MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE



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From Stalin to Khrushchev

 

On February 9, 1946, Stalin presented to his electors a summary of the anti-fascist war:

`The war was a great school in which all of the people's forces were successfully put to the test.'

Stalin indirectly attacked the militarist conceptions that pretended that the Red Army was the main factor in the victory. The idea that the Army was above the Party, popular during Tukhachevsky's  time, had resurfaced in Zhukov's  circle at the end of the war. Stalin, of course, recognized the enormous achievements of the Army but, `above all, it was our Soviet social system that triumphed .... The war showed that our Soviet social system is a truly popular system.' Second, victory is due to `our Soviet political system .... Our multinational state resisted all the war's tests and proved its vitality.'

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Staline, Discours 9 février 1946, uvres (Éditions NBE, 1975), vol. XIV, pp. 189--191.

It would be a mistake, Stalin continued, to think `that we owe our triumph uniquely to the courage of our troops'. The army's heroism would have been in vain without the huge numbers of tanks, canons and munitions that the people made for the soldiers. And this incredible production could not have taken place without industrialization, `accomplished in the excessively short period of thirteen years', and without collectivization, which ended, `in a short period, the permanent state of backwardness of our agriculture'. Stalin also recalled the struggle led by the Trotskyists  and the Bukharinists  against industrialization and collectivization:

`Many important members of our Party systematically pulled the Party backwards and tried in every way to push it on to the ``ordinary'' road of capitalist development.'

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Ibid. , pp. 193--196.

Stalin therefore focused, correctly, on the key rôle played by the Party and by the working masses in the preparation for defence and for war.

In February 1946, the new Five Year Plan was approved.

During its retreat, the German Army had deliberately destroyed and burned anything that could be of use to the Soviets: 2,000 cities, 70,000 villages and factories employing four million workers were totally or partially destroyed.

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Maurice Dobb, Soviet Economic Development (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966. 6th edition, p. 301.

In the invaded regions, the destruction incurred meant 40 to 60 per cent of the potential coal, electricity, steel, metals and machinery production. Some estimated that the Soviet Union would need several decades before it could recover from the wounds the Nazis had inflicted on its industrial apparatus. Yet, after three incredible years, the 1948 industrial production surpassed that of 1940.

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Ibid. , p. 313.

With respect to the base year 1940, coal production reached an index of 123, electricity 130, laminates 102, cars and trucks 161, machine tools 154 and cement 114.

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Bettelheim,  op. cit. , pp. 148, 151.

In 1950, at the end of the Fourth Five-Year Plan, industrial production was 73 per cent above that of 1940. Capital goods production had doubled, while consumer goods production had increased by 23 per cent.

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Dobb, op. cit. , p. 316.

The Fifth Plan, for the period 1951--1955, sought yearly industrial growth of 12 per cent. A new twist was that consumer goods production was to see a remarkable increase, of 65 per cent; capital goods were to increase by 80 per cent in five years.

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Ibid.

This change in economic policy had already been announced in Stalin's 1946 summary speech:

`We will pay particular attention to increasing production of consumer goods, to raising the standard of living of workers, by progressively reducing the cost of goods and by creating all sorts of scientific research institutes.'

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Staline, op. cit. , p. 198.





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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995