Questions based on Russia and her Five-year plans

1. A part of the five-year plan was collectivisation. This meant that farm workers had to leave their land and go into towns and cities to work in factories. The problem with getting country farm workers to work in factories is that the peasants weren’t trained to work with the new machines. The peasants worked according to the weather or seasons. One season when the crops would be ready for picking on the farm land the workers would work very efficiently but when the cold weather came the peasants slackened their work and the factories became inefficient, what they didn’t understand is that work could go on in any weather; snow or rain. When the peasants were paid the wages covered the expenses they had and started to become more relaxed and stopped turning up for work. They preferred leisure to work and the wages covered all their necessities.

As was said earlier, the peasants weren’t trained to work in the factories and not being able to work the machines made accidents happen and the factories became inefficient. They were impossible to train partly because they couldn’t read or write and secondly they had never worked these things before in their lives. They were brought up on farms and were never taught how to work such things. This brought up problems such as machine accidents and this again made the factories slow and inefficient. Next is factory discipline. It was different to back on the farms where they made up their own rules and worked at their own pace. As it says in source E, ‘punctuality is essential’ and the peasants were not use to that kind of strict discipline.

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2. The problem with using a source like this is that it’s a poster and it could be propaganda. (For those uneducated people out there, propaganda means that the poster or picture etc. is not quite true, it stretches the truth to benefit the government or what ever it is supporting or promoting.) It is not a reliable source, yet it can be used to study the use of propaganda that the government used to gain popularity. Secondly, British historians won’t be able to understand the language use on the poster and it could be saying something different to what we think it means. It is also biased and not easily understood though its useful to people trying to find out what Stalin’s impressions of the five-year plan by the use of propaganda.

3. Firstly looking at source A you immediately see it’s a photo which gets you thinking that it could be set up to benefit the five-year plan, it could be another form of propaganda. All newspapers and adverts do this very thing. They try to make what ever they are advertising look good. A photographer for the PRAVDA newspaper that was owned by the government took this photo. The government could set this up. Source B could be reliable because its what Lenin said and proposed to do for the five-year plan. This is very reliable because it’s by a person who was organising or behind the plan. The source can be used not only to find out about the five-year plan but also to find out what was proposed to be done. Source C is part of a speech said by Tatyana Fydorova about building the Moscow Metro. She is saying that the workers were happy with the conditions and what they were doing. She says, ‘it was poor conditions but we were happy people.’ I have read a source once before which was another worker working on the same thing, the Moscow Metro system.

They both say the same things. They say that they were happy to know that they were helping out. This gets me thinking that even these people could be set up to say stuff to get more peasants to work and join. The way they say the exact same things makes it unreliable. On the other side, it could be true because they each say that they are happy to help so they are all thinking the same thing. This source is hard to decide weather it could be useful or not but I think it could be a reliable source because of background knowledge and the facts out in front of me in the source. Next source D, Its said in my answer to question 2 what I think this is. It’s a poster and in that case it could be set up, a peace of propaganda to show that Stalin is backing the five-year plan and turning away the church, rich people, etc. He is making it look like the people are against it and Stalin’s backing it. Its still propaganda though but the thing about it is Stalin must be backing it because he made the poster to show he is backing it but he might not be turning away the other high people. The problem was the workers and peasants had no way of finding out what was happening because the government controlled the press, they just presumed that the papers and photos were true.

4. First of all both sources could be wrong and a source can’t prove another source. They are just different facts. Some may make others more likely but they can’t prove another source to be true. Secondly they are both secondary sources written after the time for two different things. One is for a British history book and the other is for a book on Stalinism.

5. These sources show that work in the factories wasn’t up to standards and working conditions were bad. This shows that Stalin didn’t care much for the workers or the plan, he just wanted the results and money and the credit for doing the five-year plan. Secondly, how could Stalin and the five-year plan get along? Due to my background knowledge, Stalin wasn’t a good choice to take over Lenin who cared for the plans and worked for it. Also Stalin used a lot of posters and pictures to try and cover up what he really thought of it. Propaganda was used which shows he wanted to look like he did it and worked to make to make it work because Stalin wanted the credit and money but to get this he needed a good reputation and workers. It says in the sources, which supports what I said in the sources. There were bad conditions for the workers but industry increased rapidly and it was successful. These sources are secondary though. Through the years the facts could have been altered to look good for Stalin. These are now records that Stalin was successful from that time that proved a positive point.

6. I think it made a difference. In source G it says they made tanks and aircraft and oil production increased, this could prepare Russia for war and they were capable of fighting a war with the resources they had. It says this was done in 1930 so due to my background knowledge they turned the Second World War around. They took out a lot of the German troops and really they won the war for Britain. The people of Russia became a lot happier and ‘there seemed to be a sense of excitement and achievement’ which is said in source H. This would prepare the men for war because they felt they could help their country.

The women after working in the factories were capable of supplying artillery and guns for the war whilst the men were out. It tested and trained the people for war without using military training. In source F it talks about a man who had freedom to choose to change his job. Again they would want to fight for that freedom. People liked Stalin by now for what he had done to make their lives better and building up the country so he would be a strong leader and people would trust him in the time of war. This is shown in source B and D. Source C is an example again of good spirits and sense of achievement. In war this would make people fight because they had something to loose. The five-year plan brought people together.


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