Backup of Soviet Economy - NEP

Backup of Soviet Economy - NEP - The New Economic Policy...

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The New Economic Policy Following the Civil War in the Soviet Union, there was utter devastation in the economy and nation-wide peasant insurgency. The government feared the regime would not survive. The working class had nearly disappeared due to the Civil War, there were millions of unemployed workers, and the output of industry had fallen to a pre-Civil War level. The New Economic Policy was proposed in 1921 by Lenin in order to prevent the Soviet economy from collapsing. Like many modern countries, the Soviet Union tested the waters of capitalism during this time in an effort to become more powerful, but unlike most of these countries, the policy was wholeheartedly rejected even after having improved the economy. This rejection was due to the fact that the peasants and workers did not create a cooperative relationship that would help the Soviet economy recover. This paper will discuss how the peasants and the workers’ relationship became destructive, the two classes’ individual qualms with the NEP, and how this affected the Soviet economy. The Soviet Union needed to improve its economy quickly after the Civil War so that it could compete with the Western capitalist nations that wanted it to fail. The Soviets wanted to become a powerful Socialist nation as soon as possible. However, Lenin held that Russia was not civilized enough for socialism. He believed that a fast approach towards communism was unbefitting for existing conditions of the Soviet Union. According to Russian historian Lars T. Lih, Lenin’s “Marxist conscience” told him that a “socialist revolution was not possible without the material base created by capitalism and its accompanying cultural attitudes” (Lih, 244). If he were to send the Soviet Union off on the socialist path, he needed them to be prepared, both technologically and mentally. If the conditions were not perfect, the Soviet Union would fail, 1
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thus taking away his legitimacy as its leader. It is important to note that Lenin’s plan was very well thought out and could have been very successful if executed correctly. In order to bring the Soviet Union towards socialism, Lenin needed to introduce the nation to capitalism so that its economy could begin to flourish. A strong economy would create a strong Soviet Union. Lenin convinced the congress to adopt a temporary compromise with capitalism under the NEP program. In S.A. Smith’s The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction , Smith argues Lenin came to see the NEP as more than a “retreat” but as a transitional system in which market mechanisms would gradually strengthen the state sector over at least one or two decades (Smith, 101). The transition to socialism would
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HIST 210 taught by Professor Notgoingtotell.. during the Spring '08 term at Beloit.

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Backup of Soviet Economy - NEP - The New Economic Policy...

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