One of the most controversial leaders in world history was Joseph Stalin. He transformed the Soviet Union into a modern superpower between the years of 1928 and 1941. His ruling could be characterized as rapid industrialization, collectivized agriculture, great purges, and the extermination of opposition. Stalin’s rule could be proven both positively and negatively towards Russia. He powered the Russians military force but his methods negatively affected Russians. Stalin launched his first Five-Year Plan in 1928 by setting up a command economy.
The purpose of the Five-Year plan was to create a road map for Stalin’s great goals of industrialization and the development of the Soviet Unions (OI.) Specific goals were set in the areas of electricity, coal, oil, pig-iron, and steel (DOC 2.) The Five-Year plan resulted in strengthening the Soviet Unions economic position and turned it into a powerful industrial state. In an excerpt from The Land of the Soviets its stated, “The rate of industrial growth in the USSR considerably exceeded that of the capitalist countries.” (DOC 8.) This is proven in several charts showing the rapid growth in farming and industrialization (DOCS 2, 3, 4.) Stalin said, “To slow down would mean falling behind. And those who fall behind are beaten.
But we do not want to be beaten! One feature of the old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered for falling behind, for her backwardness….” (DOC 1.) This momentum helped arouse Russian pride to motivate the people. Stalin’s method of motivation imposed the people to come together as one and get ahead in order to dodge falling behind or any kind of harm to their country (OI.) Stalin presented himself as if he were greater and more powerful than everyone else (DOC 10.) Unfortunately for him the people of Russia didn’t see this characteristic; Stalin’s methods damaged the Russians. His act of collectivization was found to be extremely unfair and hurtful. Numerous actions were taken place against the kulaks. They murdered collective farm activists, set fire to the collective farm buildings, poisoned the cattle, and destroyed farm machinery (DOC 7.) Because of Stalin’s relentless drive to collectivize Soviet agriculture, famine arose and became a huge problem in Ukraine. Starvation or famine and peasants being shot and deported as rich, landowning “kulaks” were the explanations for elimination of between 4.5 and 7 million Ukrainians between 1931 1933.
In the end, Stalin was the only one left to blame. Lastly, Stalin found it necessary to increase agricultural production. He was planning on increasing it by collective farms and state farms to join together the small peasant farms into large collective farms. After this Stalin said Kulaks must be eliminated to substitute them with connective and state farms (DOC 4). Nobody had much of option because if they were to refuse Stalin would torture, execute or exile his or her opposition (OI.) Therefore, Stalin was one of the most controversial leaders in world history. His intelligence in economic venues assisted Russia to become an industrial society and lead them to a rise of world power. Thus his prodigious accomplishments he completed them in severe, unnecessary terms that put his people in life threatening positions.