Reasons for the Great Leap Foward
- Mao's self confidence after success in Hundred flowers and collectivisation
- Chinese nationalism - stop reliance on Russia
- Mao's desire to control peasants - not enough food in cities due to peasants greedieness andlack of obedience.
- Stagnated agricultural production, 1957 = 1% but 2% population increase.
- May 1958 official launch of great leap
How collectives turn into communes
- 1st in Henan in 1958 April
- 1 Commune = 750,000 brigades. Briagade = 200 homes. All under government control.
- By December 1958 20,000 communes in China
Lifestyle in a Commune:
- Private plots and cattle abolished
- Private cooking and eating abolished
- Children cared for in communal kindergarten.
- Much more communal
Daily life in a commune
Everything communal (baths, dining room, kindergarten, schools)
- Peasants had military approach to work
- A lot of control from party managers.
- Fear used to control (threat of violence)
- Inculded those 15 - 50
- Trained how to use weapons
- Fighting style approach to work
Role of communes in PRC
- Generate surpluss grain for gov. and workers
- Make industrial goods
- Mass mobilisation of labour
- Better efficiency
- Ideological victory
- Chinese scientists enthralled by him
1958, Mao introduces lysenkoism, a "constitution" based on Lysenko's ideas:
- Pest control (awful consqueences on grain. No birds left to eat insects an rats led to rats eating crops.Caused hunger in 1959. **4 no campaign (1957)
- Farmers had ridiculously high targets
- Mao steps down as chairman, replaced by Liu Sh. at Central committee meeting in Wuhan - also when commune success was announced in December
Lysenkoism was never stopped....
- Local party members were too scared to tell Mao it wasn't working
- Lysenoism continued to flourish, causing famine.
Consequences of great leap foward with regards to
- Droughts and flood caused famine
- 1959 awful harvest due to lysenkoism
- Soil damaged due to farming methods - lack of food
- People sold themeselves for food
- 30 million deaths
- Peasants imprisoned for trying to return to old farming methods
- Denouncing of Peng Dehuai
- Mao blamed the failure on incompetence of his officials
- Grain harvest fell by 143 million tonnes, yet China still giving grain to USSR (DEBTS)
- Natural disasters
Industry and the Great Leap
- China industrial leader in 15 y ears
- "Backyard furncaes" - those in communes to smelt iron and steel
- People used metal furniture
- Metal produced NOT useful
- People had virtually no furniture left
- Mao only concerned with spectacle of it, and not economic value
- Big bridges and canals built
- Tianamen sq (1959)
- Proof to Mao his idea was GREAT
- China begins to develop nuclear weapons
- Mass mobilisation wasn't mass production
- Enthusiasm of people was not enough.
- Lack of planning due to lack of clever people
- Mao blamed it on bourgeois people in government trying to sabotage his efforts.
- 70% man made and 30% nature (1959, famine really kicks of)
- In towns food lower than in Autchwitz
- Grain procurement continued
- Sichuan 10 - 20 % of pop died - officials
- Children hung to death for stealing
Peng Dehuai & Lushan conference
- Spring 1958 people starting to doubt Great Leap
- Peng sent letter to Mao criticising great leap. Mao circulated letter behind Peng's back (July)
- 18th July 1959 - Krushchev gives speech criticizing Great Leap, Mao believes Peng briefed K.
- Peng sacked as minister of defence as was Zhu De
- Denounced in from of many colleagues.
- Led to persecution of many "right opportunists"
- Mao had learnt nothing, by 1960 he was talking about extending the communes to the city.
By June 1960 Great Leap ends.