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The Great Leap Forward - San Jose Unified School District

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Mao to Tiananmen Square
China divided
• Mainland=People’s
• Taiwan= Nationalist China
Republic of China
• -Soviet Union aided
• Controlled by Mao
• -U.S. aided
• Controlled by
Chiang Kai-Shek
PRC= People’s Republic of China
ROC= Republic of China
Mao Inherits a “post civil war” underdeveloped country
Small units
of land
Many peasants were on
military service and were
away from their villages
Years of foreign and civil wars
had caused widespread
damage to Chinese industry.
Lack of
No farm
machinery, no
methods of farming
by hand.
CHINA IN 1950’s
Damage to
systems –roads,
rail, bridges
In the countryside,
most of the land was
owned by a few rich
The ordinary people lived in great
poverty, poor housing, working
long hours, often in dangerous
conditions, for low pay, poor
health, little education.
In the cities, factories
and businesses were
owned by an elite rich.
The Great Leap Forward
• A five year plan
(1958-1963) to
develop the
agriculture and
industry in China
• Ag = food to feed
and sell
• Ind =
manufacturing to
build infrastructure
and sell products
Collective “manpower” - working collectively produces
greater gains than working competitively
The Great Leap Forward
• What do you see in the picture?
• What are the people doing?
• Why are the people there?
• Who are these people?
• How many people do you think are in the picture?
• How do they feel about the Great Leap Forward, and how
does this affect them?
Mao ZeDong’s Aims
• �to overtake all capitalist
countries in a fairly short
time, and become one of
the richest, most
advanced and powerful
countries in the world’
• To do this he must move
he people from illiterate
farm workers to a cutting
edge productive modern
society (realistic?)
Goal of Great Leap (Politically)?
• Goal - catch up with Great Britain and Russia
• �The imperialists are like the sun at five o’clock in the
afternoon while we are like the sun at six o’clock in the
morning. The East wind is bound to prevail over the West
wind because we are powerful and strong.’
Why Great Leap?
• Sputnik, Autumn 1957
• Soviet Union economic
achievement (model of
пјЊ communism producing
• Wanted China to
succeed differently
(less reliant on
machinery, more
reliant on man power)
• Wanted “Self-reliance”
Mao wanted China to be a great military power
But China was poor and over 90% of its
population were peasant farmers.
1. FIVE YEAR PLANS were introduced - based on the Russian
model. Russian advisers were brought in to help.
2. IRON AND STEEL - Mao made iron and steel production the
central focus of his industrial reform program.
3. FARMING REFORMS - The cost of modernizing industry would
have to be paid by selling Chinese farm produce. Mao saw that
Chinese farming also needed to be reformed. BUT he believed in
manual “hands in the dirt” as being more valuable than a machine
doing all the work.
* Believed in manual labor as being “connected” to the work.
Building something with your own 2 hands produces pride and
concern for quality
Mao’s belief
• The collectivized
peasants would
produce a surplus of
• This surplus food could
be sold abroad to raise
money to expand
Chinese industry
Sounds like capitalism (re-investing profit to expand and update the
company), BUT the benefit is for the country not the individual
The emperor of the “Blue Ants”
• Mechanical diggers
were shunned favor of
the hands of workers
• Bridges, canals and
dams were
constructed by hand
• Thousands dressed in
identical blue uniforms
Tiananmen Square Built
• Began in 1957
• Completed within 2
• Mao wanted it to be
bigger than Moscow’s
red square.
• Cooperated with
Russia but wanted to
be better
Backyard Furnaces
• Mao’s naive belief was
Localized production –
each person is a small
factory in itself
producing masses of
steel would solve
China’s economic
• Insisted on construction
of �backyard furnaces’
• China would draw
supplies of iron and steel
from large foundries,
mills and small family
Backyard Furnaces
Home-made goods
• Worthless steel
• Most of it was
• Goodwill did not
produce good steel
State owned enterprises
• SOE’s fulfilled notion of
centrally controlled
• Wanted industry under
total government
• No profit-making
• No bargaining
• Prices, output targets
and wages were fixed by
the state
Falling of SOE’s
• Inefficient
• SOE’s were given state
• Workers received
guaranteed wages
• No motivation for
managers or workers
• No initiative
• Is this why “communism”
doesn’t work?
Snap shot of the “Ideal”
• 25,000 peasant
• Organized into
“People’s Communes”
where they ate, slept,
and worked together,
all for the benefit of the
state, rather than the
benefit of the individual.
Growing Division (1962-1965)
• Mao Zedong vs. Deng Xiaoping
• charismatic leadership vs. bureaucracy
Deng Xiaoping
Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
• Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
• commitment to revolution and “class struggle”
• power struggle to succeed Mao
• Phase in developments to move away from Mao’s policies
• Into a more modern approach (with greater state control)
Mao Dies in 1976,
• Turning point in China
• End of the Cultural Revolution
Mao’s legacies
China since 1945
• Mao dies in 1976 and
Deng Xiaoping comes to
• Deng institutes the Four
Modernizations, which
focuses on improving
agriculture, industry,
science and technology
as well as defense.
• Deng was in power until
his death in 1997
• He was the Leader
during the Tiananmen
Square event
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