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How successful was Stalin's Industrial Economic Programme during the 1930's?

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Introduction

How successful was Stalin's Industrial Economic Programme during the 1930's? In the first five year plan the importance was on heavy industries which included coal, oil, iron and steel, electricity, cement, metals, and timber. This accounted for 80% of total investment and 1500 enterprises were opened. I believe that the first five year plan was a failure although there were sectors that were successful. Targets were not reached this was especially apparent for chemical targets. Another problem was the lack of skilled workers which created major problems. In addition to this workers frequently changed their jobs so there was no organisation and this caused instability. Small workshops were squeezed out; this was due to the shortages of materials and fuel and also the drive against the Nepmen. Another big problem with this five year plan was that productivity was very low. There was very little growth and consumer industries faced a decline which included house building, fertilisers, food processing and woollen textiles. But although it was deemed to be a complete failure the first five year plan did bring some success. ...read more.

Middle

As with the first five year plan heavy industries still featured strongly. But other industries were opened up and greater emphasis was placed upon communications, especially railways to link cities and industrial centres. Four and a half thousand enterprises also opened. The plan benefited from some big projects, such as the Dnieprostroi Dam, coming into use. There were fewer weaknesses than the first five year plan but this plan still featured some. Consumer good industries were still lagging, although they were showing signs of recovery. There was a growth in footwear and food processing - modern bakeries, ice-cream production and meat packing plants - but not enough. Oil production also did not make the expected advances. The second year plan did also feature successful sectors. Heavy industries benefited from plants which had been set up during the first plan and came on stream. Electricity production expanded rapidly. Chemical industries, such as fertiliser production were growing and transport and communications grew rapidly. By 1937, the USSR was virtually self-sufficient in machine-making and metal-working. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heavy industry continued to grow. An example of this was machinery and engineering, but the picture was uneven and some areas did poorly. Defence and armaments grew rapidly as resources were diverted to them. The third plan ran into difficulties as the beginning of 1938 due to an n exceptionally hard winter and the diversion of materials to the military. Gosplan was thrown into chaos when the purges created shortages of qualified personnel, such as important managers, engineers and officials, who linked industries and government. Overall there was successful growth in heavy industry during this period and they were impressive achievements. The command economy had major weaknesses - unrealistic targets; the use of bribery, corruption and crooked deals to achieve targets; major shortages; and products of poor quality. At best the economy was ill-organised and badly co-ordinated, at worst it was chaotic. There were imbalances in the economy, with heavy industry taking priority over chemicals and transport and consumer goods being neglected throughout. The Russian people still spent an enormous amount of their time queuing and went short of essential commodities. Living conditions remained abysmal. So I believe the economic plan to be quite disastrous but it was a massive step forward in industry. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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