a) What were the five year plans?
The five year plans were a set of plans which were drawn up between by the Gosplan who were a state planning agency. They set ambitious targets for production in vital heavy industries (coal, iron, oil, electricity). The plans were very complex but by 1929 everyone knew what they had to achieve. Stalin wanted to use the five year plans to achieve his goal of industrialising Russia and also he wanted to do this quickly. Also Stalin wanted industrialisation to improve Russia’s agriculture. Stalin had wanted to prove the point that Communism did work. He also used the Five Year Plans to gain personal control of Russia’s industry.
b) Explain why Stalin introduced collectivisation?
The idea of collectivization was that small farms would be gathered together to form one large massive one.Stalin introduced collectivisation for many different reasons. One of the main reasons and feed its population. Although the kulaks fairly wealthy many other hard working peasants were not producing enough food to feed the entire population of Russia. Stalin knew that he had to feed his workers to keep them content.
Also, to make sure the people of Russia were content Stalin wanted to get rid of the kulaks and make all the peasants equal and to prove that communism really did work in practice. Collectivization helped him achieve his idea of making sure that the peasants all were equal even though at first many of the peasants resented the idea.
Another reason was because Stalin wanted to raise money for machinery by selling or trading surplus food abroad. By trading Russia’s extra food he would be able to acquire new machinery and technology to help industrialize Russia.
With new machinery and technology Stalin hoped to abolish all the little farms which had been under the NEP (the New Economic Policy) as they were very efficient. Stalin had hated the NEP as it was not working and mainly because it was a capitalist system and Stalin hate capitalism.
Collectivisation was also introduced because Stalin had been using peasants to work in the factories, in the towns, to help Russia catch up with the bid to become an industrialised country. And now that they had gone to work in the towns and cities there were less peasants working in the countryside farms so they needed to become more efficient.
Using collectivisation Stalin was able to collect sufficient funds that he needed to for his Five Year Plans. Overall by introduction collectivisation Stalin gained many advantages although it did cause some problems in the beginning in soon began to work.
c) How far did the Soviet Union benefit from Stalin’s industrial and agricultural policies? Explain your answer.
It is difficult to say exactly how much the Soviet Union benefited overall from Stalin’s industrial and agricultural policies but it had two very different effects. Although there were many success of these policies as Rush benefited greatly financially and industrially but for these policies to be put into place Stalin used to strict measures to enforce them which resulted in the workers having to live tough and very difficult lives.
The main benefit the Soviet Union received from Stalin’s policies was that Russia, who had be a very backward country with regards to industry etc, became industrialised and very modern. And also Stalin managed achieve this very quickly, in a very short space of time. This rapid improvement to Russia as a whole was a much needed one as many people had been starving as Russia was undergoing a great struggle in feeding it over-populated population. Using the policy, Stalin made sure that enough food was created by making sure that the farmers worked hard to produce enough crops to feed the population.
The Soviet Union also benefited from the lack or almost non-existent unemployment. By the late 930s many Soviet workers had improved their conditions by acquiring well-paid skilled jobs and were given extra bonuses if they met their targets. Also as Stalin needed more workers the government, from around 1930, began employing woman as well as men to work in factories. Stalin also created new crï¿½ches and day care centres so that mothers also could go to work. Because of this drastic improvement to Russia the problem of employment was no longer a problem.
However for Stalin to achieve the policies the workers were under immense stress and pressure. Life was very strict under Stalin. In the factories were the workers worked discipline was very strict and punishments were very severe. If the workers were late or absent there punishment would be that they were usually sacked which commonly resulted in them losing the home. The workers were never given the opportunity to celebrate their success they had to labour on to the meet the very challenging and ambitious targets.
To make sure that the targets were met and to make sure that the targets were met, Stalin introduced a fine to any of the workers who did not meet their targets. This made sure that the workers worked extremely hard to attempt to meet the almost impossible targets. As the conditions were so bad some of the workers attempted to move to other jobs but the secret police, NVKD, introduced internal passports which prevented the free movement of workers inside the USSR.
One of the great tragedies that occurred due to Stalin’s strict regime under the policies was from the building of the Belomar Canal where many workers died to the harsh conditions they were forced to work in. But deaths did not occur only here, many died because they simply were unable to cope with the constant working conditions. Also millions were killed during the great famine of 1932 to 1933 where the peasants and kulaks refused to give their land and animals to the government.
Although the Soviet Union benefited greatly economically it suffered the cost of many lives and the happiness of many people. Even though it was a harsh few years the fact remains that by 1937 the USSR was a modern state and it was because of this that it was safe from defeat when Hitler invaded in 1941. So maybe the change was for good and this meant it saved Russia from what could be considered as more serious problems in the future.