Stalin’s Use of Threat

Joseph Stalin was one of the most determined, confident, demanding and powerful individuals between the late 1920’s and early 1930s’s in Russia.

  1. Who? He was the dictator of the Soviet Union who introduced the first Five-Year in the year 1928.
  2. What? The Five Year Plan concentrated on government control of the economy, agriculture and took control of farms.
  3. Where? Soviet Russia
  4. When? The plan was introduced in 1928
  5. Why? This event was so important and impacted society drastically due to Stalin’s strict rules, goals for the workers and threats.

Below is a visual of what Soviet Russia looked like during this time under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.


Stalin’s main goal of the First Five Year Plan through out the 1930’s was to expand and spread the use of iron, steel, machine-tools, electric power and transport. Why does this matter? It is because based on this website, “He demanded a 110% increase in coal production, 200% increase in iron production and 335% increase in electric power. He justified these demands by claiming that if rapid industrialization did not take place, the Soviet Union would not be able to defend itself against an invasion from capitalist countries in the west.”

His plan was to turn Soviet Russia around and transform it into an industrial superpower. Stalin was not simply making a plan and allowing the workers to choose if they want to follow it or not, but instead used the use of terror and threat. The workers who refused to follow Stalin’s rules led to exiles.


Above is an example of propaganda used to show that industrialization and production increase is running on a time constraint and that the workers need to work quickly an efficiently in order to Soviet Russia to progress and keep up with the Western countries.

Positives to the Five Year Plan : “The increases in production were dramatic. During the first five year plan (1929-1934) there was a fifty percent increase in overall industrial output and an average annual growth rate of eighteen percent. It helped the better the economy and industry.

Negatives to the Five Year Plan : Workers were shot and killed if they did not work up to their potential or follow Stalin’s demands.

This plan did make changes through out Soviet Russia, but it was not under a Democracy, but rather a horrific dictatorship and communist run country. Stalin was top 10 most evil people in all of history.

Works Cited:

11 thoughts on “Stalin’s Use of Threat

  1. I think this was a very creative and well informed post. Not only did you capture the demands Stalin imposed on Russia, but actually showed what it was like. The video link helped visualize the time of attempted expansion. The massive gains Stalin wanted for the country were indeed meant to help keep Russia on the same grounds as other modern countries. I enjoyed reading, and watching, this post.


  2. I agree with Lee — the BBC2 video you embedded offers some important insight on the contradictions of socialist construction in Magnitogorsk, and your post comments on the dynamics of the first five year plan. This week we are shifting our attentions to the 30s themselves.


  3. I thought your post was very informative and your hyperlinks gave me more insight into the Five Year Plan and Stalin’s efforts to maximize industrial efficiency and minimize labor time. Your video is also very insightful and gives an even deeper look into Soviet Russia under Stalin’s rule, and how dramatic this change really was. Although industrialization picked up by nearly 50%, I do think the negatives certainly outweigh that positive. Great post!


  4. I really found your post to be very informative and I liked the way you laid out the information in your post. I found your hyperlinks to be very useful and enjoyed watching the video. It was interesting to get a better understanding of how the Soviet Union was under Stalin and how everything changed so drastically. Good job!


  5. Your post did a solid job of encapsulating the premium that Stalin placed on mobilizing his First Five Year Plan. Stalin set lofty production thresholds and expected the population to meet these demands on iron, steel, electric power, etc. Stalin’s push for industrialization not only defined Russia for the time being (1920’s-1930’s) but it also enhanced Russia’s capabilities as a major player in the decades to come. As other commentors mentioned, you cannot put a price tag on human lives. Increasing industrialization by 50% is a massive positive in absolute terms, but when you factor in that countless Russian’s died in the process, the relative gains are not as glamorous.


  6. I liked how you were able to weigh both the positives and negatives of Stalin’s First Five Year Plan. Although it was ruthless, it seems that overall the Soviet Union needed to make massive industrial gains to keep up with the West. With WWII on the horizon, it is easy to say in hindsight that this rapid growth was necessary for the Soviet Union to compete and become a global power. The way Stalin ruled over the Soviet Union with fear definitely provides another important perspective and one that is often overlooked when thinking of the Soviet Union’s rapid progression in the early 1930s.


  7. This is a really insightful post. I especially liked the who, what, when, where, and why at the beginning. It was a helpful road map that set the stage for the post. Great job!


  8. I really liked the layout of this post in addition to its content. The video was informative and I liked how you included the website in the post as well. This was very easy to read and I enjoyed the positive and negative impacts you listed at the bottom.


  9. I liked how you specifically stated the positives and negatives at the end of your post. It truly is amazing how one man could create such a drastic change in the Soviet Union simply through fear. Like others have said, it came at a terrible cost, but it makes you wonder where the country would have gone if they never had that massive increase in production.


  10. Besides threats of force, many historians and economists argue that the first five year plan also failed because of the lack of economic incentives. With no means to be paid, workers had no incentive to work hard, Furthermore, the lack of a market mechanism meant that resources were not distributed efficiently.


  11. Your post brings up issues with the 5 Year Plan that it is good to look into especially if it is not something that is commonly discussed. Listing the pros and cons of the plan is helpful to show the real sides of the plan and how it was good and bad in some areas. The transformation that Stalin wanted to complete in the Industrial area connects well with the 5 Year Plan shows how all these areas are intertwined.


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