Although The NEP Was Generally Considered A Success Essay

Submitted By gillianrussell
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How far were the economic problems responsible for Stalin’s decision to replace the New Economic Policy in 1928 with the First Five Year Plan?
The essay at hand will the weigh the significance of the economic policies in Russia pursued by the Communist government during the 1920’s. There were various reasons as to why Stalin decided to replace the New Economic Policy with the First Five-Year Plan in 1928 which will be outlined. Moreover, the Russian economy was a major influence for a change in polity but there were also a number of other social and political motives for bringing in the First Five Year Plan. These included economic problems, the role of ideology and political issues. Although collectivisation had succeeded in agricultural areas, urban areas were still not industrialised and this was the NEP’s failure. Stalin could not withstand failure leading him to replace the NEP. By 1925 the NEP had returned the economy to its pre-war levels, and by 1927 both agriculture and industrial production exceeded their pre-war level. 1The NEP had an almost immediate effect, markets returned to Russian towns and cities, more goods became available, food shortages disappeared and the famine of 1921 came to an end. In contrast, the NEP had run into problems such as the scissors crisis in 1924 and the grain procurement crisis of 1927-28. Peasants began cultivating more land and the numbers livestock increased. However, Murphy stated, “the impact of the NEP was not all positive which could have been one of the reasons why Stalin chose to abolish it”. It sparked off what was known as the ‘Scissor Crisis’, it was the gap between the industrial and agricultural prices. The grain procurement crisis brought matters to a head, since, despite the recovery brought by the NEP, Russia was by 1928 still an economically backward country compared to the large economies of Western Europe and especially the USA. Furthermore, Russia was still an economically backward country and improvements in crude oil and coal left Russia significantly behind the Western nations. Nevertheless, the NEP did improve the efficiency of food distribution and especially benefitted the peasants. Although, many urban workers resented the profits made by private trade. In a way, the NEP had improved the economy, but only to the levels at which it was during World War One. However, the NEP had been made a failure as the Government deliberately set the procurement price low and the peasants objected to having to sell their crops at below market prices since their income would decline on that of previous years. Stalin needed an excuse to replace the NEP therefore the economy was sabotaged in order for the First Five Year Plan to be approved of. The economic problems were a catalyst for the measures of the First Five-Year Plan. Moreover, some may argue that Stalin abandoned the NEP in 1927 because he realised the limitations it carried resulting in the economy not being able to move forward. This claim is supported by his visit to the Urals where he investigated how well the NEP was functioning in the countryside as agriculture was still backward. However, his visit to the Urals lasted only three weeks, which was an extremely short time to analyse the colossal expanses of the countryside. Therefore, he may have visited the Urals to make people think that he replaced the NEP for genuine reasons, to dismiss the claim of him replacing it for the sake of the power struggle. Subsequently, Stalin realised that he needed industrialisation to secure his power. The general atmosphere among the communists was that of building a socialist society, and that the NEP was preventing this. The replacement of the NEP followed from decisions to give priority to rapid industrialisation. The change from the NEP to the First Five Year Plan reflected the needs of a state committed to rapid large scale industrialisation to reduce the commitment of resources to agriculture and to enforce