In 1949, Mao Zedong came to power in China after a long and brutal civil war. He and his Chinese Communist Party immediately set out to transform their nation into a Communist state. They seized land from wealthy and middle-class farmers and distributed it to poor peasant farmers. The government also took over ownership of all industries. Citizens who resisted these changes were branded "counterrevolutionaries," and thousands were imprisoned or executed. Within a few years, Mao had turned China into a totalitarian state, controlling all aspects of his citizens' daily lives. In the 1960s, he sought to wipe out what remained of traditional Chinese society by launching the Cultural Revolution. Millions died as the country erupted into spasms of mob violence. Yet, despite the tumult, Chairman Mao remained a revered, almost godlike figure, worshiped by his people. How did he do it? Learn more about one of the most powerful and controversial figures of the 20th century.