The Causes of Starvation During the Great Leap Forward

In May of 1958, the People's Republic of China launched The Great Leap Forward, an effort by the country's leaders to transform China into a military superpower in just five years. The goal was to increase the country's grain and cereal production by grouping the peasants into "thousands or even tens of thousands of families, with everything to become communical. . ." The peasants would work longer and harder while practicing extreme frugality. The result was a great jump backward when about "38 million people died of starvation and overwork" in the ensuing famine that followed. There are many causes of such an astronomical body count, but they can be grouped into four major categories: ignorance, fear, denial, and apathy. The Communist Government is the main culprit in this mass death because it was ignorant in its lofty goal-setting for grain production, it scared the peasants and local leaders into inflating their statistics, it denied reports of starvation and missed goals, and it ultimately did not care that people would die in the process of taking a "great leap forward."

Looking back on the Great Leap Forward | History Today

The Great Leap Forward produced the greatest famine in human history. The Communist Government set impossible goals for grain production based off of military needs. In order to meet these goals, the people worked harder and lied about their actual production. When the reports about starvation throughout the country were received, they were ignored. The government knew from the beginning that the country was already dangerously low in food production, but proceeded with the plan anyway. Mao gambled for supremacy in the world and the cost was 38 million people, but this was only one tenth of what he was willing to sacrifice for "the victory of the world revolution." The world revolution never came, but people of China still paid the price.


Alpha History - The Great Leap Forward

Great Leap Forward - Society for Anglo-Chinese …

Despite the indications that the Great Leap had failed to reach its objectives, the movement continued to be upheld. During the celebrations of the Tenth Anniversary of the People's Republic in October 1959, the "General Line of the Great Leap Forward, the people's communes and the steel campaign" were reaffirmed. The movement turned into a disaster when in the period 1959-1961 China was struck by natural disasters. More than an estimated 30 to 40 million people died in the ensuing famine.


16/02/1997 · Illustrated

The Great Leap Forward took two forms: a mass steel campaign, and the formation of the people's communes (人民公社, renmín gongshe). On the one hand, all the people in the country were organized to help produce the amount of steel that was needed to attain the goal of surpassing England. Life was militarized for this battle for steel.

Leap - definition of leap by The Free Dictionary

On the basis of an exaggerated belief in the power of ideology on human consciousness, the radicals were convinced that by putting "politcs in command", the objective difficulties created by lagging industrialisation and mechanisation could be overcome in a relatively short time. By relying on willpower, and by giving supremacy to the human, subjective dimensions of history, the people would be able to bring about a quick transformation of the concrete obstacles they encountered in the physical world. To mobilize this willpower, the Great Leap Forward, obviously, was accompanied by a concerted propaganda effort, the depth and breadth of which had hitherto not been seen.

Jim Collins - Articles - Good to Great

The drive to establish communes was bound up with the mass campaign of the Great Leap, which fuelled the crisis in a number of ways. The call to make steel through decentralised, small-scale smelting took millions of people from their work in the fields. Equally ambitious agricultural projects, such as dams, took away more peasant labour. Marshall Peng Dehuai, the Leap's critic, wrote a poem:

Standing desks took a huge leap forward | Evodesk

Equally important has been the lack of reliable data. Facts and figures, if available at all, were so distorted during the Great Leap Forward (GLF) - which much exacerbated the disaster - that until recently they were largely unusable.