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How successful were Stalin's economic policies in the 1920s and 30s?

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Introduction

School: Shrewsbury School Name: Edwin Bennett History set: 5HA1 Title of Coursework: How successful were Stalin's economic policies in the 1920s and 30s? Question 1: What changes did Stalin introduce to agriculture and industry? (5) Industry The main changes that Stalin made to industry during his reign were to disestablish Lenin's N.E.P. (new economic policy), introduce his five-year plans (this affected agriculture as well as industry), and to take the economy under state control: this is called nationalization. With a policy of nationalization, Stalin had replaced the prospect of privatization, a key part of Lenin's N.E.P., with his five-year plans. These five-year plans set ambitious targets in the production all of the mainstream resources: Coal, iron, oil and electricity. He also set about creating new cities in Siberia and the Urals etc. to harness the wealth of resources available there; some examples of these cities are Magnitogorsk, Sverdlovsk and Komsomolsk. As well as all these other projects Stalin sent engineering, agricultural and industrial experts into areas of central Asia to increase efficiency and so production. Stalin's first five-year plan had a simple system of planning, which started at Gosplan, the State Planning Commission (equivalent of the Home Office in Britain). Gosplan would set overall targets nationwide for a particular industry. Each region would then be told its targets, that region would then tell each of its mines, factories etc. its goals. The manager of each mine, factory etc. will then set targets for each foreman in his factory, mine etc. The foreman can then either set targets for a shift or even for particular worker. In this way in one simple but effective process targets were set for industry right at the top but at the same time people at the bottom of the pile knew what was expected of them. Another large change to Russia's industry was the production of electricity simply because before then not much had been produced as Russia was effectively in medieval times. ...read more.

Middle

time, stemming from the hatred that the western countries harbored for the threat of communism which in turn reflected on Stalin causing him to fear that the western countries may decide that communism was to big a problem to leave to its own devices. All of this contributed to the need for the modernisation of Russia, at least in Stalin's eyes. Secondly there was prestige at stake. Stalin wanted to show the world that communism worked, especially at a time when there were a lot of international problems stemming from the Wall Street Crash and many people were unhappy about the condition of their countries economy etc. Stalin wanted to show the world that Russia was not only a threat in terms of being a communist state but that she could be on a level footing economically with the rest of the world. Despite the amazing progress, which Russia had made in her industry, she was still lacking in well-trained engineers and machine parts in comparison to the rest of the world. So it was important for a lot of food (grain) to be produced so that they could traded for engineering materials etc. Although I doubt that Stalin intended to do so in a hurry, the main idea of modernising, for the rest of the communists anyway, was to achieve a state of autarky (self-sufficiency) which meant that Russia would be capable of surviving on its own (without imports from other non-communist countries) in order to create a power base from where Russia would start spreading communism farther afield creating more communist states and so eventually Karl Marx's vision will complete with a whole communist world. Questions 3:What were the consequences of these changes; and how successful were these changes in achieving Stalin's objectives? (14) What were the consequences of these changes? There were a lot of different types of consequences of the changes that were made. ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of this is in the central Asian republics the influence of Islam was thought to hold back industrialisation, so between '28 and '32 it was repressed. Many Muslim leaders were imprisoned or deported, mosques were closed and pilgrimages to Mecca were forbidden. Consequences upon communism As a consequence of the modernisation of the USSR Stalin had proved to the world that Communism was a system that worked. That, as soon as Communism had taken over Russia, and found her feet, her agricultural and industrial achievements leaped forwards hundreds of years until they were at a similar level to the modern "super states" in the west. Stalin had proved that the USSR could not only provoke a revolution in other major countries, but that Russia was in a position where she could be a serious military threat. Had her economy been concentrated on munitions, and this was proved when Russia successfully beat Germany back when she invaded and then proceeded to drive Germany's forces right back to Berlin, liberating countries along the way. How successful was Stalin in achieving his goals? Stalin's long term goals were to modernize Russia, and achieve autarky. In the short term he needed to make enough food to feed all his new workers and leading up to the war he wanted to be capable of resisting Germany and possibly make a few attacks of her own. Had the Second World War not happened Stalin would have completed his process of modenisation and probably have achieved autarky. By 1937, 97.4 tons of grain was being produced per annum and this was a lot better than before collectivisation and although Russia had problems when the Germans invaded she finally got her act together and drove Germany all the way back to Berlin. If you look at what Stalin achieved after his shake up of Russia's economy he had indeed succeeded in his goals to a very commendable extent but you have to ask yourself, was it worth it? Did the cost of these operations outweigh the successes? ...read more.

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