economic recovery after 1945

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  • Industry was essential in order for the economy to recover. This is highlighted in the Fourth Five-year plan. The plan aimed to improve the economy by focusing entirely on quantity and ignoring the quality of the goods created. Consumer demand was ignored and focus was on heavy industry goods such as Coal and Steel.
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Problems with the economy

  • Soviet industry was inefficient and involved intense heavy labour. This reduced productivity and after the losses of workers during the war the productivity decreased even more. The USSR had also lost economic support from USA and Britain. This is why there was even more focus upon quantity.
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  • Agriculture in 1945 was in a poor condition due to focus on heavy industry and scorched earth. In order to improve the economy the state took 60-70% of harvested grain and exported it in order to fund heavy industry.
  • However targets of production within agriculture were rarely met due to loss and workers and land from the war.
  • Collectivisation meant peasants were starving because their grain was being exported. This reduced the production of grain.
  • Agriculture was the weakest part of the soviet economy and would not improve with Stalin’s quick fix approach.

  • Soviet agriculture in Stalin’s final years was characterised by ‘ill- judged interventions of authority, excessive centralisation of decisions, extremely low prices, insufficient investment and a lack of adequate incentives.’ Alex Nove.
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