Were the Five-Year Plans Successful?

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Were the five-year plans successful?

When Joseph Stalin took control of Russia in 1928, he saw that Russia was very industrially behind and with the World War II looming, the Soviet Union had no choice but to industrialise at the speed of light. Quoting from a speech he gave in 1931, he said: "The history of old Russia has consisted being beaten again and again because of our backwardness. It is our duty to the working class to increase the pace of production. We are 50 to 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make up this in ten years. Either they do it or they crush us". As a result, he introduced the three five year plans. One from 1928 to 1933 and a second one from 1932 to 1937 and there was a third five year plan from 1937 to 1942. However, in 1941 it stopped because the Germans started the invasion of Russia but was it successful or unsuccessful?

From 1928 to 1933 the first five year plan started it was aimed to rapidly increase productivity in heavy industry like coal, steel, railways, electricity and machinery. However, the Gosplan set the workers very ambitious targets. For example, the target for oil and coal was to double moreover the targets for electricity, iron and steel was to triple. However, the amount of industrial workers did double. Despite all the targets, remarkable amounts were achieved. However, the atmosphere and feeling in the factories was chaotic, in addition, there was an enormous amount of waste being produced and many of the products were unusable. As the collectivisation happened in the countryside, many of the workers came to work in the industry they were very clumsy because they were unskilled in what they were doing and did damage to some very important, expensive, imported machinery. As a result, productivity decreased as there were broken down machinery.

While on the other hand the rapid rate during the first five-year pan with high targets was good because there was a drive in the people also there was...
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