It is Joseph Stalin who codified the body of ideas that, under the name of Marxism-Leninism, constituted the official doctrine of the Soviet and eastern European communist parties.
Through the brutal process of collectivization he destroyed the autonomy the Russian peasant had enjoyed since the revolution, and he led an industrialization drive that has had few historic parallels. The human costs of both these initiatives were monstrous. It was during industrialization that the Soviet Union became truly totalitarian.
All the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution understood the inherent problem in starting a communist revolution in Russia: The transition from the old Russia to a truly communist state would require industrialization on a massive scale.
According to Marxist theory, only through a modern industrialized economy could a true proletariat class be developed as Marx makes no mention of a peasant class. Marxist theory aside, the need to industrialize was also a pragmatic matter of self-defense.
Stalin, either as a result of paranoia or a simple distrust of the capitalist West, assumed his country would have to fight for its survival. He presented the need to industrialize as a life or death struggle. We must make good this difference in ten years. Stalin saw increased centralization as the means to make the industrialization drive successful.
At the outset of the first five year plan inStalin instituted impossibly high production figures for factories to stir up zeal. As Kenez points out, the unrealistic optimism of these goals can be seen by the fact that many of goals party leaders choose for industries were not reached until Kenez, Realistic state planning went out the window.
The propaganda, however, was extremely successful in that it accomplished its goal: In the first five year plan, which ended inthere was a fifty percent increase in industrial output with an average annual growth rate of eighteen percent, while the population of industrial workers doubled.
Much of this success can be attributed to the zeal with which the workers approached their work; they were mobilized as if for war, and were willing to accept lower standards of living as sacrifice for building a modern industrial infrastructure and economy.
John Scott, an American who worked building the city and factories at Magnitogorsk in the early thirties, describes the attitude of his coworkers in his book Behind the Urals. They all seem to share an acceptance of deprivation today in exchange for the utopia of tomorrow.
In many ways they had reason for this optimism: In particular the industrial workforce was growing, as many peasants moved from the countryside into the cities to escape collectivization. Between and the urban population grew from 26 million to Between and the number of employed jumped from Women also joined the workforce in large numbers.
The increases in production were dramatic. During the first five year plan there was a fifty percent increase in overall industrial output and an average annual growth rate of eighteen percent. These statistics, however, do not take into account the poor quality of the goods produced.
By emphasizing output only, and by intentionally setting the target output levels unrealistically high, the Soviet leaders created a system in which poor quality done quickly was preferable to producing quality products at a slower rate. There was also the problem created by an entire workforce learning the skills necessary to run the newly built factories and plants all at once.
Many of the workers were from the peasantry and lacked any sort of educationand as a result, heavy industry was run inefficiently. Scott describes the inability of the workers to run the machinery they had been so busy building: The waste and inefficiency that plagued the struggle to make heavy industry work left over few resources for light industry and consumer goods.
Shelves in stores were often bare.Lenin’s death in left Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Nikolay Bukharin as the leaders of the All-Russian Communist Party. Before he died, Lenin warned his party comrades to beware of Stalin.
Stalinism is the means of governing and related policies implemented from around to by Joseph Stalin (–). Stalinist policies and ideas as developed in the Soviet Union included rapid industrialization, the theory of socialism in one country, a totalitarian state, collectivization of agriculture, a cult of personality and subordination of the interests of foreign communist.
It looks like you've lost connection to our server. Please check your internet connection or reload this page. The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia.
W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN Tucker, Robert C. (). Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, – W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN Further reading.
Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, written in Barnett, Vincent. A power struggle between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky erupted after the death of Lenin.
Stalin managed to outmaneuver Trotsky, who was forced out of the Communist Party and into exile. An agent of Stalin later assassinated Trotsky. Collectivization was further expected to free many peasants for industrial work in the cities and to enable the party to extend its political dominance over the remaining peasantry.
Stalin focused particular hostility on the wealthier peasants, or kulaks.