the prime motives for the Soviet modernisation programme under Stalin

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Last updated: November 13, 2019

These sources seem to agree that the prime motives for the Soviet modernisation programme under Stalin were the same as those of Witte and the Tsarist regime; however this is only up to a certain extent.The sources agree that the causes of the modernisation of Russia were based on the country’s economic goals. “The economic relations of Russia to western Europe are fully comparable to the relations of colonial countries with their mother countries” This extract from a letter to the Tsar from Witte (source one) compares Russia to a colony.Sources 1 and 2 clearly refer to the need to industrialise or face being further exploited by more economically dominant countries. Witte argues that some progress has been made but there is a need to further extend this programme.

As the initiator of the industrialising plan Witte could be appealing to the tsar to continue his plan and providing him with encouraging news.Stalin seems to share some of Witte’s concern for industrial development although he conjures up the repeated historical invasions as a justification for his Five Year Plans. But within source five Stalin appears to have woven a more complex case together that seems to be founded not only on economic development but also the development of the party. Written at the height of his struggle with the RightSource two, by Witte suggests that the modernisation programme aimed to achieve economic independence for Russia and would do so by establishing industry. “Without her own industry (Russia) cannot achieve genuine economic independence” The source continues to say that this was a desirable quality for the country to possess because “only countries, which enjoy economic independence, have also the capacity to fully unfold their political might”Therefore this implies that the modernisation programme was based on political ideology and according to source five concentrated on “the building of socialism” in Russia.

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The speech also indicates that there’s a political agenda within the party; where a change in personnel is necessary through modernisation “It will merely rid the Party of people who are getting in its way”.The more recent source three appears to raise another motive for Witte’s plans. In referring to the military value of the Trans Siberian railroad “Witte’s railway boom of the 1890’s had an obvious strategic dimension in the Trans Siberian project that gave Russia much enhanced diplomatic and military leverage in the Far East” therefore Russia was given a political and military advantage by this move.Source three by J.

Bromley in 2002, mentions how “There is no doubt that the pattern of Russia’s industrialisation reflected its military and strategic policies”. This source can be viewed as being more accurate because the author has no political agenda and is remote from Tsarist doctrine and the source was written in the current Revisionist period where historians look more critically at the past.The case for military superiority was once again put forward in source six as to why Russia was undergoing modernisation in the soviet period. Stalin highlighted “the continual beatings she suffered” at the hands of her enemies. Stalin believed that the country must advance soon or be crushed. This relates the country’s economic weaknesses to its military needs.

To conclude, these sources do agree that the aims of the Soviet modernisation programme under Stalin and the programme run during the Tsarist regime were similar. These aims were basically to achieve economic, political and military goals. All of these motives were interlinked with one another and therefore reliant upon one another.

However there are some differences; which are to be expected as the two policies were introduced in different periods and by different individuals. But there were other reasons as to why the programme was established under Stalin, these were based around gaining power for himself and ridding the party of certain members, who he perceived as a threat. Therefore the aim of Stalin’s policies was much more political, whereas Witte’s had more of an unintentional political impact. Therefore the motives weren’t entirely the same in both periods and the extent of the sources support is limited.

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