Study on Holodomor

Topics: Ukraine, Soviet Union, Holodomor Pages: 6 (2895 words) Published: March 21, 2013
Madeleine Stoll
Rough Draft
“If you do not hear from us again, you can be sure we are not alive. We are either getting it for this letter, or we are through. The agony of living and dying of hunger is so painful and so long. What torture it is to live in hunger and know you are dying slowly of hunger.” (Hunger in the Ukraine) Extreme hunger killed the Ukrainian people, not because of famine, but because of a man who did not care. Stalin’s act of genocide against the Ukrainian people and all of Russia was its darkest days. Walter Duranty hid the truth of the Holodomor from the American people, but as time went by, the truth was brought to light. The starvation of the Ukrainian people was due to Stalin’s insatiable thirst for power which was hidden from the world by Walter Duranty. The Holodomor was the time period of extermination by hunger against the Ukrainian people. “Holo” means hunger and “mor” means extermination or to eliminate in the Ukrainian language. (Naimark 70) Stalin’s blueprint was implemented in 1928 concentrating on the development of iron and steel, electric power and transport, and machine-tools. Joseph Stalin set the targets for the Soviet Union workforces extremely high. “He demanded an 1115 increase in coal production, 200% increase in iron production, and 335% increase in electric power.” (Five Year Plan) He claimed that if rapid industrialization did not occur; the Soviet Union would not be able to defend itself against an invasion from entrepreneurial countries in the west. (Five Year Plan) There were two essential stages during Stalin’s plan which shaped the outcome of the Soviet Union. In 1930-1931, the famine broke out and threatened entire parts of the country. The second stage was in 1932-1933 when the Ukrainians in particular were given no opportunity to seek or receive help, leaving them to starve to death. (Naimark 75) One piece of Stalin’s plan was to turn the single economic farms into groups of government collective farms. The farmers or kulaks in the Ukraine were commanded to relinquish their personal farms to collectivization. 71% of farms were seized and turned into collective farms. (Snyder 29) This signed away all private property including grain, livestock, and their homes. These families were exiled to different parts of Ukraine and Northern Siberia to work with hardly anything to eat and no provision against the arctic cold in Northern Siberia. Some families were forced to work on their farms which now belonged to the Government. The kulaks had been the moral and economic backbone of Ukrainian society. The collectivization and banishment of the kulak families “had a terrific, demoralizing effect on the whole Russian rural population.”(Russian Kulaks in Sad Condition) When the Soviet Government collected the farms, they threatened the kulaks with being declared enemies of the Government. To instill fear, army units and jails started to appear in different towns. These units introduced torturous punishments such as path treading in which a resisting peasant would be forced to walk through the snow to the next village, there to be interrogated by its officials, If he still refused to join a collective farm, the man would continue to walk to the next village. This would carry on until the peasant either died of exhaustion or bent to the states will. Another effective act would be to seize the peasant’s food supply. The parents would eventually bend to the state’s will when they saw their children starve. (Secret Holocaust) Grain production was at its highest peak, but the peasants driving the farms were given nothing. In 1930, the grain production went from 72 million tons to 77 million tons. In December, 1930, two million tons of grain rotting away was discovered in a train station. (Kiernan 499) By 1931, state collectivization was up to 46-47% of the entire harvest. (Naimark 71)In 1932, Stalin decreed that grain output be increased by 44%, but if quotas were not met,...
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