Why did famine break out in 1932?

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  • Why did famine break out in 1932?
    • Grain production fell because peasants saw no reason to produce for the state. Kulaks destroyed their grain rather than hand it over.
    • What grain that was produced was collected for the towns and export. In the Ukraine especially - the main grain producing area of the Soviet Union - there was a great famine in 1932 - 34.
    • The famine was officially denied. Western visitors were shown successful Collective Farms full of happy, well-fed villagers.
    • The reality was that somewhere between 3 and 4 million people starved to death, in order to fuel industrialisation.
    • The harvest of 1935 was better. Private plots were allowed, so peasants could keep one cow, some chickens and grow some vegetables.
    • This was an attempt to stop peasants killing off all their livestock rather than hand it over to the collective farm.
    • Yields from collective farms remained low - a problem right through to the demise of the Soviet Union - but Stalin had managed to browbeat the peasants into doing what he wanted.
    • Agriculture had paid for industrialisation, whatever the price.


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