Modernisation of the USSR: Detailed Revision Notes

AS Edexcel History

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Why did Stalin end the NEP and begin rapid industrialisation in 1928?
1. Economic problems with the NEP
The economy and industry were not growing:
A new way was needed to raise the funds necessary to build new industry quicker
The Scissors Crisis:
The price of manufactured goods were rising quicker than the price of grain so peasants
were returning to subsistence farming instead of selling grain for profit
The grain procurement crisis 1927-1928:
Kulaks began hoarding grain instead of selling it in order to deliberately push up the price of
This made it more expensive for the government to buy grain to export for profit
Stalin was angry that the peasantry could hold the economy to ransom in this way
2. To build a more Communist society:
The NEP was too capitalist because it permitted private trade
Nepmen and peasants became rich selling their goods
Members of the Communist Party disliked this and also the social evils which the NEP caused:
gambling, profiteering and prostitution etc
Rapid industrialisation was seen as a quicker way of creating a more Communist society
3. To defend the USSR
The USSR had no allies in the late 1920s
The Communist Party was frightened of invasion by capitalist countries
Rapid industrialisation would create the factories need to produce weaponry to defend the country
4. To beat Bukharin in the power struggle
By adopting rapid industrialisation, Stalin won the support of many Bolsheviks on the left-wing of
the Party
This enabled him to defeat Bukharin in the power struggle
Why did the change in policy go down well with the Communist Party at the 1928 Congress?
Fear of invasion from the West (1927 War Scare ­ Britain withdraws diplomats from Russia)
Dislike of the un-Communist NEP
The NEP had run into problems
Obedient Stalinist delegates
Aims of rapid industrialisation:
Create a more socialist society
Improve standards of living (Socialism in One Country and gain public support for the government)
Establish Stalin's reputation
Make the USSR self-sufficient
Protect the USSR from invasion
Problems: Peasants ­ disobedient, backward, poor, inefficient and unproductive
How would Stalin achieve rapid industrialisation?
1. Forced modernisation via collectivisation in order to produce more grain out of the peasantry

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With this, extra grain, the Party could provide more food for workers to avoid bread shortages and also
see surplus grain for export
3. With the revenue gained from the exported grain, the party can afford to fund the aspects needed for
the rapid industrialisation (factories, housing, railways and technology)
4.…read more

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Stalin encouraged poorer peasants to denounce the Kulaks by rewarding them: gave them land that had
belonged to the Kulaks
Dekulakisation: ending of capitalism and independent farming in the countryside
Many peasants resisted collectivisation because it would result in a loss of independence and financial
loss for them
The Twenty-five thousanders were volunteers who were supposed to offer technical help to peasants,
however in reality, they were used to enforce dekulakisation (Investigate peasants and discipline those
keeping stores)
Collectivisation disrupted the agricultural economy because it…read more

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The Five Year Plans:
The FYPs was a planned economy:
GOSPLAN ­ The state planning committee: responsible for economic planning and co-ordinating
industry (planned ahead for growth)
State controls all industry ­ decide what to produce, how to produce it, how much to produce,
when and where to produce it
Sets targets (quotas) for each industry ­ these are legally enforceable and factory managers
became personally responsible for meeting these targets
First Five Year Plan Second Five Year Plan Third Five Year Plan
(October 1928-Decemebr…read more

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Focussed on quantity, not Unrealistic targets, still corruption:
quality ­ wastage lying of figures (more realistic than
Lacked detail 1st FYP however)
Lack of co-ordination, but better that
1st FYP
Did Stalin change Soviet families during the 1930s?
Society was deeply conservative
In the 1920s, the Bolsheviks attempted to sweep away `bourgeois' values
Attack on marriage
Increased availability of divorce
Communal living experiments and `free love'
Liberalisation of sexual attitudes
Focussing on education on `socially useful work' instead of core curriculum and discipline
This…read more

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Absent husbands were tracked down by the Party, humiliated in
the press and made to pay for their children
In the 1920s, sexual freedom was promoted. This contributed to family breakdowns.
Stalin reversed this during the Great Retreat. The government promoted sexual
abstinence and women who looked `immoral' were prosecuted. Virginity checks were
carried out on young women.…read more


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