Impact of Stalin's Five-Year Plans

Impact of Stalin’s Five-Year Plans

Joseph Stalin brought to the world something unprecedented since the dawn of civilization; this “something” was a fully socialized nation. While Lenin supplied the transition from capitalism and Marx’s ideas served as a driving force, it was Stalin who fused these factors to transform Russia into the furthest reaching communist state. This radical change was centered on an economy completely controlled by the government. To guide this process, Stalin created a five-year plan; a list of goals, plans, and, quotas for a five year time table. Stalin’s five-year plans laid the foundation for the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (U.S.S.R.) to govern for nearly half a century by placing an enormous emphasis on heavy industry. Consequently, the annual agricultural output plummeted through the chaotic process of collectivization and defiance on behalf of the peasants. These side-effects to such a radical change showcased to the world the sacrifices a system of communism required.
Stalin’s personality is greatly reflected in his five-year plans. Trotsky states “He is neither a thinker, a writer, nor an orator.”   This statement was echoed by many world leaders at that time, but how can a commanding dictator lack such necessary characteristics? It was his ambition that led him to power, and maintained it. As author Eugene Lyons’ states, “He craves for power not for what it can give in luxury… but only as a basis for more power.”2 Stalin was a man who held much inside him. He was not one who acted on impulses, or gave rousing speeches to a mass of citizens. Instead, he sat in his office and focused on the needs of Russia.
One major aspect of his personality shown through his five-year plans was his focus on heavy industry. The dramatic affect World War I had on Russia was still apparent when Stalin succeeded Lenin. The burnt factories and devastated homelands for millions from the Nazi’s invasion and through their own “slash and...