People's Liberation Army General Political Department - During The Cultural Revolution

During The Cultural Revolution

The General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army played an important role for Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, through its control of "political departments" that were set up throughout the state apparatus.

In the summer of 1964 before the Cultural Revolution, organizations called "political departments" were set up in throughout branches of the administration in China, in central and regional levels. Members were to study the works of Mao Zedong and emulate the army. These organizations were headed by the General Political Department, the organ by which Mao Zedong and Lin Biao exercised control over the armed forces. This made the economic "political department" also under command of the armed forces, rather than the Party's Central Committee. This effectively created a "parallel chain of command" which bypassed the Party. The role of the GDP during the Cultural Revolution meant that when the Party lines of command failed amidst chaos, alternative chains of command would be implemented. By 1966, before the Cultural Revolution began, this system was effective.


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