Transition to Socialism 1952- 1963

Transition to Socialism 1952- 1963

Transition to Socialism 19521963 Economic developments industry Mao believed that modernisation of the economy was essential to PRCs survival as a nation. Wanted to build on the model of Stalins 5 year plans. 1952- 1st 5yr Plan introduced- aimed to develop statedirected growth of heavy industry- migration from countryside to town- urban population increased from 57 million to 100 million.

This meant that when the PRC began its economic reforms, it already had a potential work force and considerable industrial expertise. It managed to bring down inflation- 1000% in 1949, inflation dropped to 15% by 1951. This was achieved by: Slashing public expenditure Raising tax rates

Replacing the old Chinese dollar with the yuan 1 5 Year Plan 1952-1956 ST Areas targeted for increased production- coal, steel and petrochemicals. Attention given to developing Chinese automobile industry.

Civil engineering projects e.g. Rail and road bridge across the Yangzi River. Success- 1953& 1957- growth rate of nearly 9% Look at Table 3.1. p 66 The Second 5 Year Plan: The Great Leap Forward Wanted to turn the PRC into a modern industrial state in the shortest possible time.

If PRC revolutionised agriculture and industry- build an economy that would catch up/overtake major nations. Mao was convinced that China had a future as a great power but industrialisation needed to achieve that. He believed that even though China lagged behind the rest of the industrialised world but they would surpass it purely through the dedicated effort of the Chinese people- leap.

China would surpass all the stages and go straight from being a rural, agricultural economy to urban industrial economy. This leap would allow China to overtake all capitalist countries in a short time and become one of the richest and most advanced and powerful countries. Mao was determined to match Soviet economic achievement but without following

Soviet methods. Mass Effort Mao resolved to achieve lift off by harnessing the greatest resource- Chinas population: i. Collectivised peasants working in their communes would produce surplus of food to be sold abroad to raise money for the expansion of the Chinese industry.

ii. Workers would create, literally with their own hands, a modern industrial economy. Mao assumed by an effort of will the output achieved under 1st 5 year plan could be vastly increased- size mattered- scale of construction rather than economic value- he was convinced that by sheer manpower China would solve its industrial problems.

Manual labour did achieve prodigous feats such as canal, dams, greatspan bridges- lauded as CCP as visible proof of Chinas resurgence. Men, women, children dressed in blue uniforms with rudimentary tools- Emperor Maos blue ants. The 2nd 5 year Plan in 1958 was not really a plan, even though quotas and targets were reset- not based on sound economic analysis but plucked from

air on a whim. A finance minister in 1958 admitted At present the central authorities are compiling targets for the second Five Year Plan but have not been able to catch up with the swift changes in practical conditions that require upward revision of the targets almost everyday. General Steel and General Grain would lead the nation to economic victory.

The Backyard Furnaces Mao believed that if they produced masses of steel- China would solve all its economic problems- insisted on construction of a backyard furnaces. Communal activity where all young and old would participate and learn by doing.

Weakness of the campaign Goodwill did not necessarily produce good steel- most of homemade variety was worthless. Therefore the industrial steel came from the foundries- even though the govt knew this, they still collected and dumped it. The Great Leap Forward: Lots of energy, noise and endeavour but little substance.

State-owned Enterprises SOEs were created as an important attempt to bring industry under the control of govt. Existing firms and companies could no longer be private and profit making but had to be SOEs. Prices, output targets and wages were to be fixed by the state. In practice, SOEs performed less well than expected- they were inefficient as no incentives.

SOEs were given state subsidies and workers received guaranteed wages- destroyed any motive for initiatives. Any surplus went straight to the state. Didnt matter how conscientious or idle a worker- they could still receive the same pay. However, workers had an iron rice bowl job for life and accomodation, medical and educational benefits. Production under 2 5 year Plan

nd (Table p 72) China lacked the following essentials: Technical skills- managerial know-how Efficiently run factories An adequate transport system Without these China could not build the modern economy- instead of growing under the Great Leap

Forward- the output of industrially produced goods actually fell. Limitations of the Great Leap Forward Despite setting up SOEs, so much was left to local initiatives that they never operated a national plan. Officials issued demands and threats but few detailed instructions as to what to actually do. Political interference made the plan impossible to manage as a

economic enterprise. Quality of finished products fell short of Chinas industrial needs Effective organisation and quality control became difficult to achieve. 1959- USSR withdrew technical assistance which resulted in half of 300 industrial plants closing that the Soviets had sponsored. Maos limitations as an economic planner Mao believed that applied communism (planning

according to Marxist principles involving state direction of economy and ending of private ownership) would produce an effective system of production. But what passed for planning was just politically inspired slogans- delegates at party conferences shouted slogans and counter-slogans instead of addressing real economic problems. But Mao did not accept his policies were at fault- he blamed sabotage by bourgeois and back sliders.

Mao did not understand the industrial process and mistakenly believed that a massive deployment of man power would allow China to achieve advanced industrialisation. His experience as a political in-fighter and military strategy had not prepared him for the task of shaping the economy as a vast nation. His approach was necessarily a series of

intuitive leaps- the results were calamitious, his plans wasted rather than exploited Chinas vast natural and human resources. Agriculture Agriculture 1.Maos attitude towards peasants: The agricultural policy that Mao adopted was seen as a

compliment to Maos industrial plans. By 1950s, organisers of the 1st 5 year plans realised that they had a severe labour shortage, therefore industrial workforce needs to be increased. Although peasants were producing more food, it wasnt getting to the urban workers, therefore they believed peasants were eating it. Mao urged the peasants to be educated to eat less. Even though he was a peasant himself, he accused them as having no

communist spirit. 2. Collectivisation: The land was seized and given to the peasants. The peasants had to pool their resources and join collectives. Between 1956 & 1958, govt directed 750 thousand collectives be amalgamated into a large number of communes.

1958- Mao made this part of the Great Leap Forward750 thousand collectives = 26 thousand communes. Communes collectively contained 120 million households (every house 5 people). The whole system was under the direct control of the central govt- farming methods, sale and distribution prices. Private farming ended. Peasants needed internal passports to pass

from one commune to another. Mao maintained that collectivisation was a direct response to peasants wishes. Chinas Great Famine 1958-1962 Collectivisation caused a disruption by ending of a private farming- major cause of hunger since it discouraged the individual peasant from producing food beyond his/her own immediate needs.

Lysenkoism- Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet quack with fake super-crop theories but Chinese agronomists thought Lysenko was infalliable. Lysenko became official policy: use new breeds and seeds, plant closely, plant deeply, increase fertilisation, use new farm tools- all good ideas but cant apply universally without considering other factors. Sparrowcide: pest control- killed all sparrows and birds. Villages competed together but

without birds, vermin increased and destroyed stocks of grain. Starvation: peasants had no way of preventing starvation- those who tried to farm in their old ways were rounded up as rightists. 50 million died in famine- Central China the worst. Also cannabalism

Conspiracy of Silence: govt was well aware- it was reported that targets were being met. They cooked the books. Famine in Tibet Tibet suffered the most during the famine- of 4 million people were wiped out. The famine was a man-made disaster as the PRC chose to extend the famine.

Tibetan farming had two forms- barley and yaks and sheep. But they now had to follow Chinas agricultural policiesmany of the crops they were encouraged to grow did not match to Tibetan soil. Tibetans could no longer be normal, therefore animals died and crops failed. Maos responsibility for famine Mao did accept the famine but refused to acknowledge that the failure was his due to

his policies. His reasons, rather,were: Hoarding of grain. Mistakes by local officials. Bad weather 1958-1962 Political developments 1952- 1962 Unless the PRC modernised, it could not survive. Gao Gang and Rao Shushi- singled out by Mao

for misusing their authority rather than working to industrialise China- they were dismissed from their positions- Gao Gang killed himself- ultimate treason according to Deng Xiaoping. Gao Gang and Rao Shushi Maos fears for his leadership

Maos paranoia is increased. Nov 1956- a formal proposal passed confirming that the govt of the PRC was a collective and not an individual affairthis was not especially threatening to Mao as this had always been the theory. What was more troubling was Congress acceptance of Peng Dehuais proposal that they should omit the standard reference to Mao Zedongs thought as the inspiration of the party and nation. Mao took this badly and introduced the Hundred Flowers

Campaign in 1957. The Hundred Flowers campaign 1956- Mao informed his govt and party colleagues that it was appropriate to allow greater freedom of expression to those who wished to constructively comment on Communist China. In his contradictions speech, Mao stated his satisfaction with economic advances but complained of heavy-handedness with which some CCP officials were applying local and

national policies. He hinted that he may allow intellectuals a greater say in the debate- surprising because of his distaste for intellectuals. Sufficiently tolerated writer Hu Feng- Mao said that they had made enough progress they could be lenient. Might have also been related to Khrushchevs destalinisation. Mao invites criticism 1957- Mao urged Communist Party officials to

be prepared to undergo criticism. Let a hundred flowers bloom, but let a hundred schools of thought contend. Individuals and policies were complained against on grounds of corruption, inefficiency and lack of realism. Maos U-turn Taken aback by the flood of criticism, Mao called a halt to the

campaign- was abandoned and replaced by an anti-right movement. Mao rounded on research scientists, economists, writers and artists. The party was purged of those who had been too free with their objections to govt and party orders. Even high-ranking officials vulnerable e.g Zhou Enlai had to selfcriticise in front of the party- sent a message that no one was safe. 1959- Mao gave up position of state chairman- intended to wrong foot possible challengers- as state chairman was an honorary title. Zhou Enlai

Lushan Conference 1959 Was supposed to discuss progress of the Great Leap Forward but delegates knew it had been convened by party members to try find some solution to the famine. Peng Dehaui was honest about what he had seen but he was denounced for his honesty. They were supposed to talk about famine but instead denounced Peng and praised Mao for his inspired

leadership. Zhou Enlai was so dismayed with the tone of the conference, he stayed in his hotel room and drank. Peng Dehuai Maos suppression of criticism Mao ridiculed Peng Dehuai and said he was prepared to use PLA against anyone who led

peasants to overthrow the govt- suggested that Mao thought that famine was created by reactionary peasants to collectivisation. Basically declared that talk of the famine was tantamount to treason. Martial Law imposed Although CCP were prepared to hide the truth, many ordinary people were so desperate that they

demonstrated- they wanted the communes gone. 1962- Liu Shaoqui was so worried about civil warmartial law imposed. 2 factors prevented the crisis Liu faced: i) Famine was worse in rural China- lacked skills and knowledge to mount anti-govt progress. ii) The policies Liu and Deng Xiaoping in 1962 eased the famine. Liu Shaoqui

Mao withdraws After Lushan, Mao withdrew from political front line. Although his reputation had been damaged, his ultimate authority was intact. His god-like status rendered his control absolute.

China and the USSR 1953- 1962 i) Mao saw Poland, Hungary as USSR relaxing its ideological grip- saw it as Soviet failure. ii) Mao was angered by detente- saw it as heresy as final struggle was unavoidable- Soviets on revisionist path. iii) Maos 2nd visit to the USSR- Mao approved a SinoSoviet declaration of Chinas readiness to cooperate. But he urged SU to move away from detente- worried that detente was a deliberate attempt to leave China isolated.

iv) Mao and Khrushchev- 1958 Khrushchev flew to Beijing to meet Mao- Mao wasnt interested although Khrushchev tried. v) PRC accuses SU of betraying the communist movement. vi) Taiwan issue- without consulting Moscow, Mao ordered Chinese forces to prepare for assault. USA responded by preparing for war on

mainland China- Mao held back from attack . Khrushchev accused them of being reckless. vii) Soviet reaction to the Great Leap Forward- SU dismissed the campaign as a total blunder- enraged Mao. viii) China walked out from 1961 Moscow ConferenceKhrushchev attacked Albania who the PRC supportedChina saw this as an attack on themselves. ix) Sino-India War- USSR remained neutral and gave India support. x) Cuban missile crisis- China scorned Moscow for its

adventurism and capitulation to US threat, xi) Rivalry over leadership of international communismdispute who was the real leader- Soviets say Mao distorted Marxism, China says Soviets betrayed the cause with detente. PRC and the USA i) Initially USA viewed PRC with suspicion because of its ties to USSR and communism. ii)Taiwan remains key diplomatic issue- both Mao and

Chiang adamant in their refusal to recognise each other. Mao was frustrated by US support and continued to threaten invasion (unlikely that he would have done anything though). 1958- Mao instructed PLA to shore batteries to shell the Nationalists held islands of Quemay and Matsusuggested possibility of US attack.

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