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Stalin and the Five-Year Plans.

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Introduction

History Coursework - Stalin and the Five-Year Plans 1) I think that, "Brought glory to Stalin" was a very important reason, which eventually made Stalin, embark on his industrialisation programme. However, this was not the only reason why, it also brought glory to the country as well. When Stalin and Trotsky were in a power struggle for total control of the USSR, Stalin disagreed with the idea of the making of an industrial economy. However, Stalin eventually changed his mind over the situation. The first event that helped him on the way of that was when there was a 'war scare' in which the government claimed that the USSR was under attack by the Chinese in the East and the British in the West. The second incident concluded Stalin's attitude over the idea because Stalin thought that 'counter-revolutionary capitalists' in the West were paying saboteurs to wreck the USSR's coalmines. He contemplated that they were trying to weaken the Soviet industry so it could not defend itself if it was attacked by another country. Countries like Poland, Finland, Iran and Romania were countries that had governments that hated communism, therefore making the USSR a country that was constantly under threat. Stalin consequently thought that industry was essential in order for the country to defend itself. Stalin believed in 'socialism in one country' for internationalism and wanted to modernise the USSR as soon as possible. Stalin mostly wanted to modernise the USSR by increasing the military strength of the nation, achieving self-sufficiency, increasing grain supplies, moving the country to a socialist society, establishing his credentials and additionally to improve the living standards of the country. However, many countries in the world thought that many parts of the USSR were in the same backward state as they were a century ago. Stalin particularly wanted a country that was industrialised as a country had to have a well-developed industrial base to manufacture the huge quantities of weapons and munitions that would be required, in case of a war. ...read more.

Middle

3) During Stalin's reign and time in power he had produced the Five Year Plans, which improved the industrialisation of the USSR and made it a force in the world to be reckoned with. However, while the country was reaching for the objectives pointed out in the Five Year Plans the country was not only improving but it was also causing misery to many of the Russian people. In 1928 there was famine in the cities in which workers were not receiving enough food. Consequently, Stalin ordered that police squads were to make raids on the farms and made sure that the food in the cities was severely shared. However, over a short period Stalin found out that this measure was not sufficient. In 1929 Stalin declared that there was to be a more fundamental resolution to sort out the dilemma, this was called, collectivisation. Collectivisation meant that the end was near for the minor, conventional farms owned by the peasants. In each area they were to pool their fields, their horses and their tools, and work together on a kolkhoz, where a communal farm was appropriate for everyone to work on. Instead of making profits by selling their grain at market, peasants would sell their grain to the government at a fixed low price and would only receive their wages for the work. Stalin intended all 100 million peasants to join collective farms. However, he realised that many of them would oppose his plans, so he began by dealing with the richest peasants first. These were the kulaks. In 1929 there were about 5 million people in kulak families. The typical kulak family opened two or three horses and several cows, and had a larger than average farm but they also had other peasants that were hired by them to work for them in the harvest season. Stalin thought that the most likely people to oppose the collectivisation scheme was the kulaks because they had very much to lose. ...read more.

Conclusion

Before the Great Depression the USA's industry had been a great deal higher than anybody else's in the world and was nowhere near the same manufacturing output of the USSR. However, even though they were suffering seriously in the Great Depression there manufacturing output was still above that of the USSR's. There was considerable growth in heavy industry during this period, that there were impressive achievements, and that the Soviet Union was transformed on the industrial front. The command economy clearly had major weaknesses like the unlikely targets that were set which led to the use of bribery, corruption and crooked deals to achieve targets. At best, the economy was ill organised and badly coordinated, at worst it was chaotic. There were inequities in the economy, with heavy industry taking priority over chemicals and transport and consumer goods being neglected throughout. The Russian people still spent an mammoth amount of their time queuing and went short of essential commodities. Living conditions remained dreadful. However, this has to be set against the state of Soviet Russia in 1928 and the massive steps forward that industry took in the 1930's. In a sense, the plans were trying to do the impossible in conditions of appalling backwardness. The targets were always unrealisable but they were designed to drive people forward to priority and in a rough and unsophisticated way progress was made. Given the results, we can conclude that the type of command economy that circumstances of the USSR in the 1930's. It got the Soviet industrial juggernaut rolling and that was no mean achievement. In conclusion, I think that the Five Year Plans were actually very good as they made the USSR very dominant. Also, even though Stalin took many million's of lives, the death toll for that period would have been higher if the Five Year Plans were not placed into action. I additionally think that when the USA had overcome the Great Depression its industry and economy would once again grow way beyond that of the USSR. Jitinder Bassi GCSE HISTORY ESSAY QUESTIONS ...read more.

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