Early Changes in Agriculture 1949-1957 

  • Created by: evasophia
  • Created on: 17-03-18 11:47
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  • Early Changes in Agriculture 1949-1957
    • Needed to increase food supplies to the cities to feed the workers in his new factories, yet was wary of exploiting the peasants too much.
      • He had seen how Communism in the USSR became unpopular following grain requisitioning too much from the peasants and decided to collectivise the land.
        • Once China was economically stable, Mao would be able to make good on his claim that the 'Chinese people had stood up'.
    • Landlordism
      • The Communist's viewed China's landowners as feudal class enemies.
        • They needed to be destroyed to allow the Communists to contribute to redistribute land to the peasants, a policy that was their greatest source of support.
        • Work teams of Party cadres were sent to villages to encourage peasants to drag their local landlords to 'struggle meetings'
          • Many Communists whipped up anger against the landlords, in some cases releasing years of built-up petty jealousy and long-festering resentments. Some landlords were sentenced to death.
      • Landlords were easy targets as unlike many businessmen, they had not fled to Taiwan with the nationalists because their main assets, their land, could not be transferred.
    • Agrarian Reform Law 1950
      • A 'system of peasant land ownership shall be introduced'.
      • This country-wide land reform removed legal protection from landlords, leaving them powerless to keep hold of their land.
        • They would have their land seized and it would be redistributed 'to the tiller'. This was in order to 'set free the rural productive forces'.
          • Land to the tiller
            • By the ned of 1952, this movement had been largely completed. Party cadres and work teams helped villagers measure out their now plots precisely to ensure fair redistribution.
              • An estimated 88% of households had taken part, with 43% of the land being redistributed to 60% of the population.
      • Violence often escalated beyond that encouraged by the cadres with many seizing the opportunity to settle old scores, family feuds or simply a chance to gain more land.
        • At times, Mao warned about 'ultra-left deviations and encouraged adherence to the social unity advocated in the Common Program.
    • In his unorthodox Marxist view, Mao said it was the peasants, not the workers that could act as 'vanguards of the revolution'.
    • In some areas occupied by the Communists, many peasants already owned some land. They hoped the new regime would provide the peace that they had not been able to create in order to improve their standard of living.
    • Mao's own ideology played a huge role in the early agricultural changes.
    • Impact of changes
      • Rural production boomed.
      • Agricultural production increased at a rate of 15% per annum from 1050-1952.
      • The gentry-landlord had been destroyed but the human cost had been horrific which an estimated 1-2 million landlords executed.

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