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The First Five-Year Plan of the USSRmarker was a list of economic goals that was designed to strengthen the country's economy between 1928 and 1932, making the nation both militarily and industrially self-sufficient. "We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us," Stalin said in 1931, making his motivation in formulating the plan much clearer and more pressing later on. Launched by the Soviet regime in 1928 and administered by the Gosplan, the First Five-Year Plan employed tactics such as keeping detailed records on every item manufactured in the nation and shipping it to where it needed to go at the right time.

One of the primary objectives of Stalin's First Five-Year Plan was to build up Russiamarker's heavy industry. In 1929, Stalin edited the plan to include the creation of kolkhoz, collective farming systems that stretched over thousands of acres of land and had hundreds of peasants working on them. The creation of collective farms essentially destroyed the kulaks as a class, and also brought about the slaughter of millions of farm animals that peasants would rather kill than give up to the gigantic farms. This disruption led to a famine in Ukraine as well as areas of the Northern Caucasus, known as Holodomor, that killed millions of people. Besides the ruinous loss of life, the introduction of collective farms allowed peasants to use tractors to farm the land, unlike before when most had been too poor to own a tractor. Government owned Machine Tractor Stations were set up throughout the USSR and peasants were allowed to use these public tractors to farm the land, increasing the food output per peasant. Peasants were allowed to sell any surplus food from the land. However the government planners failed to take notice of local situations. In 1932 grain production was 32% below average; to add to this problem procurements of food were up by 44%. Agricultural production was so disrupted that famine broke out in several districts.

The introduction of collectivization spurred industrialization in the nation as millions of people, of the 80% of the total population that was engaged in agriculture, moved from the country into the city. Despite many of the targets being unbelievably high (a 250% increase in overall industrial development, with a 330% percent expansion in heavy industry), remarkable results were achieved:

  • Pig iron: 6.2 million tons (compared to 3.3 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 8.0 million tons)
  • Steel: 5.9 million tons (compared to 4.0 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 8.3 million tons)
  • Coal: 64.3 million tons (compared to 35.4 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 68.0 million tons)
  • Oil: 21.4 million tons (compared to 11.7 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 19.0 million tons)
  • Electricity: 13.4 billion kWh (compared to 5.0 billion kWh in 1928, and a prescribed target of 17.0 billion kWh)


However, while the plan encouraged industrialization, it damaged Soviet agriculture to such an extent that it didn't recover until after the Second World War. The plan was considered by the Soviet leadership so successful in this sense that the second Five-Year Plan was declared in 1932, lasting until 1937.

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