Stalin's Industrial Policies 1928-41

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How successful were Stalin's industrial policies in developing the Russian economy in the years 1928-41? Stalin took power in the USSR in 1928. He immediately began the Five Year Plans. His aim was to modernise Soviet industry, and bridge the gap between the Western Democracies (including Nazi Germany). Despite their inaccurate names (none of them actually lasted 5 years), these economic experiments laid the foundation for the emergence of the USSR as a world superpower. The first five year plan (1928-33) was primarily focused on heavy industry growth. Created by Gosplan, the targets were increased twice by Stalin. Each of these increases made the targets even more unrealistic. For example, of the four main parts of heavy industry; Coal, Iron, Steel and Oil, only the targets for oil production were met and exceeded by 1932. However, the economy grew by 14% every year and the rest of heavy industry did grow, Iron went from an annual production of 3.3 million tonnes in 1928 to 6.2 million in 1932. The second plan (1933-38) was a more conservative version of the first, with a larger focus on consumer goods. However, these were superseded towards the end of the plan with a focus on military equipment and production, as Stalin was predicting a war with Nazi Germany. Transport and electricity output was expanded to help meet the growing demand of industrialisation. Steel output tripled during the plan. The Stakhanovite movement (inspired by a 'true' story about a miner who mined 14 times the average amount of coal), pushed all workers to work harder. However, as military spending increased the spending on living standards fell. Factory managers lied about production levels in order to match the targets set by GOSPLAN (the Soviet Planning Committee. Essential items such as shoes and bicycles were still in short supply and housing and utilities were still woefully
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