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Explain How Russia And The Soviet Union Modernized From 1917 To 1945

1080 words - 4 pages

Despite the soviets unions initial desires to pursue a global revolution policy soon changed in light of reality and a shift in doctrine modernization in one country and with an unprecedented speed was pursued. The initial policy of War Communism proved hopeless in regards to modernization, the NEP proved more successful however, it too became incapable of achieving the rapid modernization. Stalin's policy launched with the "great turn" back to socialism of collectivization and the five-year plans proved economically miraculous but socially disastrous. By 1945, the USSR was modern.The initial decrees of the Bolsheviks had little to do with industrialization or the economy and production potential. The decrees of land and peace actually proved economically disastrous, with the treaty of Brest Litovsk, a cessation of huge quantities of resources and land, throwing Russia into a political and economic turmoil, and a situation that would prove to be very difficult to alleviate. With the impending civil war, even Lenin admitted, "there was no coherent economic policy." The policy of war Communism and grain requisitioning was not born of a need to industrialise but to supply the proletariat and defeat the White forces. War communism was "equality brought about by utter economic chaos" (Ulam). Production levels were cut in half and living standards fell across the board. War Communism in fact hindered modernization.The New Economic Policy marked a return to the old Menshevik ideology of a slower and gentler move to communism but was not fueled by the Menshevik motive of global revolution. It aimed to recreate the schmyka and involved a mixed market economy with the Bolsheviks controlling the commanding heights. Lenin called the NEP a "tactical retreat," he saw it as a legitimate tool for the development of socialism in one country. Grain procurement quotas were lowered and production immediately rose to above 100% of 1913 levels. The wounds caused by War Communism were slowly healing and heavy industrialization and modernization began to occur in Russia, the period 1917 to 1927 characterized by widespread electrification, industrialization and raising living standards.Eugene Preobrazhensky warned that the success felt during the NEP was merely "A post war growth bubble, soon to burst." His prediction came true in 1928 when the scissors crisis highlighted the fundamental ideological and economic problems with the NEP; it handed power to peasants, and according to Abrahams "enriched all but the proletariat." The massive injections of capital required to continue modernization were not available under Bukharin's model of rural-urban trade. Because of the NEP's fundamental failure and the Bolshevik party's inability to inject capital, it had to be abandoned if modernization were to be achieved.The debate on modernization was split between a continuation of the NEP co-existence with capitalism under socialism in one country or a rapid increase in the fiscal...

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