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‘the Great Leap Forward Failed Because Technical Experts from the Soviet Union Were Withdrawn from China in 1960’ Explain Why You Agree or Disagree with This View.

Autor:   •  October 6, 2016  •  Essay  •  1,740 Words (7 Pages)  •  324 Views

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Although the withdrawal of soviet experts from China by the USSR in 1960 did play a role in the failure of the GLF, the GLF was already failing before this occurred and the main reason for this was Mao’s poor policies and unrealistic targets.

It can be argued that the withdrawal of Soviet experts from china in 1960 caused the failure of the GLF. During the late 1950s, China and the USSR had very strained relationships. Mao was highly critical of Khrushchev who made a speech in 1956 denouncing Stalin which indirectly targeted Mao’s style of leadership and he was also following a policy of peaceful co-existence with capitalist’s states which Mao opposed. The USSR did not support China when they tried to go on the offensive against Taiwan following them bombing the island of Quemoy which Mao again saw as a betrayal. Relationships deteriorated further when the USSR was highly critical of the GLF. This led to the withdrawing their technical experts from China and ending relationships between the two countries. This contributed to the failure of the GLF as during this time period China lacked its own statistical and technical experts that were needed for an economic policy such as the GLF. Without these experts the whole policy was simply reliant on Mao setting targets and deciding how the policy should operate and the state statics bureau had been removed as Mao was following a policy of decentralisation of power. However, the withdrawal of the soviet experts wouldn’t have had such a large impact of it was not for the fact that Mao himself had purged many crucial experts during the Anti Rightist campaign in 1957 right before the GLF started. By purging these crucial statisticians Mao was the one who was setting highly unrealistic targets which completely disregarded the laws of economics. Furthermore, the anti-rightist campaign had also struck fear into the few experts that remained and the party cadres. As well as this, the GLF was also failing before the experts were withdrawn. In 1959 the steel furnaces had to abandoned as they were making such a small amount of usable steel. Furthermore, grain targets were not being met as in 1959 only 170 million was produced and in 1960 only 143 million was produced which was far lower that the target by Mao of 430 million tons. Therefore, it was not the withdrawal of soviet experts but the role of Mao which played a larger role in the failure of the GLF.

Additionally, a lot of waste occurred during the GLF which further led to its failure. There was wastage in human resources and material resources. In the GLF, the APCs that had existed prior to it were combined into large people communes in which there were about 20 000 people each who all lived and worked together. This system was made so that labour would be utilised more efficiently but this was not the case. Every member of the commune who was 15 – 50 years old belonged to a platoon which was part of the militia and work units.

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