How Accurate Is It to Say That Terror Was the Main Reason the Communists Maintained Control over China in the Years 1949-1952?

When looking at the control Mao held over China from 1949-52, there was a variety of reasons that Mao kept said control over the Chinese people. However, Mao's terror tactics were the main reason for the CCP having a strong grip of the country. It was not the only factor though, with the re-unification campaigns, land reform and the public work schemes being big factors as to why Mao kept control of the CCP.

Mao’s use of terror was undoubtedly the main reason the CCP maintained control over China. As soon as Mao took over in 1949, he used terror as a basic method of control, with the goal to turn China into a one-party state. There were about ten Communist parties in China when the CCP took over in 1949, but by 1952 they had all been destroyed by the CCP, with Mao then passing a law to ban all other parties besides the CCP. This was a very strong move by the CCP; it forced all political dissidents underground, where they would eventually be captured through Mao’s various political purges. It also sent a message out to any groups who tried to force Mao out of power, as there was no legal or democratic way of doing so. Fighting the CCP through an uprising seemed futile due to the strength of the PLA, so anti-rightists were forced to stay silent or face punishment from the all-conquering power of the state.

Terror kept mainland China under control, with Mao’s control of neighbouring states and regions being kept through the re-unification campaigns. There were three in total from 1950-51 (Tibet, Xinjiang and Guangdong). Mao was very paranoid of being overthrown, as China had a history of being constantly invaded by others. Seeing as Tibet was very anti-China, Xinjiang had a majority Sunni Muslim population, and Guangdong was a traditional GMD stronghold, the PLA was dispatched quickly, and was able to take control of all three areas in only a year, which showed the Chinese people and any outsiders that the PLA were a force to be reckoned with.