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Russia: 1924-1941 - The Five Year Plans

GCSE History looks at, amongst other things, the topic of Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. One aspect studied is Stalin's Five Year Plans, aimed at boosting the industry of Russia.

Stalin's seizure of total power in Russia complete, he began to move on to the next part of his agenda: a series of Five Year Plans to vastly increase the production of industry in Russia.

Learn more about Stalin’s Five Year Plans and whether or not they succeeded in their aim of boosting his country's industry in this quiz.

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  1. Which central organisation in Moscow set and enforced targets for industrial production throughout the USSR?
    These targets had legal force. Failure to meet the norm could be punished - perhaps by imprisonment in a labour camp that was part of the GULAG in Eastern Siberia. Exceeding the target risked being set a much higher target in future plans
  2. Which feature of Moscow's public transport network was built from 1935, and soon became one of the showpieces of the Five Year Plans?
    Improved public transport had long been needed in the capital, as industry developed and new residents flocked to the suburbs
  3. Magnitogorsk was a new industrial town. Of which mineral product did it become the largest plant in the USSR?
    Minerals of all kinds were required, especially those involved in armaments and vehicle construction
  4. The Belomor Canal was a major transport undertaking. Between which two Russian seas was it dug?
    Russia's various coastlines and substantial rivers encouraged canal building, which often involved huge numbers of workers in fatal industrial accidents
  5. Stalin dealt with criticisms of the pace and large targets of his First Five Year Plan by pointing out in a speech of October 1931 how far behind other industrial countries the USSR was. How many years did he think the Soviet Union needed to make up in order to catch up with the USA and Germany?
    Stalin saw the USSR as in a race to overtake states like Germany, from whom he always expected an eventual attack
  6. A coal-miner, Alexei Stakhanov, in a six hour shift during 1935 managed to dig 102 tonnes of coal. Thereafter he became a celebrity, enjoying huge privileges, and encouraging other workers throughout the USSR. By how many times had he exceeded his production norm in that initial feat?
    Stakhanov was extremely useful for propaganda purposes, although some writers have said that he never really existed
  7. Chelyabinsk was another industrial city which flourished under Stalin. Near which mountain range is it situated, where the mineral deposits had not been thoroughly exploited until Stalin's time?
    Stalin began to unlock Russia's mineral wealth, especially by ordering mining in great river basins like the Donbass and in Russia's extensive mountain ranges
  8. Railways' existing track was modernised. Which established line had no less than 7,000 kilometres of track renewed?
    Many of Russia's railways had been built during the nineteenth century, often involving French investment. By the 1930's many of them needed upgrading
  9. The proportion of the Russian population living in towns was 17% in 1926. What was the percentage in 1939?
    Russia's population experienced a shift to urban living from the countryside, as former peasants - not required in the new collective farms - moved into the growing cities in search of work
  10. In which year did the Third Five Year Plan end, curtailed by the invasion of Soviet Russia by Hitler's Germany?
    Invasion meant that the achievements of the Plans would be put to the test. Stalin always expected an eventual Nazi attack, and he wanted the USSR to be ready for it

Author: Edward Towne

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