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The Great Leap Forward The Second 5 Year Plan 1958 - 1963.

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1 The Great Leap Forward The Second 5 Year Plan 1958 - 1963

2 Aim – To develop China into one of the world’s leading industrial country Mao had toured China and concluded that the Chinese people were capable of anything and the two main tasks they should target were industry and agriculture He therefore announced a second five year plan to last from 1958 to 1963. This plan was called the Great Leap Forward.

3 Method: To harness the energy of the masses  The Great Leap planned to develop agriculture and industry  Mao believed that industry could prosper if the work force was well fed, while agricultural workers needed industry to produce the tools needed for modernisation.  In industry he wanted to scrap vast industrial projects and get people involved in small scale industry  In agriculture - to join cooperatives together into COMMUNES

4 COMMUNES  The key to the reorganisation of the people was the COMMUNE.  Each commune would have agricultural targets as well as industrial targets.

5 Information on Communes  Size – varied but most contained about 5000 families  Organisation –  People gave up ownership of tools animals etc – all were handed over to the commune.  The life of an individual was controlled totally by the commune.  Schools and nurseries were provided by the commune so that adults could concentrate on work  Eating halls were set up so people didn’t have to cook.  Healthcare was provided and the elderly were moved into ‘houses of happiness’ so that they could be looked after and families didn’t have to take time off work to look after them.

6 The commune provided everything that was needed –including entertainment  Soldiers worked among the people  The population was sub-divided – 12 families formed a work team. 12 work teams formed a brigade. Each sub- division was given targets. Party members oversaw the work to ensure it was carried out

7 Astounding results  By the end of 1958 700million people were in 27,000 communes.  The government whipped up support for them by wide use of propaganda. Eg public address systems in the fields spouted political messages to the workers.  Everybody was urged to not only meet their targets but to beat them.  If the commune lacked basic machinery the workers used their bare hands.

8 Industry  The Great leap encouraged communes to set up ‘backyard production plants’ the most famous being 600,000 backyard furnaces which produced steel for the communes.  The figures for steel coal chemicals timber cement etc all showed huge rises (though they started from a low base)  Grain and cotton also showed major increases in production

9 Mao introduced the Great Leap with the phrase  ‘It is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever’  By the end of 1958 it seemed as if his claim was true

10 The Great leap goes wrong  Political decisions took precedence over common sense and communes faced the task of doing things which they were incapable of achieving.  If commune leaders said something was impossible, they were accused of being a ‘boureois reactionary’. Such charges would lead to imprisonment.

11 Problems in Industry  Much of the machinery produced in factories started to fall apart.  Many thousands of workers were injured after falling asleep at their jobs.  Steel produced in the back yard furnaces was often of such poor quality that it couldn’t be used in construction – its original purpose.  Buildings produced with this steel did not last long.  Too much coal was used in the furnaces – this had impact on the railway system which used coal.

12 Problems in Agriculture  The backyard furnaces took many workers away from their fields- so desperately needed food was not being harvested.  Ironically, one of the key factors in food production was the weather. 1958 was a good year for growing food. Party leaders boasted that the harvest for 1958 was a record 260million tones – This was a lie…  In 1959 the weather was bad. There were floods in some area and drought in others.....

13 The harvest for 1959 was 170million tons – well below what China needed at the most basic level  Starvation occurred  1960 was worse – 9million people are thought to have starved to death  Many were left desperately ill because of lack of food  The government introduced rationing putting people on a minimum amount of food  Between 1959 and 1962 it is thought that 20 million died of starvation or diseases related to starvation

14 Failure, failure, failure  By 1959 it was obvious that the Great Leap was a failure  Even Mao admitted it  He asked the party to take to task for his failures but also asked the party members to look at themselves and their performance

15 He said ‘The chaos caused was on a grand scale, and I take responsibility. Comrades, you must analyse your own responsibility. If you have to fart, fart. You will feel much better for it.’

16 Mao resigned as President though he remained as Party Chairman  The day to day running of the country was left to 3 moderates – Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.  In1960 they abandoned the Great Leap  Private ownership of land was re-instated and communes were cut down to a manageable size.  Peasants were encouraged to grow a surplus of food and sell it for profit.

17 The end of Mao????????  The three moderates had restricted Mao’s power but his standing among the ordinary Chinese people was still high as he was seen as the leader of the revolution…………  He was to use this popularity with the people to resurrect his authority at the expense of the moderates………….  More to follow………………..


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