Presentation on theme: "What impact did collectivisation have on the peasants? L/O – To evaluate the effect of collectivisation on peasants."— Presentation transcript:
What impact did collectivisation have on the peasants? L/O – To evaluate the effect of collectivisation on peasants
Summary Questions 1.What were the 3 types of collective farm? 2.Why was collectivisation seen as the solution to the agricultural problems in Russia? 3.Why did Stalin carry out collectivisation so rapidly? 4.Who were kulaks? 5.Who were the ‘Twenty-Five Thousanders’? 6.What methods were used to ‘liquidate the kulaks’? 7.How and why did peasants resist collectivisation? Did we meet our learning objective? L/O – To identify the key features of collectivisation
Impact of Collectivisation By the end of February 1930, the party claimed that half of all peasant households had been collectivised – a stunning success. In reality it was disaster on a huge scale – the most efficient peasant farmers had been shot or deported, food production disrupted and 25-30% of all cattle, pigs and sheep had been slaughtered (or eaten by peasants). Peasants who had been forced into collectives were in no mood to begin sowing season and the level of resistance remained high.
Stalin backtracks… Knowing that peasant resistance could lead to the collapse of grain production, Stalin backtracked. He wrote an article for Pravda in March 1930 saying that officials had moved too fast. They had become ‘dizzy with success’. There was truth in this. Young, ferocious and militant urban activists got carried away, competing with each other to see who could get the most households into collectives. Central government seemed to have little direct control over what was happening.
…Stalin outmanoeuvres the peasants Stalin called for a return to the voluntary principle and an end to coercion. Given the choice, many peasants abandoned the new collective farms and went back to farming for themselves. But as soon as the harvest was gathered in, Stalin restarted the campaign to collectivise. In 1931, peasants were forced back into collectives and by the end of the year, over 50% of households had been collectivised.
The famine of 1932-34 Despite problems, the government continued to requisition grain. 22.8 million tons of grain had been collected by the end of 1931 – enough to feed the cities and export. This had taken place against a huge drop in grain production. Party activists lacked farming knowledge and the skills to run collectives properly. There was not enough animals to pull the ploughs, and not enough tractors. There was even a drought in the USSR during 1931.
The famine of 1932-34 By spring 1932, famine appeared in Ukraine and other areas. From late 1932-1934, the USSR was exposed to a famine which killed millions of peasants. Robert Conquest in The Harvest of Sorrow (1986), puts the figure as high as 7 million. The scale of the famine was unacknowledged by the Soviet regime so is hard to give exact numbers. It did not want to admit that collectivisation had failed to deliver. But Conquest argues that the regime also used collectivisation and famine deliberately to break peasant resistance.
The famine of 1932-34 The Ukraine was hit particularly hard. It was set high targets for grain procurement in 1931 and 1932 (over 7 million tons per year) even though the total amount being produced was falling rapidly. Thousands of extra officials, backed by the OGPU, were drafted in to root out hidden stocks of grain being held by peasants. Requisitioning gangs condemned hundreds of thousands to starvation. Grain was often left rotting in huge dumps while people starved.
The famine of 1932-34 Some historians do not directly blame Stalin however most acknowledge that the Communist government was determined to procure grain at any cost. This is proved by the continued export of grain to other countries – 1.73 million tons in 1932 and only slightly less in 1933 – the worst years of the famine.
The famine of 1932-34 Strict laws were also introduced to ensure that grain was handed over. A law of 7 th August 1932 (Law of Seventh-Eights) prescribed a ten-year sentence for stealing ‘socialised’ property. Decrees in August and December laid down prison sentences of up to ten years for peasants selling meat and grain before quotas were fulfilled. Internal passports were introduced to stop peasants fleeing from famine-hit areas.
The famine of 1932-34 The end results of the government’s policy was the death of millions of peasants in the Ukraine, the north Caucasus, Kazakhstan and other parts of the USSR. It is clear that the famine of 1932-34 was man-made and a direct result of collectivisation. Purging of best peasant farmers, lack of machinery and fertilisers, lack of know-how, resistance of peasants, slaughtered animals, and continued government grain requisitioning.
Collectivisation after 1934 At end of 1934, 70% of peasant households were in collectives, rising to 90% in 1936. Individual peasant landholdings were gradually squeezed out. Grain production began to recover slowly but did not exceed pre-collectivisation levels until 1935. Meat production didn’t exceed pre-collectivisation levels until after 1955. Grain procurement continued at a high level throughout the 1930s whatever the harvest.
Collectivisation after 1934 The main problem was lack of incentive – peasants had nothing to work for. They were supposed to get a share in profits of the farm but there never were any profits. The only resistance left was passive resistance – apathy, neglect and petty insubordination. The state could do little about it. Private plots on collective became very important. It was the only way peasants could earn something for themselves.
Collectivisation after 1934 The state did not stop this as it needed food. Estimates say that private plots provided 52% of all vegetables, 57% fruit, 70% meat and 71% of milk, butter, honey and wool. Peasants referred to collectivisation as the ‘second serfdom’. They were tied to land they did not own. They could not leave without permission. Draconian laws would punish them if they stepped out of line. Fitzpatrick (1994) in Stalin’s Peasants, maintains that peasants developed all sorts of ways of subverting the farms. They had been broken but not totally crushed.
Source Analysis Questions Read the hand-out and use Sources 1-9 to answer the following questions: 1.What impression do you get of the dekulakisation and collectivisation process from Sources 1-6? 2.Given Sholokhov’s background (Source 7), how valuable do you think his novel is as historical evidence? 3.Look at Sources 8-9. Do they change your answer? 4.What justification or explanation of the process is provided by Communists in Sources 7-9? 5.What value, if any, does a novel like Sholokhov’s have for historians looking at Collectivisation?
Summary Questions 1.Why did Stalin halt, and then restart the collectivisation process in 1930-31? 2.What were the consequences of collectivisation? 3.What were the causes of the famine of 1932-34? 4.What happened in agriculture after 1934? 5.What laws were introduced to ensure that grain was handed over? 6.How many people died in the famine? Did we meet our learning objective? L/O – To evaluate the effect of collectivisation on peasants