Poster 311-15-15

Poster 311-15-15.

The Spring Tide Surges (with walking tractors)

Personal Comments

It is a simple but classical Cultural Revolution poster. In this poster some peasants helped ship workers to transport some tractors in a river or in the sea with huge tides. Although it was looked like very dangerous for this transport, they were all happy and exciting in this poster.

This poster try to show a wonderful image: Workers and peasants of China worked hard together to overcome the serious crisis in first years of 1960s. In these posters of that time, agricultural machines were always good things, for example tractors or combines, to show the close collaboration between agriculture and industry, because agricultural machines were made by industry factory to be used by peasants in agriculture.

In end of 1950’s and begin of 1960’s, China fall down into serious crisis both in industry and in agriculture area. About the reason of this falling down, the government document said in following: Soviet Union broken down the support promise and it make Chinese industry meet very big difficulty. At the same time, climate disaster especially drought in all over China caused serious famine. But Chinese workers and peasants work hard together and won this crisis.

But the view of people is different. After Stalin died in 1953, CCP disagree the treatment and comment for him made by Soviet Union. For this issue, CCP and Soviet Union had many quarrels in public. Soviet Union thought China was dangerous for his leadership in soviet countries, so Soviet Union decided to stop the support for China in many areas. In China, many project designed by Soviet expert were stopped and Soviet engineer came back to their country, and this made Chinese leader including Chairman Mao very angry. They thought Soviet Union broken their promise for China so it was not worth to be believed, and they promise they could complete these projects themselves without Soviet’s helps. At the same time, Chairman Mao decided to pay back all loans from Soviet although Soviet didn’t demand China to do so, and this could show the determination to cut down the cooperation with Soviet.

To develop industry need many steels, but China hadn’t capability to product so many steels. Chairman Mao called out that all Chinese people to product steels to support industry developing. At that time the goal of steel production of China was to exceed Britain and USA. Most peasants put down their field to product steel, but they are not steel expert and they hadn’t iron mine as well as smelt experience, therefore they had to use traditional method to smelt their iron tools and cooking utensils, for example pot and pan, into low quality steel ingot. Until now, abandoned and small steel furnaces are often seen in filed of country side, as well as some iron blocks whose quality is lower than poor iron mines.

But there was a more serious effect when peasants were busying to product steel, the agricultural production was block down because they pay most time to steel production. My dad recalled that: the first year (1958), my home town met a wonderful harvest of sweet potato, but no people had time to gather them until the end of year, they thought they could have time to do it after finish the steel production task. But just in the fall of this year, there were some big rains to make sweet potato corrupt. When the people started to store them into warehouse, most of them were decayed. It was unlucky that my hometown met a serious drought in the next year (1959), so a very large scale famine happened in north China. Millions of people were killed of hunger including my father’s little brother and little sister.

Now most people believe this crisis was made mainly by wrong policy of CCP of that time, not the climate disaster, and current CCP has accepted this view.

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