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MAO ’ S RED CHINA. China Under Communist Rule The Great Leap Forward, 1958 & The Crisis of 1959-1961. Communism is designed to be a “permanent revolution”. For this reason, communists are always in a state of war. Communism is very strict and not very peaceful.

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Mao s red china


China Under Communist Rule

The Great Leap Forward, 1958 & The Crisis of 1959-1961

Mao s red china

  • Communism is designed to be a “permanent revolution”.

  • For this reason, communists are always in a state of war.

  • Communism is very strict and not very peaceful.

Mao s red china

  • Propaganda spread Mao’s message

  • throughout China, brainwashing the

  • public.

  • Propaganda is the advertising of

  • political points of view. Propaganda

  • is generally untrue.

  • Both Russia and China used

  • propaganda to make the United States

  • And its economic system seem evil.

Economic reconstruction 1950s

Economic Reconstruction 1950s

  • Soviet Union model and assistance

  • land reform (eliminate landlord class)

  • heavy industry (state-owned enterprises)

  • First National People’s Congress (1954)

    • PRC Constitution

  • Zhou Enlai

    • Premier

    • Foreign Minister

Following the soviet model

Following the Soviet Model

  • Between 1949 and 1960, China followed the Russian strategy of industrialization.

  • They built large factories in the cities.

  • Many Russian engineers came to China to assist in this effort.

  • Many of the largest factories in China today were built during this period.

Mao s red china

Rebuilding China


First Plan

  • Communist ideology shaped new government

  • Change in China’s political, economic systems

  • Government discouraged practice of religion

  • Also seized property of rural landowners, redistributed among peasants

  • Put in place Soviet-style five-year plans for industrial development

  • 1957, first plan doubled China’s small industrial output

  • Early efforts to build economy successful

  • Improved economy, reduced poverty

China under Mao

Having defeated the Guomindang, Mao set about building a Communist China. His first concern was rebuilding a country that had been torn apart by years of civil war.

Mao s red china

Early Years

Improvements in literacy rates, public health

  • Chinese life expectancy increased sharply over next few decades

  • Improvements came at a cost

    • To consolidate Communist control over China, government soon began to eliminate so-called “enemies of the state” who had spoken out against government’s policies

    • Many thousands—including public officials, business leaders, artists, writers—killed, or sent to labor camps

Mao s red china

  • China Modeled on Soviet Union

  • Soviet Union provided financial support, aid in China’s first years

  • China modeled many of its new political, economic, military policies on Soviet system

  • 1950s, territorial disputes, differences in ideology pushed China away from Soviet ally

  • The Great Leap Forward

  • 1958, in break from Soviet-style economic planning, Mao announced program designed to increase China’s industrial, agricultural output

  • The Great Leap Forward created thousands of communes, collectively owned farms, of about 20,000 people each

  • Each commune to produce food, have own small-scale industry

2013 the first five year plan and the great leap forward

2013 The First Five Year Plan and The Great Leap Forward

First five year plan

First Five Year Plan

Setting the stage

Setting the Stage

  • Recall that the Communists ultimately triumphed over the Nationalist Kuomintang government because the Kuomintang was corrupt, disinterested in the people, and did not actively fight the Japanese.

  • Once in Power, Mao tightened control over China and implemented his own Five-Year Plan to increase industrial and agricultural production.

  • Mao became “premier,” or dictator, and the Communist Party was China’s only political party.

Prelude to the great leap forward

Prelude to the Great Leap Forward

  • The Hundred Flowers Campaign had revealed conflicting attitudes within the CCP leadership regarding the pace and type of development

  • Additionally, Mao was very concerned with the increasingly bureaucratic nature of the party and the “loss of vitality” in China

  • What is a dictator to do?

The communists transform china

The Communists Transform China

  • Just as Stalin’s Five-Year Plan had increased production at a very high cost, Mao’s policies were harmful to the people of China. First among these was the collectivization of agriculture that killed over 1 million landlords.

    • Collectivizationwas a gradual process that began with the creation of 5-15 family “mutual aid teams” and culminated with 100-300 family collectives.

      • Peasants were summoned to meeting places and forbidden to leavefor days until they “joined” the collective.

Soviet model of development central planning of the economy

Soviet Model of Development: Central planning of the economy

INITIAL PHASE: 1950-1958

  • State ownership of enterprises.

  • Workers were state employees.

  • Planned production targets and supply of inputs.

  • Managers were administrators of state property and enforcers of the output plans.

China s problems

China’s Problems

  • Overwhelmingly rural, and backward (85%) -- tenancy, share-cropping common

    • Huge population: 400+ million 1950

  • Peasants backbone of revolution; different than Russia where peasants seen as obstacle to progress

    • Land reform -- get agriculture moving

Goal of five year plan

Goal of Five Year Plan

  • Goal of model – rapid industrialization, self- sufficiency

  • Extract surplus from agriculture to finance industrial development –

    • Rationalize process through centralized planning – 5 year plans – production targets

First five year plan 1953 1957

First Five Year Plan – 1953-1957

Mao wanted China to “walk on two legs” – develop both agriculture and industry at the same time

Soviet Union assisted with $300 million and 10,000 Russian engineers

Targeted the development of heavy industry: coal, steel, chemicals, automobile, and transport

China s first 5 year plan 1953 57

China’s First 5-year plan 1953-57

  • Emphasis on industry

    steel, machinery, railroads, electricity plants, metallurgy, chemicals

  • Embrace rational planning – experts, bureaucrats lead

Mao s red china

First 5 Year Plan


 land reform (eliminate landlord class)

 development of heavy industry (state-owned enterprises)

by 1957, most targets had been exceeded.

 serious economic problems remained (unemployment & no funds to build industries)

The communists transform china1

The Communists Transform China

  • Once agriculture was collectivized with Mao in control, the government now had a monopoly on agriculture, allowing it to buy low and sell high to finance industrialization at the people’s expense.

    • Private farming was against the law, and those found guilty were punished severely.

    • In order to satisfy government quotas, food was often rationed, and many peasants nearly starved even in good times.

Within china build socialism

Within China: Build Socialism

  • In the countryside --- In the City

Outside friendship with oppressed peoples socialist countries

Outside: Friendship with Oppressed Peoples & Socialist Countries

Anti imperialism


Women hold up half the sky

Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Results rapid industrial development but

Results: rapid industrial development, but …

  • Growth of bureaucracy

  • New patterns of social inequality, privileged elites

  • Growing gulf between modernizing cities and backward countryside

  • Ideological decay, loss of revolutionary fervor

Effects of the first five year plan

Effects of the First Five Year Plan

Failure to meet the targets established by The National Resource Committee was the equivalent of failing China

Overall industrial output increased 15.5% per year (faster than the target of 14.7%)

However, less people worked on farms, so food production increased at an average of 2% per year, compared to 14% from 1949-52

Effects of the first five year plan1

Effects of the First Five Year Plan

  • Not building a Socialist utopia of equal prosperity for all


  • uneven development

  • inequalities common in capitalism

  • Making new classes

Mao s new theory of economic development

Mao’s New Theory of Economic Development

Past economic stagnation

led to mental stagnation

To Make Socialist Person --

Not sufficient to introduce

new technologies or alter

Mode of Production as had

been done in USSR

Mao s new theory of economic development from poor and blank to permanent revolution

Mao’s New Theory of Economic Development: From “Poor and Blank” to Permanent Revolution

  • Present unburdened by Past

  • Change a matter of human will to overcome objective obstacles

    extreme volunteerism, optimism

    “Our revolutions are like battles; after each victory, we must put forward a new task,” Mao 1958

Great leap forward

Great Leap Forward

Great leap forward 1958 60

Great Leap Forward, 1958-60

  • In 1958, Mao decided that the Russian strategy of industrial development was not suitable for China.

  • This urban, large-factory system was not having enough of an impact on the mass of the population in the countryside.

  • Mao decided to opt for a unique Chinese method of industrialization.

Why the great leap forward program whythe beginning

Why The Great Leap Forward Program?WhyThe beginning

  • Why was Mao ready for a change in economic policy by 1958?

    • Despite 5YP’s successes, Mao felt the time was ripe for the transition from socialism to communism

      • Disliked the sprawling bureaucracy and increasing individualism

      • Feared an entrenched system, which would be more difficult to alter

      • Disheartened by disappointing grain yields

    • Also hoped for “spontaneous energizing of the whole nation” as he was very concerned with the lack of revolutionary spirit in China

    • Sino-Soviet relations were deteriorating, desired self-sufficiency

  • What is the significance of the phrase poor and blank?

    • Despite China’s economic “backwardness” Mao felt this description of China’s peasantry was desirable-they were more eager for change

    • Also more likely to become “red and expert”

Great leap forward 1958 1960

Great Leap Forward (1958-1960)

  • abandon the Soviet model of economic development

    • Soviet “scientific planning”

  • mass mobilization

  • people’s communes

Mao s red china

China Virtually Isolated

Planning Disaster

  • Failure of Great Leap Forward led to criticism of Mao

  • Soviet criticism, withdrawal of Soviet industrial aid widened rift between two Communist nations

  • By early 1960s, relations had broken down completely; China virtually isolated in world community

  • Plan was disaster; small commune factories failed to produce quantity, quality of goods China needed

  • Combination of poor weather, farmers’ neglect led to sharp drops in agricultural production

  • Famine spread through rural China; tens of millions starved to death between 1959 and 1961

The Great Leap Forward

The great leap forward


During this trip I have witnessed the tremendous energy of the masses. On this foundation it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.

- Mao

  • Mao’s Goal: Making China an Industrial Powerhouse

  • Second 5-Year Plan: The Great Leap Forward

Goal of great leap forward permanent revolution

Goal of Great Leap Forward: Permanent Revolution

  • Constant process of ideologically inspired mass activism Producing “Great Leaps” Forward and “Cultural Revolution”

Ideology and politics in command

Ideology and Politics in Command

  • Central planning abandoned

Economic development

Economic Development

  • Maoist Vision:

  • De-centralized System

  • Close gap between urban-rural

    • Industrialize countryside

    • Xiafang: technicians, intellectuals, youth to the countryside

    • commune

To create a socialist utopia dazhai commune

To create a Socialist Utopia: Dazhai Commune

Mao s red china





Mao s red china

Great Leap Forward:

2nd Five Year Plan




To bring another success to the PRC

success in carrying out land reforms

success in other campaigns to attack the reactionaries

Mao s red china

Mao believed the country should focus on industry and food. Mao made a five year plan and called it The Great Leap Forward

Great leap forward1

Great Leap Forward

  • The Commune is Like a Mighty Dragon, Production is awe-inspiring

Mao s red china

To achieve self-sufficient economy

disliked Soviet way of industrialization (putting heavy industry first)

China would not do with high-tech factories which depended on foreign capital and assistance

to show that the Chinese way of industrialization was better than the Soviet way or the capitalist way

Mao s red china

To end diplomatic isolation

China was being isolated from other countries (capitalism) due to its practice of communism

To catch up Britain and US and to break off diplomatic isolation

To raise international status of China

Mao s red china

To increase productivity

First Five Year plan completed earlier than expected

But... serious economic problems remained unchanged

unemployment (most peasants had little to do between harvesting and sowing)

Communes and collectivization

Communes and Collectivization

Great leap forward second five year plan 1958 1962

Great Leap Forward – Second Five Year Plan (1958-1962)

Collectivization became the official policy. China’s land was divided into 70,000 communes

He hoped that it would help unemployment and cause a genuine communal unity

He accused peasants of hiding grain and used force against them

The food would be traded for money to buy weapons or used for fuel

How did the great leap forward affect china

How did the Great Leap Forward affect China?

  • Mao believed that both industry and agriculture had to grow to make the other work. The industry had to be well fed to be good industry workers, and agriculture needed industry to make good tools for them.

  • In order to make the industry and agriculture grow, China was reformed into a series of communes.

  • A commune is a relatively small, often rural community whose members share common interests, work, and income and often own property collectively.

The great leap forward1

The Great Leap Forward

  • Mao’s second Five-Year Plan is known as the Great Leap Forward, and involved utilizing the massive amounts of human labor to avoid having to import industrial machinery.

  • Who needs a bulldozer when you’ve got a few hundred people with shovels, right?

  • Mao believed that steel and grain would make China great, and these endeavors were complete and total disasters.

Great leap forward 1958 601

Great Leap Forward, 1958-60

  • In 1958, Mao decided that the Russian strategy of industrial development was not suitable for China.

  • This urban, large-factory system was not having enough of an impact on the mass of the population in the countryside.

  • Mao decided to opt for a unique Chinese method of industrialization.

The great leap forward the communes


  • Develop Agriculture as well as Industry

  • Chinese Commune System - All Encompassing Collective Farm & Work Units

  • Purpose: Releasing the Worker’s Tremendous Energy

Mao s red china


Peasants placed into communes

Mass mobilization

The great leap forward the communes1


The advantage of People’s Communes lies in the fact that they combine industry, agriculture, commerce, education, and military affairs.

- Mao

  • People’s Time Managed Effectively for Work

  • Commune in Control of All Activities - Hierarchy

  • Commune Creation Extremely Speedy - More than 25,000 at end of 1958

Mao s red china

  • Communes were made up of many families ( often as many as five thousand families)

  • The commune owned everything, tools, animals, and land.

  • People worked for the commune, not for themselves.

  • The commune provided schools, nurseries and healthcare so workers could work instead of taking care of babies and older parents

  • Would any of these things help your family?

The great leap forward2

The Great Leap Forward

  • Farming was further collectivized into larger farms called “communes.” 26,000 communes were created, each covering 15,000 square miles, supporting about 25,000 people each.

  • Life on the communes was strictly controlled, peasants worked the land together, ate together in cafeterias, slept in communal dorms, and raised their kids in communal nurseries.

Mao s red china

  • Propaganda was everywhere – including the fields workers could listen to political speeches as they worked

Mao s red china

  • Propaganda posters often use symbolism

  • The dragon in this picture symbolizes steel production

  • The bird symbolizes grain production

  • How does this poster make you feel?

The great leap forward propaganda enthusiasm


  • Propaganda a Key Element

  • Goal to Inspire Workers to Overachieve Goals

  • Impressive Construction Projects Completed

Mao s red china

  • Write at least two sentences that you think this poster might be saying.

The great leap forward3

The Great Leap Forward

  • Funerals, weddings, and religion were replaced with meetings and propaganda.

  • Only work points, not pay, were awarded.

  • Only the state profited from this labor, and peasants had no reason to work hard.

  • Criticism of the commune would label you as dangerous, and escape was next to impossible.

Mao s red china

Effects of Communes

Economic difficulties

Most peasants had lost their incentives to produce get everything in the people communescommunal eating halls provided the peasants with very generous meals free of charge

lower productivity = food crises, decline in production, devaluation of money, high inflation and a huge national deficit

Effects great famine

Effects: Great Famine

Causes of the famine

Causes of the Famine

  • 1958 had particularly good weather for growing food. Party leaders claimed that the harvest for 1958 was a record 260 million tons

  • – which was not true.

  • Still the leaders over-reported their harvests to their superiors in Beijing, and what was thought to be surplus grain was sold abroad.

The famine

The Famine

  • What factors contributed to the famine of 1959-62?

  • “Encouraged by expectations of a great leap in agricultural productivity from collectivization, the government diverted massive amounts of agricultural resources to industry and sharply raised grain procurement from the peasants, eventually leading to malnutrition among peasants and decimation of their labor productivity in growing next year's crops. The consecutive years of bad weather also aggravated the fatal economic policies. The decline in food availability was indeed a cause of the GLF famine. But other institutional factors, including urban bias in China's food distribution system, radical local policies, and grain exports, were also major contributors of the excess mortality. By and large, the GLF catastrophe was the result of a series of failures in central planning.”

  • While the inflated numbers reported by communes contributed to the famine, what is more disturbing is that the top CCP officials knew it was happening, and yet continued to take large portions of the grain yields.

Causes of the famine1

Causes of the Famine

  • The excellent growing weather of 1958 was followed by a very poor growing year in 1959.

  • Some parts of China were hit by floods.

  • In other growing areas, drought was a major problem. The harvest for 1959 was 170 million tons of grain – well below what China needed at the most basic level.

  • In parts of China, starvation occurred.



  • Famine!

    • “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.” -Mao

The famine1

The Famine

  • 1960 had even worse weather than 1959.

  • The harvest of 1960 was 144 million tons. 9 million people are thought to have starved to death in 1960 alone; many millions were left desperately ill as a result of a lack of food.

  • The government had to introduce rationing.

  • This put people on the most minimal of food and between 1959 and 1962, it is thought that 20 million people died of starvation or diseases related to starvation.

The famine con

The Famine (con.)

  • Estimates range from 30-45 million deaths; it is the worst famine in recorded history

    • 2-3 million of those were beaten to death or buried alive

    • The power of the local cadres also played a role-they could deny food to anyone not “on board” with the GLF

    • In 1962, having lost about ten million people in Sichuan, provincial leader Li Jingquan compared the Great Leap Forward to the Long March in which only one in ten had made it to the end: “We are not weak, we are stronger, we have kept the backbone”

The great famine

年大饑荒 - The Great Famine

Mao s red china

Birth & Death Rates

Great sparrow campaign

Great Sparrow Campaign

Great sparrow campaign1

Great Sparrow Campaign

  • The Great Sparrow Campaign (打麻雀运动) was part of Mao Zedong’s Four Pests Campaign (除四害运动, Chú Sì Hài Yùndòng).

  • A part of the Great Leap Forward (大跃进, Dà Yuèjìn) from 1958-1962, the goal of the Four Pests Campaign was to get rid of rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.

  • Sparrows were considered pests because they ate grain seeds.

  • Farmers were encouraged to tear down sparrows’ nests, break sparrow eggs, and bang pots and pans to scare sparrows away.

  • Later, China’s authorities discovered that sparrows actually prefer to eat insects rather than grain seed.

  • More importantly, sparrows had served an important function in the farm ecology by eating locusts.

Great sparrow campaign2

Great Sparrow Campaign

  • Illogical agricultural methods were used, such as overplanting. Mao believed the seeds of the same species would not compete, and higher harvests would result. Grain production actually fell.

  • As part of the Great Leap, Mao also launched the Great Sparrow

    Campaign in which the Chinese

    people were encouraged to kill

    sparrows because it was believed that

    they ate the grain.

Great sparrow campaign3

Great Sparrow Campaign

  • Sparrows eat insects. The kinds of insects that eat grain… With no birds, the insect population exploded and China’s crops were devastated.

  • Officials were often pressured to lie about their to produce grain, resulting in communes being forced to sell more grain that they could afford to give.

Great sparrow campaign4

Great Sparrow Campaign

  • Initially, the campaign did improve the harvest.

  • While the sparrow population declined, the locust population grew:

    • Sparrows are a predator of the locusts in the food chain

  • Locusts swarmed the country and caused disruptions to crop harvesting.

Great sparrow campaign5

Great Sparrow Campaign

  • While the Great Sparrow Campaign initially appeared to produce an increase in grain output, the countryside became infested with locusts, a much more serious pest than sparrows.

  • Mao called the plan off, but it was too late.

  • Swarming locusts coupled with bad weather and the misguided Great Leap Forward led to the Great Chinese Famine (三年大饥荒, Sān Nián Dà Jīhuang), which killed 30 million people between 1958 and 1961.

Mao s red china

  • Propaganda Poster to encourage rural children to hunt and kill the sparrows

Mao s red china

  • Picture of rural family looking at all the sparrows they have killed.

Mao s red china

  • Propaganda Poster to encourage peasants to hunt and kill the sparrows.



Policies under the great leap forward

Policies Under the Great Leap Forward

Forests were stripped of trees to be used as fuel for factories, so deforestization resulted

Anything that peasants could melt down into steel was put in backyard furnaces, but the steel was poor quality and led to poor equipment being created

Mao ordered huge drives to build irrigation systems using poor equipment. Some of these projects are still unstable today

Mao also wanted to raise output in factories, so common sense and rules went to the wayside in the name of speed. Accidents frequently caused tens of thousands of deaths



  • Technically, the GLF was part of Mao’s 2nd FYP

  • Improvements in heavy industry was still a major goal, though Mao seemed more concerned with the scale of the undertaking than the quality

  • In addition to the mobilization of small-scale industry in the communes, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were established

    • Often inefficient

    • Created the “iron rice bowl” mentality

    • Output of some goods actually fell

Mao s red china

Look for positive images and symbols in this picture. List several and explain to the person next to you why you think they are in this picture.

Large scale infrastructure projects

Large Scale Infrastructure Projects

  • “the empire of the blue ants”

  • Expansion of Tiananmen Square

  • Ming tombs

  • Irrigation Systems

  • Canals, Dams, etc

Conservancy projects

Conservancy Projects

  • Millions of peasants were pulled away from their agricultural tasks in order to engage in industrialization or water conservancy projects.

  • This lack of attention to the crops added to the problem of a serious drought and up to 30 million people died in China during this period.

Mao s red china

There were not enough machines, there was no cement, no mortar and other building materials. Beijingers were summoned to build this dam with their bare hands and feet by voluntary shift work. Hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of Beijing, including all the civil servants and university professors, doctors, students, etc. set out to execute the order. In 8 hours shifts, they worked day and night without a break. They scratched away the earth from the surrounding hills often with no more than their fingernails, they split stones with primitive tools, and carried earth and stone in little baskets carrying poles to the river bed, where more thousands stood and stamped the stones and earth flat with their feet, urged on by the Party…men with megaphones…Mao Zedong himself and all the members of the Politburo and the government came and joined in the work of building the dam…In six months the dam was built. It is 2088 feet high and 38 feet wide at its base.

- Eyewitness, Hugo Portisch

The great leap forward4

The Great Leap Forward

  • 1959 Steel production

  • famine




Elena Songster & Jessica Stowell, OU

The great leap forward the backyard steel campaign


  • Small Commune Factories Set Up

  • Emphasis on Steel Production

  • Backyard Steel Furnaces Set Up

  • 1958 a Good Year For Overall Production

The great leap forward5

The Great Leap Forward

  • Steel production was similarly controlled, and although Mao had no knowledge of metallurgy, he encouraged every village to build small furnaces to produce steel.

    • Trees were eliminated near the communes to fuel the furnaces, and even peasant’s doors and furniturewas burned.

    • The very pots and pans that the people cooked theirfoodwith were requisitioned as “scrap metal” so that the commune could meet its quota.

Steel production

Steel Production

  • The whole country was mobilised, so that by the end of the year 600,000 "backyard furnaces" had sprung up making steel, often melting down useful items like cooking pots and tractors just to increase steel "production".

Back yard production plants

“Back-yard" production plants

The most famous were 600,000 backyard furnaces which produced steel for the communes.

Makeshift furnaces

Makeshift Furnaces

Mao s red china

  • "back-yard" production plants.

  • they added a considerable amount of steel

Propaganda poster for steel plan

Propaganda Poster for Steel Plan

Backyard steel furnaces

Backyard Steel Furnaces

  • The most mocked aspect of the Great Leap Forward was the backyard steel furnaces.

  • Mao thought that peasants could learn to make steel on a broadly decentralized basis.

  • Most areas of China, however, lacked the ore and fuel for this.

Effects of steel plan

Effects of Steel Plan

  • A great deal of steel was created, but it was of such poor quality that it was useless.

    • Mao learned in 1959 that only traditional large scale steel mills were capable of producing good quality metal, but Mao waited to cancel the steel program quietly later to save face.

    • While focusing on steel, a great deal of Grain was left to rot in the fields.

Mao s red china

  • farm machinery fell to pieces when used.

  • thousands of workers were injured after working long hours

  • Steel produced by the backyard furnaces was too weak

Mao s red china

  • The backyard furnaces also used too much coal and China’s rail system, which depended on coal driven trains, suffered accordingly.

The crisis years 1959 1961


Ours is the only chemical factory of its kind and the boiler is 70 years old. But one day a Party official arrived and told me to increase the pressure in the boiler from a hundred to a hundred and fifty pounds per square inch so that the reactor process could be completed 9 times a day instead of 6. When I told him he was turning it into a bomb, he accused me of being a bourgeois reactionary. So what was I to do? Great Leap? The connecting pipe burst when the pressure reached 120 pounds, and we were out of production for a week while repairs were made.

Why did the steel production plan fail

Why Did The Steel Production Plan Fail?

  • What went wrong ?

  • Quickly produced farm machinery produced in factories fell to pieces when used.

  • Many thousands of workers were injured after working long hours and falling asleep at their jobs.

  • Steel produced by the backyard furnaces was often too weak to be of any use and could not be used in construction.

  • Buildings constructed by this substandard steel did not last long.

  • Backyard production method had taken many workers away from their fields – so desperately needed food was not being harvested

The crisis years 1959 19611


  • Things Begin Going Wrong in 1959

  • Unrealistic Demands for More Production From the Party

  • Backyard Steel Campaign Fails

  • Too Little Agricultural Production

Effects of the great leap forward

Effects of the Great Leap Forward

Accomplishments of maoist era

Accomplishments of Maoist Era

  • Technology and Technical expertise transferred to Countryside

  • Infrastructure: education, electrification, roads, rural industry, health care

  • Gap between urban-rural narrowed

The great leap forward failure


Coal and iron cannot walk by themselves. They need vehicles to transport them. This I did not foresee. I and the Premier did not concern ourselves with this point. You could say we were ignorant of it…I am a complete outsider when it comes to economic construction. I understand nothing about industrial planning. Comrades, in 1958 and 1959, the main responsibility was mine, and you should take me to task…The chaos caused was on a grand scale, and I take responsibility. Comrades, you must analyze your own responsibility…If you have to fart, fart! You will feel much better for it.

- Mao, 1959

Results of the great leap forward

Results of the Great Leap Forward

38 million died of:

Being worked to death

Others were killed, tortured, or imprisoned

Famine (the average daily calorie intake was 1,534.8 for men and 1,200 for women – Aushwitz got between 1,300-1,700 calories per day)

Heavy industry developed (although it was still behind most large industrial countries)

Agriculture lagged behind

Results of the great leap forward1

Results of the Great Leap Forward

Agriculture failed because:

Unscientific agricultural methods were used

There was a shortage of agricultural labor because of peasants working on industrial projects

The peasants disliked losing their private lots

Natural disasters – droughts and floods

Peasants didn’t work hard because grain was taken from them

Great leap forward fails

Great Leap Forward Fails

  • Ends in massive famine -- 3 lean years

  • Struggle “Experts” vs. “Reds”

  • Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

  • Failure of Ideologically based Mass Campaigns

The great leap forward failure the farming crisis


  • Failure in the Countryside and Towns

  • Not Enough People Working in Farming

  • Over-reporting of Grain Harvests

  • Good Weather Turns to Bad…Famine Intensifies

  • 20 Million Die Due to Famine & Malnutrition





  • Population triples (1.3 billion), 85% still in agriculture

The great leap forward6

The Great Leap Forward

  • The Great Leap was made worse by ecological problems, and in 1959 and 1960, drought ravaged China.

    • Those that had embraced Mao’s reforms the most suffered worse than others, and in some areas, cannibalism arose.


      • Actual figures may be much higher, in the 20-43 million range. All the while, officials hid the starvation and failures of steel production from Mao, but even when he found out, nothing was done because he could not admit that even nature had proven him wrong.

Mao s red china

Intensified diplomatic isolation

PRC was isolated from the western countries.disliked Khrushchev and blamed him for revising Marxism-Leninism. Khrushchev openly criticized the Great Leap Forward

the relationship between China & the Soviet Union began to deteriorate

Russian response to great leap forward

Russian Response to Great Leap Forward

  • The Russians were insulted that the Chinese were no longer following their advice and pulled out their engineers.

  • Many factories that were being built could not be finished because the Russians had the only plans and because the Russians were to provide the machinery.

Russian response

Russian Response

  • The Russians were insulted that the Chinese were no longer following their advice and pulled out their engineers.

  • Many factories that were being built could not be finished because the Russians had the only plans and because the Russians were to provide the machinery.

Sino soviet dispute 1960

Sino-Soviet Dispute, 1960

  • From 1960 onward, China and Russia had a great ideological quarrel.

  • Mao asserted that the world was in a revolutionary situation.

  • Mao expected revolution to come from the poor peasants of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Sino soviet dispute

Sino-Soviet Dispute

  • The Soviet Union was led in 1960 by Nikita Khrushchev and he insisted on the need for “peaceful coexistence” with the West.

  • Khrushchev was against promoting revolution in Third World countries as China wished to do.

Mao s red china

The Great Failure

  • Great Leap Forward was failurecould not bring increase in agricultural and industrial production

Paved the way for the Cultural Revolution

Aroused conflicting opinions among the Party leaders

Mao Zedong wanted to gain back his power and to remove the opposition within the Party

The cultural revolution

The Cultural Revolution

  • As the late 1950s moved on, China and the USSR competed to be the dominant Communist country in the world. Combined with the failure of the Great Leap Forward, Mao took a lesser role in China’s politics.

    • Some policies were relaxed, and Chinese farmers could finally move back into their homes and work their own small farm plots.

    • As his brand of Communism weakened, Mao felt that China had lost its revolutionary spark, and used the young adults of China to start his “Cultural Revolution.”

Results of the great leap forward2

Results of the Great Leap Forward

  • As a result of the failure on the Great Leap Forward, Mao retired from the post of chairman of the People's Republic of China

  • His place as head of state was taken by Liu Shaoqi, but Mao remained important in determining overall policy

The rise of the moderates

The Rise of the Moderates

  • “The 3 Bitter Years” Caused by Mao

  • Party Leaders Blame Mao for the Damage

    The disaster was 70% manmade and 30% due to natural causes.

    - Liu Shaoqi

  • More Moderate Leaders Assume Power…Mao Loses Power. Enter Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, & Deng Xiaoping

Mao s red china

The rise of the moderates The Chinese referred to the years of the famine as the ‘three bitter years’They put part of the blame on the great leap forward Liu Shaoqi deputy leader of the party stated that : ‘The disaster was seventy per cent man made and thirty per cent natural causes

The waning of mao


  • Mao’s Power Gone?

  • Still Extremely Popular and the Face of the Revolution

  • Mao Reaction to the Moderates…The Cultural Revolution

    Peasants have dirty hands and cowshit-sodden feet, but they are much cleaner than intellectuals.

    - Mao

He s baaaaaaack

He’s Baaaaaaack!

  • In the early 1960s Mao became highly critical of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. He was upset that:

    • Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin

    • Khrushchev was the head of the communist world

    • Khrushchev backed down over the Cuban Missile Crisis

Mao staged this media event – him swimming in the Yangze River – to indicate that he was still vigorous and capable to lead China

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