Submitted By miniraspberry
How far were Mao’s Agricultural Policies the reason to the Great Famine?
There were many factors that led to the contribution of the great famine. Some were blamed upon Mao’s bad decisions others were thought to be out of his reach to control. These policies included collectivisation, which forced the villagers to work as one unit; this bought more than it did well. Lysenkoism a soviet theory was bought in from Russia to help China grow more food but again Mao had not calculated this thoroughly. Sparrowcide contributed to the downfall of the great famine also, the four noes acted more as a barrier for the peasants. Other factors such as bad weather conditions and the conspiracy of silence by the Cadres and the CCP was something that even Mao could not control. Mao’s party was also corrupting, many were starting to resent the way he was doing things and parties were starting to quarrel.
Collectivisation was the first agricultural policy introduced by Mao; this policy was not one of his most popular choices. Collectivisation involved the peasants working as a unit rather than individually, Mao did not like the idea of having levels of higher achy in the unit of peasants as he believed in equality. This came to be an issue amongst the peasants because they were no longer aloud to farm for themselves as the grain they produced went to the state instead. It seemed as though Mao had prioritised the needs of the city to the villagers. The peasants were starting to feel as though in theory Mao’s work was only beneficial to him. They were working long hours of labour with very little to eat in return. This was supposed to increase the amount of grain produced but instead only decreased how much was made. This was due to lack of motivation; the peasant’s did not see why they should work hard when nothing was being returned to them. The living standards of the peasants was gradually decreasing, the conditions were worsening. This was a huge factor that led to the great famine; it increased the amount of peasants who were going through starvation.
Lysenkiosm was another policy introduced by Mao. This policy was more of a tactic it meant that the peasants would have to change the way they were used to farming. This was a radical change for the peasants. The farming method involved the peasants planting the grain closer together and deeper down in the soil. This did not work as well as he had planned, the grain started to die. They lacked the nutrients needed in order to grow, so just died in the soil. This policy was the cause of so many problems concerning hunger. They could not grow as much crops to feed their family or even themselves. Mao was mainly concerned with the lack of food in the city. The peasants where not one of his main concerns, even though, many where dying of male nutrient and lack of food he did not seem to care.
There were also factors that Mao could not control him, the weather was one of them. In 1960 Mao or anyone could not have foreseen the terrible weather conditions that struck china. The yellow river had flooded causing the death of over 2million by either drowning or by starvation. Soon after in 1960 there was a follow up of wide spread droughts and that led to the decrease in crops .The severe weather change was also a factor that led to the change in economy because of how much crop they were loosing. The damage caused from the weather was effecting the villagers food as well as what went to the city. They could not farm as much as Mao wanted them to and this angered him. They felt to meet expectations and this drove the economy down. This was a factor that affected china through money, through food; through the drop in population it was a horrific time for china. This shows that it was not all down to the policies of Mao, he could not have done anything to change the weather conditions; he was not all to blame.
The conspiracy of silence