Stalin 1929-1941 Daniel W. Blackmon IB HL History Coral Gables Senior High
Grains Collection Crisis • The harvest of 1927 was average, but collections were well below normal, which resulted in virtually no grain exports, which in turn was the means by which industrialization was to be paid for.
Grains Collection Crisis • Stalin’s response was to demand the resumption of forcible requisitions.
Grains Collection Crisis • Most of the grain seized came from the middle peasants, or the vast majority of all peasants. From the peasants’ point of view, this was a return to War Communism, and they responded as before, by refusing to sow any more than they needed themselves.
Grains Collection Crisis • By early 1929, food rationing had to be introduced . Seizures led to sharply increased tension in the countryside, and the murder of procurement officers.
Grains Collection Crisis • Stalin blamed the problem on political opposition rather than an economic problem • Stalin blamed the “kulaks” (Tucker 82-83)
Grains Collection Crisis • At this time, there were only 3.9% of all peasants who could be reasonably classified as a Kulak (this is by Soviet definitions, and computations by Soviet historians) This compares to 15% prior to 1917.
Grains Collection Crisis • A kulak was anyone who farmed from between 25 to forty sown acres. • 62.7% of all peasants (up from 20% prior to 1917) were middle peasants, farming 5 to 25 sown acres. (Bullock 208)
Grains Collection Crisis • “Stalin now advanced the proposition, henceforth central to his ideology, that class war must intensify with progress toward socialism.” (Tucker 83)
Grains Collection Crisis • Stalin postulated that increased progress towards socialism would lead to increased resistance, which would aggravates the class-struggle--IE. Provide the justification for the continuous acceleration of repressive measures.
First Five Year Plan (1 FYP) • Stalin now pushed through the first Five Year Plan, which called for accelerated industrialization.
Stalin’s Motivation • Speech of February 4, 1931 • “It is sometimes asked whether it is possible to slow down the tempo somewhat, to put a check on the movement.
Stalin’s Motivation • “No, comrades, it is not possible. The tempo must not be reduced! On the contrary, we must increase it . . . .
Stalin’s Motivation • We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do so, or we shall go under.”
First Five Year Plan (1 FYP) • He was opposed by Bukharin, but had the support on this issue by a number of individuals who became important: Sergei Kirov, Vyacheslev Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, and Anastas Mikoyan
First Five Year Plan (1 FYP) The plan called for 17.5% of sown areas should be collective. The plan would be accelerated, and would call for 230% increase in capital goods production in 4 years. (Bullock 213-4)
First Five Year Plan (1 FYP) • Stalin reimposes forced grain requisitions. Stalin blamed the “kulaks” for the grain crisis. A kulak was anyone who farmed from between 25 to forty sown acres, that is, a so-called “rich peasant.”
First Five Year Plan (1 FYP) • (By Soviet figures, only 3.9% classified under this definition. In actuality, a kulak was anyone Stalin said was a kulak.
1 FYP • Target figures for the 1 FYP were set arbitrarily, and then revised upwards. A decision was also made to achieve the Five Year Plan goals in four years.
Shakhty Show Trials • Stalin ordered the fabrication of a case against 53 industrial technicians, accusing them of conspiracy--in cahoots with Polish, German, and French agents and provocateurs--to wreck the coal industry. Torture was used to obtain confessions.
Shakhty Show Trials • A public “show trial” was conducted. A show trial was a means of propaganda as well as a quasi-legal device to execute alleged enemies of the state. Western rules of evidence were often ignored, and the verdict and sentence were decided in advance. The prosecutor was the despicable Andrei Vyshinski
Shakhty Show Trials The point of the Shakhty Show Trial was that the threat was not only external (remember the war scare going on? Cf. Above) but internal as well. This required greater control at home. (Tucker 78-9)
Shakhty Show Trials • Stalin declared, “ ‘We have internal enemies. We have external enemies. This, comrades, must not be forgotten for a single moment.’ “ (Bullock 210)
The Right Deviation is Purged • The Central Committee Plenum of 1929 censured Bukharin and Tomsky, and stripped them of their offices with Pravda, the Comintern, and the trade unions.
The Right Deviation is Purged “Right deviation” was declared to be the chief danger to the state, and Bukharin and Tomsky both endorsed this statement.
The Right Deviation is Purged • Late in 1929, the Plenum required Bukharin and Tomsky to confess their error. Bukharin was then expelled from the Politburo.
Collectivization and “Elimination of the Kulaks as a Class” • Vyacheslav Molotov and Kaganovich supervised collectivization. An army of thugs descended upon the villages.
Collectivization and “Elimination of the Kulaks as a Class” • Peasants responded as they had under War Communism: they reduced their crop acreage, hid their food, and slaughtered their own livestock rather than let the government take it away. A severe food shortage and livestock shortage resulted.
Collectivization and “Elimination of the Kulaks as a Class” By their own figures (always highly suspect) 63,000 families were executed or exiled, 150,000 families deported, and 396,000-852,000 households allowed to remain outside the collectives (that is, on land that could not be cultivated.) (McCauley 25)
Collectivization and “Elimination of the Kulaks as a Class” • If a household is estimated at 5 members, this is between 3,045,000 and 4,625,000 persons condemned to death by execution, deportation to labour camps, or slow starvation.
Collectivization • “In 1929-1932 the Soviet Communist Party under Stalin’s leadership . . . struck a double blow at the peasantry of the USSR as a whole: dekulakization and collectivization.
Collectivization • “Dekulakizaton meant the killing, or deportation to the Arctic with their families, of millions of peasants, in principle the better-off, in practice the most influential and the most recalcitrant to the Party’s plans.
Collectivization • “Collectivization meant the effective abolition of private property in land, and the concentration of the remaining peasantry in ‘collective’ farms under Party control.” (Conquest 3-4)
Collectivization • Description by Sholokov, The Soil Upturned, 1934 of peasant response:
Collectivization • “Stock was slaughtered every night in Gremyachy Log. Hardly had dusk fallen when the muffled, short bleats of sheep, the death-squeels of pigs, or the lowing of calves could be heard.
Collectivization • “Both those who had joined the kolkhoz and individual farmers killed their stock. . . . . ‘Kill it, it’s not ours anymore . . . . ‘ ‘Kill, they’ll take it for meat anyway. . . . ‘ ‘Kill, you won’t get meat in the kolkhoz’ crept the insidious rumors
Collectivization • “And they killed. They ate till they could eat no more. Young and old suffered from stomach ache. At dinner time, tables groaned under boiled and roasted meat.” (qtd in Nove 164)
Collectivization • “Livestock losses were disastrous everywhere.” (Nove 165)
Collectivization • “They would threaten people with guns, as if they were under a spell, calling small children ‘kulak bastards,’ screaming ‘bloodsuckers!’ . . .
Collectivization • “They had sold themselves on the idea that the so-called ‘kulaks’ were pariahs, untouchables, vermin. They would not sit down at a ‘parasite’s’ table; the ‘kulak’ child was loathsome, the young ‘kulak’ girl was lower than a louse.
Collectivization • “They looked on the so-called ‘kulaks’ as cattle, swine, loathsome, repulsive; they had no souls; they stank; they all had venereal diseases; they were enemies of the people and they exploited the labour of others . . . .
Collectivization • “There was no pity for them. The were not human beings. . . . . “ • Vasily Grossman, Forever Flowing, fictional account published in New York in 1972.
Collectivization • “In 1932, faced with mas pillage of ‘socialist’ property by the demoralized and often hungry peasantry, the following draconian legislation was adopted, as an amendment to Article 58 of the Criminal Code”
Collectivization • “pilfering on the railways and of kolkhoz property (including the harvest in the fields, stocks, animals, etc.) was to be punished by
Collectivization • “ ‘the maximum means of social defense, shooting, or, in the case of extenuating circumstances, deprivation of freedom [I.e. prison or camp] for not less than ten years, with confiscation of all property.’