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The Third Five Year Plan

Modern History (Year 12) - Russia Transforms

Ben Whitten

The Third Five Year Plan

The Third Five Year Plan (1938-1941) was focused on consumer goods for the citizens of the Soviet Unions, for example, radios, bicycles and household goods (whitegoods and browngoods). The plan was changed when the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany in 1941, and so instead, weapons were being produced to fight the war.

The successess of the Third Five Year Plan included:

  • A doubling of total investment in rearmament between 1938 and 1940

  • Nine new aircraft factories were constructed in 1939

  • Coal production increased from 128 million tonnes in 1937 to 166 million tonnes in 1940, and crude oil production rose from 29 million tonnes to 31 million tonnes

  • Internal passports were introduced in order to stop workers from travelling around Russia in search of higher paying jobs

The failures of the Third Five Year Plan included:

  • Stalin’s purges meant that the most experienced economic planners and industrial managers were removed

  • Gosplan was never able to publish a complete version of the Plan as a result of the purges

  • The execution of the plan was extremely chaotic

  • Purges of industrial managers led to a halt in the production of steel; the figure remained at 18 million tonnes (the same as the second FYP)

  • Food rationing was introduced for bread, meat, pasta, sugar, fish, butter, tea, cigarettes, soap and lighter fluid

  • It was impossible to buy consumer goods such as fridges, and it was far too difficult to store fresh food

  • By 1941, there was only one shop per 476 people (average)

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