Mao Zedong became leader of the People's Republic of China when it was founded in 1949. We previously explained how he was responsible for one of the most disastrous policies in world history, the "Great Leap Forward." Basically, it entailed pulling all of his people off of farming to have them try to mill steel in their backyards instead. (Note: You cannot make steel in your back yard.) Millions starved.
That is, unfortunately, the tip of the Mao Zedong crazy iceberg.
We know the people in this image are mostly madmen, but check out that dude with the crazy long goatee. What a straight-up badass.
In the wake of that disaster, Mao's power was considerably shaken, so much so that two of his underlings, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, were able to wrest power from him. This, of course, infuriated Mao, who promptly began another disastrous campaign: the Cultural Revolution, which literally was a war against smart people.
Under the pretext that bourgeois elements were permeating a classless society, Mao banished his political opponents, such as Liu and Deng, to the countryside. Soon, however, Mao's definition of political opponents stretched to encompass "anyone who is smart." Universities were closed down, and professors and students were sent to the countryside to be "re-educated" through labor. The word "intellectual" became an insult. The only genius was declared to be Mao himself (people were taught to repeat the phrase, "Chairman Mao is a genius, everything the Chairman says is greatly true; one of the Chairman's words will override the meaning of ten thousand of ours.")
"Also, his image absolutely will not end up littering the floors of vintage shops worldwide."
And then there was Lei Feng. He was a completely unremarkable soldier who died in an unremarkable fashion after getting hit by a telephone pole. But Mao arbitrarily decided to declare him the nation's greatest hero. Various staged photos supposedly depicted him doing good deeds, and stories of his heroics were inserted into textbooks in every school. A diary belonging to him was "found," and it contained nothing but flowery praises for Mao.
Doves and submachine guns. China gets it.
Then Mao recruited high school students to his cause, calling them the Red Guards. Mao tasked these teenagers with correcting the bourgeois elements in society and effectively gave them a legal blank check to do it by whatever means they chose. This went exactly how you'd expect -- they started ransacking people's houses and beating them if they were found to own anything even remotely Western, such as ties.
What happened to him?
As he got older, Mao started worrying about his own mortality and subscribing to the Taoist belief that having sex with virgins lengthens one's lifespan. Young girls were brought from all over the country to help him on this monumental task. Mao often had fivesomes or sixsomes and watched nude underwater ballet shows.
Even Enver Hoxha bows to Mao's monumental crazy.
He still died in 1976. We have to be honest, we're kind of surprised that didn't work.
Ethan Lou is a freelance writer. He blogs at ethanethan.tumblr.com, his Twitter is twitter.com/Ethan_Lou, and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more insight into North Korea, check out 6 Reasons North Korea is the Funniest Evil Dictatorship Ever. Or learn about some fictional leaders worse than these guys in 6 Iconic Movie Leaders (Who Aren't Fit To Lead A Parade).
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