UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Zhang Wentian and the academy of Marxism and Leninism during the pre-rectification period, 1938-1941 Kornreich, Yoel


This thesis on Zhang Wentian (1900-1976) and the Academy of Marxism and Leninism (1938-1941) in pre-Rectification Yan’an has two primary objectives. First, contrary to previous studies of Yan’an, which engaged in Mao’s rise to power, this study examines the period from the perspective of another senior Party leader Zhang Wentian. This study seeks to explore Zhang’s background, his political position at the Party, his relationship with Mao, and the ideological differences and compatibilities between him and Mao. It argues that Zhang was among Mao’s supporters and that he shared with him many ideas. In spite of their collaboration, Zhang and Mao had some major ideological disagreements regarding the sinification of Marxism and Party history. Through the analysis of Zhang Wentian, this thesis is intended to help “rescue” CCP history from the Maoist narrative. Second, this thesis explores diversity in pre-Rectification Yan’ an through the study of the Academy of Marxism and Leninism where Zhang Wentian served as the principal. The examination of the Academy shows that the lecturers there held contending positions regarding the sinification of Marxim and the periodization of Chinese history, and that Party leaders of different political factions were able to lecture at the Academy. Before Mao’s rise to supreme power in late 1941, Zhang, as the principal of the Academy, had the authority to shape the curriculum according to his approach to Marxism. In late 1941, however, with political power centralized in the hands of Mao, the Academy was transformed into the Central Research Institute, and its members were expected to conducted research according to Mao’s approach. Consequently, diversity at the Academy disappeared with Zhang’s diminished status.

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