Key Issue 6: How successful were Stalin's economic policies in the 1930s?

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 16-12-13 13:11


  • Gosplan  - state planning agency
  • USSR - backwards and reliant on peasants
  • Needed money (sell grain to other countires) to raise money for industry
  • Socialism in one counrty - accept no loans or help
  • Collectivisation - replacing individual peasant owned farms with big state owned ones
  • More efficient - use mechenary, need less peopel, easy to gain for guv
  • Introdused in 1929 enforced in 1930
  • Need to modernise agricultur for two reasons
    • Help feed the growing population
    • Have surplus to sell abroard 
  • Produce crops for the towns eg Flax (cotton) peasants couldnt live off of it
  • Did not want to abandon old ways that had been used for centuries
1 of 9

Opposition to Collectivisation

  • Kulaks hated it - they owned there own land and made money from it why would they hand it over to the government and work under them 
  • Point blank refused
  • Burnt their crops and slaughtered there animals instead of giving them to the government
  • Against the socialist policy of collectivisation so were therfore clased as capatilists - had no place in the new state
  • Propaganda used to turn people against the kulaks
  • Stalin declaired war on the kulaks and they were eliminated, many sent to gulags 
  • Due to the butning of their food, production fell
  • Famine (1932-33) between 10 to 5 million people died
  • Yet at this time 'surpls' food was being exported to other countries so it lookd like a self sufficient state and made Stalin look good
  • Stalin never stated there was a famine so not aid was given
  • 1934 - no kulaks left
  • 1941 - almost all land was collectiviesd 
2 of 9

Results of Collectivisation

  • Some 17 million people left the countryside to go and work in the towns
  • Famine killed over 10 million people
  • By 1939 - 90% of land had been collecivised and 90% of peasants lworked and lived on state owned farms 
  • A second serfdom - working on land not there own 
  • Government took 90% of produce 
  • Kulaks totally eliminated as a class
  • Grain production began to slowly recover but did not exceed pre-collectivisation levels until 1935
  • The number of animals never recovered
  • Never justified on economic grounds - never any genuin surplus to sell 
3 of 9


  • Stalin attempted to establish a war economy - a war against class enemies, capatalist enemies abroard and agaisnt the ineffeciency of russias past. War also symbolised the spirit of the civil war and war communism
  • industrial revolution of the west and the USSR industrial revolution would be based upon heavy industy - coal, iron, steel and oil 
  • Aims
    • Provide machinery 
    • Catch up with west
    • Be independent - socialism in one country
    • Strong industrial base
  • Targest set out by Gosplan
4 of 9

Dates of the Five Year Plans

From 1928 - 1955

First 5YP - October 1928 - December 1932

Second 5YP - January 1933 - December 937

Third 5YP - January 1938 - June 1941

Forth 5YP - January 1946 - December 1950

Fith 5YP - January 1951 - December 1955

5 of 9

First 5YP oct 1928 - dec 1932

  • More set targets than a plan
  • Statistics are unreliable as targets were unreachable managers lied about there quotas
  • Figures suggest that between 1928-1932 production of coal, oil, irol ore and pig iron doubled
  • Steel and chemical production less impressive
  • Textiles declined
  • Consumer articles were low priority - all about heavy industry
  • Basic social needs (housing) neglected
  • Called for a wokers' sacrifise to construct a socialist state
6 of 9


  • Branded any opposition to the plan as national sabotage
  • Public trials of industrial 'weckers' to show futitlity of opposing industrialisation
  • 1928 - mining engineers of Shakhty were accused of anti- soviet conspiracy. Had a public trial 
  • Fightened other workers into line and to show that the privileged position of skilled workers was no longer tolerated
  • 1st 5YP emphasised quantity not quality - using untrained peasants who would not suddernly become skilled workers
  • Machinery was ruined through workers' ignornace
  • Propaganda was used for example 1935 - the stakhanoviet movement
  • It was said that in 1935 Stakhanov excavated 102 tons of coal on a 6hr shift (this what 14x normanl amount) he recieved better housing, health care, wadges and free holidays 
  • Was most probably not true however it was used in order to give workers hope and to see 'what can be done under Stalin' 
  • Workers' had long shifts, low pay and wadges were docked for failure to meet targets
  • Labour books recorded jobs and comments by employers
  • Party spied on workers usind the OGPU
  • Sabotage was a term used to denounce anyone not felt to be wholly committed to the new soviet ordre (eg managers not making quotas)  
7 of 9

Life of a Workers

  • Constantly on edge of spies - could not trust people
  • Terror of going agaisnts the soviet and being classed as a sabature 
  • Trade unions were under party control and were wholly subservient to the needs of the state
  • strikes were banned
  • Code of labour discipline was set up demanding max effort and output
  • Fail to conform - lack of wadges or imprisonment in gulags
  • Living standars were lower in 1937 than in 1928
  • During the 5YPs soviet government claimed the nation was under sige and defence was the priority
  • Implying of workers asked for anything they would be betraying the nation
  • Meaning:
    • food was scares and expensve
    • workers lived in overcrowded apartments
    • young families with inlaws
    • 4/5 families sharing 1 kitchen and loo
    • Government money was spent on defence not social conditions
8 of 9

Second 5YP jan 1933 - dec 1937

  • Began during worst period of famine - more realistic
  • Deficiencies in planning and lack of communication
  • Industries struggled against each other to gain supplies 
  • Reluctant to critisies the plan for there own safety - no one was willing to admit faults
  • Political purges was at its height 
  • To be charged with sabotage was proof of guilt - affected productivity
  • Heavy industy did well because the first 5YP was about the creation of the large scale plants (factories) the second was more about the materials
  • Living standards failed to rise - due to famine and the plans neglect of consumer goods
  • The 2nd 5YP was when the Stakhanovite movernment took place
9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Russia - 19th and 20th century resources »