The Domestic Policies of Stalin

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Domestic Policies Stalin

The ruthless despots of the 20th Century were generally not only brutal but also set a totalitarian system. It is disputable whether the USSR under Joseph Stalin was also totalitarian. Joseph Stalin who succeeded Vladimir Lenin as the single-party leader of the USSR introduced a great deal of domestic policies. It is  debatable to which extent these policies shifted the USSR into a totalitarian state.

Stalin's economic reforms began with the “Great Turn” which marks the change from the “New economic Policy “NEP” to the five year plans. Stalin took this step and launched the “First Five Year Plan” in order to industrialise quicker and move away from the capitalist ideas of the NEP. The “First Five Year Plan” was officially taken into action in 1929 although inofficially it began in 1928. During the first five year plan Stalin ended the NEP and introduced collectivisation, by September 1928 the USSR was under total collectivisation with about 25 milliion peasents in 200,000 kolkhozi and hundred of thousands in paid sovkhozi. By doing this he planned to broaden the communist party`s influence, finance industrialisation, organise farms and bring the main industry in the USSR under state control. Through collectivisation Stalin's control over his people increased as he now had nearly complete control over the peasants who made up 80% of the population. This brings Stalin closer to being a totalitarian leader as he had entire control over the majority of the population. Stalin did not only coerce the peasants to work hard during the first five year plan he also forced the factory workers in the city to increase their production. In the factories, display boards were set up which showed the output of the workers and increased the pressure upon them and so increased Stalin's control over them. This method was extremely effective and the workers  nearly doubled their output during the “first five year plan”. In 1928, 3.3 million tons of pig-iron were produced and in 1932, 6.2 million tons were manufactured, it was not only metalls but also resources such as coal which went from 35.5mt to 64.4mt. The greatest increase was in methods of transportation, lorries saw an increase of over 3000% from 700 to 23700. This increase underlines Stalin's ambitions to industrialise as fast as possible so he can catch up with the west. The prime aim of the “First Five Year Plan” though was to make as many iron and steel manufacturing plants, infrastructure and railways as possible. In other words he wanted to “plant the seeds” for industrialisation. Stalin's aims which included to increase grain supplies, move towards a socialist society and increase military strength were fulfilled as during the “first five year plan” the country quickly industrialized.

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The “Second Five Year Plan” (1932-37) and the “Third Five Year Plan” (1937-42) focused on heavy heavy industry goods. The industrial plants which had been set up during the “First Five Year Plan” produced rapidly and by 1940 produced 48.3 bllion kWh. In 1941 just before the end of the “Third Five Year Plan” Hitler invaded the USSR and interrupted the industrial output. During the years 1934-36 Stalin relinquished his grip upon the poppulation of the USSR slightly, he ended food rationing and the pressure on the peasants and workers was lowered. These years came to be known as ...

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