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The Red Guards
Train ourselves in big wind and waves
Printed in 1976

The Red Guards were a student organization during the Cultural Revolution. Encouraged by Mao Zedong, they spread chaos throughout the nation, menacing the Communist Party itself. The Army intervened to stop them, and the majority of the Red Guards were themselves sent down to the countryside for reeducation.

The whole idea of the Cultural Revolution was for Mao to regain the power he had lost after the disastrous Great Leap Forward in 1958. The Red Guard were manipulated by Mao to help fulfill this plan. They first appeared in may 1966. Armed with the slogan ''To rebel is justified'', they attacked people and institutions, vandalizing everything was labelled the ''Four Olds'' (Old ideas, Old culture, Old customs and Old habits). They rapidly went out of control. Facing the risk of a civil war, Mao had to call the Army to restore order. Feeling betrayed, some Red Guards resisted fiercely, and in some places the Army even had to use heavy artillery to cut them back. Eventually, the Communist Party emerged weaker, and the Red Army stronger, as a result of this adventure. But most important for Mao, was that he again had absolute power over China, regardless of the cost.