Two of the largest famines in the 20th century had political causes.
The great famine that occurred in Ukraine and elsewhere in the Soviet
Union in 1932-34 was not due to crop failure or a shortage of food,
but rather to the Soviet regime's brutal collectivization of the
country's agriculture. When the peasants resisted the forced
collectivization of their land, the government replied by confiscating
their grain supplies for use by urban populations, with a resulting
6,000,000 to 8,000,000 deaths from starvation in the countryside. An
even more serious famine occurred in China in 1958-60, when the
Communist government undertook the campaign known as the Great Leap
Forward. In this campaign, the rural economy was reorganized into
communes, and farming was further disrupted by a massive effort to
raise industrial production throughout the countryside. The consequent
neglect and disorganization of agricultural production, compounded by
bad weather, resulted in the deaths of as many as 20,000,000 people.