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Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, new powers slowly rose to replace him. One of those people was Joseph Stalin. Stalin was a young revolutionary that fought for independence, and slowly rose through the ranks of the Communist Party, and became the general secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. After Lenin’s death, he and Leon Trotsky fought to be the next dictator of the Soviet Union. By the late 1920s, Stalin had effectively become the dictator of the Soviet Union. He launched series of reforms in attempt to make the Soviet Union a world power, and wanted to turn the Soviet Union into a socialist state as soon as possible. I think he was a good ruler in building up the nation’s power. He accomplished many of these goals that he set, but forgot about the life of the people (Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)).
When Stalin ruled, heavy industry was emphasized over the production of consumer goods. He wanted to industrialize the nation, and have the Soviet Union become a socialist state as soon as possible One of the first actions he took was launching the first Five-Year Plan in 1928. Stalin said that the Soviet Union is behind other capitalist countries by fifty to one hundred years and urged the people to overpass the other nations in ten years time. He planned to set up a command economy, and increase the industrial production of steel, coal, oil, iron, and electrical power. Targets for industries were set and the coal and steel production rates grew. By the end of the first and second Five-Year plans, the USSR was a powerful industrial state and its economic position was strengthened, but the people’s lives were forgotten .
Due to the rapid industrialization that was happening, increased food productions were also needed to support the rising need of food for workers and to buy the needed machinery. To support this need, Stalin planned an agricultural reform to collectivize the farms and to stop privatization of land. In collectivization, farms are joined together to farm land, sharing tools and methods of farming. At first, the people rebelled against this plan because it was carried out by force, and the people destroyed livestock and crops.
Then the agriculture gradually built up. Enough food was being produced to feed the rapid industrialization, and modern ways of farming were finally being used. Livestock and wheat productions rose. However, during this time, the people were heavily taxed, food was taken away to feed the city workers which resulted in starvation, and opposition toward the plan was eliminated (The Period of Stalin’s Rule). Kulaks were also almost completely destroyed. Opposition against Stalin was eliminated, many of whom were educated and able to work (The Period of Stalin’s Rule).
Stalin’s plans were able to reform the nation, and bring the nation into power again. The five-year plans were successful in industrializing the nation, and the collectivization provided food for the industrial growth. However, they were accomplished harshly, and human rights were not put into account, and people suffered from starvation, purges, harsh ruling, and were forced to follow in the plans. Stalin ruled successfully in industrializing the nation and building its power, but not successfully in raising the quality of life. Overall, I think he was a good ruler.
“Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953).” BBC-History- Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953). 4 November 2008 < http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/stalin_joseph.shtml>.
“The Period of Stalin’s Rule (1924-53).” The Period of Stalin’s Rule. 4 November 2008 .