Velyana Borisova

Paper 1: The USSR under Stalin, 1924 to 1941

  1. a) What do the statistics in Source E on the consumption of foodstuffs and the numbers of livestock, suggest about the lives of peasants between 1928 and 1932?

From the statistics in source E it can be seen that the consumption of all main foodstuff as bread, potatoes, meat and butter decreases significantly between 1928 and 1932. The fall in the consumption of all food goods foreshadows that the life of the peasants worsen, they have less for eating which lowers their standards of living. They are required to work intensively for the collectivisation plan but at the same time are consuming less food which suggest bad conditions of living as famine and often death cases due to hunger. The most serious decrease is in the consumption of meat and lard which in 1932 is less than half of the amount in 1928. This fall can be explained by the decrease in the numbers of livestock from 1928 till 1932. When there is less livestock this means that the peasants will consume less meat because there will be less animals to slaughter. Also because they are owned by the state the peasants will not be allowed to kill them for meat so freely. The decrease in livestock suggests decrease in milk, cheese and butter which are essential products and their lack causes bad quality of life for the peasants.

b) What do the percentages of peasant holdings collectivised in the USSR between 1930 and 1941, in Source E, suggest about the timing and the scale of collectivisation under Stalin?

The statistics in Source E are very impressive as the percentage of collectivised farms escalates rapidly with each year. Between 1930 and 1931 the percentage of the collectivised farms almost doubles which suggests about the massive scale of collectivization and the enormous number of workers it requires reaching these results in less than a year. The scale of the collectivization and moreover its timing must be huge and very intensive as for around eleven years almost 100 percent of the USSR is collectivised.  

  1. Compare and Contrast the views on collectivisation expressed in Sources B and C  

Both Source B and C are very similar and have close views on collectivisation as being brutal, violent, it involved a lot of terror and was forcefully imposed over the peasants. Source C is like supplementary to Source B and goes more into details about collectivisation as it explains who is called a kulak and for what reasons are they chased whether Source B only mentions that the kulaks were divided into three categories and deported or killed according to the category they fall into. Both sources claim that collectivisation was a new concept for the Soviet society and began a new era for the country as ‘’collectivisation also destroyed agriculture-for ever- rural Russia’s continuity with the past’’ (Source C) and ‘’fanatical ideology destroyed the lives of millions’’ (Source B). The main contrast between the two sources is that source B concentrates on the effect of collectivisation over the kulaks while source concentrates on the impact of collectivisation over the peasantry as a whole still including the kulaks. Source B emphasizes more that the main enemies of collectivization were the kulaks whether Source C claims that everyone who imposed to give its land was considered for an enemy of the state and called a kulak. The contrast is that Source B and Source C give different explanation for kulak. Source B says they are the wealthiest peasants whether in Source C kulak is anyone who resists. Source C also mentions the man made famine caused by the collectivisation and the destruction of the kulaks who were the most successful agriculture producers in the USSR which is not mentioned in Source B. Also Source B says that Molotov was responsible for the destruction of the kulaks while Source C it does not. The difference between Source B and C is that in Source B the views on collectivisation are expressed in terms of the destruction of the kulaks and in Source C collectivisation has a wider scope and does not concentrate over the kulaks only.      

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  1. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and the limitations of Source A and Source D for historians studying collectivisation under Stalin.

Source A is a speech by Stalin to peasant party activists, in Siberia, January 1928. His speech is concerning the kulaks as he explains how they have tonnes of surplus food that should be taken away from them. Its aim is to force the peasant party activists against the kulaks who are slowing down the collectivisation process. The importance of the source is that it comes directly from Stalin so the ...

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