How did the experience with collectivization compare and contrast in the PRC and the USSR?

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Collectivization in both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China was largely an attempt to increase agricultural output through a reorganization of the population. In both instances, the move was done under part of a larger reorganization. It was part of the USSR's first Five-Year Plan and part of China's Great Leap Forward. Both were attempts to empower the peasantry by removing them from the feudal-like system that had held sway previous to the communist revolutions. Both collectivization attempts resulted in mass starvation. Despite attempts to increase grain output, the sudden and massive reorganization (plus unfortunate natural events) led to years of bad harvests. It is estimated that 30 million Chinese and 11 million Soviets died of hunger largely as a result of bad agricultural policies.

These two movements differed in several notable ways. The USSR was less about a restructuring of the peasantry. However, Stalin did order that family farms be replaced by collective farms. Most of the people sent to collectivist Soviet farms came from the farming class already. It was a gradual and mostly voluntary process. After four years of the program, only about half of Soviet farms had been collectivized.

The PRC experienced a much more rapid attempt at collectivization. In China, millions of non-farmers were sent to collectivist farms right away. Traditional family structures were ignored in favor of communal living. Within just one year of collectivism, nearly all Chinese households were involved.

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