USSR 1917-1941

Industrialisation - Five Year Plans

  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 04-05-08 13:18

First Five Year Plan 1928-32

Key Features:

> Aimed to create an industrial base for further development

> Aimed to achieve rapid expansion of coal and steel production, electrical power, transport and other capital goods industries

> Called for an annual 20% growth -unrealistic due to unskilled peasants, central planning wasinexperienced,unrealistic

> Standards of living declined but the foundations for a strong industrial base were built

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The First Five Year Plan 1928-32


> Electricity output trebled

> Coal and iron output doubled

> Steel production increased by a third

> Engineering industry developed - increased production of machine tools, turbines etc

> Huge new industrial complexes built or being built

> Huge new tractor works built in Stalingrad, Kharkov and other places to meet the needs of mechanised agriculture

> Workforce were enthusiastic due to high unemployment rates

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First Five Year Plan 1928-32


> Stalin had overreached himself

> Very little growth, decline in consumer industries

> Chemical targets left unfulfilled

> Lack of skilled workers caused problems - constant job changing caused instability

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First Five Year Plan 1928-32


> Targets overly high and ambitious

> Failure to overfulfil goals seen as lack of committment, people accused of being saboteurs

> Target Mania - people got obsessed by setting targets

> Pressure piled on due to expectations of Gosplan

> Characterised by pandemonium and havoc

> Corruption - bribery, favours etc done to assure the security of underperforming workers

> Occasional surplus produce couldn't be properly proportioned, organised banditry

> People lied about volume of produce, some forced to confess and later shot

> Bourgeois experts the first to be blamed yet kept on due to knowledge and experience

> Show trial 1928 - Shakhty - coal mine failed to meet targets, well publicised to intimidate workers into achieving

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First Five Year Plan 1928-32


> Many targets not met

> Great Depression had driven down grain and raw material prices - USSR could gain enough money from exports to substantiate its mechanical needs

> Soviet economy kick started - impressive growth in some sectors

> Heavy investments made in agriculture due to the food collectivisation programme

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The Second Five Year Plan 1933-7

Key Ideas:

> Party leaders willing to accept failures of First Plan

> Made more use of technical expertise

> Plan revised, scaled back, emphasis on consolidation

> Planners and workforce more experienced

> Aims more realistic, 14% increase in produce

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The Second Five Year Plan 1933-7


> People's Commissariats more organised, designed clear, specific targets

> Greater emphasis on communication

> Boost in industrial growth - three good years 1934-6

> New training techniques introduced - encouraged workers to learn skills

> Chemical industries grew, as did footwear production and food processing

> Heavy industry benefitted from plants set up in First Plan

> Shortages/waste etc weren't as bad as the First Plan

> 1937 also impressive - witnessed acheivements and steps towards industrialisation

> Minerals such as copper/zinc mined for the first time

> Encouraged more resources to go into consumer industries

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The Second Five Year Plan 1933-37


> Consumer goods industries still lacking (although showing signs of recovery)

> Oil production didn't make the expected advances

> Economic slowdown after 1937

> Real wages did not increase

> More money directed into armaments during Hitler's rise to power

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Third Five Year Plan

Key Features:

> Cut short due to USSR's involvement in WWII

> Emphasis was again on heavy industry - the need for armaments became increasingly urgent

> General increase in industrial output during the Third Plan, yet some areas e.g. iron+ steel virtually stopped growing

> The move towards war meant there were shortages elsewhere

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Third Five Year Plan 1938-41


> Heavy industry continued to grow (machinery + engineering) but other areas did poorly

> Defence and armaments grew rapidly as resources were directed to them

> New plants were built in the east

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Third Five Year Plan 1938-41


> Oil production failed to meet targets and led to fuel crisis

> Steel output grew insignificantly

> Consumer industries ignored (again)

> Factories ran short of materials

> Stalin's purges led to disorganisation

> Labour shortages

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Summary of the Plans 1928-41


> Coal production increased six fold, steelfour fold

> Progress in production of textiles declined during the First Plan - housing industry ignored

> Shortage of consumer goods were worsened by the fact collectivisation had destroyed a lot of cottage industry

> USSR turned into a solid industrial base over a short period of time

> 1941-5, USSR proved it could defend itself against Nazi attack

> Made economic progress yet unbalanced- marked decline in certain sectors whilst others showed impressive growth

> 5YPs transformed society + economy in USSR, increased power of Stalin + Party

> By 1941, USSR a strong industrial base for a powerful arms industry

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The Five Year Plans

Economic Results:

> Achieved at the expense of the workers' social conditions

> Pressure to meet targets meant that safety was neglected, working conditions deteriorated

> Machinery used without proper training or protection

> Levels of pay were low

> Workers were difficult to keep due to poor conditions

> Migration from rural to urban areas so great an internal passport system had to be established

> Slave labour had to be used to meet needs for workers

> Increased absenteeism led to its establishment as a criminal act

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The Quicksand Society

> First Plan required enormous expansion of the labour force

> Most new workers were peasants forced off the land by collectivisation

> 1930 coal industry - average worker moved three times a year

> New ex peasant workers couldn't adapt to factory work

> Businesses competed for labour by offering additional perks

> 1931, less than 7% of workers were skilled

> Untrained, clumsy workers damaged machinery, produced low quality goods

> Machines weren't properly maintained

> Moshe Lewin likened the rapid joining and leaving of jobs to a 'quicksand society'

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> Breakdown of leadership - inability to discipline workforce

> Led to denial of ration cards and other goods which discouraged workers

> People constantly penalised, fired, recalled and questioned - frequent job changes

> Social, administrative and industrial problems arose

> Dictatorship suffered as a result of rapid industrialisation

> Party responded with shockworkers - showed an example through their determination; weren't wasteful/late/absent etc, honoured with status, better accommodation etc

> Managers allowed to pay bonuses- egalitarian wages abandoned 1931

> Honours awarded to outstanding workers, people paid more than others for staying put and acquiring skills

> Party responded with shock workers who set an example through determination

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Wage Differentials and Incentives

> Managers allowed to pay bonuses

> People paid more than others to reward those who stayed put and acquired skills

> Honours awarded to outstanding workers

> Egalitarian wages abandoned 1931

> Piece work - payment according to volume of work completed

> Training: programmes introduced but lacked money, improved insecond 5YP with fewer but better schemes available

> Tough measures - brought in 1930-33 to deal with absentees, included dismissal, eviction from factory owned home

> Uninterruptive week- to increase productivity, swapped weekends, caused break up of families, unable to participate in religious activity

> Stakhanov an idol for workers, shifted 15x amount of coal, rewards given to 'model workers', slackers publicly ridiculed

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Impact pf Plans on Society

> 38% growth in industrial proletariat (1926-33)

> Economic planning partly social engineering for political reasons

> More urban based society meant position of socialism strengthened

> 5YPs saw rapid expansion of state's power over the economy

> Peoples' Commissariats set up to coordinate branches of industry, Party Officials used at factory level to ensure orders from the centre were carried out

> Pressure to fulfil increasingly unrealistic targets led them to use a range of enterprising methods which included ambushing resource vehicles destined for other factories

> Bribery used by factory managers

> USSR became infamous for its corruption

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Did the Workers Support the Plans?

> Urban working class +young people initially enthusiastic, wanted to move forwards to better society, thousands of youth volunteered to work on distant projects - labouring in primitive conditions

> Prepared to make sacrifices, believed they were better off, shop floor workers in the main supported Party hierarchy, approved of attacks on bourgeois specialists

> Skilled industrial workers quickly advanced to supervisory posts, strides in higher technical education for more intelligent proletariat

> Workers who stayed in their jobs prospered 1930s

> Training courses available to improve qualifications, positions + pay prospects

> Those who exceeded targets rewarded with better pay + accommodation etc

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