In “The Tasks of Economic Executives” of 1931 and in “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan” Parts I, II and III in 1933, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin outlined the motivations and the result of his policy of rapid industrialization of the USSR. Discuss the reasons given by Stalin in “The Tasks” as to why it was imperative that the Soviet Union industrialize as quickly as possible and what were the initial results of Stalin’s policy as expressed in his speech on “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan,” Parts I, II and III? Stalin claimed that Russia had a long defeat of invasion, defeat and exploitation due to what he called Russian “backwardness,” and that “weak countries become defeated countries.” His critics, however, have responded that this was an excuse for his ruthless rule. Which of these views seem correct, and can both be true in your judgment?
After Stalin’s death, however, Soviet leader Khrushchev denounced him for a long list of crimes. What according to this denunciation were Stalin’s crimes, why in Khrushchev’s view did Stalin behave in this was manner, and what were some of the consequences of those crimes?
Finally, examine the fall of European communism as discussed in the 2009 reflections of Mikhail Gorbachev in The Nation magazine on the resignations of Communist regimes in Europe between 1989-91 and in chapters 10 and 14 of Edward Berenson’s Europe in the Modern World. What were the reasons behind the decline and fall of European Communism according to Berenson’s chapters on the subject? Finally, why did Soviet leader Gorbachev decide to not interfere in the collapse of European Communist regimes outside the Soviet Union after decades of Soviet military backing for these regimes?
The on-line readings for this assignment are available at:
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1931/02/04.htm (The Tasks of Economic Executives, 1931)
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1933/01/07.htm (Results of the First Five Year Plan, 1933) Only Parts I, II and III are required for this essay.
http://www.historyguide.org/europe/khrush_speech.html (Khrushchev’s Speech Denouncing Stalin, 1956)
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