Essay on Stalin's Regime: To what extent did Stalin's rule have a devastating impact on the Soviet Union and its people?

Essay by joeycharltonHigh School, 10th gradeA+, August 2006

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Stalin's rule over the USSR from 1929 onwards saw his country and his people devastated as he forced them to industrialise, ruthlessly eliminated his opponents and lead his county to a costly victory in the Second World War. Although his leadership was brutal his ideas to industrialise were successful, if he had not drove his country to industrialise defeat in the Second World War would be certain. The purges also offered small opening for peasants and workers to become involved in the running of the USSR.

Industrialization had a devastating impact on the people of the Soviet Union, although the country benefited from the modernization. In 1927 the Gosplan (the state planning commission) developed a series of plans to drastically transform the economy. These plans aimed to ensure that the workers reached certain goals. Industry, agriculture, energy, public services, housing, railways, canals, trade, transport and education were all taken into consideration and the people of the USSR were forced to begin this breakneck transformation.

Stalin's famous words 'We must make up this lag in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us;' inspired many to work hard and achieve the goals set before them; however, expectations were high and many workers began to hate the new push for industrialisation. These plans spanned over 5 years and the secret police introduced work practices that required workers to work harder for less. In 1939 the government introduced the 'uninterrupted week', requiring each worker to work seven days a week. Absences, tardiness and unproductiveness were not acceptable from workers. Labour camps were erected and workers who did not meet the government's standards would be sent to them and forced to work in a harsher environment. The conditions of these camps were so extreme, in some areas the temperature dropped to...