When Stalin came to power he realised he had become the leader of a backwards country which was “50 to 100 years behind the countries of the west” he knew he had to make Russia catch up with the global powers of the west in 10 years or they would crush him, little did he know how right he was as World War Two started within 10 years of Stalin saying his famous line.
First of all Stalin had to create enough food to feed his glorious new population who would modernise Russia and make Russia become a global power. He thought he would do this through “collectivisation” this mean effectively taking lots of peasants land and mashing it into one giant government controlled farm, in theory this would make things more efficient and create bigger yields of crops but when this theory was put into practise it didn’t work as well as planned, mainly due to the workers being paid a poor wage and not receiving any of the grain that they produced. All the grain that was produced was sent off to the cities to feed the work force that was helping to modernise Russia, because of this the peasants that worked in the collectivised farms would destroy their livestock and animals rather than hand them over to the state. Although Collectivisation had its downfalls, mainly down to the peasants, it did work in helping to feed the growing population, although it didn’t manage to do this till the 1930’s there were still famines happening until this time.
Another way in which Stalin tried to modernise Russia was through the five year plans, there were in total three of these five year plans. The first of these the plans focused on hard industries, such as coal, iron, steel, oil and heavy machinery. Stalin believed that these were the building blocks of an advanced industrial economy. Stalin made new industrial plants and new cities all made from scratch. The most famous of these cities is Magnitogorsk. However for the people that had to live and work in these new cities it meant terrible working and living conditions. Stalin also used the first five year plan as propaganda by saying that they would complete their five year plan in only four years! As a fact the first five year plan was a failure, the unrealistically high targets meant that factories were more concerned about the quantity of the product instead of the quality of the product. By the end of the first five year plan the only thing that had hit its target was oil output, which had beaten its target by 2.4 million tonnes.
The second of these five year plans lasted from January 1933 till 1937, this plan like the first only lasted 4 years so Stalin could use this as propaganda. As the first plan failed in the 4 years that Stalin wanted, he wanted to try and have the propaganda that Russia completes its 5 year plans in 4, as the first plan failed he couldn’t use this, so had to try again. This plan also maintained a focus on heavy industry, but also strengthened other areas of the economy. By the need of needing to increase agricultural output from collectivisation, more mechanical agricultural equipment was built, to try and increase the output. Railways and canals were built between the new cities and centres of industry to ease the transport of goods and raw materials. Stalin was interested in building ‘show piece’ developments for propaganda purposes. The Moscow Metro was build during the second plan. The factories build in the first five year plan became fully functioning during the second plan. These helped to contribute to the second plans success as they greatly increased output in these years. Stalin’s party used propaganda such as “The Stakhanovite Movement” in 1935 it was reported that a miner from the Donbass region, Alexei Stakhanov, had mined 102 tonnes of coal in a six hour shift. This was 14 times his allocated quota. Stalin used this to create the Stakhanovite movement, which was an…