Stalin's Five-Year Plans

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As Stalin took power in 1927 after the party congress, he immediately took action to fortify and improve the country. Following the conclusion of the First World War, the economy of Russia was in shambles. The government desperately needed to industrialize and raise capital wealth promptly. To do so, Stalin turned to "Planning," which brought about the First and Second Five-Year Plan.

The First Five-Year Plan, launched in 1928, focused on rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture. Stalin's objective was to industrialize without the aid of foreign loans. This first plan listed goals that were administered by a department called the Gosplan. The Gosplan was given the power to determine wages, price goods, how much of an item to produce, how much of the national effort should go into producing these items for daily consumption, and how much to focus on the formation of capital. The plan also called for the collectivization of the greater part of the peasantry.

Collective farms were set up which averaged a few thousand acres each and were considered the property of the collective peasants who lived on them. These peasants would pool together their livestock and land and divide the work and compensation evenly.

The collectivization of agriculture, which was integrated into the First Five-Year Plan, caused numerous unforeseen calamities. The prosperous peasants who privately owned considerable amounts of fields and livestock, called kulaks, tried to resist the collectivization. This social class was consequently eradicated. Hundreds of thousands of kulaks were sent to labor camps in remote locations or were killed by Communists from the cities and the poor peasants. There was also a horrendous famine in southeast Russia and the Ukraine in 1932 due to farmers slaughtering their cattle, horses, poultry, and pigs, not caring about the animals they no longer...