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Plan of Investigation

Essay by   •  March 6, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,941 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,159 Views

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A. Plan of Investigation

The investigation evaluates the accurateness of the foreign policy carried out by the Russian dictator Stalin between the years of 1926 to 1939. With the purpose of assessing the accurateness of Stalin's foreign policy, the investigation evaluates Stalin's intentions throughout the established Five Year Plans in Russia. Stalin's role as a leader is investigated based on the way he dealt with his foreign policy and how his policy affects the population as a whole. Biographical books are primarily used to evaluate how Stalin's foreign policy was carried out and the consequences of such reform. The book Stalin and the Soviet Union written by Stephen J. Lee and the book Joseph Stalin written by Robert D. Warth are then analyzed carefully for verification of their accurateness on the information given and biased implications.

B. Summary of Evidence

Before Stalin was put to reign in Russia, the U.S.S.R was mostly a bucolic land that concentrated on an agricultural occupation. Russia's agricultural overproduction of grain had not been dissuaded as much compared to other European countries by 1917. The provisional government had decided to pay the peasants for their surplus, but their compensation was decreasing in value with each pay. This caused many discontent peasants to discontinue their overproduction because they figured that they were not benefiting from it economically. However, the former leader Vladimir Lenin had established the New Economic Plan (NEP) in order to restore order and act as a mediator between the peasants and the socialist revolution, which at the time socialism was in distress due to the government policy of War Communism. The NEP allowed farmers to work with other employees in the open market by selling food, which benefited the peasants and especially the Kulaks.

In April 3, 1922 Joseph Stalin was chosen as General Secretary of the Central Committee and eventually replaced Lenin after he passed away. As a powerful body, he tried to put "socialism in one country" (Warth55), which concentrated on national self-interest and social reform. At first, Stalin seemed to support he continuation of the NEP by revising it with rapid industrialization. But from 1926 to 1927, an agricultural crisis occurred that only seventeen percent of grain produced reached the cities. According to Lee, this led Stalin to come up with his Five Year Plan in October1, 1928, which was a "policy of compulsory collectivization of peasant land". The Five Year Plan, organized by Gosplan, was designed to transform the industrial base of the Soviet Union.

The Five Year Plan concentrated on liquidating the Kulaks as a class and collectivizing farms to produce large socially-conducted farms. By March 1930, over half of the twenty five million peasant households were brought into the collectives, which was a "phenomenal record achieved at the cost of agrarian chaos and civil war villages" (Warth61). From the years of 1930 to 1941, the collectivization holdings increased from 23.6 percent to 98 percent. In "Russia's Man of Steel", Stalin wanted to rebuild Russia into a rapid industry build-up that included steel, machinery, oil, and hydroelectric power. He wanted to get rid of land ownerships to establish millions of new factory workers and transform regular private farming into a governmental monopoly. Nevertheless, there was little consistency with the plan. Local managers had to protect themselves by exaggerating their needs for investments and hoarding materials to ensure supplies. "Soviets lacked interrelated parallel patterns of developing administrative structures through private enterprise" (Lee45). This created shortages and lack of overall balance due to unrealistic demands and lack of synchronization.

However, this method of promoting industrialization contained low wages and inequality of payment, extreme shortage of food, accidents during labor, and unfair purges towards anyone that was suspected for political disloyalty. This sacrifice led people to want liberalism back into their lives at which they considered it a "primitive socialist accumulation." Peasants suffered due to social disorganization and low agricultural productivity. Millions of peasants were exiled to uncongenial Siberian lands where they were often shot and sent to labor camps. Stalin's land reform led to a casualty of ten million kulaks on top of other millions of peasantry deaths. The Five Year Plan lowered the living standard of the Russians to the subsistence level. Despite the presence of surplus within the country, capital still lacked which still left part of the Five Year Plan's goals unaccomplished.

C. Evaluation of Sources

Joseph Stalin written by Robert D. Warth, professor of the University of Kentucky, is a systematic biography on the Russian dictator and his contributions to the Soviet Union through the projection of Stalinism and his variety of policies within Russia. The purpose of this biography is to "supply a long-felt need within the modest scope of the present series" (Warth: Preface) of Stalinism and the Soviet Union. The book is exposed to Warth's optimistic interpretation of the effects that Stalin had on Russia. Despite the fact that Warth acknowledges Stalin's brutality towards the Soviet peasantry, the author shows a biased perspective in favor of Stalinism. It may be possible that the biography accounts vastly in favor of Stalin and the positive outcomes of his policies and limit an equal discussion of the pros and cons of Stalinism in the era of the late 1920s and 1930s. The information within the text can be affected due to the publishing of some of its sources. One of the sources that were extracted for this biography was Stalin's Works, which had an English translation. Some information may have been misinterpreted in translation, affecting on the composition of Warth's work. Other works were used although it was incomplete, which may alter negatively the accurateness of the biography and decrease its value of the context.

On the other hand, Stephen J. Lee's Stalin and the Soviet Union concentrates on a meticulous examination of the domestic and foreign policy carried by the Soviet leader Stalin. Lee concentrates on an analysis of historical information formatted through questions and cited answers to provide the information as a guide and use sources that focus directly on the possible pros and cons of Stalin's way to carry out his policies to the U.S.S.R. Lee makes a multitude of references for each chapter in his book, which indicates that he had spent a lot time to carefully sort out his analysis with as

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