Success & Failures of Stalin's Five Year Plans

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“The Five Year Plans were successful in strengthening the Economy before 1941.” Explain why you agree or disagree with this view. Though with many flaws Stalin’s five year plans did create a strong industrial base for Russia. Stalin’s aims for strengthening the economy could identify the successes of the five year plans. Stalin wanted to strengthen the economy to increase military strength due to the fear of foreign invasion he needed a well-developed industrial base especially of heavy industry. He also wanted to achieve self-sufficiency, and to improve standards of living of people in Russia to bridge the gap between them and the West. A strengthened economy would fulfil and maintain the promise to international proletariat to develop the country and become the first socialist state by industrialising. In some ways, the five year plans fulfilled some of Stalin’s aims for example, the focus on rapid increase in industrial capacity and growth of industry especially, heavy industry and armament production. Coal and iron output doubled and defence armaments grew rapidly as resources were diverted to them. Also hydro-electric dams, canals, railways and other infrastructural projects were built. The five year plans transformed the primitiveness of the country, creating a massive urban working class and trebling electricity production. As well as strengthening the economy and achieving military strength this expansion gave Russia enough strength to resist and eventually beat the Nazis in 1941. In addition, the plan’s strengthened the economy as there was 4-12% annual growth. USSR’s economic standing in relation to other countries improved. Rapid urbanisation meant new growth. People were made to work hard and the influx of women and peasants into the workforce strengthened the economy as output was increased, wages even rose in cities. However, despite the huge industrial growth some parts of industry such as consumer goods were neglected throughout each five year...
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