What was the goal of the great leap forward?
The great leap forward was a push by Mao Zedong to change China from a predominantly agrarian (agricultural) society to a modern industrial society – in just five years. It was an impossible goal, of course, but Mao had the power to force the world's largest society to try.
How did life change in China during the Great Leap Forward?
The most important changes in the life of rural Chinese included the gradual introduction of compulsory agricultural collectivization. Private farming was banned and those involved in it were persecuted and branded as counter-revolutionaries.
How many people died in the Great Leap Forward?
Municipal inefficiency and the large-scale diversion of agricultural labor to small-scale industry severely disrupted China's agriculture, and three consecutive years of natural disasters added to what was quickly becoming a national disaster; in total, about 20 million people were estimated to have died of starvation between 1959 and 1962.
What did farmers do before the Great Leap Forward?
Before 1949, the peasants had cultivated their own small pockets of land and observed traditional practices – festivals, banquets and homage to ancestors. It was realized that Mao's policy of using a state monopoly on agriculture to finance industrialization would be unpopular with the peasantry.
How did the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution affect China?
In particular, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution destroyed rural and peasant populations, leading to fatal consequences for a large part of the Chinese demographic. The Great Leap Forward was an attempt to socialize the Chinese economy almost a decade after the People's Republic of China was established in 1949.
Why was collectivization important in the Great Leap Forward?
Mao advocated that a further round of collectivization modeled on the USSR's "third period" was needed in the countryside, where the existing collectives would be merged into huge people's communes. In the beginning, the municipality's members could eat for free in the municipality's canteens. This changed when food production came to a standstill.
How many people were killed during the Great Leap Forward?
This apparent liberalization attracted dissidents who now felt they could speak out. Then Mao attacked. An estimated 500,000 people were killed in the purges against such deviationists that followed.
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