The Second Five-Year Plan (January 1933-December 1937) was Stalin’s next attempt at transforming the Soviet Union. The main objectives of the Plan centered around improving the nation’s industry. When first drafted, the plans followed the “same ‘great leap forward’ psychology” that was present in the First Plan. This mentality did not last, however, as the Second Five-Year Plan was downsized due to famine and other “terrible events” that occurred in 1933 (Freeze 358). As a result, the new Plan focussed on “assimilation and mastery of technology” instead of simply increasing production overall. Moreover, as stated by Vyacheslav Molotov, the Second Five-Year Plan took aim at the “elimination of the struggle between town and country” and “a higher level of cultural development” (Turin 62).
This Second Plan, along with its predecessor, impacted the peasant-turned-workers in multiple different ways. While the rise in workers who were peasants in the past is perhaps the most obvious change, another apparent difference was the increase in discipline that these new workers faced from the Soviet state. This punishment, often referred to by Bolsheviks as “labour discipline,” was dominant throughout the 1930s as millions of peasants now joined the new-look workforce.
Another impact of the Second Five-Year Plan was a massive decrease in the output and quality of agriculture crop return during the 1930s. This came while the other industries prepared for war by producing weapons and machinery. In turn, “investments in the collective and state farm system remained woefully minuscule” (Freeze 372). This contributed in shifting the movement away from “building socialism” and towards “Stalinism” (Freeze 373).
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: a History. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Stalin. “From the First to the Second Five-Year Plan: A Symposium by V. Molotov STALIN, L. Kaganovich, Oseph on Lorne Bair Rare Books.” Lorne Bair Rare Books, International Publishers, www.lornebair.com/pages/books/29679/v-molotov-stalin-l-kaganovich-oseph/from-the-first-to-the-second-five-year-plan-a-symposium.
Turin, S. P. “The Second Five Year Plan.” The Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 11, no. 31, 1932, pp. 58–64. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4202738. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.