Politically a Marxist-Leninist, his theoretical contribution to the ideology along with his military strategies and brand of policies are collectively known as Maoism.
Born the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan, Mao adopted a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook in early life, particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. Coming to adopt Marxism-Leninism, he became an early member of the Communist Party of China, soon rising to a senior position. In 1922, the Communists agreed to an alliance with the larger Kuomintang, a nationalist revolutionary party, whom Mao aided in creating a revolutionary peasant army and organizing rural land reform. In 1927 the KMT's military leader Chiang Kai-shek broke the alliance and set about on an anti-communist purge; in turn, the CPC formed an army of peasant militia, and the two sides clashed in the Chinese Civil War. Mao was responsible for commanding a part of the CPC's Red Army, and after several setbacks, rose to power in the party by leading the Long March. When the Empire of Japan invaded China in 1937, sparking the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mao agreed to a united front with the KMT, resulting in a CPC-KMT victory in 1945. The Chinese Civil War then resumed, in which Mao led the Red Army to victory as Chiang and his supporters fled to Taiwan.