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THE FIVE YEAR PLANS
Ideological: Socialism is only possible in a highly industrialised county. However, Russia was economically backwards
perhaps a hundred years behind the west. So, Stalin wanted to catch up with the West and industrialise in ten years.
He wanted the working class to prosper, instead of the peasants. He replaced the `bourgeois specialists' who ran the
NEP with `red specialists' who were educated by the communist government.
Political: The belief `crash industrialisation' was possible was because of the `successes' of collectivisation. He
wanted to create a reputation that surpasses Lenin's. He made a speech about Lenin's mistakes and how the NEP was
over and `Stalin's Russia' was beginning. He was also worried that Russia would not be able to defend itself in a time
of war so he wanted to develop the iron, steel oil and coal industries.
Economic: He wanted `the dictatorship of industry' and even NEP supporters believe it could not quickly achieve
industrialisation. Industries like iron and steel under the NEP didn't grow any more than they had under the Tsar. It
was clear the NEP was not producing good results fast enough.
The nature of the plan
Targets were drawn up for workers to meet made by Gosplan. In most cases the people of set these targets only
had a sketchy knowledge of industry had the factory they were dealing with. The plan was redrafted until the already
unrealistic targets were even higher. It has been argued that it wasn't even a `plan', more organised chaos. The
government demanded production of things they had no idea about.
Increasing production: The plan caused Russia's economy to grow by 14% a year. This was a remarkable
achievement, especially due to the depression the West was recovering from. The First 5YP was more successful
then both Tsarism and the NEP in terms of the production.
Social mobility: The urban population trebled as peasants moved to the cites to get new jobs. Existing members of
working class were promoted. Education reformed to fulfil the needs of the plan.
Meeting targets: Targets were highly unrealistic and so were not met and people lied about production. Stalin could
because of this claim the plan was `over-fulfilled'. Quality of materials also decreased to try and meet targets.
Living and working: Decline in living standards, although this was not a target for the plan. Rations started. Consumer
goods disappeared. Seven day working week. Working conditions declined. Labour discipline was harsh. Saboteurs
were sent to forced labour camps.
Free market: Stalin wanted to abolish the free market. It was not able to destroy the free market. In some ways the
nature of the plan encouraged the black market. Couldn't police it effectively. Show trials to show what would
happen if you engaged with the black market.
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THE FIVE YEAR PLANS AIMS
First 5YP Second 5YP Third 5YP
1928-32 1933-38 1938-41
Heavy industry Heavy industry Heavy industry
s Creation of a
Electricity war economy
More realistic targets
Over fulfilled by 3%
Transport improved.…read more