The Holodomor (translated to “murder by hunger”) was a disaster created by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Taking place in Ukraine between 1932-1933, many believe it was due to a bad harvest, natural disaster or the consequence of war, but the famine was caused by Josef Stalin’s actions. Ukraine was the last place someone would expect famine since it had been known for centuries as the “breadbasket of Europe.” The Soviet government knew that invading Ukraine would be very beneficial in expanding their empires they decided to pursue it. “They had three major objectives in expanding their empire; to annihilate a large portion of the Ukrainian population, terrorize the surviving Ukrainian population into submission to Soviet domination, and provide funds for Soviet industrial expansion from the sale of the Ukraine wheat and other foods to the rest of the world.” (Kuropas)
In the late 1920’s, Stalin came up with a plan to industrialize the Soviet Union. To accomplish his goals, Stalin introduced his Five-Year Plan as the first step for the industrialization of the USSR. This idea was adopted in 1928, and was supposed to increase industrial production. (Margolis) The Ukrainians saw Stalin's moves as an attack on their population. They believed that these policies imposed by Stalin were meant to destroy a large portion of the peasant class, and force them to abandon their culture for the Russian way of life. This is known as 'Russification'. Stalin expected some resistance, especially from the peasants, who would be deprived of their lands, but dismissed it by his famous quote; "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." Stalin was suggesting he was willing to force changes in the Ukrainian economy, even if it meant killing millions of citizens. (Subtelny)
In 1928, Stalin introduced a program of agricultural collectivization that forced farmers to give up their private land, equipment and livestock as well as join a state owned, factory-like collective farms. This is intended to create a system in which it would feed the industrial workers in the cities and provide a large amount of grain to be sold abroad. The farms’ profit was used to finance his industrialization plans. Many Ukrainian farmers, known for their independence, still refused to join the collective farms. The successful farmers, also known as “kurkuls”, were branded as the enemy and received worse beatings by the troops unlike other Ukrainians. By 1930, more than 1.5 million Ukrainians became a victim to Stalin's "dekulakization" policies. Over the extended period of collectivization, troops confiscated land, livestock and other properties. Close to half a million families in Ukraine were dragged from their homes, packed into freight trains, and shipped off to different places where they are left, sometimes without food or shelter. (Holodomor: Genocide by Famine) The Soviet government increased Ukraine's production quotas, knowing that they could not be met. Starvation became widespread throughout the country. In the summer of 1932, a law was put into effect that calls for the arrest or execution of any person taking any food from the fields where they worked. The law places military blockades around many Ukrainian towns preventing the transport of food into the villages and the hungry people from leaving in search of food.
During the period of the famine, many of the Ukrainian people had to figure out ways to find