I am a person who believes that all people should be treated fairly. I believe in the freedom of thought, the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, but most of all the freedom to control ones own destiny. During his dictatorship Joseph Stalin stripped his people not only of freedom of thought, religion and speech, but of many other rights as well. Although Joseph Stalin managed to bring about great changes in a very short period of time, I believe that the results were not worth the price paid by his country and it s people.
Stalin first major policy that he enforced came in the form of a five-year plan. This was created to help build up the industry and economy of Russia. It included using a command economy, which forced people to work when, where and for how long the government dictated. This was to help eliminate unemployment and to stress the importance in equality of work. This plan also was to limit the production of consumer goods, and instead invest in mines, railroads, energy sources and heavy industry. Once this plan was put into action, drastic changes were immediately evident. Russia s industry and economy rose to new levels.
In his efforts to enforce this plan, Stalin was especially cruel to the people of Russia. Anyone who he thought was being disloyal, or trying to get out of his/her share of work would be immediately arrested and most times executed. As a result of this, many lives were lost. Stalin gave no consideration to the freedoms or rights of his people; he used them like slaves and treated them like animals. During the implementation of Stalin s first five-year plan, much of the dignity of the Russian people was lost. The second policy enforced by Stalin was one of collective farming.
In trying to spark the industry and the economy Stalin took all the land away from the farmers. He would move the families into a large area of land that would be worked by hundreds of farmers and their families. Stalin s government would give the people on these farms modern machinery and the idea was to produce more with fewer workers. Every so often, Stalin s men would come and take away what the people had harvested and transport it to the cities for consumption and sale. Those who had labored to produce the crops were left with almost nothing.
This policy proved to be very successful in the short term – the grain prices went up and the government profited through selling the crops out of country. In the process of collectivization, many homes were lost to fire due to Stalin or to the farmers burning their own crops in resistance. Again, Stalin turned to drastic measures to make sure that his plan succeeded and anyone who was considered a threat was immediately removed and then executed. The needs and rights of the people were not considered, and a little more of their dignity died along with their family and friends.
Art and literature were considered very threatening to Stalin, so he put restrictions on every form of creativity there was. People where told how and what to write. After 1934, the Communist party dictated that creative works had to express socialistic spirit through traditional forms. Scientific theory had to revolve around Marxist ideas, and the party took over work in the social sciences. Stalin s efforts to suppress the creativity of his people, was especially damaging to the moral of the country. The arts were no longer allowed to reflect the true state of the country and its people.
In not being able to express itself freely and honestly, the entire country lost its creative voice. The foreign policy that Stalin developed changed a number of times through the years. It was first designed to keep the rest of the world out of Russia and to limit contact back and forth. This changed however, when Stalin realized the potential danger that Nazi-Germany could have. He began an attempt to ally Germany in order to try and prevent any possible future attacks. Soon the foreign policy changed once again. Stalin and Hitler started negotiations and came up with the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact.
As a result of no longer having to worry about Russia, Hitler immediately invaded Poland and thus began World War Two. The effects of Stalin s foreign policies were extensive and far-reaching. Through them, Stalin helped to bring Hitler to power and consequently unleashed great devastation upon himself and the world. As I examine Stalin s efforts on behalf of his country, I can see that he genuinely desired to encourage progress. He made great improvements to both industry and agriculture; he better educated the people and he introduced them to the world of science.
He raised the standard of living and in general, modernized Russia. Unfortunately, none of these improvements were long term. What has been long term however, are the lives that were lost, the sacrifices that were made by the people, the hardships that the country has gone through, and what they continue to go through as they struggle to maintain their place in the world. As I review Stalin s policies and their effects it becomes clear to me that the results of his efforts could never balance the lives and freedoms that he, himself has cost.