Stalin’s Speech at a Meeting of Voters of The Stalin Electoral District

Three Points:

1. Stalin started his speech with the discussion of the nature of the two world wars, that the first world war was mainly a result of rising capitalism countries’ demand for redistribution of  “sphere of influence” and that the second world war was one of anti-fascism and liberation.

2. He then brought up the point that the second world war served as a test of the Soviet Union in many ways. Constructed as a multi-national union, Soviet Union succeeded in muting the sceptic who doubted if the multi-nation political institution could survive. Soviet Union’s winning of the war also solidified the power of communism.

3. The latter part of the speech focused on the future development of Soviet Union by the next five-year plan. With the heavy industry developing first than light industry and collective agriculture instead of capitalist one, the Soviet Communist party aimed to restore the productivity to pre-war level at a relatively short time and with high efficiency.

Two Questions:

1. If the pre-war five-year plans were focusing on heavy industry as a preparation for the war, why did Stalin and the communist party still focus on heavy industry after the war? It was a quicker route for the GDP to go up but not for the overall living standard of people.

2. It seems that collectivism works quite efficiently towards a collective goal, usually a expanding one (politically or economically). But it lacks the ability to recover once it crashed (Germany, Soviet Union, even Japan during the bubble burst in the 1990s). Do you agree that eventually it is individualism that propel the society forward? Meaning, should people eventually increase their own productivity solely based on personal goal instead of a collective one?

One Observation:

The planned economic policy works against the “natural” development of industrialization by developing heavy industry first. In a time when there is no war, heavy manufacture can result in excess capacity since no one will be using the products once they are made. Stalin described a prospective future in terms of national productivity, but how this prosperity turns into individual’s life is not clear. Nevertheless, Stalin succeeded in winning votes by his plan for the country.

2 thoughts on “Stalin’s Speech at a Meeting of Voters of The Stalin Electoral District

  1. Your first question mentions that Stalin decided to continue focus on heavy industry after WWII, even though it would not improve the standard of living for people. The simple fact that it was a “quicker route for the GDP to go up” is enough reasoning the way that the USSR was being run. The overall purpose was to provide for the overall society, and that individual needs were less important compared to the increase their work could provide for society overall. Ideally, people would care less about their standard of living for the benefit of the USSR as a whole, however this step doesn’t always pan out when people are faced with the minimal standards of living that the USSR under Stalin provided.

  2. Stalin believed that war is the result of the development of economic and political forces and the uneven development of capitalist countries. When a developing country has fewer raw materials, it attempts to redistribute influence by employing armed force. Stalin stated that winning the war proved that the Soviet multinational state system works, and that the Red Army was a first class modern army. Stalin suggested that as a result of the three five-year plans of national economic development, Russia possessed the materials required for war, and that is why Russia won. Stalin viewed the Soviet method of heavy industry, nationalization of industry, and collectivizing agriculture as superior to the capitalist method of light industry. In short, Stalin continued to believe in heavy industry after the war for the Soviet to remain strong.

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