Historical Studies 333
The Age of Totalitarianism
Instructor: Mikkel Dack
ASSIGNMENT #1: DOCUMENT ANALYSIS
Joseph Stalin: Industrialization of the country, 1928
Prepared by: Yulia Kirillova
The Soviet Union was founded in 1922, when the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia. After the death of its first leader, Vladimir Lenin, there was a power struggle from which Joseph Stalin emerged as winner for the control of the Communist party. By the day of Lenin’s death there were five candidates with the potential to emerge as the new leader of the U.S.S.R: Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev; Bukharin belonged to the “Rightists” and wished to continue ...view middle of the document...
P.S.U.(B., which is the subject of this analysis, the launching of “socialist industrialization” was highly politicized: it was presented by official propaganda as an essential and indispensable step in building the material foundations of socialism. The speech was delivered on November 19, and on November 20, the next day, “J.V. Stalin was elected to the commission set up by the plenum to draft the resolution on the control figures of the national economy for 1928-29”.
Stalin remarked that the Soviet Union was "fifty to a hundred years behind the advanced countries" and thus must narrow "this distance in ten years.”
It is fair to say that the transformation of Soviet Russia from an agrarian to an industrial economy was a key episode in economic and political history of USSR.
With regard to the message that he was trying to deliver with his speech, Stalin argued that he wanted to make the Soviet Union’s economy self-sufficient and no longer dependent upon Western technology and goods for its development, as he feared that his nation was falling behind and needed to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world. There were also political considerations. The Soviet Union was behind the more advanced capitalist nations, which Stalin and the Bolsheviks considered hostile, that’s why the Soviet Union couldn’t afford to expand its industry at a slower rate, according to Stalin.
He was deeply committed to socialism, or at least to socialism, as he understood it. He was afraid that a gradual restoration of capitalism might occur and was determined to stop it. Therefore, he was determined to modernize the Soviet Union to demonstrate the superiority of communism over capitalism by providing that a modern USSR could out produce the leading capitalist nations. He called and appealed to the paradox or contradiction that the Soviet Union was, on the one hand, the most advanced and united type of state power in the world, and at the same time “the most backward economy of peasants”. The main point that he was trying to get across then was that, the final victory of socialism in Soviet Union (again back to the “socialism in one country” idea) could not be achieved as long as this paradox existed. Stalin summarizes his ideas by what later will become a famous quote “ either we do this, or we shall be forced to the wall”.
Stalin’s speech on the “Industrialization of the country” helps the reader to develop a better understanding of the historical period, as well as its more specific conditions. For example, it highlights that at the time Soviet Union was seriously technologically backwards, especially in comparison to most western countries. It also brings to the reader’s attention the fact that at the time, Russia was mainly agrarian based economy and a country of peasants.
The race to industrialize was,...