Stalins Five Year Plans were a great success 1928-1941. Do you agree? Explain you answer.

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Shafaq Yaqoob

“Stalin’s Five Year Plans were a great success 1928-1941.” Do you agree? Explain you answer.                    

As a result of industrialisation being introduced, Russia’s industry was successfully modernised which allowed the industrial production to impressively increase and in some cases the targets set by the state were surpassed. However the production figures calculated by the state were not always accurate and were exaggerated as the state wanted to project an image of the success of industrialisation. Furthermore, looking at the different projects completed under industrialisation such as Magnitogorsk were genuinely impressive, on the other hand, the human cost and punishments that the workers had to face were terrible.

Compared to other great powers such as the USA, Germany and Britain the USSR was still a backward nation and desperately required modernisation which would the USSR to become a self-sufficient nation and less reliant on foreign capitalist powers; in order to achieve, Stalin introduced the Five Year Plans. The First Five Year Plan (1928- 1932) mainly focused on heavy industry such as coal, oil iron steel and electricity which laid the foundations for the future growth. The Dnieper Dam and Magnitogorsk are one of the remarkable achievements of the First Five Year Plan. The Second Five Year Plan (1933-1937) still prioritised heavy industry but it also concentrated on building communications especially railways, which became important to link cities and industrial centres. A major achievement was the Moscow Underground. The Second Plan also focused on chemicals, and lead, tin and zinc. The Third Five Year Plan (1938-1941) was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, and was mainly focused around rearmament and weapon production to help with the war against Germany. The plans were carried out by the GOSPLAN (state planning agency). They set production targets for each industry, manager and worker in each factory that had to be reached. This target setting was fundamental for long term success which the Five Year Plans were working towards. The targets helped the workers to stay aware of what is expected from them.  In order to achieve the targets, the workers were offered incentives which inspired them to work harder. Workers who exceeded their targets were entitled to better housing, free holidays and cash prizes. The speed at which the industries were modernised was remarkable. It can be said that there were significant achievements made under the Five Year Plans.

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Under the Five Year Plans, many remarkable achievements were accomplished in the USSR. The production of coal and iron was doubled and the electricity production trebled. In addition to these increases in outputs of different industries, 1000 new industrial plants were built and 100 new towns were built, some from scratch; a great example of this is Magnitogorsk. Furthermore, hydroelectric schemes were introduced and one showpiece in the hydroelectric industry was the Dnieper Dam. Along with industrial achievements, communication links were established under the Five Year Plan. Railway links between cities and industrial centres was established and the Moscow Underground ...

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