Although glory was probably one reason why Stalin embarked on the five-year plans, I do not think that it was the only reason they were carried out. There are several other reasons why Stalin would have proposed and used these five-year plans. Stalin wanted to destroy capitalism, he wanted Russia to become an economic power, Russia was surrounded by threatening countries such as Poland, he wanted to prove communism worked by making Russia an economic power and he wanted Russia to come into its own without help from other countries.
Some people did think that Stalin was not a true communist as he brought many western ideas into Russia in terms of industry and farming, however it was these ideas that lead to Russia becoming stronger. If Stalin could make Russia a world economic power, he could use this to help destroy capitalism. By raising Russia’s economic and political power, he could gain ground on the rest of the world and try and spread communist ideas everywhere.
This would make Stalin seem very bold and true communist at heart and would make people see him as though he had gone where other communists had never gone before. In this way, the five year plans did being glory to Stalin and made him seem a visionary in the ways of communism. If Stalin made Russia an economic power in the world, he would counter act many of problems that hampered Russia from the beginning.
If Russia’s economy was raised, not only would it prove to the world that communism really does work, it would allow Russia to stand up against surrounding threats like Poland, Japan, France, Britain and the US and it would also show that Russia did not need other countries’ help to come into its own. As many countries from the West were threatening Russia, Stalin needed to prepare Russia for war if it was to come to that. And it was the five-year plans that moved Russia towards becoming a stronger country than it was.
Although it may just be seen as a glory hunting phase to make Russia an economic power, it was said by Stalin that, ‘We are 50 to 100 years being the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in 10 years. Either we do it or we shall be crushed. ‘ And Stalin was very right in saying this. Stalin embarked on these five-year plans because he did not want his home country to fail and fall to many of the Western countries and ideas that threatened it.
He needed to industrialise to complete his cry for ‘Socialism in One Country’. Also, as the wall street crash had led to the rise of the anti communist Hitler in Germany, Stalin very much needed to prepare Russia for what was to come. He needed to industrialise and be ready for whatever the West had to throw at him and Russia. Although all there were many reasons for Stalin using the five-year plans, all of them would also give him a certain degree of glory among Russian people and other communist followers.
If Stalin destroyed capitalism, made Russia a huge economic power, eliminated all the threats around him and proved that communism worked, he would be seen as a hero in the eyes of Russians and communists alike. And although the many reasons that Stalin had to industrialise are all very feasible and true, it would have also been true that Stalin wanted to make Russia strong and powerful to make himself look strong and powerful to those he led with his ideas and five-year plans.
So, in conclusion, the five-year plans were not just devised to being glory to Stalin as there were many other reasons for Russia to industrialise at that time, but it would have been at least a small part of the five-year plans to make Stalin look very much like the man who, by himself, proved communism and made Russia strong. In that way, it can be seen that the five-year plans had something to do with glory but were mainly to actually make Russia strong and to show people that communism worked. (2)
I do not think that the achievements of the five-year plan were only viewed as ‘bringing glory to Stalin’. The five-year plans achieved a lot in terms of industrialisation and for Russia as a country. Oil production was increased by 3 times, coal and steel production went up by 4 times the amount, all peasants in Russia were tutored and became literate and good with numbers, almost all areas of Russian industry was increased by some amount and farmers were given tractors and other heavy machinery to help them produce crops.
Although all these things would have brought glory to Stalin as a result, they did still help Russia a lot in terms of its economy and place in the world. The five-year plans really did make Russia a much stronger country. Not only did the five-year plans allow its economy to raise and allow the people of Russia to have their own money, but it showed the public what they could do if they were put in the right direction and put all their heart into it. Another way in which the five-year plans can be viewed is from a propaganda angle.
I think that there are two ways in which you can see this propaganda campaign that Stalin embarked on; I think it could either be interpreted as a plain attempt to make people see Stalin as a great figure, but it could also be seen as a way to encourage workers and the Russian people to meet the targets of the five-year plan, to give them someone to look up to. I think personally, that Stalin was trying to raise his people’s morale and give them something to work towards. A very good example of how Stalin used propaganda to make workers work harder was the story of Alexei Stakhanov.
It was said that this man, by himself, in one single shift mined 102 tonnes of coal from the mine he was working at. This was fourteen times the amount of coal a miner was expected to mine by himself in one shift. Of course this story was a set up, but it worked incredibly well as propaganda. Many workers looked up to Stakhanov and worked harder than they ever had to try and earn the prestigious award of being named a Stakhanovite. With this title came better housing, free holidays and cash prizes. Any worker in their right mind would most definitely want to have these privileges for both themselves and their families.
However, some people did not like these Stakhanovites as they increased the amount of work each worker had to achieve in a day’s work. Although they could have complained, they most probably would have just been punished and the punishments enforced by the government were ones that workers wanted to avoid at all costs. Propaganda also gave the people of Russia a head figure to look up to and to give them an idea of what they could amount to. In all his propaganda posters, Stalin is shown to be friendly to all peoples of the world and of Russia.
He might be shown giving speeches to the workers or he might be shown embracing children in his arms. This gave the people of Russia a ‘father figure’ to look up to and admire. If all they had done before was to be ignored by their government and officials, they could relate to Stalin and it would make them think that Stalin likes us and that anything was possible. In conclusion, although the five-year plans did bring glory to Stalin, the fact that it inspired the Russian public to work harder than ever and the fact that the whole Russian economy was raised by quite a great deal proves that glory was not the only way in which it was seen.
I think that the only real way to inspire a nation to work like they did during the five-year plans is to make someone a figure to look up to, to raise morale. In this case it was Stalin, and although, yes the five-year plans did show Stalin to be a very high and mighty figure who really cared about the Russian public, it was this that helped a whole nation industrialise.