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My investigation, will attempt to analyze to what degree Stalin's industrialization prepared the Soviet Union for World War II.

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Introduction

A: Plan of the Investigation My investigation, will attempt to analyze to what degree Stalin's industrialization prepared the Soviet Union for World War II. The investigation will briefly look into some of the changes in the Soviet industry during Stalin's first three five-year-plans, and attempt to evaluate their effects on the preparations for World War II. While factual and statistical information is used, their limitations and inaccuracy have been taken into account, therefore putting the stress on historical interpretations. Both primary and secondary sources are used to evaluate both the failures and successes of Stalin's industrial policies. B: Summary of Evidence When Stalin announced the dramatic industrial changes at the 15th Congress in 1928, he declared that Russia was 50 to 100 years behind Western Europe and needed to close the gap or "be crushed". Heavy industry being the main target of Stalin's first two five-year-plans, the growth in out put of raw materials was incredible. Not only did Stalin manage to catch-up and even surpass many of the western countries, but he created a strong economic background to support the military (Lee 42) Molotov later declared that both the first and second five-year-plans laid the foundations for a socialist government. (Ward 50) ...read more.

Middle

Stephen Lee, being a well known European historian, has published numerous works, Stalin and the Soviet Union being one of his later ones. Lee states in his preface, that his book's purpose is to "clearly separate narrative from interpretation" and to "provide a comprehensive range of sources". Lee's book is especially helpful, as it first gives background information, and then clearly analyses it in the form of specific questions, making it valuable for in-depth research. Lee includes both "traditional" and "revised" interpretations in his novel, which gives readers an excellent sense of how historiography changes as more and more about the Stalinist Era is revealed. One limitation of Lee's publication is again the question towards the reliability of statistics and data. While statistics are sometimes referenced, many times they are taken from other authors such as Conquest which tells us little, as we do not know where Conquest got his figures. Lee also tends to pick and analyse many western or anti-communist primary sources, with many of them being written during the cold war. D: Analysis It was Stalin's goal in 1928 to transform the largely undeveloped Russia into an industrial superpower. ...read more.

Conclusion

Industrial progress did successfully prepare the Soviet Union for a war, as the army was highly dependent on the economy. Stalin was able to quickly achieve high industrial output for military equipment due to the concentration put into developing the heavy industry. Nevertheless, there were some failures such as the underdevelopment of the railway system and the placement of factories, which was overlooked by Stalin. If both these issues had been addressed during the mid 30's the German invasion might not have been as devastating. While the state of Stalin's industry by 1941 certainly did affect the Soviet Union's readiness for a war, the intent of some of the successful preparations due to industrialization can be questioned. F: List of Sources Gill, Graeme. 1994. 20th Centuary Russia. Australia. Thomas Nelson. Grant, Jim.1998. Stalin and the Soviet Union. London. Addison Wesley. Laver, John. 1991. Russia 1914-1941. London. Hodder & Stoughton. Lynch, Michael. 1990. Stalin and Khrushchev: The USSR 1924-1964. London. Hodder & Stoughton Lee, Stephen J. 1999. Stalin and the Soviet Union. London. Routledge. "Ordzhonikidze defends factory workers" from: Khlevniuk, Oleg. 1995. In Stalin's Shadow: The Career of 'Sergo' Ordzhonikidze. p.130. found in: Boobyer, Philip. 2000. The Stalin Era. London. Routledge. p. 61 Ward, Chris. 1999. "Stalin's Russia" (Second edition). London. Arnold. 1 ...read more.

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