The USSR Under Stalin Essay
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1)a) Evidence in Source D that suggests that Stalin’s motive for the mass arrests of the late 1930s was to obtain slave labor is that “the mass arrest of the late 1930s may have been carried out to satisfy Stalin’s desire for slave labor,” and “more prison laborers were urgently needed.”
b) In Source D, “absurd inefficiency” means that the overpopulation of the prison laborers in the camps made them disorganized and made it difficult for the camp commanders to be able handle them all.
2) In both Sources B and E, Stalin’s view of industrialization as a war economy is expressed as: Both sources share the view that the purpose of industrialization was for the making of a war economy, “to prepare for war against the capitalist enemies abroad.” However, for Source B, the view for the Five Year Plans is that, “Essentially the Plan was a huge propaganda project, aimed at convincing the Soviet people that they were engaged in a great industrial enterprise of their own making.”
It was a propaganda project promoting industrialization for the purpose of war, but the Soviet people weren’t aware of the “war” part, only the industrialization. In Source E, since it is a poster that is used for the purpose of propaganda, it instead puts the Five Year Plan in a better light, showing that the Five Year Plan will be successful in the future, that it will surely benefit the U.S.S.R. in the future, and that the U.S.S.R. will be prepared to defeat its enemies abroad (the capitalist enemies) in case of future wars.
3) The origin of Source A is that it’s a speech by Stalin, 1st March 1927, to workers in the Stalin workshops of the October Railway. The purpose of this speech is to spread his view of the U.S.S.R. being able to industrialize on its own to the workers of the workshops, saying it with confidence. Filling the workers up with confidence will give them the will to work more for the sake of the industry. The value of this speech is that this is a primary source and it’s a speech by Stalin himself, so it clearly expresses his views on the U.S.S.R. industrializing on its own.
The limitations of this speech is that it only shows Stalin’s perspective and it doesn’t show the views of the public or of the workers on his view on industrialization. He was trying to express his idea in a confident way to the workers to convince them that this is to solely benefit the U.S.S.R. The origin of Source C is it’s an extract from Women in Soviet Society: Equality, Development, and Social Change by Gail Warshofsky Lapidus, Berkeley, 1978. The purpose of this extract is to tell of the reason for the increased employment of women.
It was necessary to hire women to work because of the rapid expansion of the economy, so there was a need for more workers. It wasn’t for the purpose of economic equality. The value of this is that it shows us that eventually everyone in the society, including women, were required to work to follow Stalin’s Five Years Plan. It shows us the economic status of women during this time period. The limitation of this source is that we don’t know the public’s opinion or a woman’s view on the increased employment of women. It is a secondary source since it is an extract from a book that was written after the time of Stalin Russia.
4) Stalin’s methods for a “change-over from a peasant country to an industrial one” include: In Source A, he expresses his view in that the U.S.S.R., unlike other countries like Great Britain and Germany, can industrialize on its own. He says it in a confident tone to instill that confidence in the workers in the Stalin workshops so that they will be convinced that industrialization for the means of production is beneficial for the U.S.S.R. as a whole. In Source B, Stalin declared that “he was promoting a war on the inefficiences of Russia’s past, a war on the class enemies within, and as preparation for the capitalist enemies abroad.” The U.S.S.R. “adopted a similar industrial pattern in its drive toward modernization,” but it would “take the path of socialism”
instead of capitalism. The Plan itself “was a huge propaganda project, aimed at convincing the Soviet people that they were engaged in a great industrial enterprise of their own making.” In Source C, due to the rapid urban development in the U.S.S.R., “A new perspective emerged in official documents, one that viewed the increased employment of women not in terms of its effects on women but as essential to the fulfillment of the economic plans.” The purpose was to “’ensure the fulfillment of the production program of the Five Year Plan, it was necessary to draw more wives of workers into production.’”
In Source D, it says that “the mass arrests of the late 1930s may have been carried out to satisfy Stalin’s desire for slave labor” because “more prison laborers were urgently needed.” There were camps where mass number of slave laborers were kept. The more the slave laborers, the more the work, and the faster the Five Year Plan’s goals would be achieved. In Source E, the poster is for the purpose of propaganda, showing Stalin’s idea in a “good light” to the Soviet public by showing the people that the Five Year Plan would be successful in the future, that the U.S.S.R. would be powerful in terms of military due to the mass industrialization, so that it could defeat its enemies abroad in future wars.
Other methods that Stalin used to change the U.S.S.R. from a “peasant country into an industrial one” that weren’t mentioned in the Sources were: Stalin made all industry and services nationalized, managers were given predetermined output quotas by central planners, and trade unions were converted into mechanisms for increasing worker productivity. Many new industrial centers were developed and thousands of new plants were built throughout the country.
Stalin, a pro-Socialist, used collectivization to improve agricultural productivity so that the surplus would be sufficiently large enough to feed the growing urban labor force, all for the sake of industrialization. Collectivization was also expected to free many peasants so that they would go into industrial work. However, Stalin’s forcefulness on collectivization on the peasants (who fiercely resisted) resulted in a disruption in agricultural productivity, but it still helped achieve Stalin’s goal of rapid industrialization.