29 - The Collapse of the Old Order, 1929 - 1949

29 - The Collapse of the Old Order, 1929 - 1949 - CHAPTER...

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CHAPTER 30 The Collapse of the Old Order, 1929–1949 00CHAPTER OUTLINE I0. The Stalin Revolution A0. Five-Year Plans 10. Joseph Stalin, the son of a poor shoemaker, was a skillful administrator who rose within the Communist Party and used his power within the bureaucracy to eliminate Leon Trotsky and all other contenders for power. Stalin then set about the task of industrializing the Soviet Union in such a way as to increase the power of the Communist Party domestically and to increase the power of the Soviet Union in relation to other countries. 20. Beginning in October 1928 Stalin devised a series of Five-Year Plans that were designed to achieve ambitious goals by instituting centralized state control over the economy. Under the Five-Year Plans the Soviet Union achieved rapid industrialization, accompanied by the kind of environmental change that was experienced by the United States and Canada during their period of industrialization several decades earlier. B0. Collectivization of Agriculture 10. The Soviet Union squeezed the peasantry in order to pay for the massive investments required by the Five-Year Plans and in order to provide the necessary labor and food supplies required by the new industrial workers. The way the Soviet Union did this was to consolidate small farms into vast collectives that were expected to supply the government with a fixed amount of food and distribute what was left among their members. 20. Collectivization was an attempt to organize the peasants into an industrial way of life and to bring them firmly under the control of the government. Collectivization was accomplished by the violent suppression of the better-off peasants (the kulaks) and disrupted agricultural production so badly as to cause a famine that killed some 5 million people after the bad harvests of 1933 and 1934. 30. The Second Five-Year Plan (1933–1937) was originally intended to increase the output of consumer goods, but fear of the Nazi regime in Germany prompted Stalin to shift the emphasis to heavy industries and armaments. Consumer goods became scarce and food was rationed. C0. Terror and Opportunities 10. Stalin’s policies of industrialization and collectivization could only be carried out by threats and by force. In order to prevent any possible resistance or rebellion, Stalin used the NKVD (secret police) in order to create a climate of terror that extended from the intellectuals and the upper levels of the Party all the way down to ordinary Soviet citizens. 20. Many Soviet citizens supported Stalin’s regime in spite of the fear and hardships. Stalinism created new opportunities for women to join the workforce and for obedient, unquestioning people to rise within the ranks of the Communist Party, the military, the government, or their professions.
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