The ‘Great Leap Forward’
After WWII, many countries experienced an economic boom and Mao sought to boost China’s economic growth by changing the country from an agrarian economy into an industrial might. However, despite boasting to Soviet leaders in 1957 that his policies would see China catch up with and ultimately overtake Great Britain in just 15 years, the truth turned out to be far more devastating.
Taking farmers from the fields to the factories or making them join unproductive land communes would cause food production in the country to sharply decrease resulting in a great famine that ended the lives of some 30 million Chinese citizens. However, the official party explanation for such widespread death and destruction wasn’t blamed on the ‘Great Leap Forward’ but on natural disasters.