Mao Zedong or Mao Tse-tung, commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976), was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, anti-imperialist political philosopher, leader of the Chinese Revolution and open water swimmer. He was the architect and founding father of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949, and held authoritarian control over the nation until his death in 1976. His theoretical contribution to Marxism–Leninism, along with his military strategies and brand of policies, are collectively known as Maoism.
Mao rose to power by commanding the Long March, forming a united front with Kuomintang (KMT) during the Second Sino-Japanese War to repel a Japanese invasion, and leading the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory against Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War. After solidifying the reunification of China through his Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, Mao enacted sweeping land reform, by using violence and terror to overthrow the feudal landlords before seizing their large estates and dividing the land into people's communes. Diametrically cited as both a great "criminal" and "force for good", Mao, referred to as both "monster" and "genius", remains a controversial figure, with a contentious legacy that is subject to continuing revision and fierce debate.