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One of the most important features of communism is the system of public ownership. To achieve the goal of public ownership, both countries implemented major political changes that involved collectivization and the concentration of industrial production.
Stalin used a planned economy. He created a series of Five Year Plans. In the first Five Year Plan, Stalin wanted convert the Soviet Union from an agrarian culture to an industrial country without being indebted to other foreign countries. . In order to control wealth and maintain high agriculture output for export (to generate income to buy the necessary materials and knowledge), Stalin forced farmers to contribute all their food, farm implements, and animals to the state. The famers were then forced to work collectively. The majority of their harvests were taken by the government. This activity resulted famine, which lead huge number of deaths (estimates from 6 to 10 million). However, all of that death was ignored; the government was only focused on changing the economy. The collectivization of farms helped to establish the industrialization of the Soviet Union (McKinney, pres. 2).
The same style of collectivization and industrialization from 1958-1961 in communist China was called the Great Leap Forward. The goal of Great Leap Forward was same as that of the Five-year Plan of the Soviet Union. However, in China agricultural output was actually dramatically decreased due to the collectivization. As in the Soviet Union, the negative side effects were totally ignored (estimated 18 to 45 million deaths due to famine). The propaganda of the time presented people who were happy to contribute their food, and happy in their collectivization and hard working for industrialization. The propaganda of China is quite similar to the propaganda of the Soviet Union for the similar period .
Although the Great Leap Forward was learned from Soviet, there are major differences between the two countries. In a type of boasting, the Chinese people started to lie about the output. For example, farmers were reporting that each 667 square meters of farm was producing 5,000 to 10,000 kilograms of wheat. These exaggerated claims were referred to as a launch satellite, in deference to the launch Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 by the Soviets in 1957. That is, the Chinese people used the analogy of launching a satellite to represent the great step forward in their agricultural; output. Of course, it was all a lie. The normal output from such a field is – at most — about 250 kilograms (Yang 299).
In the Great Leap Forward, Mao issued the decree that steel output had to exceed that of America and Britain. All people had join in the production of steel. Small “backyard” collectives were forced to smelt iron ore. Unfortunately, the technology was very limited and, most of the output was totally useless. However, this useless output was ignored – it was still included in the official totals of steel production.
Communist China also built many water managements projects (e.g., dams such as the Banquia and Shimantan dams on the Huai River, to control water, irrigation, and provide power) during Great Leap Forward. These were a source of national pride (see Figure 28, but they were often badly designed and built, and as such, have created numerous problems that are often worse than those that they were intended to solve (the failure of the Banqiao dam complex cost 85,000 lives). Most have since failed or been rebuilt (Yang 134).
It is always important and interesting to learn history from a visually perspective. From analysis the propagandas it is very obviously that Soviet was a model of Chinese communist. The visual arts provide more directly details than reading written history. From learn the communist visual arts, one can directly see how much communist China have imitated from Soviet and miserable the consequence the both countries had.
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