Stalin's Five Year Plans: The Second Five Year Plan (January 1933- December 1937)


The Second Five Year Plan

This was a more realistic version of the first five year plan with better production targets that were more realistic and there was a greater attempt to develop a rounded economy.

The second year plan was between January 1933- December 1937

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The Priorities of the Second Five Year Plans

Initally it promised living conditions would improve, yet famine in the countryside meant rations had to continue until 1934

From 1934-36 a larger effort was made, yet this changed due to the re-armament of Germany, military spending repalced any focus on consumer goods

Continued to focus on heavy industries, but also concerned about consolitating the problems from the first year plan

Tried to stimulate growth of new industries, e.g. chemical processing and development of new materials

Improve the Russian transport links

Schemes put in place to increase productivity, with insentives and new codes of practice which set high expectations of labour performance

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Reasons for Changes in Priorities

Senior figures in the soviet governement aware of the failings of the first five year plan

From 1932, a group of party leaders led by Sergei Kirov argued for a better standard of living for industrial workers

The problem with the first year plan was that they were unable to transport the vast amounts of raw materials produced

Improving transport infrastructure became a priority

The moderates also argued that governement need the peasants support, if war was iminent due to Hilter becoming chancellor

Governments should try to win back peasants by reforming collective farms and the Anti-Kulak policy

Following Kirov's murder in 1934, the moderates lost their influence with amny being arrested, executed or staying quiet during the 1936 purges

The final revised second five year plan also responded to the threat of war

Stalin revised the plan so to diverted funds away from consumer goods production to invest in Russia's miltary resources instead

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The Stakhanovite Movement

First Plan revealed weaknesses in Russia's labour force, productivity and discipline in factories was low, holding back economic growth

The solution was to launch a new propaganda campaign appealing to the heroic instincts of the Russia people, offering insentives to those who worked over their quota

The governement created a media legend, Alexi Stakhanov, who according to the media could mine 102 tonnes of coal in 6 hours, 14 times the normal output in August 1935

A month later he excelled his record, mining 227 tonnes in one day, he was rewarded heavily, recieving: A new apartment with a telephone, a months wages, and tickets to the cinema/theatre

The message was simple- Work hard and get rewarded

Compulsory meetings were organised, workers encouraged to be like Stakhanov

Bosses had to keep a record of production totals and re-organise production technique to facilitate growth

What happened was no accident it was all planned in to the second plan, emphaisis on labour productivity

However Stakhanov's legend inspired workers and in doing so increased productivity

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Achievements of the Second Five Year Plan

Targets were more realistic than the first, so its achivements were more modest

Governement claimed the sencond plan had been 'over-fulfilled' by 3%

Production of raw materials continued to expand e.g. output in steel trebled, due to production of new plants

Transport also had some successes, the first lines of the Moscow Metro were opened in 1935

Moscow-Volga Canal was completed between 1932-1937, allowing the transportation of large quantites of material throughout Europe

Living standards had some successes, starting with the end of Bread rationing in 1934, later follwed by the end to other rationing e.g. meat and butter

Wages of industrial workers increased and reforms were made in agriculture

After the Moderates complained about the policy was adopted in 1934, so that peasants were allowed to own small pieces of landto farm privatly

This helped Russia during the famine in the following years as they could recove quicker

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On the Fence

In responce to the fear of imminet war with Germany defence spending rose by 4% in 1933 to 17% in 1937 of all government spending yet it was all at the expence of living standards and consumer goods

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Problems with the Second Five Year Plan

The economy was supposed to be planned yet there was little co-ordination between branches of industry, in order to meet targets, factory managers would hoard items that were in short supply to make them scares

Lack of spare parts was experienced in many industires with many machines left idle and unproductive

Fear of exile or execution meant people didn't want criticise the second plan, report errors or suggest that targets were unreasonable

The practice of lying continued from the first plan into the second

Eventhough standard of living increased between 1934-36 there were shortages of essential items with wise housewifes would buy any consumer good they could get their hands on even if they didn't need it, to use or sell at a later stage

The avaliability of shoes became a big issue, 1931 governemnet outlawed private production of shoes due to leather shortages, state provided shoes were such low quality, didn't last, fell apart same day as purchise

Shortages so bad in 1934, 6,000 people queued outside one shop, thepolice had to be called when the shop opened to avoid a riot

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Problems with the Second Five Year Plan Continued

Housing and facitilities were a problem during the first plan, second plan also failed to improve this

Not a single bathroom for 650,000 people in the Liubertsky district of Moscow, new houses were also built wiht no running water and sewarage

By the mid 1930's social inequalities began to occur, Stalin stated at the beginning, socialism doesn't entitle wage equality, every society must provide insentives for hard work

Members of the communist party also recieved privilages, with 55,000 senior communists entitled to better food, clothes and accomodation

Stalin's elite entitled chauffeur driven cars, privte houses, limousines, seats in cinemas and operas. Also had access to 'secret shops' which contained comsumer goods unavaialble to public

However most party members still worse off than average peson in Britain at the time

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