Mao Zedong (December 1893 – September 1976), also known by his courtesy name Mao Runzhi and the title Chairman Mao, was Chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and paramount leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC). He was an astute Chinese communist revolutionary who led the Communist Party of China from 1949 until 1976 when he died of a heart attack. He led the Communist Party of China to victory in a civil war against the Nationalist regime.

The phrase, "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" was coined by the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong when he originally used it during an emergency meeting of the Communist Party of China on August 7, 1927, at the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. Mao employed the phrase a second time in November 1938, during his concluding speech at the sixth Plenary Session of the CPC's sixth Central Committee. This speech was concerned with the Civil War and certain events surrounding World War II.

While he served as the leader, Mao Zedong's stated goal was to preserve Chinese Communism by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society. He worked extremely hard to impose "Mao Zedong Thought" (known outside China simply as Maoism), as the dominant ideology within the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China.

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