Point of Debate: Did the KMT lose or did the CCP win? While the CCP was much more well organized in the 30s and 40s, the KMT did make numerous errors, such as expending too much energy on fighting the communists during the Japanses occupation. 6. Great Leap Forward --From 1958-60. Followed the Anti-rightist campaign which was an effort to end the Hundred flowers campaign (1957). Prime example of the idea of continuous revolution and “constant struggle” mentality. Application of revolutionary ideas to economic development; excite peasants with revolutionary ideas so that they would increase production. State run enterprises were decentralized into regions, each region should be self-sufficient. Huge amount of gov’t investment into the economy.
Agriculture is collectivized, family farms combine into communes. Communes were meant to be the utopian communist ideal. Was meant to break traditional family bonds (loyalty is supposed to be to the party), farmers would eat meals in communal d-halls. In reality, the system failed. Production values were greatly inflated which led the gov’t to take more grain and demand more. Steel production was of incredibly poor quality; old steel items were reforged into useless material. Enormous food shortages occur in the countryside, officials fudge numbers, no one alerts the high officials (i.e. Mao) to the devastation that occurs (official Peng Dehuai expressed concerns over failures of GLF, was immediately denounced and purged by Mao). Failure is realized once Beijing and Tianjin nearly run out of food. Greatest famine in history: 15-45 million died. Mao is forced to “retire,” focuses efforts on education reform. GLF demonstrated the limits of revolutionary ideas, led to Sino-Soviet split. Despite massive failure, CCP leadership remains mostly in tact. The impacts to this policy are: Sino-Soviet split (since Mao did not listen to Khruschev) and the 1966 Cultural Revolution. 7. People’s Commune-- Method to collectivize agriculture during the Great Leap Forward. Formerly family farms were combined into communes. Collectivization of agriculture was the ultimate communist ideal. Allowed for large scale agriculture. Commune system worked to end the traditional focus on the family unit and instead tried to create a cohesive group of peasants who were committed to party ideology. Was a failure in reality. Production values were inflated at the height of revolutionary zeal, which led to shortages and famine. 8. Communist Revolution-- Japanese occupation of China during WWII led to decline of KMT while the CCP worked to boost its own numbers. In 1946, Chinese Civil war broke out between KMT and CCP; full scale, nation wide war. CCP emerges victorious and establishes gov’t in 1949. Even after consolidation of power, CCP continues idea of revolutionary struggle. Bureaucratization of Mao’s charisma and of violent struggle develops. This leads CCP to apply revolutionary ideas to government policy. Prime example of this was the Great Leap Forward (revolution applied to the economy), which failed miserably. Party and State become indistinguishable in many cases.