China's party-army relations since 1949 have presented a continuous paradox. On one hand, the military leaders were deeply involved in intra-party conflicts, colluding or cooperating with their civilian colleagues for political power and policy influence. On the other hand, even at the peak of its political power, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was never able to overthrow the party leadership. The PLA's involvement in politics has been evident in every key political crisis since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The PLA played a leading role throughout the Cultural Revolution. With military support led by Lin Biao, Mao was able to overrule the majority of the party leadership in 1966, turning the nation drastically to the left. An important consequence of the systemic military participation in party leadership was the escalation of intraparty conflicts.