Prescribed Subject 2: the Emergence and Development of the People’s Republic of China (Prc), 1946 to 1964

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Prescribed Subject 2: The emergence and development of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), 1946 to 1964

1. (a) According to Source A, Mao wanted to start a technological revolution in China for several reasons. Firstly, he believed that after the anti-feudal land reform, agricultural co-operativization, and the socialist reconstruction of private industries, commerce, and handicrafts, a technological revolution would be the logical next step. Confirming this state of mind is Mao’s quote about continuous revolutions, “Our revolutions come one after another.” Mao also believed, like Stalin before him, that it was imperative that China catch up technologically in the world as they were behind the world leaders in innovation. Using the United Kingdom as a measuring stick, he states, “Now we must start a technological revolution so that we may overtake Britain in fifteen years.” Furthermore, Mao believed that only once agricultural and industrial productions were increased they would be able to play a greater role in foreign affairs, supplementing China’s role as a world power. Finally, Mao did not wish for the party members and the masses to lose their revolutionary fervour and become self-satisfied – Mao wanted a state of perpetual revolution to keep his subjects under a constantly occupied revolutionary state.

(b) Although nothing is explicitly stated through this photograph, the rather unusual combination of an agricultural and militaristic livelihood insinuates several points. A point that is implied has to do with the people in this photo, or in this case, the women. By showing women playing a prominent role in the contemporary China, it could imply that they were essential for work in the commune. Another interesting observation that could be made is the presence of guns in the possession of these women. Perhaps, it could be also stated that their role was being altered to include them in even military activities – a far cry from the ‘traditional’ child-bearing woman. Finally, it could be stated that since the women are using traditional farming equipment, like hoes, China could have been still deficient in the technology sector. This photo, therefore, may demonstrate the urgent need of technology in China.

2. The hope expressed by Mao in Source A was that the revolutionary sentiments continue to make themselves felt throughout China, with a new technological revolution promptly taking place in the country. Source B supports the idea of the technological revolution by portraying various people, like workers, peasants, businessmen, students, and soldiers coming together into a large commune, “which is to form [China’s] basic social unit.” Obviously, as this coming together is a part of the Communist agenda, it not only helps spread the ideal throughout China but also shows that the people were ready for a technological revolution. By preserving this course of action, it is stated that, “industry, agriculture, and exchange are the people’s basic working life,” helping ward off the conceit that Mao wishes to avoid. The consolidation and directing of the masses would protect this ambitious and continuously outreaching way of life for the Chinese people.

Source C, unlike Source B’s rather optimistic and ambiguous account by Chen Boda, is a more simplistic observation of the process of steel-making, an essential step forward on the journey to the technological revolution which Mao so desired. The fact that 90 million Chinese, a figure given to the readers on the heading, were involved in the ‘back yard steel furnaces operation’ shows that there were widespread roots for a technological revolution taking place in China. Very importantly, it is definitely notable that the account portrays the people working on the steel furnaces as being very efficient, enthusiastic, and energetic. Excerpts like, “with scores of people bustling in and out of the rows of furnaces,” “…various groups of steel workers who are...
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