The Great Leap Forward Case Study

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The disaster of the Great Leap Forward is largely due to the Mao Zedong’s own vanity, pride and inability to recognize his own flaws, as well as the fear and cowardice that existed within the CCP at the time. The Great Leap Forward did, however, not start as a systematic failure throughout China that would eventually kill 20-30 million people. Instead it started out as a way to propel China into the future and modern society. The basis for collectivization was found in the socialism / communist ideology and was seen by Mao as an alternative way of increasing the overall welfare and create a prosperous society. The Great Leap Forward was created from this standpoint and Mao wrote in an article in July 1957, that the problem in China was created…show more content…
She goes on to say that when Mao became aware of the problem and wanted a straight answer of the problem, he traveled to his hometown of Shaoshan where the people would revere him enough to tell him the truth (Karl, pp.106-107). I would not say that this is a likely scenario and even if it is the truth, it is a way of glorifying Mao and misplace blame for the Great Leap Forward onto those who supposedly hid the truth from Mao. The fact is that the events leading up to the Great Leap Forward, such as the purge of opposition, was all part of Mao’s plan in order to implement collectivization and socialist policies. Therefore, even if Mao was actually kept in the dark about the extent of the famine, he created that culture of providing a false image, because if you did not you would most likely face death or imprisonment. The fact that Peng Dehuai stood up to Mao during the 1959 party plenum in Lushan, and subsequently was dismissed in a disgraceful manner, despite being loyal and a pivotal part of the CCP for a substantial amount of time, enhances this viewpoint (Atwill, 11.10). There was essentially no way to criticize the Great Leap Forward, and because of this, Mao should be appointed most of the blame for the…show more content…
As discussed above, the notion that he would not know is redundant since he created a party culture which would prevent him from finding out the truth in the first place. The documentary Mao’s Great Famine reveals documents that are said to be written by Mao, in which he acknowledges the existence of a widespread famine, especially in the countryside. In said document it is, however, also written that Mao is willing to sacrifice one part of the population (the peasants) in order for the other to have more food (Mao’s Great Famine, 2012). If this document is correct and written by Mao, he not only create a terrible situation in which people would die out of mistakes, vanity and ignorance (as assumed in the above paragraphs), he deliberately killed upwards 20-30 million

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