Chapter 22
Horrors Attending Stalin's First Five-Year Plan

IN LAUNCHING HIS FIRST FIVE- Year Plan, Stalin aimed primarily at building a war industry. To make any headway he had to revert to military communism, which meant an undeclared civil war. In this war against an aroused people, the dictator relied on the support of the youth. With few exceptions, however, they refused in the beginning to go against their elders. Stalin then gave the green light to his shock brigades of "wild children," who had reached military age.

Inflamed with savage propaganda and heavily armed, this twentieth-century oprichina was let loose on an unarmed people. It struck with the impact of a pitiless alien foe, invading simultaneously the countryside and the industrial districts.

Long before the official announcement of the first Five-Year Plan, Russia rang with the songs and wild cries of these youthful shock brigades, "marching towards the socialist goal" and "storming reactionary strongholds." In the villages this "storming of strongholds" meant uprooting the last vestiges of home, family, and individual enterprise. In the cities it meant introducing a grueling sweatshop system under the slogan of "pro

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