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1933-1937 - Second 5-Year Plan

After the First Five-Year Plan, planning was completely centralized in the all-union ministries. In day-to-day operations, this system consistently delayed inter-ministry cooperation in such matters as equipment delivery and construction planning. An example was electric power plant construction. Planners relied on timely delivery of turbines from a machine plant, whose planners in turn relied on timely delivery of semifinished rolled and shaped metal pieces from a metallurgical combine. Any change in specifications or quantities required approval by all the ministries and intermediate planning bodies in the power, machine, and metallurgical industries--a formidable task under the best of circumstances.

By 1932 Stalin realized that both the economy and society were seriously overstrained. Although industry failed to meet its production targets and agriculture actually lost ground in comparison with 1928 yields, Stalin declared that the First Five-Year Plan had successfully met its goals in four years. He then proceeded to set more realistic goals. Under the Second Five-Year Plan (1933-37), the state devoted attention to consumer goods, and the factories built during the first plan helped increase industrial output in general.

The Second Five-Year Plan (1933-37) continued the primary emphasis on heavy industry. By 1932 Stalin realized that both the economy and society were seriously overstrained. Although industry failed to meet its production targets and agriculture actually lost ground in comparison with 1928 yields, Stalin declared that the First Five-Year Plan had successfully met its goals in four years. He then proceeded to set more realistic goals.

Under the Second Five-Year Plan (1933-37), the state devoted attention to consumer goods, and the factories built during the first plan helped increase industrial output in general. By the late 1930s, however, collectivized farms were performing somewhat better (after reaching a nadir during the period 1931-34). In 1935 a new law permitted individual peasants to have private plots, the produce of which they could sell on the open market. According to official statistics, during the Second Five-Year Plan gross agricultural production increased by just under 54 percent. In contrast, gross industrial production more than doubled.

In the mid-1930's, in response to imminent military danger from fascist countries, the Central Committee of the Party and the Soviet Government were forced to revise the previously planned orientation and working pace of the defense industry, and also to effect a transition from the compound system of building a regular Red Army.

At the end of 1936 and the beginning of 1937, by directive of the Central Comittee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) CC AUCP b the People's Commissariat of Defense reviewed the technical reconstruction of the Red Army. Along with great achievements, it also uncovered serious deficiencies which could become an impediment to fulfilling new, more complex military-technical tasks.

At the same time, the structure of defense industry was improved. In January 1938, on the base of the People's Commissariat of the Defense Industry, branch People's Commissariats were created for aviation, the shipbuilding industry, ammunition, and arms. The defense enterprises were reinforced by technical cadre. In one year alone, 1938, five thousand young engineers were assigned to them.




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