Collectivization of Agriculture in Eastern Europe

Collectivization of Agriculture in Eastern Europe

Collectivization of Agriculture in Eastern Europe

Collectivization of Agriculture in Eastern Europe

Excerpt

The dramatic story of the struggle between the Eastern European peasants and Communist governments is best revealed in the fate of official efforts at "collectivizing" the family holdings into kolkhozi, or collective farms. The box score to date shows that the peasant has more than held his own in some of the countries, with the situation seemingly running against him in other countries. Yugoslavia and Poland have - for the time being at least - given up the idea of "collectivizing" the peasant; Hungary is trying to restore what collectivization it can from the aftermath of the October, 1956, revolution. In Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania the governments still are officially pressing ahead with attempts to "socialize the countryside" through the device of the collective farm ruthlessly pushed by Stalin in the late twenties throughout the Soviet Union and imitated since the Second World War by the satellite governments.

The crux of the problem now faced by the Communist regimes is fairly simple. The peasant, who for centuries has longed for land of his own or else has been attached to actual holdings passed down from his forefathers, has little relish for the regimented way of life represented in the collective farm. As a result, he works under protest and with little enthusiasm. Production is low, and the regimes are forced to import foodstuffs into agricultural countries which exported these same commodities before the Second World War. Eventually, the officials of some countries realize that they can no longer afford the luxury of imitating a Soviet form of organization (the collective farm) at the expense of lowered production. Thus, to raise production they permit decollectivization and allow the peasants to take over the land that was formerly theirs. The chances are strong that even those countries which are stressing collectivization today may reverse their course in time, when economic realities push aside political considerations.

This volume, therefore, is dealing with one of the basic issues in the Communist world and one which affects the majority of people there, who are rural. The official Party doctrine, as interpreted by Lenin, would call for the creation of a rural proletariat who, as the "toiling peasantry," would unite with the urban workers to create the Communist Utopia. Eventually, agriculture would be socialized and conduc-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.