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The First Five Year Plan and Collectivization

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  1. The First Five Year Plan and Collectivization Anthony De Ruijter & Chris Whiting

  2. The GMD left a legacy of Economic devastation behind for the CCP: • Peasants had been taken away from the farms, depriving China’s economy of manpower. • The result was a serious food shortage in urban areas, and a fall in agricultural and industrial output. • This was made worse by the GMD’s economical ineptitude and the fact that they took China’s foreign currency with them to Tai Wan. Problems facing Mao at the end of the Civil War:

  3. Mao’s ideology influenced his inspiration to transform China into a Socialist Economy. • In particular, his aim was to steer peasants away from private farms and towards larger, collective farms, otherwise known as communes. • However, Mao realized that a life time of exploitation by Landlords had left the peasants displaying a “Spontaneous tendency towards capitalism”: that is, they wanted nothing but to cultivate and run their own land. • As a result, Mao felt that collectivization would have to wait. Mao’s Solutions to Agriculture

  4. In 1951, the first steps towards collectivization were made, in the promotion of mutual aid teams. • Mutual aid teams consisted of up to 10 peasant households grouping together to share resources, labour, and animals. • Wealthier peasants were excluded for isolation purposes. Collectivization 1951

  5. An upgrading of the original “mutual aid teams” in the form of APCs. • These reforms saw the banding together of 30-50 households and shared not only labour, but land as well. • Popular, as it allowed peasants to share out costs and reduce the costs of farming. • However, not ideologically correct as the wealthier peasants profited most on account of “land-share” and “labour-share” Collectivization 1952-53


  6. Period of confusion due to Mao’s contradictory directives. • His desire for faster change led many officials to force peasants into poorly set up cooperative farms that began to run into debt rather than make a profit. • Mao then called for a campaign against “rash advance”. • However, once the situation stabilized, the richer peasants began to show signs of capitalism in the buying and selling of land, lending of money, and hiring of labour. Collectivization 1953 “Rash advance”

  7. In 1954, due to the capitalist behavior by the richer peasants, Mao campaigned against the “rash retreat” and called for faster collectivization. • Many peasants resisted, especially the wealthier ones. Furthermore, the 1954 harvest was poor and attempts at grain requisition led to food riots. • In January 1955 Mao applied the brakes yet again in the form of his “stop, contract, develop” campaign. • This dictated the freezing of APC development for 18 months. However by the summer of the same year, Mao decided to remove the brakes and continue with collectivization. Collectivization 1954-55 “Rash Retreat” and “Stop, Contract, Develop

  8. In 1955, the APCs were upgraded to higher stage cooperatives. This was the grouping of 200 to 300 households, which required more CCP officials. • The peasants were allowed small amounts of their land for private plots, and ideologically the higher stage cooperatives were superior in Mao’s eyes as the “land-share” profits were reduced whilst ”labour-share” profits were increased. • Wealthier peasants who tried to resist were denied state loans, which would pressure them into compliance. Collectivization 1955-57

  9. In July 1955, 17 million households belonged to the APCs. • However, by January of the next year, 75 million peasant families were collectivized, near 63% of the entire population. • By 1957, only a paltry 3% of the population remained private. Mao could successfully claim that he had collectivized the Chinese Agriculture 15 years ahead of schedule. The pace of Collectivization

  10. Mao consolidated his control over the countryside. • Collectivization was a disputed topic within the CCP: Mao believed that the Chinese, given that they had the will to succeed, would not require material rewards or conditions in order to dictate the pace of change. • This was a point of conflict between Mao and the more moderate elements of the party, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. • The effect of collectivization on living standards is disputed. Spence believes that peasants were better fed than they had been in the early 50s, whilst Chang and Halliday argue that they experienced severe hardships. • Agricultural output was still disappointing: in the last year of collectivization output only increased by 1%. The effects of Collectivization

  11. First Five Year Plan

  12. It was a belief of Mao that communist China should be self sufficient. • Under communist rule, foreign owned businesses were nationalized and foreign trade was kept at a minimum. • China’s industrialization was an absolute priority for the new communist government. Aims of the Plan

  13. Coal went from 68.5 (million tons) in 1952 to 130 (million tons) in 1957. • Steel went from 1.35 (million tons) in 1952 to 5.35 (million tons) in 1957. • Electrical power went from 7.26 billion kilowatt and hour to 19.34 kilowatt and hour in 1957. Results of the Plan

  14. Many workers were ex-peasants • There was emphasis on quantity and not quality. • Borrowed money from USSR but had to pay high interest rates. • Significant competition for scarce resources between industries. Problems with the Plan

  15. Strict control of movement between jobs for workers. • Living standards improved but not as much to the international standard. • Peasant’s standard of living was deliberately held down in order to finance industrial investment. • Shift of people to the towns (1949 57 million Chinese in towns) but by 1957 there was 100 million Chinese in towns – thus overpopulation. • Private ownership was abolished. Social and Economic Consequences

  16. The First Five Year plan enslaved the industry. • By the end of 1955 all private enterprises in China had been abolished and converted to state enterprises. Did the plan contribute towards making China more totalitarian?