AQA AS History - Impact of Chairman Mao - Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward

AQA AS History, notes I've made from the AQA AS History, Impact of Chairman Mao: China 1946-76.

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S3.7, Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ­
(Results and the Third Five Year Plan)
`The whole nation realised the truth of what Chairman Mao had been saying for years ­ that
agriculture was and must be the foundation of the national economy.'
[J.Horn, Away With All Pests, 1969]
J.Horn was a support of the regime and witnessed the GLF. His account reflects the official 1960s
Chinese version of the effects, only in 1980 had the General Secretary acknowledged the famine in
1959-62.
Historiography:
`'The result was famine on a gigantic scale, a famine that claimed 20 million lives or ore
between 1959 and 1962. Many others died shortly thereafter from the effects of the Great Leap
­ especially children, weakened by years of progressive malnutrition'
[J.D. Spence, The Search for Modern China, 1990]
`Close to 38 million died of starvation and overwork in the Great Leap Forward and the famine
which lasted four years.'
[Jung Chang, Mao: The Unknown Story, 2006]
Famine 1959-62
Instead of claiming responsibility for the famine, Mao put it down to three factors:
1. Hoarding of grain by the peasants.
a. This had prevented food getting to the people
2. Mistakes by local officials who had either misunderstood their instructions or been
incompetent in carrying them out
3. Bad weather in 1958-61
a. Produced droughts in north and floods in the south that had destroyed the harvest.
The Results of the Great Leap Forward
Mao's China didn't try to record the number of deaths as it didn't even acknowledge the famine.
20 million excess deaths [addition to normal death rate]
GLF caused a disaster on a HUGE scale. Those in rural areas were worst hit.
1/5 of Tibet was wiped out. Nearly ¼ in Henan and Sichuan died as GLF was emphasised.
Annual death rate increased by 250%. In some areas people turned to cannibalism.
Prostitution and banditry began to reappear.
Henan militia committed murder, rape and armed robbery. [1st established for self-defence]
Historiography:
`That winter [1960] cannibalism became common. Generally the villagers ate the flesh of
corpses, especially those of children.' [J. Becker, Hungry Ghosts, 1996]
Early 1960s, China began importing food. [counter to self-reliance belief]
In 1961, 6 million tonnes of wheat were imported. Until 1970s.
Economic Planning and its Results [1953-1967]Page 1

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S3.7, Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ­
(Results and the Third Five Year Plan)
It's difficult to find positives of Great Leap Forward:
Mass mobilisation on large scale irrigation produced fertile land.
Beijing gained new boulevards at the expense of old city walls.
Tiananmen Square was built.
Developed own nuclear weapons.
The Third Five Year Plan and
Debates about Economic Policy
The Purge of Peng Dehuai
December 1958 -> Mao stepped down as Chairman to PRC, replaced by Liu Shaoqi.…read more

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S3.7, Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ­
(Results and the Third Five Year Plan)
June 1961 -> peasants could cultivate own private plots and communes provided finicaial incentive
to encourage work. And Communes were soon breaking down to smaller units.
By 1962 -> 25 million peasants drifted to towns for work and food.
Coal and Steel targets reduced to more realistic levels.
Industrial workers offered financial incentive to increase production.…read more

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S3.7, Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ­
(Results and the Third Five Year Plan)
Liu and Dengs priority from GLF was to put China back on its feet, even if by restoring private
farming and trade.
They believed economic development should be in the hands of the technical experts, not the mass
mobilisation. And to warm to USA and USSR to avoid conflict.
Mao in the Offensive
By 1962 -> Mao's priority was always ideological purity.…read more

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S3.7, Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ­
(Results and the Third Five Year Plan)
Aimed to root out corruption amongst Party Cadres. [showing difference on Liu methods and Mao's]
Mao wanted to use mass mobilisation of struggle meetings against Party Officials.
Under Liu, approach was central control and imposing discipline. [not ideological correctness]
Approach
10,000 cadres sent to rural areas, investigating local leadership.
o Trying to root out corruption and economic crimes.
Results
Thousands were executed, many committed suicide.…read more

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S3.7, Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ­
(Results and the Third Five Year Plan)
Support
Mao knew he had support of Lin Biao and the PLA and Jiang Qing and her intellectual allies in
Shanghai. Along with Chen Boda and Kang Sheng.
Cult of Mao Zedong
Presented through propaganda and presented Mao as the embodiment of the revolution; revolution
was Mao.
People were soon more loyal to Mao than the Party.
`Comrade Mao Zedong is the greatest Marxist-Leninist of our era.…read more

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