The essay analyzes from a comparative perspective some of the twentieth century’s largest political famines, which deeply influenced the history of the two most important communist states, and their posture and behavior in the international arena. The time frame is defined by Stalin’s Great Turning Point (GTP) and Mao’s Great Leap Forward (GLF) and by the crises which they caused: that is to say, 1928-1934 in the Soviet Union and 1958-1962 in China. I have also extended the chronological horizon forward so as to include at least some of the long-term consequences of these man-made tragedies, analyzing their impact upon subsequent Soviet and Chinese history. Similarities and differences are considered in two different sections on the basis of which of the two aspects prevails. Cross references are introduced only when indispensable. Comparing these famines opens new and at times unexpected vistas, which afford a better grasp of each event in its own specificity and shed new light on questions such as the communist leaderships’ evolving ideas and attitudes, the cadres’ reactions, the peasantry’s behaviors, and the dynamics of the two countries’ histories. I am convinced that this comparison also has a great deal to tell about two of the most important interpretative frameworks that have been applied to the analysis of Soviet and Chinese history: the totalitarian and, lately, the genocidal ones. I will formally raise the question in the conclusions, but readers are invited to read what follows with this perspective in mind.

Political Famines in the USSR and China: A Comparative Analysis

GRAZIOSI, ANDREA
2017

Abstract

The essay analyzes from a comparative perspective some of the twentieth century’s largest political famines, which deeply influenced the history of the two most important communist states, and their posture and behavior in the international arena. The time frame is defined by Stalin’s Great Turning Point (GTP) and Mao’s Great Leap Forward (GLF) and by the crises which they caused: that is to say, 1928-1934 in the Soviet Union and 1958-1962 in China. I have also extended the chronological horizon forward so as to include at least some of the long-term consequences of these man-made tragedies, analyzing their impact upon subsequent Soviet and Chinese history. Similarities and differences are considered in two different sections on the basis of which of the two aspects prevails. Cross references are introduced only when indispensable. Comparing these famines opens new and at times unexpected vistas, which afford a better grasp of each event in its own specificity and shed new light on questions such as the communist leaderships’ evolving ideas and attitudes, the cadres’ reactions, the peasantry’s behaviors, and the dynamics of the two countries’ histories. I am convinced that this comparison also has a great deal to tell about two of the most important interpretative frameworks that have been applied to the analysis of Soviet and Chinese history: the totalitarian and, lately, the genocidal ones. I will formally raise the question in the conclusions, but readers are invited to read what follows with this perspective in mind.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/683768
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 4
social impact