The period of Mao Zedongs reign was one of the most important periods in Chinese history. This period changed the lifestyle of the Chinese from the traditional one to the progressive. The followers of the new concepts are known as Maoists.
A political theory of Maoism derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong. Mao proclaimed three revolutionary goals where he promised a better life for the poor people. He also called for the development of the modern economy in the country. The last one was that he pledged to restore China's position as a major world power. There were some troubles that prevented these aims from coming true such the promise to educate, feed Chinese population as well as provide them with separate dwellings. People could not use their land to grow food, because the geography of the country was broken. China also sought to rapidly develop the industry and with each period of time increased production turnover.
The Great Leap Forward was the name given to Chinas Second Five Year Plan (1958-62). The Great Leap Forward stemmed from Mao Zedongs impatience for industrial and manufacturing growth. Mao was suspicious of Soviet economic development models, but the First Five Year Plan accelerated industrialization and increased production. Instead, Mao favored an ideological shift in the economic policy that would continue industrialization but also move China towards agricultural collectivization. This might have been driven by Maos suspicions about the rise of a potentially bourgeois expert class, the growth of technology and the expanding divide between rural and urban production.
The Great Leap Forward (1958) had two objectives: to transform China into a collectivized society, where socialist principles defined work, production, and even human lives and to create an industrialized economy in order to catch up with the West. History records the Great Leap Forward as a disaster. It gave rise to the economic stagnation, led to food shortages and famine, and caused the deaths of untold millions of Chinese. The Great Leap Forward was announced by Mao at a party meeting in Nanjing in January 1958. China had to follow a different path to socialism than the Soviet Union, Mao told delegates, by allowing the peasants to participate in economic modernization and making more use of their labor. Rural collectivization would be at the heart of this Great Leap Forward.
Collectivized farms would better organize peasant labor, eliminate waste and inefficiency and greatly increase production. Cooperatives and collectivization had been encouraged during the mid 1950s but it was not until the Great Leap Forward that the peoples communes became official government policy. Initially, peasant families were organized into cooperatives of around 20 to 40 households. In 1955 Mao called for the enlargement of cooperatives, into communes of 100-300 households. The policy of collectivization sparked debate within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with moderates like Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi urging caution. Yet despite the discord within the Party, by late 1958 the entire Chinese countryside had been divided and organized into around 26,000 communes.
The next period is The Hundred Flowers Campaign that begun in May 1956 within the communist government of China to lift the restrictions imposed upon Chinese intellectuals and thus grant greater freedom of thought and speech. Motivated by the relaxation of strict communist controls in the Soviet Union that accompanied Nikita Khrushchevs denunciation of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in February 1956, the Chinese chief of state HYPERLINK "https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mao-Zedong" Mao Zedong invited criticism of the Chinese Communist Partys policies, even by noncommunist intellectuals, with a famous slogan from Chinese classical history, Let a hundred flowers bloom, and a hundred schools of thought contend.
Criticism was slow in developing, but other party leaders continued to echo Maos theme in speeches during the next year. Not until the spring of 1957 did articulate members of society begin to criticize communist policies openly; within a few weeks the party became subjected to an ever-increasing volume of criticism. Wall posters denounced every aspect of the government, and students and professors criticized party members. In Junewith the publication of an amended version of a speech Mao had given in February, On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the Peoplethe party began to signal that the criticism had gone too far. By early July an ant rightists campaign was under way in which the recent critics of the regime were subjected to severe retribution; most of them lost their jobs and were forced to do manual labor in the country, and some were sent to prison.
The biggest and global changes in the country began after the Cultural Revolution. Mao launched the so-called Cultural Revolution in August 1966, at a meeting of the Plenum of the Central Committee. He shut down the nation's schools, calling for a massive youth, mobilization to take the current party, leaders to task for their embrace of bourgeois values and lack of revolutionary spirit.
In the months that followed, the movement escalated quickly as the students formed paramilitary groups called the Red Guards and attacked and harassed members of China's elderly and intellectual population. A personality cult quickly sprang up around Mao, similar to that which existed for Josef Stalin, with different factions of the movement, claiming the true interpretation of Maoist thought.
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