Stalin and the economy-5 Year Plans

Stalin and the economy
Industrialisation and the 5 Year Plans
1928 - 1942
Industrialisation ~ the theory of
central planning
• Once the NEP had been reversed all industry
was owned and run by the State.
• Stalin was committed to the idea that detailed
planning and rigorous enforcement of
production targets could move the USSR
forward massively in 10 years.
• Gosplan (the State Planning Committee) was
set up to over-see the Central Plan
Central Planning ~ how it worked
• The 0.5 million planners in Gosplan worked out a
very high 5-year production target for each factory or
industrial unit in the USSR.
• They then back-tracked from this final target to
produce annual targets which increased year on year
to reach the final target. These targets ~’quotas’~
were the minimum standard to be reached.
• Each worker in the factory or industrial unit was give
a weekly ‘norm’ ~ the amount of production they
were expected to produce.
Rewards and punishments
• Workers who exceeded their norms received extra
pay, food, and better housing for them and their
• Workers who failed to reach their norms lost money
and food, and could lose their housing.
• Workers who failed regularly or who complained
were dealt with by OGPU.
• Generally there was initial enthusiasm for the 5 Year
Plan ~ the language used was of patriotic ‘war’
against poverty and backwardness
The First 5 Year Plan 1928 -33
Focused on heavy industry ~ steel works, iron works, coal production, hydroelectric power, chemicals, motor-vehicles, synthetic rubber, man-made fibres, and
electrical goods ~ the target was 300% increase in all these industries.
In addition the necessary infra-structure needed to be set up – roads, railways and
Stalin was convinced that the military threat would come from the West and
therefore these new industrial complexes were located deep inside Russia to the
East of the Ural Mountains.
The workers often faced terrible conditions. Many were peasants who had been
displaced by collectivisation. Piece-work rates were introduced and a 7 days week.
Despite poor planning and great loss of life the First 5 Year Plan achieved great
progress. Industrial cities, such as Magnitogorsk were built. The Moscow
underground was started
Although many factory managers lied about their targets great strides in
production had been made. In 1932 Stalin announced that the first 5 Year Plan had
been completed in 4 years.
The Second 5 Year Plan 1933 1938
• More realistic targets were set although they were
still highly demanding.
• Fearing the growing threat of the Nazi Party in
Germany the focus of the Plan became increasingly
• Working and living conditions remained poor but
there was some small improvement overall.
• This Plan also saw the appearance of Stakhanovism
Aleksei Stakhanov
• A coalminer in the Donbass region.
• 30 – 31st August 1935 extracted 102 tonnes of coal in
a 6-hour shift exceeding his norm by 14 times.
• Hailed as a hero of the revolution, he and other
extremely hard-working workers were grouped
together as the Stakhanovites and used to do
propaganda tours of the USSR.
• Used to inspire workers they also caused discontent.
It has been suggested that he had done this.
The 3rd Five Year Plan 1938 - 1941
• Originally this Plan was to be focused on
consumer goods however the growing threat
of war with Germany changed the emphasis
to armaments.
• In June 1941 Germany invaded the USSR and
this ended this Plan.
The 5 Years Plans ~ an evaluation
• Despite the difficulty of trusting the figures produced
by Gosplan it is clear that the USSR’s industrial
production increased massively.
• The USSR had achieved this industrial growth
without foreign investment and thus was not hit hard
by the World Recession.
• There had not been an equivalent increase in the
living standards of the Russian people.
• The human cost had massive