Mao Tse-tung in Wade-Giles) was the chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death in 1976. Under his leadership, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) became the ruling party of Mainland China after victory over Chinese Nationalists, the Kuomintang, in the Chinese Civil War. On October 1, 1949, Mao declared the formation of the People's Republic of China at Tiananmen Square. From the 1950s until his death, Mao initiated various economic and political campaigns, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people. His knowledge of these deaths is disputed.
With Zhu De, Mao co-founded the People's Liberation Army as the Red Army on August 1, 1927 after Chiang Kai-Shek began leading a series of purges against the Communists. After gaining power, Mao initiated a transformation of the economic and social system through a process of collectivisation, transformed China into a Communist state, and contributed to the Sino-Soviet Split.
Mao Zedong is sometimes referred to as Chairman Mao in the West and in China simply as the Chairman. At the height of his personality cult, Mao was commonly known in China as the "Four Greats": "Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Supreme Commander, Great Helmsman". Mao was an avid reader, particularly of Chinese history and it has been argued that his skill at outmaneuvering his political opponents as well as his belief in the overriding importance of unifying and revolutionizing China, regardless of the sacrifices imposed on his people, owed much to his understanding of Chinese imperial history. His political writings were influential in the development of Marxist thought and he also wrote poetry which retains some popularity in China.