By Claudia Sanchez
The Great Leap Forward was a plan to restructure China’s economy, and develop the nation.
One of the very first steps, was called the Four Pests campaign.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. It was a plan to eradicate mosquitos, flies, rats, and sparrows.
The first ones make sense, but why sparrows?
Apparently sparrows ate Â“too much fruit and grain,Â” and therefore needed to be exterminated.
It didnÂ’t make a whole lot of sense, but the campaign went through. The citizens of China were all encouraged to kill as many sparrows as they could.
To do this, they all got drums, pots, pans, or anything else that made a loud noise, and would use them to make a racket where the sparrows lived. Too scared to land, the sparrows would fly around until they dropped out of the sky from exhaustion.
They would also destroy bird nests, smash their eggs, and even just shoot them out of the sky. There would be rewards for whoever could shoot the most sparrows in a day.
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The campaign was enormously successful. They drove the sparrows perilously close to extinction. Now those pesky birds wouldnÂ’t eat the grain or fruit. Success!
Or maybe not.
As the Chinese soon found out, sparrows eat a lot of locusts. They are virtually their only predator. With all the sparrows gone, nothing was keeping the locusts in check. So what happened to the locust population?
It exploded. It got insanely, obscenely, ridiculously massive.
And what do locusts eat?
Grains, fruit, plants, and basically anything remotely edible.
Massive locust swarms moved across China and destroyed any and all food they came upon. There were so many, the swarms would routinely block out the sun. For years, the locusts destroyed huge amounts of food.
This caused the largest famine in human history. Over 30 million people starved to death. It was one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of the 20th century.
And all because the Chinese government decided to kill this guy.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. That, is the costliest mistake in history.