USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

Stalin’s First Five-Year Plan

With the system of brutality in place, Stalin sent out to industrialize. In the 1930s, when the rest of the world (apart from Japan and Nazi Germany) was mired in horrible economic depression, Stalin’s Russia surged forward, at least in its industrial capacity. The Soviet Union’s capacity for building heavy machinery, trucks, tractors, and so on, shot up to second in the world after the United States. It swiftly created an electricity grid and redoubled efforts in resource extraction: coal, iron. Areas in the Ural Mountains that had been population and economic deserts forever were suddenly booming into industrial cities with hundreds of thousands of employees working in massive state-owned industries. Agriculture, too, recovered and began to thrive, seeming to prove to the world that there was, after all, an alternative to the Western capitalistic system—and that this new system, communism, had both history and morality on its side. The great destruction that accompanied this industrial push, called the First Five Year Plan (with its collectivization of agriculture) were of course concealed or downplayed to the best of the regime’s ability, so much so that even famous philosophers and intellectuals in the West could feel secure in their misguided faith in Stalin.

This page has paths:

This page references: