The Soviet Union Essay

3642 words - 15 pages

The Five-Year plansWhen Stalin was given power from the party progress in 1927 it marked an end to the NEP and the beginning of the era of socialist five-year plans.First 5 year plan - Had staggering economic objectives. Total industrial output was to increase by 250%, agricultural production to increase by 150%, and 1/5 of the peasants in the Soviet Union were scheduled to give up their private plots and join socialist collective farms.In 1931 Stalin said "No slowdown in Tempo!" Stalin actually wanted an increase and claimed that it was dictated by the peasants and workers of the U.S.S.R. He said that they were 50 - 100 years behind the advanced countries and must catch up within 10 years. He told the working class that socialism would transform the whole world and free them.The second 5 year plan - The economy seemed to stall in 1927 and 1928. A new socialist offensive seemed necessary if industry and agriculture were to grow rapidly. Stalin's problem was the peasants. For centuries they had wanted to own the land and finally they had it. Stalin decided on a war against the peasantry in order to bring it under control of the state and to make it pay the costs of the new socialist offensive. This war was collectivization.New economic PolicyThe New Economic Policy (NEP) was announced in March 1921 by Lenin to try to rebuild the Soviet Union which was shattered and devastated after the civil war. Lenin and the Bolsheviks had destroyed the economy as well as their foes. Politically it was a necessary but temporary compromise with the overwhelming peasant majority. Lenin made a deal with them because he knew that they could overturn is government and he was not strong enough to take their lands while turning them into state workersEconomically the NEP brought rapid recovery.When Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin, the son of a shoe maker, took over the party. He was a good organizer and practical but a poor speaker and writer. He developed a theory of "socialism in one country" which was more appealing to the majority of communists than his rival. Stalin wanted to break with the NEP and "build socialism" at home. In 1927 Stalin condemned all "deviation from the general party line". The dictator and his followers were then ready to launch the revolution from above - the real revolution for millions of ordinary citizens.CollectivizationThe forcible consolidation of individual peasant farms into large, state-controlled enterprises. 1929 peasants all over the Soviet Union were ordered to give up their land and animals and become members of the collective farms. The Kulaks which were better-off peasants were liquidated of land and animals but not permitted to join the collective farms. Many starved or were deported to forced-labor camps for "re-education." Kulak soon became a word used for those who opposed the new system.Forced collectivization led to economic and human disaster. A large number of peasants rebelled by slaughtered their animals and...

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