Transitional Economic Systems: The Polish-Czech Example

By Dorothy W. Douglas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
TWO- AND FIVE-YEAR PLANS: CHANGING OBJECTIVES

The Two-Year Plan, 1947-8

C zechoslovakia's Two-Year Plan Act was passed in the summer of 1946, before international and domestic tensions had become acute. It was adopted easily and quickly, with the unanimous approval of all political parties. Two years, 1947 and 1948, were considered sufficient to repair war-time dislocations, restore the pre-war standard of living and prepare the country for further long-time development.

Losses and damages had been considerable, but the most serious of them were concentrated in the agricultural regions of eastern Slovakia where losses in cattle and especially in horses would take some time to make good. All told, about 125,000 dwelling units would have to be restored, most of them in Slovakia. In the Czech lands some big industrial plants had been bombed. Compared to Poland, however, the task of physical reconstruction would be light indeed. This difference is reflected in the considerable allocations the Two-Year Plan was able to give at once to such long- term needs as housing 1 and the reconstruction of railroad roadbeds.

Industrialization as such was also not considered a major need for Czechoslovakia. She already had an excellent base of heavy as well as light industry. Indeed in the period of the First Republic excess capacity was recurrently complained of along with heavy unemployment, especially in the older industrial regions, the light industry sections along the west. The only place, it was now considered, where further industrialization in the sense of new capital construction was needed on a large scale was in Slovakia, and here the need was chiefly for social reasons, to raise the level of living of the Slovak population, rather than to add to the coun

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1
The ambitious housing plan was, however, never fulfilled. By the end of the Two-Year Plan it was still about 50 per cent short.

-100-

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