Many intellectuals, dissidents and even many allies were put to death under Stalin. This, in turn, led to the Cold War and to the periodic international crises and the endless exchanges of hostile rhetoric in United Nations leadership circles until the final years of the Soviet Union.
The dictator ruled by terror with a series of brutal policies, which left millions of his own citizens dead. During his reign—which lasted until his death in —Stalin transformed the Soviet Union from an agrarian society to an industrial and military superpower.
Stalin implemented a series of Five-Year Plans to spur economic growth and transformation in the Soviet Union. The first Five-Year Plan focused on collectivizing agriculture and rapid industrialization. Subsequent Five-Year Plans focused on the production of armaments and military build-up.
Between andStalin enforced the collectivization of the agricultural sector. Rural peasants were forced to join collective farms. Those that owned land or livestock were stripped of their holdings. Hundreds of thousands of higher-income farmers, called kulaks, were rounded up and executed, their property confiscated.
The Communists believed that consolidating individually owned farms into a series of large state-run collective farms would increase agricultural productivity.
The opposite was true. The Great Purge Amid confusion and resistance to collectivization in the countryside, agricultural productivity dropped. This led to devastating food shortages.
Millions died during the Great Famine of For many years the USSR denied the Great Famine, keeping secret the results of a census that would have revealed the extent of loss.
Stalin eliminated all likely opposition to his leadership by terrorizing Communist Party officials and the public through his secret police. Millions more were deported, or imprisoned in forced labor camps known as Gulags.
The Americans and British feared the spread of communism into Western Europe and worldwide. Inthe U. The alliance between countries of the Western bloc was a political show of force against the USSR and its allies.
The Cold War power struggle—waged on political, economic and propaganda fronts between the Eastern and Western blocs—would persist in various forms until the fall of the Soviet Union in He became Communist Party secretary in and premier in At home, however, Khrushchev initiated a series of political reforms that made Soviet society less repressive.
During this period, later known as de-Stalinization, Khrushchev criticized Stalin for arresting and deporting opponents, took steps to raise living conditions, freed many political prisoners, loosened artistic censorship, and closed the Gulag labor camps.
Members of his own political party removed Khrushchev from office in Many early projects were tied to the Soviet military and kept secret, but by the s, space would become another dramatic arena for competition between dueling world superpowers.
The success of Sputnik made Americans fear that the U. He inherited a stagnant economy and a crumbling political system. He introduced two sets of policies he hoped would reform the political system and help the USSR become a more prosperous, productive nation.
These policies were called glasnost and perestroika. It addressed personal restrictions of the Soviet people.
Glasnost eliminated remaining traces of Stalinist repression, such as the banning of books and the much-loathed secret police. Newspapers could criticize the government, and parties other than the Communist Party could participate in elections. Under perestroika, the Soviet Union began to move toward a hybrid communist-capitalist system, much like modern China.
The policy-making committee of the Communist Party, called the Politburo, would still control the direction of the economy. Yet the government would allow market forces to dictate some production and development decisions. Collapse of the Soviet Union During the s and s, the Communist Party elite rapidly gained wealth and power while millions of average Soviet citizens faced starvation.
Bread lines were common throughout the s and s. Soviet citizens often did not have access to basic needs, such as clothing or shoes.
The divide between the extreme wealth of the Politburo and the poverty of Soviet citizens created a backlash from younger people who refused to adopt Communist Party ideology as their parents had.
In the s, the United States under President Ronald Reagan isolated the Soviet economy from the rest of the world and helped drive oil prices to their lowest levels in decades.That’s a good idea about forbidding eminent domain. One should probably should put something into the Constitution requiring every State to levy taxes uniformly, or they’ll use the tax power to .
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