Stalin and the Soviet Union

By Stephen J. Lee | Go to book overview

7

STALIN'S POST-WAR REGIME, 1945-53

BACKGROUND NARRATIVE

The Soviet Union emerged from the Second World War victorious but badly damaged. Over 23 million Soviet civilians and troops had been killed in the struggle, while the Germans had destroyed 1,710 towns, 70,000 villages, 31,850 industrial enterprises and 98,000 collective farms. Stalin decided from the outset that the Soviet economy should once again be insulated from the West. He therefore re-established the planning controls of the 1930s. The fourth Five-Year Plan ran from 1946 to 1950 and the fifth from 1950 to 1955; the latter was interrupted by his death in 1953 but completed by his successors, Malenkov and Khrushchev. The Plans again placed the emphasis on collective farming and the development of heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods. To ensure Soviet self-sufficiency, Stalin refused the offer of economic aid from the Marshall Plan.

Stalin also reactivated the political and cultural controls of the pre-war period. He abolished the wartime State Defence Committee (GOKO) and sought to re-establish his ascendancy within the Party. He rarely summoned the Central Committee and Politburo and completely ignored the Party Congress. He decided to restore the full force of Socialist Realism under the agency of Zhdanov, while the NKVD, now under Beria, once again operated a policy of terror. Purges accounted for a new wave of Party officials, and even affected officers within the victorious Red Army. Stalin

STALIN'S POST-WAR REGIME, 1945-53

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Stalin and the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Stalin's Rise and Rule 1
  • 2 - Stalinist Politics and Terror 16
  • 3 - Stalin's Economic Policies 35
  • 4 - Society and Culture 54
  • 5 - Stalin's Foreign Policy, 1929-41 65
  • 6 - The Soviet Union at War, 1941-5 79
  • 7 - Stalin's Post-War Regime, 1945-53 96
  • 8 - An Overall Summary 110
  • Notes 113
  • Bibliography 118
  • Index 121
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