These debates convinced Mao that the alleged rightists wanted to overturn his government and replace him in the power. Mao had to react very fast and he crushed these opponents very fast. It was then that he announced the Great Leap Forward late in 1959. However, the Leap collapsed on its own. The records of the killings could not be established until the numbers were determined through demographic data changes in the country. Most historians agree that the number of people who died from the massacre was more than 20 million but the higher estimates stand at 65 million.
In the Great Leap Forward, China’s peasants had full incorporation in the operation. The whole of the farm system was actually functioning. China thus launched the massive steel production campaign in the villages and a collective farming throughout China. This meant to bring China into the industrial world within a handful of years. The great leap forward led to massive loss of lives of the people of China. The farmers and the industrialists were the main victims.
Mao had designed political purges and campaigns that virtually reflected a wide range of targets. These targets were required to eliminate oppositions that were against his leadership. The Cultural Revolution during the Great Forward Leap was more than a purge although it laid a fundamental political conflict with the Chinese communist party. The catastrophe generated a considerable opposition to Mao’s radical policies from both the peasants and the moderate leaders in the party. The intention of Mao to launch the Great Forward Leap was for it to act as an alternative to the model of economic growth that focused on heavy industry advocated by others in the industry. The small agricultural collections had the basis in this economic program where they were to merge into large communes. The farmers were encouraged to work in large construction production that realized massive products.
The unique feature of Mao was that he was uneducated and knew nothing about technology. Having this in mind, Mao advocated for the implementation of unproven and other unscientific agricultural techniques. Mao’s aim was, however, to win the superior countries. The net result was a compounded drought in some of the areas and floods were prevalent in other areas. These two pandemics left the rural peasants with very little food if any to eat. Therefore, millions of persons starved to death in that famine. It caused deaths of about thirty million Chinese peasants and the same number of unborn and aged. Many children became emaciated and malnourished if they survived the death. Mao, however, disputed his knowledge about the incidence. He said that he was not aware of the situation that amounted to millions of deaths.