The Great Turn and the growing industrial scene in the early 1930’s

The Great Turn was the turning point for the Russian economy changing from the New Economic Policy that was instated by Lenin after the multiple revolutions of 1917 and 1922 and that of the New Five year plan that drove the Russian economy into industrialization. Without the change of policy by the Russian government, they would have been completely unprepared for the start of the Second World War. Much of the reasoning that caused the first five year plan was driven out of a fear that the West was gearing up for another invasion of the Soviet Union as many countries began to cut diplomatic ties. These fears drove in the need for Russia to rapidly industrialize and also increase their agricultural production.  There were many effects to the pressure of the Five year plan both politically, socially, and economically. One of the major changes that the first Five Year Plan brought in was the collectivization of farms across Russia in order to increase the production of grains for the nation. This changed cause many social changes for the peasants that worked across the vast plains of Russia. Under the Five Year Plan the leadership of the Kulaks were completely taken out of power as a way to free the peasants from servitude but in generally those that were not put in jail or killed by Stalin’s purges then died from starvation. By forcing collectivization on the peasants many people decided to kill of livestock to try to gain something from their animals instead of putting them into communal farms were they would not get any monetary benefit from them. Also grain production fell by almost half during these years because the lack of leadership and lack of monetary benefit. Also looking up to the poster that is at the top of the post was created by Varvara Stepanova in 1932. This poster was made as a proganda item that depicts the successes of the firs Five Year plan. It’s bold colors show soviet patriotism and has a large depiction of Lenin as a way to pay homage to leader of the great revolution. In red you can see the electric tower which is a symbol of the accomplishments of industrialization that came along because of the Five Year plan. Those benefits were not as felt to those farmers that lived outside of the major urban centers of Russia.

“Stepanova, The Results of the First Five-Year Plan,” accessed February 27, 2016,

8 thoughts on “The Great Turn and the growing industrial scene in the early 1930’s”

  1. Great post. I liked how you outlined the advances of the new economic plans within Russia and how they helped industrialize and modernize the country. While this was generally a good thing, you did a great job showing that yes the country was in fact able to modernize and be prepared for the coming war, but at the expense of thousands of peasants, who were either killed or simply starved to death due to the communal system.

  2. Stalin’s First Five Year Plan served as the metaphorical kick that got the burgeoning Soviet Union on track to first, industrialize, and second begin down the path towards a more communist state. It rendered inert the policies of the NEP and, as you said, pushed the collectivization of agriculture. You did a good job of breaking down the First Five Year Plan and identifying the direction that it aimed to take Russia.

  3. Good analysis. Collectivization was probably one of the worst things Stalin could have ordered. It makes no sense for you to bring your hard earned treasures to a farm with a bunch of people who may not know how to be successful peasants, just to loose all of your livestock. Plus where is the incentive to produce more if everything you produce, you loose?

  4. Stepanova’s poster is a really compelling image! Thanks so much for pointing out the importance of the First Five year Plan and economic modernization in general to the eventual victory in World War II.

  5. Great post. I also like how you highlight the significance of the first Five Year Plan in industrializing the new Soviet state and preparing for World War II. I believe that Stalin, through the first Five Year Plan, intended on industrializing Soviet Russia to prove to the rest of the world that their economic system worked and was ultimately a demonstration of Soviet power that was key to successes in World War II.

  6. Great post! I did read that this first five year plan was a success for numerous decades, it served a major role in forming the Soviet Union as a leading industrial nation. The consequence of the plan, with the ‘collectivization,’ was famine. In 1932 hundreds of people died.

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