• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Collectivisation was a political success but an economic failure and a human disaster'

Extracts from this document...


'Collectivisation was a political success but an economic failure and a human disaster' Stalin wanted to drastically improve the Soviet Union's industry, his country was decades behind industrially in comparison to other countries, and the NEP was not working, in order for Russia to be self sufficient a change was needed. In a country as vast as the USSR, and with a large peasant population it was decided that the farms and country side needed to be transformed, in order to create a chain reaction that would result in more food and workers for the cities, better international trade and thus more machinery. The solution, according to the government, was Collectivisation. Collectivisation succeeded in spreading the communist message out of the cities and into rural villages, however, in terms of human cost, it was a catastrophe, for those in the country at least. Robert Conquest deemed it 'a man made famine', millions lost their lives and the surplus food the government hoped to uncover just did not exist. Economically the grain yields and number of animals never reached pre revolution levels and millions starved. Externally and at a shallow level Collectivisation seemed like a good idea for a communist society; it abolished the class system and the capitalist nature of farming, in theory everybody would be equal and the communist government would create an egalitarian countryside working towards the good of the whole country; however in practice it was very different. ...read more.


In the Ukraine alone, historians such as Werth and Conquest have estimated the death toll at around 6 million, a huge cost in human life. In keeping with Stalinist values, the peasants were not seen as important, they were inferior to the workers and so there welfare was not considered top priority during the implementation of collectivisation. As a result of this Peasants experienced extreme hardships, poverty and death as a result. Those who were relocated to collective farms had to survive transport and the imposition of completely new ways of living and farming. Those who were no longer needed went to the cities were they experienced extreme dislocation, this then in turn affected industrilisation as poorly trained peasants with little disciplined were put into factories. In terms of the economic achievements of collectivisation it seems unjust to call it a failure, Stalin succeeded in modernising many aspects of rural farming in 10 years, a task which had taken many western countries generations. Tractors could be used on bigger stretches of land to sow seeds and help make farming more efficient. Collectivisation also freed 17 million workers to go towards the city and help contribute towards industrialization and the five year plans. Although figures must be dealt with carefully as they are not always accurate, by the end of 1931 the state collected 22.8 million tones of grain, which ...read more.


Many historians have blamed the social failure of collectivization on the speed it was put into effect; in theory it seemed a good idea in keeping with communist values, however the speed at which Stalin tried to enforce and change the system came at a huge cost to human life. Soviet Russia had succeeded in modernising ancient farming methods and were able to trade with foreign countries for equipment; it allowed the cities 17 million more workers and helped towards industrialization, demonstrating that it was not all together an economic failure, yet this caused a massive disruption in the country as millions of people were relocated, the existence of internal passports at this time shows how much movement was happening. Politically they succeeded in driving the communist message into the countries, as well as having party members in every village, spreading the communist beliefs and informing on opposition, as well as gaining international recognition for the rapid improvements in industry. However in terms of humanity, collectivisation caused millions to die unnecessarily; it took years for grain crops to reach pre-collectivisation levels, and even when they did they now had to feed millions of workers, be used for export and trade, and feed the peasants themselves, resulting in famines and deaths of millions. Collectivisation seemed to show no mercy towards peasants, their families or their property, and the means to do not justify the ends when we look at the sheer human cost. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. What was the impact of the Norman Conquest

    who contributed hugely to the English Church. He also instated Thomas as Archbishop of York, but this subsequently led to quarrels over Thomas's independent power, which made William determined to dispose of separatism entirely. Rules and guidelines surrounding priests' became stricter and they were encouraged with better clerical morals.

  2. Archaeology: Methods of Preservation (Tutankhamen & Iceman)

    also helped to identify him as a Pharaoh as they were crossed over his chest, in a regal position. After wrapping the body had a mask placed over it, and was then placed into the burial coffin. The dry conditions of the Egyptian desert also helped to provide an environment for preservation.

  1. Assess Louis achievements in foreign policy by 1684. Account for his success in this ...

    For example, he gave Charles II of England subsidies which ensured that England remained neutral at the beginning of the Dutch War. The increasing Bourbon supremacy over the Hapsburgs also demonstrates Louis' enhanced gloire. With his gains in Franche-Comt� and Spanish Netherlands, Louis was demolishing the Circle of Burgundy.

  2. Examine the impact of the Great Famine on Irelands society, economy and politics

    They also left a long line of descendants which is now called the Irish diaspora which, according to Wikipedia, "contains over 80 million people, which is over thirteen times the population of the island of Ireland itself (6.11 million in 2007)"

  1. The cult of Stalin and the purges of the 1930(TM)s were two aspects of ...

    of the NKVD (secret police), tried and executed.[3][4] As a result of Kirov's death and the betrayal Stalin had encountered during the period surrounding the assassination, Stalin began enforcing the 'great purges'. The first phase began in 1935 and was devised to rid the Party of any political opponents or threats.

  2. The outbreak of the 1905 revolution was due to the grievances of the peasants ...

    and revolutionaries within these opposition there sub-division. The liberal had been the major opposition group up till and after the 1905 revolution and was made up of the Kadets, octobrists and progressive bloc. They had been active in the zemstva and were mainly made up of the middle class.

  1. To what extent could the Crusades be described as failure within the years 1095-1195?

    Lack of food and water compounded the hardships of the campaign. The Muslims often poisoned wells, encountered along the way. Those who have survived these were rewarded with their first victory when, in June 1098 Antioch was besieged and taken.

  2. Despite frequent changes in policy, Russian and Soviet governments were spectacularly unsuccessful in securing ...

    plants, mines and power stations were commissioned, three times as many as the first Five-Year period?[25]. On the other hand, industrialisation was harsh and lateness for work often led to employees getting the sack. Many prisoners also paid the price by working on the grand engineering projects and working in appalling and dangerous conditions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work