World History Moment: The Chinese Cultural Revolution Begins

In this file photo taken Nov. 1, 1967, Chinese citizens view writings and slogans emblazoned on a wall at the height of the decade-long Cultural Revolution initiated a year earlier by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. On May 16, 1966, the Communist Party’s Politburo produced a document announcing the start of what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to pursue class warfare and enlist the population in mass political movements. Launched by leader Mao Zedong, it set off a decade of tumult to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. (AP Photo, File)
Chinese citizens view writings and slogans emblazoned on a wall at the height of the decade-long Cultural Revolution initiated a year earlier by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. On May 16, 1966, the Communist Party's Politburo produced a document announcing the start of what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to pursue class warfare and enlist the population in mass political movements. Launched by leader Mao Zedong, it set off a decade of tumult to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. AP Photo
In this file photo taken Nov. 1, 1967, Chinese citizens view writings and slogans emblazoned on a wall at the height of the decade-long Cultural Revolution initiated a year earlier by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. On May 16, 1966, the Communist Party’s Politburo produced a document announcing the start of what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to pursue class warfare and enlist the population in mass political movements. Launched by leader Mao Zedong, it set off a decade of tumult to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. (AP Photo, File)
Chinese citizens view writings and slogans emblazoned on a wall at the height of the decade-long Cultural Revolution initiated a year earlier by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. On May 16, 1966, the Communist Party's Politburo produced a document announcing the start of what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to pursue class warfare and enlist the population in mass political movements. Launched by leader Mao Zedong, it set off a decade of tumult to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. AP Photo

World History Moment: The Chinese Cultural Revolution Begins

Seventeen years after Mao Zedong led the Communists to victory in the Chinese Civil War, another major turning point in China’s history occurred.

On this day, in 1966, the Chinese Cultural Revolution began with the May 16th Declaration. Historian John Schmidt tells us the story of this bloody period in China.