China between the fall of the KMT and Mao Tse-Tung's death
The time from 1949-1976 was a time of transition for China. Many social and
economic changes occurred through this period. When the Kuomintang government
collapsed and Mao Tse-Tung assumed control, this marked the beginning of massive
reformation for what would become the People's Republic.
With Mao Tse-Tung's rule came governmental reform which led to social
betterment. His first years of rule included careful development and reorganization
backed by Soviet support. The landlord class was wiped out with the nationwide land
reform and the land was divided among the peasantry. Equality prevailed for women and
attacks where made on official corruption. Efforts were made to improve sanitation and
literacy among the people. These changes generated patriotism during China's
involvement in the Korean War.
While social reforms proved to be beneficial to China, attempts for industrial and
agricultural growth were not as successful. From 1953-57 industrial production was
expanded and agriculture was collectivized. But disappointing agricultural production
led to the frenzied Great Leap Forward of 1958-60. This program, initiated by Mao, was
designed to step up industrial production to a level with Britain and create a truly
communal society without Russia's aid; all in the course of 15 years. The project was a
failure and Liu Shao-Ch'i temporarily took over Mao's position as head of state.
When differences between party leaders arose, and Mao Tse-Tung began feeling
that the revolution was exhausted, he launched the Cultural Revolution of 1966-69. This
was intended to stir up the conservative government/military and add more revolutionary
elements, ridding the nation of the 'four olds': old ideas, old culture, old customs, and
old habits. These revolutions often turned into violent acts. When stability was restored,
foreign relations was vastly improved. The People's Republic of China was admitted into
the United Nations in 1971.
The time period between the fall of the KMT and Mao Tse-Tung's death was an
era of revolutionary transition into a nation for the people. At one point nearly leading
into a civil war. The key developments that occurred during this span were greatly
significant in shaping China into what it is today.