theme 2: industrial and agricultural change 1917-85 Flashcards Preview

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The Land Decree

October 1917
abolished private ownership of land, in the hands of 'the people'
pleased the peasants


The Decree on Workers' Control

November 1917
Placed control of the factories into the hands of the industrial workers


all private banks nationalised

December 1917
all private banks merge the People's Bank of the Russian Republic


detrimental effect of the early decrees on the economy

power to the workers and peasants
Workers' councils voted to give themselves huge pay rises -> lead to inflation
Managers were often dismissed (sometimes violently) as an act of workers seeking revenge for being treated badly -> lack of skilled people running factories


how did the bolsheviks tackle the economic problems caused by the early decrees

the Supreme Council of the National Economy (Vesenkha) was set up in December 1917 to provide greater supervision over the economy


when was war communism in place

during the Russian civil war
1918 - 1921


why was war communism introduced

to ensure the Red Army was supplied with enough food and resources to win the civil war


when was the Bolshevik nationalisation of all industries with 10 or more workers

June 1818
Sooner than expected -> made necessary by civil war


key features of War communism

- nationalisation of all industry (10+ workers) without compensation
- All industry placed under state control (Vesenkha)
-military stye discipline in factories
- private trading banned (black market grew)
- money banned
- forcible requisitioning of food
- rationing


examples of the harsh military style discipline introduced in factories during war communism

Death penalty for strike
Unemployed join 'Labour Armies' --> projects like road building.
Workers expected to volunteer for unpaid work on 'Communist Saturdays"


forcible requisitioning of food from peasants in order to feed the red army and town workers during the civil war

150,000 Bolshevik volunteers used to seize grain.
Committees of the Village Poor to spy on any peasants who might be hoarding food.
rise in tension in the countryside, outbreaks of violence, and malnutrition


when was the NEP introduced

New Economic Policy


why was the NEP introduced (brief reasons)

- economic considerations
- unpopularity of war communism
- the Tambov rising
- the Kromstadt mutiny


economic reasons for introducing NEP

1921: industrial production 1/3 of 1913 levels

widespread famine: food production 1/2 1913 level.
20 million died from famine and diseases in the 1920s


the Tambov rising

caused by resentment building up in the countryside in relation to the forcible requisitioning of food and the plans to get rid of the mir.
uprisings in Tambov where peasants formed a green army and reacted violently to requisitioning troops.
Revolt was only put down when 50,000 red army troops were sent in


what was the mir

the village commune


Kronstadt Mutiny

Revolt by sailors at naval base outside, previously supported the bolsheviks
approximately rebels 1000 were killed


key features of the NEP in agriculture

peasants allowed to sell crops for profit (10% of excess crops taken as tax)
Bolsheviks announced there would be no forced programme of collectivisation, and that the mir would remain as the self-regulating body


key features of the NEP in industry

Allow small scale private industry --> 'NEPmen'
wages & bonuses reintroduced
Legalisation of private trade (stop black market)


how did Lenin view the NEP

short term remedy before moving to socialism
"one step backwards, two steps forwards"


success of the NEP statistics

grain(million tonnes): 1921 = 37.6 vs 1926 = 76.8
pig iron(million tonnes): 1921 = 0.1 vs 1926 = 2.4
electricity(million kWh): 1921=0.5 vs 1926 b= 3.5
cotton(million meters): 1921=105 vs 1926=2286


bad aspects of the NEP

corruption through black market
rise in prostitution
imbalance between industrial and agricultural goods lead to the "scissors crisis" --> government began price regulation in 1923


what was the aims of the five year plans

"Stalin's revolution"
aimed to make the USSR into an industrial superpower


years of the first five year plan



years of the second five year plan



years of the third five year plan

1938-41 (interrupted by WW2)


years of the fourth five year plan



years of the fifth five year plan



first five year plan (1928-32):

A) rapid growth in coal, steel, oil, and iron (targets much higher than anything done by the USSR before)
M) making more efficient use of existing factories + equipment, slave labour, and putting workers under extreme pressure to meet targets
R) didn't make much impact until 1934. Magnitogorsk population went from 25 in 1929 to 250,000 in 1932. Quality often sacrificed to reach targets


second five year plan (1933-37):

A) same as first + consumer goods, however rise of Hitler in the 1930s made heavy industry the top priority
M) develop industrial centres both old and new, moved industrial areas to more remote locations to be safe from invasion
R) 1928-41 saw a 17% industrial growth rate


third five year plan (1938-41):

A) military production became top priority (to fight Hitler)
M) relocate factories to rural mountains as to avoid invasion
R) interrupted due to WW2, USSR managed to fight off the Nazi invasion December 1941


fourth five year plan (1946-55):

A) economic reconstruction, rebuild industrial plants
M) convert factories back to making civilian goods, use control over Eastern Europe to increase production, redirect wartime labour to reconstruction, 2 million slaves used from gulags to help reconstruct, trade agreements made with the eastern bloc
R) initial production recovered quickly, targets were over fulfilled, there still was a lack of new technology and chemicals


fifth five year plan (1951-55):

A) continuing growth from the previous plan but t a slower rate, preparing for possible nuclear war (Cold War)
M) increased defence spending, collectivising farms, prestige projects (cater to Stalins ego)
R) urban areas recovered almost fully (rural areas took longer), Soviet Union now a nuclear power


when was the decision made to abandon the NEP



reasons for collectivisation

NEP = agriculture unchanged since revolution
link with industry: fear of foreign invasion, urgent need to industrialise
economic: large plots are more efficient
political: extend socialism into countryside, useful since control of the party in countryside weakened after Tambov 1921


evidence to show optional collectivisation (policy before 1928) never worked

1925: less than 1% of farmland was collectivised


process of collectivisation

december 1927: 15th party congress decides on voluntary collectivisation
1928: food shortages lead to requisitioning ('Ural-Siberian' method, sped up collectivisation). movement from limiting kulaks to 'liquidating' them.


which areas opposed collectivisation the most

Ukraine and Caucasus


how many party members made up the dekulakisation squads



evidence to show how much farmland got collectivised

1932: 62% peasant households collectivised
1937: 93% collectivised


results of collectivisation

economically awful.
Slow supply of machinery, most collectives without tractors until mid 30s.
removal of kulaks removes most productive farmers.
1928: 73.3 million tonnes of grain vs 1934: 67.6 million tonnes of grain
people began resenting the party -> 1941 some peasants cheered invading German forces


evidence to show opposition to collectivisation (killing animals)

1928-33: 50% of cattle killed (shortage of milk and meat)
cattle numbers did not recover until 1953


causes of 1932-33 famine

fall in grain production + more grain requisitioned
Government prioritised army/town


effects of 1932-33 famine

4 million peasant deaths in 1933 alone
some resorted to cannibalism
worst areas: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Caucasus region


how many kulaks were 'liquidated' in the collectivisation process

estimated between 5-10 millions


successes of collectivisation:

managed to re-instate heavy state control over a reluctant group of people
1930 - mir is abolished and replaced with the kolkhoz administration


German invasion of the USSR (dates)

22nd June - 5th December


impact of WW2 on soviet economy

strain of resources
centralised economy was effective in wartime


proof for shift of focus to military production (WW2)

1943-45: over 73,000 tanks and 94,000 aircrafts produced
Moscow children's bike factory switched to produce flamethrowers
had to import normal goods (e.g. tinned meat) from Britain (Lend-Lease scheme)
Factories relocated to the mountains in the east so the germans couldn't easily take over industry


proof of Nazi occupation damaging industrial production

1940: 18 million tonnes steel, 29 million tonnes oil
1945: 12 million tonnes steel, 19 million tonnes oil


effects of war on agriculture

most able-bodied men conscripted from collectives into the army + farm machinery and animals requisitioned by red army = reduced food production.
1940: 95 million tonnes grain
1942: 30 million tonnes grain


social effects of the war

1945 (end of war)
25 million people homeless
1,700 towns and 70,000 villages classified as 'destroyed'


example of Stalin's prestiges projects

The White Sea Canal - 141 miles long, 10000 slave deaths, too shallow to be actually useful (iced over in the winter months) but lined with statues of Stalin.


years of good economic performance under Khrushchev

1956 - 58
however from 1959 growth slowed, and by 1969 the economy was stagnant


how did Khrushchev plan to incentivise farmers?

paid higher prices for food
1952-56 farm incomes increased 250%


Khrushchev's investment into agriculture

planned to make farming more efficient by investing in artificial fertilisers (production increased 40%) and tractors (production increased 30%)
investment in agriculture from soviet budget grew from 3% in 1954 to 12.8% in 1959


the virgin lands scheme

Khrushchev wanted to increase the amount of land that was being farmed
new farms on the 'virgin lands' of the northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan, and Western Siberia


problems with the virgin lands scheme

done in areas not normally fertile -> needed expensive irrigation systems that often didn't work. High cost and low yield
although pay for farmers had increased, it was not enough to incentivise young workers to live in these harsh conditions
central planning meant farmers didn't always get the right fertilisers (wasted money and lower yield)


statistic to show technology in Soviet agriculture in 50s and 60s was far behind the USA

soviet agriculture still highly labour intensive
50% of soviet population worked in agriculture and still only produced half as much as the 5% of Americans who worked in agriculture


Khrushchev repeatedly reformed the ministries that were dealing with agriculture, what negative impacts did this have?

contradictory reforms lead to administrative confusion


how Brezhnev changed the Soviet approach to agriculture

abandoned Khrushchev's attempted reform, swathed back to the system Stalin had set up.
instead of attempting to make agriculture more productive, he authorised large-scale grain imports from the west (keep food prices low)


how did Brezhnev afford to buy grain imports from the west

selling the USSr's oil
High oil prices in 1970s, oil sales made up most of soviet export


how did Khrushchev want to modernise industry

investing in light industry in order to produce more consumer goods


main industrial problems of the 50s and 60s

Military spending: arms race (Cold War) lead to high levels of military spending, little to spend on other things
Command economy: Stalin's command economy was good at providing large quantities of basic goods (e.g. concrete) but not for complex light industry (Khrushchev's aim)
Inefficiency: command economy is very inefficient, lots of wasted resources


when was Khrushchev's 7 year plan launched

January 1959 - 1966


aims of Khrushchev's 7 year plan

increase production of consumer goods
increase production of chemical fertilisers to support his agricultural policies, such as the corn campaign


results of the 7 year plan

there was increase, but it was moderate
production of consumer goods was still 5% below target
production of chemicals still 20% below target
1966: 0.5% of soviet citizens own cars vs 20% UK


reasons for failure of 7 year plans

Khrushchev introduced contradictory reforms e.g. in 1957 he decentralised economic planning, then from 1958-64 he re-centralised
Khrushchev increased targets in 1962 (harder to reach)


reasons for economic decline under Brezhnev

refusal to change: all economic reform stopped after 1964, meaning long term problems such as inefficiency were never solved
Brezhnev also increased military spending, less money to invest back into industry
By 1980 the economy was stagnant


what was Khrushchev's vision

Khrushchev wanted the Soviet Union to reach communism by 1980. Under communism; he believed that housing, transport, and food would all be available freely


how did Brezhnev continue the promise for better living standards when abandoning Khrushchev's vision?

subsidising prices: government kept prices of consumer goods low (lead to a shortages as goods were in higher demand than supply due to bad industry)
a second economy: Brezhnev accepted the growth of the black market (or 'second economy'), allowing citizens to buy goods illegally


Andropov's reforms

attempted to fix long term economic problems: 'Operation Trawl' . KGB crack down on drunkenness and absenteeism
1983: 25% of average family income spent on vodka + making their own moonshine
campaign was short lived, didn't solve underling issues