On this day October 1, 1949

Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

毛泽东 Mao Zedong Mao Tse-tung

毛泽东 Mao Zedong Mao Tse-tung

Mao’s first goal was a total overhaul of the land ownership system, and extensive land reforms.

China’s old system of landlord ownership of farmland and tenant peasants was replaced with a distribution system in favor of poor/landless peasants.

Mao laid heavy emphasis on class struggle and theoretical work, and in 1953 began various campaigns to persecute former landlords and merchants, including the execution of more powerful landlords.

Drug trafficking in the country as well as Foreign investment were largely wiped out. Many buildings of historical and cultural significance as well as countless artifacts were destroyed by the Maoist regime, since they were considered reminders of the “feudal” past.

Mao believed that socialism would eventually triumph over all other ideologies, and following the First Five-Year Plan based on a Soviet-style centrally controlled economy, Mao took on the ambitious project of the Great Leap Forward in 1958, beginning an unprecedented process of collectivization in rural areas.

Mao urged the use of communally organized iron smelters to increase steel production, pulling workers off of agricultural labor to the point that large amounts of crops rotted unharvested. Mao decided to continue to advocate these smelters despite a visit to a factory steel mill which proved to him that high quality steel could only be produced in a factory; he thought that ending the program would dampen peasant enthusiasm for his political mobilization, the Great Leap Forward.

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