Great Leap Forward


Mao visits Moscow

November 1957

Mao visits Moscow to see the launch of Sputnik, to which he then said that the "East wind prevails over the West wind". After heating Khrushchev’s announcement saying that the Soviet Union will surpass the United States economy in 15 years, Mao says that China will surpass the economy of Britain also in 15 years.

Opposition within the party silenced

December 1957 - May 1958

Campaign to hear the voices of critisism was introduced, those who apposed Mao were purged and replaced by firm followers of Mao. Then silencing the opposition faced from inside the party

Beginning of the Great Leap Forward

December 1957 - August 1958

Water conservancy campaign was introduced. Where hundreds of millions of people were forced to work in remote areas to work long and hard days, (mostly without enough sustenance and rest

Introduction of communes

June 1958 - August 1958

Due to the number of people involved in the water-conservancy campaign the rural administration of them had to improve. The solution to which was to place about 200 households into a collective farming group (commune). It was also establishing the final form of communism, as in some communes currency was abolish and all property was shared within the communes.

Famine spreads

November 1958 - February 1959

Even though there were large signs of famine, Mao pushed forward and said the mistakes made by the party were only 'one finger out of ten'. Still wanted to meet the standards of the west he pushes for more food to be produced to feed the cities. Resulting in a sharp increase in the amount of food being produced in the communes. Which then further spreads famine through out the countryside.

Shanghai Conference

March 1959

Mao presses for higher agricultural targets by a third even though there was wide spread famine throughout rural China.

Campaign of repression

June 1959 - August 1960

Any person that shared a similar view to Peng Dehuai and his followers were purged. This was aimed at party members but was spread to villagers as well. Tens of millions of villagers were killed either due to torture, starvation or disease.

Lushan Conference

July 1959

A disagreement between Mao and other leaders of the party (including Peng Dehuai) over the success of the Great Leap Forward. Mao denounces them as being 'anti-party clique'.

Removal of Soviet advisers

July 1960

Khrushchev removes Soviet advisers from China, allowing Zhou Enlai and Li Fuchun to take a more western approach on trade structure rather than the Soviet model.

Weakened power of communes

November 1960

Due to the starvation report given to Mao a month earlier, an emergency order was sent out allowing peasants to keep a private plot of land so that they could grow there own food. As well as 8 hours of rest each day and the restoration of local markets and sideline occupations. All of this was done to weaken the power of the communes and lessen the problem of famine among villagers.

Catastrophe report

December 1960 - March 1961

Investigation was sent out to see the results of the Great Leap Forward. Large amounts of food is imported from the west to feed the villagers.

Retreat from the Great Leap Forward

March 1961 - May 1961

After Inspection tours lead by party members were finished a further retreated from the Great Leap Forward. Liu Shaoqi placed the blame for the famine and over failure to the party thus absolving Mao responsibility.

Consequences discussed

June 1961 - August 1961

The consequences of the Great Leap Forward were discussed among party members during a series of meetings

End of the Great Leap Forward

January 1962

Large party gathering in Beijing, where Lui Shaoqi says that the famine was a man-made disaster and that the support for Mao has lessened. At the same time even after the measures to stop the famine were not fully working as many continued to die in the countrysides until the end of 1962.