China's Great Leap Forward 1958-62

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What was the aim of the Great Leap Forward?

- to turn China into a modern industrial economy in the shortest possible time 

- to ensure China caught up with the West and the Soviet Union in terms of industrialisation

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Where did Mao announce his plans and why?

- In the Soviet Union 

- In order to announce that there plans would be seperate from the Soviet Union, e.g. not following the direct plan of the Soviets but simply taking inspiration from them.

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What were Mao's two ideals for the Great Leap Forw

-That the collectivised peasants would create a surplus of grain which could then be sold for money 

-Workers would create a 'modern industrial economy'

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What was the 'emperor of blue ants'?

-The idea that Mao was 'emperor' to the workers 

- The workers were encouraged to work with their hands rather than machines and almost everyone including women and children wore blue workers uniforms and held tools in their hands. This became propaganda for the plan.

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What was Tiananmen Square?

- Propaganda - people were encouraged to build the Tiananmen Square in Beijing and it was created in 2 years from 1957

-Used as propaganda to how well they could produce etc.

-Mao did not rest until it was bigger than the Moscow Red Square

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What was the problem with the targets?

-They were not based on factual evidence but rather plucked out of 'thin air' 

-This meant many factories and workers were unable to meet the targets and quotas as they were unrealistic

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Who were the two soldiers that would lead China to

-General grain - used as propaganda to increase China's food supply 

-General Steel- again, propaganda used to encourage industrialisation 

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What were the backyard furnaces?And what were the

- Literally furnaces in the backyards of China's citizens. Used as propaganda to encourage everyone to take part and do it themseves rather than using a large factory in order to produce masses of steel.

-The Backyard furnaces although useful for propaganda were ultimately useless. As the steel was made by ordinary people, the steel was useless and of bad quality. It was made out of domestic utensils such as pots and pans, meaning the steel was useless for industrialisation. 

-The authorities knew this and did not let on. Instead, they emptied the steel into large pits and covered over them so the secret would not be discovered. 

-The Backyard furnaces had a heavy environmental impact due to the large number of woodlands which were cut down to supply fire for the furnaces. The furnaces were a good representation of the GLF itself, a lot of noise and action but very little substance.

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What were the state-owned enterprises?

-Factories owned by the state so that the government was fully in control of industrialisation. 

Benefits- This provided workers with an 'iron rice bowl' which meant a fixed income and guarantee of jobs. Also they had access to things such as healthcare and dentists. 

Weaknesses- Output and efficiency decreased. Due to the 'iron rice bowl' and lack of incentives people did not need to work hard in order to earn money, therefore there was no need to work harder as the laziest and most efficient worker were both paid the same so it decreased motivation for managers and workers.

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