Stalin's Five Year Plans

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What were they?

The plans produced by Josef Stalin were known as the Five Year Plans and focused on industrialising the U.S.S.R's economy to prevent a total collapse. It also served the purpose of creating a modernised socialist country whilst also preparing the country for future wars.

The First Five Year Plan: 1928 - 1932

The First Plan focused on the industrailisation of heavy industries. Industries such as coal mines and steelworks were particularly targeted by this plan in order to kickstart the Soviet economy. The plan itself lasted 4 years, rather than the estimated five, which was viewed as a monumental success in the eyes of the Russian people.

Despite this apparent success, the first plan contained targets for industry that were viewed as 'hopelessly unachieveable' by industrial leaders. The Supreme Economic Council (SEC) began a planning fervour ('target mania') amongst themselves (particularly Gosplan and Vesenkha, the State Planning Committee) and continuously incremented the targets of the original plan.

Because of these increments, two revisions of the plan were made in 1929: the basic plan and the optimum plan. The basic contained realistic targets for the Soviet economy whilst the Optimum revision's targets were extreme in proportion. The latter was chosen.

The coal target more than doubled from the original target of 35,000,000 tons to 75,000,000 and iron increased from 6,000,000 to 19,000,000 tons. Many in the industrial world believed these targets were hopelessly unachieveable, and it put a severe strain on the already fragile Soviet economy; sparse materials grew ever more sparse and those with power and industry began to conduct black market deals in order to get the materials needed to complete the targets set by the SEC.

Advantages:
- Laid the foundations for advanced industries to begin production in later years.
- Created the 'steel city' of Magnitogorsk; the largest iron and steelworks in Russia to this day.
- Paved the way for the Second Five Year Plan to revive the Soviet economy and further modernise the Soviet industries.

Disadvantages:
- The severe strain placed on the economy reduced the availability of necessary resources; the cost of the Plan itself and its implementation kickstarted widespread famine that damage the morale of the Soviet population.
- Workers and managers were driven by fear to meet their targets, and thus the black market deals they conducted to meet the targets led to an increase in corruption in Soviet industry.

The Second Five Year Plan: 1933 - 1937

This plan placed greater emphasis on consumer goods and the development of industries in the commercial sector than the First Plan, though the overall priority was still placed on industrialisation of heavy industries. Additionally,

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