Archives for category: The 5 Year Plans

Between 1941 and 1945, the Soviet Union was able to defend itsef against the attack of Germany and defeat invading forces. This proves that my aim of transforming the USSR into a modern industrial society able to withstand attack by foreign capitalist powers. The Soviet Union has made enormous economic rogress, although this progress seemed unbalanced, with decline in certain sectors while some sectors also showed impressive growth. Economic progress was often achieved amid, and in spite of, chaos in planning the application of policy and the enormous human cost. All in all, the Five Year Plans had transformed the economy and society of the Soviet Union, and greatly increased the influenced of the Communist Party and myself, Stalin as the leader of the Soviet Union.

The abandonment of NEP and the initiation of rapid industrialization was made in 1928. Industrialization as directed by Gosplan, the State Planning Authority. The “First Five Year Plan” concentrated on heavy industry, such as coal, steel, iron, and was the consequence for the Soviet Union to live with, for the rest of its history.Consumer industries on the other hand, like textiles to household goods were all neglected. The “Second Plan” between 1933 to 1937 initially targeted for the production of consumer goods, but as the 1930s progressed, the rise of Hitler in Germany changed the focus towards the need for defence and state security, which meant that the focus on heavy industry continued to receive priority. Finally, the “Third Year Plan” in 1938 was geared even more towards arm productions, in order to meet the threat of Germany.

I adopted these policies to strengthen my own personal power as undisputed leader of the Soviet Union! After getting rid of Trotsky and the Left of the party, I had the power to adopt their ideas on industrialization without compromising my own position. After the left had been neutralized, the Right was in stronger position, but could too be sidelined if the NEp was abandoned. The right, which was led by the Politburo members Bukharin, Tomsky, and Rykov, were in favour of keeping the NEP, arguing that the forcing of peasants on collectives would actually lead to a decline in food production instead.

However, I still believed that the NEP should go because, because as a compromise with the peasantry, it was holding back the industrialization of the Soviet Union. The launching of the Five Year Plan saw the effective removal of the leaders of the Right in 1929, as well as the extension of the state through party controlled planning agencies. This was thus useful in increasing my power.

(It is more likely that Stalin was articulating the views of the majority of the party members)

My name is Stalin, and here, I will introduce the “Five-Year Plans”, and the central aim of this communist regime in the Soviet Union was to industrializes the country. The economy has made advances, yes under Lenin’s NEP, but economically, the Soviet Union in my opinion still remained behind the rest of Europe. Thus the Five-Year Plans were designed to break away from the NEP, ofcourse, with its capitalist elements, and bring out industrialization to modernize the economy and bring in socialism. This plan would transform the USSR from a peasant-based country, to a modern, urban, and industrialized society.

Why did I launch the Five Year Plans?

My decision to launch the Five-Year Plan 1928 was based on a combination of economic and political factors linked by the fear of foreign invasion. The Soviet economy was still “backward” despite ‘some’ progress made by the NEP, as I have mentioned earlier. In 1920, the Soviet Union was still producing less coal and steel than France, what a shame. So if Soviet Union were ever to face an attack from the capitalist powers, it would need a much stronger industrial base.

My memories of Britain, France, the US, and Japan during the 1918-21 Civil war, seemed to raise suspicions that the West might invade and destroy communism at some point in future.

Additionally, in 1927, there was a raid by the British gov’t on the Soviet trade mission in London; and in China, communists were attacked by the Kuomintang (KMT) forces of Chiang Kai Shek; and more surprisingly, a Soviet diplomat was assassinated in Poland! These following events are evidence of an anti-Soviet conspiracy.

The chaos caused in Germany by the Wall Street crash in 1929 and the rise of Hitler with his strident about anti-communism, provided further incentive for the completion of the Five-Year Plans.

We are also 50-100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in 10 years. Either we do it or we shall be crushed”. We need to put on a war footing, and industrialization is essential to ensure Soviet victory in an impending war.

Economic Reasons

My fear of invasion added weight to the economic reasons to justify the Five-Year Plans. The NEP industrial production, although improving, remained disappointing to many Communist Party.

1)   By 1926, the pre-war levels of production have been reached in many sectors, but production was nowhere near what it could have been.

2)  The disruption of WWI and civil war damaged Russia’s industrial infrastructure, and other essential services

3)    Soviet production figures were far below modern industrial economics of Western Europe

Therefore the state control under the “Five-Year Plans’ would enable the government to direct the economy, and ensure adequate production of food to support industrial and urban growth. Since trading has been reduced in 1917 with the rest of the world, my country would rely on its own resources. With my government direction and control, resources of the Soviet Union would maximize.

Political Reasons

It was believed that industrialization is the most necessary development in order to ensure the survival of the revolution, and because socialism and the Communist party cannot survive in a non-industrial society, it was essential to undertake a programme of industrial development. Industrialization could create more members of the proletariat, the backbone of revolution.

The Five-Year Plan, with its large-scale nationalization and state control would get rid of the detested NEP men, the private business owners and traders who survived under the NEP.