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To what extent had the policy of collectivisation achieved its aims by 1941?

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Introduction

To what extent had the policy of collectivisation achieved its aims by 1941? In January 1930, it was announced by Stalin that 25% of grain producing areas were to be collectivised by the end of the year. This was due to a variety of factors. In 1928, Lenin's NEP was abandoned by Stalin who saw it to be an encouragement of private enterprise. In a speech in 1928 Stalin said that agriculture was developing very slowly and told the USSR that the 25 million individually owned farms were the 'most primitive and undeveloped form of economy.' Stalin said he wanted the USSR to be a 'country organised on a modem scientific basis.' In some ways Stalin was correct. The USSR was extremely backward with practically no modern technology or agricultural tools of any kind. Industry was almost non-existent and Stalin needed a more powerful industrial force in order to transform the USSR and ensure its self-dependency. Collectivisation was by no mean voluntary, as many party officials had thought when Stalin initially announced it. Force, terror and propaganda were the tools used by Stalin to ensure the peasants would not be able to stop the procurement of grain. ...read more.

Middle

Under the direction of a committee, the peasants would farm the land as one unit but be allowed to keep their own private plots for growing vegetables or keeping animals. It was hoped this was that grain production would rise and the peasants would also be kept suitably satisfied. This would encourage them to cooperate with the government and in turn help industry to grow. By February 1930, party members claimed that a half of all peasant households had been collectivised. In reality this was at the very least a terrible exaggeration. The agricultural 'achievements' of collectivisation were nothing short of disastrous. Peasants resisted ferociously. One riot lasted almost a week and armoured cars had to be brought in order to control the peasants. The peasants slaughtered their animals and ate them and burnt tools, crops and houses rather than give them over to the kolkhoz. The number of cattle in particular was cut in half from 1928-1933. This in turn led to a mass shortage of meat and milk in many areas of the USSR. In order to calm the situation down, Stalin blamed his officials in an article in Pravada calling them 'dizzy with success'. He then halted collectivisation much to the shock of many peasants as well as party officials. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that the government could now extend its reach wherever required. Secret police were rife and reported any areas of concern. The peasants who had just began to strengthen their positions, were ultimately crushed socially and emotionally. Village commune was banned and the influence of traditional social roles removed. This included priests, teachers and anyone else who may have caused trouble for Stalin and the communist government. As well as strengthening his position within his own party, Stalin had shown his willingness to sacrifice lives in order to achieve his goals and this was not something the peasants would ever forget. Under no circumstances had collectivisation met even nearly all the aims it had set out to do. For the peasants it was a social and agricultural disaster, which involved mass suffering and death. But the Communist government chose to brush aside the clearly disastrous effects of collectivisation. Instead they continued to export grain in huge amounts regardless of the condition of the USSR's own people. The government very selectively focused on the political and industrial successes brought about by collectivisation whilst choosing not to acknowledge mistakes and an obvious lack of planning and organisation with the campaign. In conclusion, it can certainly be argued that despite all the failures particularly economically, collectivisation succeeded in it's main purpose which was to provide the necessary resources for industrialisation no matter what the cost. ...read more.

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