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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 21, 1958

ADDRESS BY MAO ZEDONG TO THE ENLARGED MEETING OF THE CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION (EXCERPT)

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation, Carnegie Corporation

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    Mao addresses the Central Military Commission to report on China's steel production, which he believes will surpass the Soviet Union's capability in seven years and the United States' in ten. He also makes it known that China will build "atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and inter-continental missiles," and believes this can be done in as few as ten years.
    "Address by Mao Zedong to the Enlarged Meeting of the Central Military Commission (Excerpt)," June 21, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Jilin Provincial Archive, 1/1-14/126, pp. 13-14. Obtained by Shen Zhihua and translated by Neil Silver. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114345
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In five years we can produce sixty million tons of steel [annually], closing in on the Soviet Union and overtaking Britain, Germany, France and Italy, all of them. In closing in on the Soviet Union, we are talking five years. In seven years we can overtake the Soviet Union, but not the United States. In ten years we will certainly overtake the United States. We need to make a navy. Comrade Xiao Jingguang, you want to make a bit of a navy, right? Then this will be possible. I want to make a bit of a navy too, and an air force. Comrade Liu Yalou, air force prospects will be good at that time. And then there is the atom bomb. The atom bomb is not really a big deal. Without it, some people say you count for nothing. Well then, good. We’ll make some. We’ll make some atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and inter-continental missiles. With ten years of effort, this is entirely possible.