The great leap forward


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The great leap forward

  1. 1. The Great Leap Forward or The Great Leap Backward? What was the Truth? And How can we Tell?
  2. 2. <ul><li>The Main Aim: </li></ul><ul><li>To Modernize China? </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>B. To Secure Mao’s Leadership? </li></ul>
  3. 3. 2 Chinese Approaches to the Great Leap <ul><li>The Maoists - Led by Mao - called the Reds - ideologues - Believed that the revolutionary zeal of the masses needed to be harnessed to effect modernization. “ Principle of putting politics in command; a spirit of self-reliance and hard struggle” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Or <ul><li>2. The Experts - led by Liu and Deng - believed that China needed expertise and technology to develop and modernise </li></ul>
  5. 5. How was the Great Leap Started? <ul><li>Mao launched the “100 Flowers Bloom and 100 Schools of Thought contend” campaign. </li></ul><ul><li>Where people were encouraged to write dazibao (big character posters) which showed their dissatisfaction with the current policies of the government. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The outcome ? Mao identified people who opposed the regime? Many were arrested and the Great Leap was launched.
  7. 7. How the Great Leap Started <ul><li>The Great leap in Agriculture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As the main industry it was necessary to do first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involved moving from collectives to communes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model commune of Tachai </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Why ? <ul><li>Provide employment for masses – ie mobilise them </li></ul>Provide food for China Control families? As people lived in communes, not family groups Vehicle of political education
  9. 9. “ Amid fierce struggles between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, between the socialist and capitalist roads and between the Marxist and revisionist lines, this brigade has opened an avenue to the development of socialist agriculture through self-reliance and arduous struggle with greater, fast, better and more economical results.” Tachai, the Red Banner, p.1
  10. 10. Stage 2. The Great leap in Industry <ul><li>Developing Chinese industry through communes and production quotas. </li></ul><ul><li>City equivalents to communes </li></ul>
  11. 11. Problems Quotas too high Backyard furnaces – sacrificed quality for quantity Emphasis on employment of masses; not expertise Families disrupted as people shifted to the jobs
  12. 12. What went wrong? <ul><li>Bad harvests due to weather conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Withdrawal of Russian aid </li></ul><ul><li>No other external help – policy of self reliance </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Impact – hard to evaluate <ul><li>An American Journalist: </li></ul><ul><li>Joseph Alsop reported in September, 1961: </li></ul><ul><li>[the average Chinese] was being compelled to live on a diet of no more than 600 calories of food intake a day…the population of China is starving” </li></ul><ul><li>Letter to New York Herald Tibune by Sybil Cookson: </li></ul><ul><li>… Joseph Alsop’s report…is quite contrary to our impression formed in China…we were allowed to travel where we desired. Nowhere did we see any signs of [discontent] much less of famine, despite a disappointing harvest. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Effect <ul><li>The Experts were able to assume more importance </li></ul><ul><li>Mao was given an honorary title but effectively had his power limited. </li></ul><ul><li>For a short while China moved away from being Red towards being Expert. </li></ul>