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How successful were Stalins Economic Policies?

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Introduction

How successful were Stalin's Economic Policies? Stalin's economic policies can be seen as a significant success, because they achieved their overall goals of modernising and improving Russia as quickly as possible, in order to catch up and compete with the other European powers and America. The first of the Economic policies are the Five Year Plans. Stalin's main ideas were to electrify Russia and increase mining of natural resources and developing steel industry. The tasks were split up into three plans, each lasting five years. The first Five Year Plan centred on laying the foundations in Russia to enable it to cope with the rapid industrialisation - the focus was developing and expanding the heavy industries such as building huge new steel mills and hydroelectric dams to cover new industrial cities' power requirements. The second Five Year Plan saw heavy industry still being a priority, but the focal point shifting to other areas as well, such as mining for coal, lead, tin and zinc. Also, transport and communications were boosted as new railways and canals were built - the most famous example of this being the Moscow Underground, as well as agriculture being made more efficient by a dramatic increase of tractors and farm machinery. ...read more.

Middle

Collectivisation was not so successful in terms of increasing production and boosting Russia's economy, certainly the economic results were not as impressive as those achieved by the Five Year Plans. For instance as a result of collectivisation grain production increased from 36 million tons in 1921 to 95 million tons in 1940, but this was only just over pre-Revolution figures for grain - 86 million tons in 1913, so there wasn't much of an improvement. And though collectivisation was meant to boost food levels in order to combat food shortages, in actual fact it did the opposite, and widespread famines swept the countryside - seven million peasants starved in a famine between 1932 and 1933. As well as this, although the number of pigs increased from 20 million in 1928 to 29 million in 1940, most other animal numbers decreased dramatically. For instance between 1928 and 1934 the cattle population declined from 66.8 million to 35.5 million. The reason the country's economy and people suffered so much was a result of dekulakisation, a main part of collectivisation. Stalin attempted to 'equalise' the peasant population by getting rid of the rich peasants, but what he unwittingly did was clear the countryside of the most efficient and hardworking peasants, leaving the severely depleted numbers of peasants to do the same amount of work as the entire population had done previously. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, peasants were encouraged to denounce others as kulaks, and children were encouraged to inform on anybody, even their own parents. People got used to people killing and dying all around them, and had no trust in their neighbours, which was not what dekulakisation was intended to do. In conclusion, Stalin's economic policies can be seen as significantly successful from his point of view, because he achieved his economic and political goals of industrialising and modernising Russia so it can compete with other industrial powers such as Britain, France and America, and introducing Communist ideas and ways of life in the process. In the long term the Five Year Plans and Collectivisation were substantially successful, because they laid the foundations for a great country, and in the medium term they were considerably successful because they enabled Russia to not be defeated by Germany in World War Two - if they had stretched them out longer than fifteen years, Russia wouldn't have been able to cope with a war and would probably have been defeated. However in the short term Stalin's economic policies were not so successful for the people of Russia, because they inflicted huge misery, loss of life and terrible working and living conditions on them. Collectivisation in particular solved a few problems with efficiency, but eventually the benefits were cancelled out by the huge problems of famine, fear and a general breakdown of society brought about by dekulakisation. ...read more.

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