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Forgotten Voices of Mao's Great Famine, 1958-1962An Oral History$
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Zhou Xun

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300184044

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300184044.001.0001

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Endless Campaigns and Political Pressures

Endless Campaigns and Political Pressures

(p.66) 2 Endless Campaigns and Political Pressures
Forgotten Voices of Mao's Great Famine, 1958-1962

Zhou Xun

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the mass political campaigns and political pressures during Mao’s reign. In fall 1957, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward, which brought further collectivization initiatives to the countryside and caused existing farming collectives to merge into gigantic People’s Communes. By 1958, as crop failures and widespread famine came more and more into conflict with Mao’s vision of abundance, he began to put pressure on the local cadres. To meet ever increasing production quotas, local cadres forced already enfeebled peasants not only to hand over their very last kernels of grain but also to work day and night on empty stomachs. Famine worsened in the countryside, and eventually took more than 40 million lives.

Keywords:   Mao Zedong, political campaigns, farming collectives, communes

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