The Hundred Flowers Campaign

  • Created by: evasophia
  • Created on: 13-03-18 12:00
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  • The Hundred Flowers Campaign, 1957
    • The success of the First Five Year Plan created huge problems. Food and housing were in very short supply and there was a great deal of criticism of the Plan.
      • In early 1957, Mao called for public discussion; "Let a hundred flowers bloom and a thousand schools of thought contend".
        • Mao encouraged criticism of the Party by intellectuals, asking them to engage in a debate about the future policies.
    • Mao was worried that the Party was becoming too bureaucratic and needed to be 'rectified'.
      • He wished to encourage intellectuals to point out the mistakes of he Party members to force them to work for the interests of the people again.
    • Khrushchevs 1956 Secret Speech
      • Arguably a trigger factor as the SU's leaders denouncing of Stalin's use of secret police and terror to intimidate and repress opponents was criticised highly.
        • Mao sought a way to prove that he was not a dictator by encouraging debate.
    • It has been suggested that the HFC started as Mao was feeling optimistic.
      • The early years of the PRC has been a success: the GMD had been forced to flee, the Korean War had been won and the First Five Year Plan had helped industrialisation.
        • By asking intellectuals to deliver a judgement on the regime, Mao expected ringing endorsement of his policies that would give him even greater influence and allow him to advance his own personal policies that would introduce communism rapidly.
      • However, feeling emboldended, the intellectuals began to criticise the Party and denounced the Party's failure to provide democratic rights or freedom of expression.
        • They attacked the privileged situation the CP leaders had granted themselves with better food, housing and education for their children.
          • Mao responded by ignoring these problems, and instead declared that 'poisonous weeds' had grown up in the 'fragrant flowers'. Right-wingers had abused their freedoms and he demanded a campaign of class struggle against them.
            • Mao went on to launch the 'Anti-Rightist Campaign'
              • It is estimated that between 400,000 and 700,000 intellectuals were purged and sent to the countryside or the Laogai for 'labour reform'. Many others simply committed suicide.


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