To what extent could the five year plans be called a success?

Essay by becky2502High School, 12th gradeA-, April 2008

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The Five Year Plans were a set of plans, which were set out over five years in order to industrialise Russia, to get it ready incase it had to go to war. Stalin was convinced that Russia would at some point be attacked and so had to get the country ready for it. Each of the plans dealt with all areas of development: capital goods, consumer goods, agriculture, transportation communications, health, education and welfare. The emphasis varied from plan to plan, however all the plans had a general theme on power, capital goods and agriculture.

Industrialising Russia was the first of Stalin’s economic policy aims. Stalin had made this clear, when in a speech to factory managers in February 1931; he said that Russia was “fifty to one hundred years behind”. This meant that Russia had to industrialise the amount a normal capitalist country would in a hundred years in ten years.

Collectivisation was introduced by communists in 1930, who though that larger areas of land could be farmed more efficiently. It increased grain production and the export targets never failed to be met. However, Stalin continued to export grain in order to industrialise despite millions of his own people dying of starvation. He took everything the peasants had, which backfired on him by causing a decrease in production because of the amount of peasants that died as of a huge famine. During collectivisation, peasant’s private plots became their purpose, which probably had a knock-on effect on grain production. This is because their efforts would be going into their private plots, not the collective farms, and some peasants secretly sold their grain to the cities.

The amount of grain produced during collectivisation never succeeded that of pre-collectivisation levels, and once more, the price of grain was driven down by the...