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'The Soviet Sate was established at the expense of the Soviet people' Examine the nature of the policies adopted towards agriculture and heavy industry between 1928 and 1939 in light of this statement.

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Introduction

'The Soviet Sate was established at the expense of the Soviet people' Examine the nature of the policies adopted towards agriculture and heavy industry between 1928 and 1939 in light of this statement. When Stalin came to power, the Soviet Union's economy could not compete with those of the great western powers such as Britain, Germany and the United Sates. Stalin feared that communism would not survive unless the Soviet Union could compete with other nations. "We are 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us!" Josef Stalin, speech to the Fourth Plenum of Industrial Managers, Feb. 4, 1931. He began a policy of industrial development designed to transom the Soviet Union from an agricultural country into a major industrial power in just a few years. Stalin used the State Planning Commission (Gosplan), set up by Lenin in 1921, to run the economic development of the Soviet Union. In 1928 Gosplan came up with its first Five Year Plan. It set targets for production across a wide range of industry, power supply and transport. The targets set were often unrealistic, but workers across the Soviet Union were encouraged by the use of propaganda and rewards to meet their individual targets. Those who failed were likely to face punishments such as fine, or even losing their jobs. To encourage workers to produce more than government had to change working practices. Many of the factory workers in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s had previously been peasants, used to working at their own speed. Such a system was not likely to bring about increased production. So the government laid down strict rules and regulations for workers. Absenteeism was not permitted and workers who took time off were likely to lose their jobs and be evicted from their homes. They also lost their ration cards which made it very difficult for them to buy food. ...read more.

Middle

He introduced rationing in the cities. Even so, his measure did not solve the problem. Then, in 1929, Stalin announced that Soviet farming was to be collectivized. Peasants were to pool their fields and equipment to set up collective farms (Kolkhozs), which would be big enough to afford mechanized equipment and would be much more efficient than the tiny farms. Mother Tractor Stations would be set up to supply the collective farms with tractors. As compensation, peasants could keep small plots of land around their cottages. Peasants would be a paid a wage for working and their produce would be paid a wage for working and their produce would be sold to the government at a low price. The practice of selling crops on the open market for a profit would cease. Stalin was aware that collectivization would be extremely unpopular with the Kulaks. He decided that if they would not volunteer to join collective farms, he would wipe them out as a class. In effect, this is what he did. Officials were sent into the countryside to persuade the peasant farmers to accept collectivization. Not surprisingly many of them refused to give up their land and livestock to the collective farms. The government had to use force. The Red Army and the state police arrested and deported millions of peasants. Most of the estimated 5,000,000 Kulaks were exiled to remote parts of the country or sent to labour camps, where many of them died. But the peasants did not give up without a fight. Many of them slaughtered their animals and destroyed their crops rather than hand them over to the collectives. The result was that agricultural production declined dramatically and in 1932-3 the Soviet Union suffered a terrible famine. There was widespread starvation. Food shortages were so bad that cannibalism was reported. It is hard to quantify the number of peasants who died; some historians have put the figure as high as 10,000,000. ...read more.

Conclusion

the brutal slaughter of millions, even hand-signing some of the execution warrants. Low estimates set the death toll during this time at over 22 million. The Russian military had never been as slaughtered in war as it had been in peace. The purges were more non-sensual to Stalin's people than Hitler's genocide was. Seemingly random, ranging from the highest government officials to the lowliest factory worker, the purges struck terror into the nation. However, because of the turn around of the economy and the great amount of propaganda pouring into the population by the day, most remained disillusioned, and completely adored Stalin. Not only was he a fanatical nationalist himself, but he also instilled this into the general population through his impassioned speeches on the greatness of Russia and what she could become. All events must be viewed in the context of the history of Eastern Europe, which has always been violent and bloody due to the many cultures that are found there. One only has to look at the news to see conflicts such as these arise constantly. Modern day examples are Bosnia and Kosovo (though these show something that Stalin did not do - ethnic cleansing. Stalin's killings were much more directed at a particular ideology, making them harder to predict). While Stalin was a tyrant, and a butcher of his own people, he did so for "good intentions" (they pave the way to...). It was his nationalism, his complete and total belief that his country, under his rule, could surpass any dreams and expectations it had for itself. Not many countries has never seen a ruler that could compare to his passion, nor to his extremism. Stalin took the completely desiccated government of the Soviet Union and turned it into a power which long outlived him. While he slaughtered millions, he paved the way for millions more to lead better lives, which is the dream of all parents in all nations. Maisa Ahmad 10G G.C.S.E History- Stalin: An Assessment 03/05/2004 ...read more.

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