The years from 1919 through 1921 represent a period of major change in the political views of Mao. At the outset, he was attracted to anarchism and liberalism. At the end, he was prepared to espouse Marxism-Leninism, not because he had encompassed its doctrines, but because he had been persuaded that it represented a technique for successful revolution. In these years, Mao began as a strong Han nationalist but later denounced Chinese “imperialism” and argued for a Hunan nation. A few months later, he was espousing internationalism. Underlying these changes was the alternate hope and despair that Mao felt for China as a nation. A deep-rooted Chineseness and a penchant for political activism characterized Mao throughout this and succeeding eras.

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