The Great Turn

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  • Created on: 13-01-20 11:20

The Great Turn

  • 15th Party Congress, Dec 1927 - 1st 5YP annouced, NEP ended. - Party mems want to develop state by developing large proletarian workforce in an ind. nation. 
  • Great Turn ends the NEP and starts the 5YPs
  • Called the GT as it marks a MAJOR shift - economically, cultrally & politically -in direction of Soviet econ towards central planning , the 'command economy.' Land to be 'socialised' - not owned by individual peasants, would be collectivised. Ind > growth of proletariat, cities & wealth - building a self-sufficent state. Supposed to be a BIG STEP towards socialist society. 

Why does Stalin make the the GT: Fear of invasion - helps to encourage the party to support more rapid ind hence why NEP needs to end - relations with Poland & France deteriorating, Britain had broken diplomatic relations, concerns re Japan, 1928 = war scare. So USSR need a industrial base to build armaments. Also hoped the people would become 'new soviet men and women' sharing the same ideals, inspring a 'cultural shift.' - NEP had been a 'breathing space' for ind & argiculture to recover from war communism BUT it was NOT developing a socialist society - 1920's brought debate about whether to cont/end it. Bols thought it was creating the wrong society - no Comms like the private markets, NEPMEN, peasants aren't good socialists and NEP isn't producing the grain needed. Urban workers want to move forwards, towards socialist society - workers suffering with high unemployment rates, peasants starting to hold back food. 

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The Great Turn cont

  • Party mems itching to move forwards from NEP to creating socialist society, which they believed could only be achieved with a large proletarian force, hence they welcomed Stalin's 'left turn' - supporting the end of the NEP.
  • 5YP = sig.step towards achieving rev goals. 

1st 5YP - demanded rapid ind, set high targets. Called for collectivisation in agriculture, aimed for 15% of peasant households to be collectivised. 

Stalin's policies = not new! Planning by the centre = imp aspect of soviet econ since rev. 1917 - Lenin had assumed direct control of ind. What was NEW was HOW Stalin carried out these policies, unimaginable when Lenin died in 1924. 

GT - wrought change in Comm party, and relationship with the people. Some historians - this is the posint the USSR follows a path leading to tyranny, think USSR would have been better off following the NEP.

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Motives behind Stalin's econ policies:

  • OVERRIDING AIM: ind & modernise USSR ASAP, wants Russia to be the 'Soviet America,' Russians would beat the Americans at their own game. No of pratical & logical reasons: 
  • Inc military strength - a country that isn't ind is weak. To fight a modern war - need base to manafacture huge quantities of weapons and ammunition. Built Russia into a feared strength. War scare in late 1920's, 1930's - Stalin inc convinced USSR will be attacked.
  • To achieve self-sufficiency (AUTARKY) - wants to make USSR less dependant on Western manufactured goods, links to socialism in one country policy. Important for USSR to have a strong industrial base that could produce the goods needed by its people. 
  • To establish his credentials - earn respect, needs to prove to himself & other leading Bols that he is Lenin's TRUE & EQUAL successor. His econ transformation of USSR, leaping towards socialism, would est him as an imp leader.Move towards a socialist society - Marxism - socialism could only be achieved in a highly ind state, where overwhelming pop = workers. 1928 - roughly 20% of pop = workers. - Was this of great imp to Stalin ? (NEP - left turn)
  • To increase grain supplies - wants to end dependence of econ on a backwards agricultural system. Previously, major problems when there was a bad harvest or peasants not producing enough - doesn't want new socialist state @ mercy of the peasants. Improve living standards - Catch up with West, giving his people the standard of living enjoyed by them. Ind > wealth for a society. Comm life should be a good life.
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Policies re Ind and how to achieve it

Majority of party think a new attitude towards peasantry is required - 1926 Party Congress charged the leadership with transforming the country from agrarian to industrial through its own efforts. Pushing ind, but NEP wasn't providing this. 1926 - all factories, machinery & equip that had existed pre 1914 had been put back into use as far as possible. Need an injection of CAPITAL INVESTMENT to move ind process forward. Also econ = serious issues at end of 1920's. 

  • RW: Bukahrin: Accepts ind = main goal, thinks best way to achieve it is by CO-OPERATING with peasants. Believed 1905 rev failed because workers and peasants didn't link up, believed success of 1917 was because of peasant war against landlords AND proletarian rev. He had been impressed by peasant independence during 1920-1921 thought trying to force them to produce more grain may lead to collapse of USSR and end of rev hopes. 
  • RW: Prepared to take more time to achieve desired ends, thought Societ agriculture would beed to be prepared for collectivisation. Not keen on Stalin's idea of seizing grain. 
  • LW: Close to Euegene Preobrazensky's ideas. Stalin supports this - idea in the USSR, peasantry had to be exploited through taxes and prices, so the wealth genearted could be transferred to ind investment. E.g. purchase of cheap grain from peasants, sold for higher prices - surplus could be put towards ind. BUT Preo NEVER promoted violence, confiscation or forced collectivisation on the peasantry. 
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Collective farms 

  • MTS Stations - machine and tractor station, supported collective farms through maintaing and hiring machinery. Peasants typically had to hand over 20% of produce for this service. Also had a political element - manned by gov officials - their job was to root out anti-soviet elements and troublemakers. Also emsured every Kolkhoz handed over the correct quota of grain. 
  • Collective farmers - workers on Kolkhoz recieved no wages. Credited with 'workdays' in exchange for the no days worked. End of year - profits divided according to workdays put in by peasant. Most farms made little profit. Private plots on Kolkhoze = v.imp, could supplement peasant's diet and enable them to sell produce to towns. 
  • Priority of = deliver quotas of grain & other food to state. State paid low prices, sold to towns for slighlty higher. Once state quota met, peasants could sell any surplus at local market - came mainly from private plots - the MAIN source of butter, milk, eggs etc for urban pop. 
  • The State couldn't take the grain from their private plots. 
  • Targets = v.high, didn't consider weather, if you didn't meet the quota they could take your grain as well. 
  • Peasant motivation goes into private plots, not collective plots. 
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The decision to collectivise

  • Before 1927 - collective farms already a feature of Soviet agriculture, but there were few
  • Late 1927 - Dec 1929 - intense debates in the party > decision to accelerate collectivisation and to impose it by force, if necessary. 3 factors driving collectivisation: grain procurement crisis in winter of 1927-28, need to inc food supplies to support ind workforce for 5YP, ideology - collec = socialist, 'richer peasants' were an obstable stopping progress. 
  • Grain PC - Stalin focused on W.Siberia & Urals, where the harvest had been generally good but grain proc was down by 1/3 on the previous year. Officials closed free markets, using Article 107 to stop specualtion (buying and hoarding grain) local official and police pressured to seize grain by force. > Intense opp from peasants > sterner measures from Stalin.
  • Stalin = convinced tough action in 1928 was effective, ready to use "Urals-Siberia Method" as a weapon. Officials unwillingly to enforce this harsh approach were criticised.
  • Summer 1928 - Bukahrin's position is weaking - outvoted a lot in Politburo & CC. October - Bukharinists lose majority in Moscow party, Nov - Stalin makes direct attacks on Buk, charging him with 'Right deviation' 
  • 1928 - drive inc for forced collect, pop with party mems & local officials. Molotov=active in issuing central directives in summer of 1929. CC introduced policy of sending 25,000 ind workers into countryside to accelerate dev of c.farms. Dec 1929 Stalin @ Party Congress announces his readiness to impose forced c & "smash the kulaks as a class."
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Collectivisation - Propaganda

  • Gov promised c.farms would bring modern agricultural machinery to peasants - modernining, more efficient, promise of less manual labour. The ordinary peasant can't afford to buy these machines
  • Outdoor nursery - mothers go to work at the c.farms. No need to worry about children. 
  • Pic of a literary class on a !
  • "Come and join our Kolkhoz comrade!" - community, togetherness, feel guilty if you don't 

Collectivisation - main type of = Kolkhoz - run by a committee, formed by 50-100 households, put together, all tools land & livestock were pooled. Peasants farmed the land as one unit. 

Why collectivise?

  • mid 1929 - less than 5% of peasants on c or state farms. Jan 1930 - Stalin announces around 25% of grain producing areas were to be collectivised by the end of the year. Takes even his officials by suprise! Most party mems had assumed collect would be VOLUNTARY and hadn't anticipated the SPEED at which it would be carried out. Some were HORRIFIED!!
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Introducing collectivisation

  • Stalin forced it through at a VERY RAPID pace - caused CHAOS in agriculture, suffering and misery 
  • End of 1st wave he appeared to relent and called a halt because of the resistance
  • Next year - he restarted the programme with inc vigour, despite being advised not to. Peasant attmepts to resist proved futile
  • By 1932 - collect had led to HUGE drops in agricultural prod (supposed to inc this!!) & created a famine in which millions died. (Partly man made - grain requisitioned and sold abroad so peasants starve.)
  • But Stalin secured surplus food needed to feed ind workers and to pay for ind, to some extent. 
  • ideological & economic comprimises of early 1920's thrown aside to favour a rush to ind & collect
  • 1927 - 1929 - dramatic shift in econ policy, the GT - entailed central planning & a command economy. Implementation of GT accompanied by intense debates about econ within Party leadership. 
  • Dec 1929 - Stalin had achieved polit dominance, could impose a 'rev from above' on the Soviet econ. 
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