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Discuss The Impact Of The Great Leap Forward (1958 1961) On China's People.

1687 words - 7 pages

The Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) had a vast impact on China and its people. Mao Zedong, leader of China’s communist party (1949-1973) aim in proposing the campaign was to ‘overtake all capitalist countries in a fairly short time, and become one of the richest, most advanced and powerful countries in the world.” Mao wanted to modernise China and sought to enhance the availability of equipment such as nuclear submarines for China’s military. The programme had a mostly negative impact on China’s people as millions were subjected to starvation and malnutrition as a famine struck the nation in 1959 due to Mao wanting to increase export numbers in the country. It has been estimated that about 30 million people died during the Great leap Forward years. The Great leap forward also negatively impacted on China’s people (particularly peasants), as they were subjected to harsh labour from taking part in building projects such as dams and canals. It also had a profound impact on China’s people as it left millions displaced and made many feel demoralised due to being stripped of their identity. However, the Great Leap Forward’s impact on China’s people was not completely negative as it educated people and allowed them to enhance their skills through working in factories.The Great Leap Forward had a harsh impact on China’s people as millions were subjected to starvation and malnutrition due to Mao wanting to increase the number of exports in the country. Historians Jung Chang and Jon Halliday strongly believed that the Great Leap Forward had had a negative impact on China’s people as its increased number of food exports forced people to be deprived of their food. They clearly convey this in their biography about Mao by stating ‘grain exports alone, almost exactly 7m tons would have provided the equivalent of over 840 calories per day for 38 million people-the difference between life and death. Had this food not been exported very probably not a single person in China would have had to die of hunger. ’Hence, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday clearly convey the negative impact the programme had on China’s people as they were deprived of their food due to Mao’s increase in food exports. In fact, because of China’s starvation, Mao was able to export 4.74 million tonnes of grain worth a massive $935 million US in 1959. Mao’s superpower programme aimed to enhance the availability of equipment such as nuclear submarines for China’s military. He turned to Khrushchev, premier of the Soviet Union to help him with this by offering to pay with China’s ‘unlimited’ supplies of food. Thus, 1-2 million people were deprived of food each year as this was used as a raw material in the superpower program which involved turning grain into pure alcohol.The starvation of the people was so severe that by April 1959, a severe famine struck the nation. This famine was the greatest ever...

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