Building The Greatest Offensive Army Ever Known: The Soviet 5 Year Plans, Mega-Factories, Slavery & Mass Murder


Wear’s War Editor’s Comment: Continuing from Germany’s Incredible Courage: How Hitler’s Invasion Surprised Stalin, this series of articles will explore the staggering scale of preparations by the Soviet Union from 1927 to create the greatest offensive army ever known. The 5 Year Plans were effective and implemented with barbaric cruelty.

Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system.

These and other atrocities were intentionally suppressed by the Allies to perpetrate the myth of Stalin’s greatness and Germany’s villainy.

Industrialization and Collectivization of the Soviet Economy

The Soviet Union adopted a Five Year Plan in 1927 for developing industry. The main focus of the first Five Year Plan was not the production of arms, but rather the creation of an industrial base which was later used to produce armaments. The military emphasis was not so noticeable in these first five years. The Red Army had 79 foreign-made tanks at the beginning of the first Plan; at the end of the first Plan it had 4,538 tanks.[1]

The second Five Year Plan that began in 1932 in the Soviet Union was a continuation of the development of the industrial base. This meant the creation and purchase of furnaces, giant electricity plants, coal mines, factories, and machinery and equipment. In the early 1930s, American engineers traveled to the Soviet Union and built the largest and most powerful enterprise in the entire world—Uralvagonzavod (the Ural Railroad Car Factory). Uralvagonzavod was built in such a manner that it could at any moment switch from producing railroad cars to producing tanks. In 1941, an order was issued to produce tanks, and Uralvagonzavod without any delays began the mass production of tanks. Uralvagonzavod produced 35,000 T-34 tanks and other weapons during World War II.[2]

The Industry of Socialism. A 1935 Soviet propaganda book illustrating the transformation of small rural villages into industrial centers.

The third Five Year Plan that began in 1937 had as its goal the production of military weapons of very high quality in enormous quantities. The Soviet Union under Stalin was highly successful in achieving its goals, and produced superior military weapons on a grandiose scale. For example, the Chelyabinsk tractor factory was completed in the Urals, and similar to Uralvagonzavod this factory was built in such a way that it could begin producing tanks at any time. The Chelyabinsk tractor factory was called Tankograd during the course of the war. It built not only the medium T-34 tanks, but also the heavy IS and KV tank classes.[3]

A third gigantic factory, Uralmash, was built not far away in Sverdlovsk. This factory is among the top 10 engineering factories in the world. The Soviet net of steel-casting factories was greatly expanded in order to supply these three giant factories in the Urals. Magnitogorsk, a city of metallurgists, was built in addition to a huge plant the main output of which was steel armor. In Stalingrad, a tractor factory was also built that in reality was primarily for producing tanks. Automobile, motor, aviation, and artillery factories were also erected at the same time.[4]

The most powerful aviation factory in the world was built in the Russian Far East. The city Komsomolsk-na-Amure was built in order to service this factory. Both the factory and the city were built according to American designs and furnished with the most modern American equipment. The American engineers sent to Komsomolsk to install the equipment were astounded by the scope of the construction.

The Industry of Socialism showing the growth and progress of factories during the 1930s, highlighting the success of the five-year plan.

One secret of Soviet success in building its military was the use of terror to control the Soviet population. Communists shut down the borders of the Soviet Union, making it impossible to leave the country. Secret police also unleashed a fight against “saboteurs.” Any accident, breakage, or lack of success in a production line was declared to be the result of an evil plot. The guilty and innocent alike were sentenced to long prison terms. Those who were named “malevolent saboteurs” were executed.

The terror improved worker discipline and eliminated any need to fear strikes and demands for higher wages on the part of workers. Also, the terror caused millions of people to be sent to concentration camps. Concentration camp inmates constituted a slave labor force that could be sent anywhere in the country without having to be paid. The development of the remote regions of Siberia and the Far East would have been impossible without the millions of inmates deported to work in these regions. The Soviets planned in advance the number of prisoners that would be needed for the next year, and would place an order in advance with the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) to obtain the needed workers.[6]

The second secret of Stalin’s industrialization success was the vast resources available in the Soviet Union. Valuables amassed over the centuries such as paintings, statues, icons, medals, precious books, antique furniture, furs, jewelry, gold, platinum, and diamonds were all mercilessly confiscated and sold abroad. The Soviet Union also had every sort of resource in almost inexhaustible quantities. Timber exports, gold mining, coal, nickel, manganese, petroleum, caviar and furs were all used to pay for Soviet industrialization. Western technology was the main key to success. The Soviet Union became the world’s biggest importer of machinery and equipment in the early 1930s.[7]

Stalin also sent large numbers of prominent tank, aviation, and artillery engineers to prison, accusing them of being spies. The task assigned to the engineers was straightforward: create the best bomber, tank, cannon, engine, or submarine in the world and you will receive your freedom. Fail and you will work in a gold mine where inmates did not live too long. The engineers did not have to be paid, but were still highly motivated to create the best weapons in the world to obtain their freedom. Stalin’s spies also supplied these talented engineers with the best American, German, British, and other designs in the given field. The engineer could choose the best design, and based on it create something even more outstanding.[8]

The lives of the people in the Soviet Union were not improved with the Soviet industrialization. Basic necessities such as pots and pans, rubber boots, plates, furniture, cheap clothing, nails, home appliances, matches and other goods all became scarce. People had to wait in long lines outside the stores to obtain these items. Stalin let his people’s standard of living drop extremely low to focus practically all of the Soviet Union’s industrial production on military expansion.[9]

Stalin also began his bloody war against peasants, which was called collectivization. Units of the Red Army would herd peasants and their families into railroad cattle cars and transport them to Siberia, the Urals, or Kazakhstan, where they were thrown out into the cold on the bare steppes. This operation was ordered by Stalin and executed by his deputy Molotov. Many years later, when Molotov was asked how many people were transferred during collectivization, Molotov answered:

Stalin said that we relocated ten million. In reality, we relocated twenty million.”[10]

The Soviet collectivization of 1932-1933 is estimated to have resulted in 3.5 million to 5 million deaths from starvation, and another 3 million to 4 million deaths as a result of intolerable conditions at the places of exile.[11]

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Related article:

Germany’s Incredible Courage: How Hitler’s Invasion Surprised Stalin


Image: Stalin’s Slavery

Image: Gulag Network Map

[1] Suvorov, Viktor, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008, p. 23.

[2] Ibid., p. 25.

[3] Ibid., pp. 25-26.

[4] Ibid., p. 26.

[5] Ibid., p. 26.

[6] Ibid., pp. 23-24.

[7] Ibid., pp. 23-25.

[8] Ibid., p. 26.

[9] Ibid., pp. 26-27.

[10] Chuev, Felix, Molotov: Master of Half a Domain, Moscow: Olma-Press, 2002, p. 458.

[11] Suvorov, Viktor, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008, p. 27.


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