History of Industrialization

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The History of the Industrialisation of the Soviet Union: 1938-1941


CPSU on the results of the second and the tasks of the third five-year plans – P16

I. USSR industry in the third five-year plan

1.      Industry financing – P23

2.      Capital construction P-63

3.      Organization of production. Industry results – P223

II. The working class of the USSR during the third five-year plan

1.      The size and composition of the working class. Training and distribution of personnel.- P326

2.      Labor activity of the working class – P460

Notes – P618

Chronicle of decisions of the Communist Party and the Soviet government on industrialization (January 1938 - June 1941) – P636

List of abbreviations – P661

Index of industrial enterprises – P671

List of sources used – P692


This collection is an integral part of an all-Union series of documents and materials on the history of industrialization of the USSR (1926-1941). It contains documents describing the industrial development of the country during the third five-year plan (before the start of the Great Patriotic War) and thus completes the all-union volumes of the series.

By the end of the second five-year plan, the Soviet Union had successfully completed, in the main, the building of a socialist society. The victory of socialism opened up tremendous opportunities for the development and improvement of the productive forces of Soviet society, its political and spiritual life.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union at the 18th Congress (March 1939) set the task of completing the construction of socialism and starting a gradual transition to communism. In order to ensure the fulfillment of this task, it was necessary to strengthen and develop the material and technical basis of socialism, to improve socialist production relations, to ensure a high standard of living for the people, to strengthen the education of the working people in the spirit of selfless devotion to the socialist Fatherland and a deep understanding of the ideas of Marxism-Leninism.

The party warned that the path to the goal would not be easy. "However, one cannot underestimate the difficulties of solving this gigantic task, especially in the conditions of a hostile capitalist encirclement", - emphasized in the decisions of the XVIII Congress of the CPSU (b) [1]; At this time, the world was extremely anxious. The military bloc of the fascist states has launched intensified preparations for war and has already begun to implement its aggressive plans in Europe and the Far East. The threat of an attack on the world's first socialist state grew every day. In the fall of 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland. The Second World War began.

The third five-year plan, adopted by the 18th Party Congress, opened up clear prospects for the movement of the Soviet Union towards the intended goal. By 1942, it was planned to surpass the level of 1937 in terms of the volume of output of the entire industry by 92%, including the production of means of production by 107% and the production of consumer goods by 72%. One of the main tasks of the new five-year plan was to ensure the introduction of advanced technology in all sectors of the national economy, to mechanize labor-intensive work and, on this basis, to achieve a significant increase in labor productivity. Taking into account the difficult international situation, the five-year plan provided for an increase in the capacity of the defense industry, an acceleration of its development and the creation of large state reserves. The implementation of the planned plan was supported by large capital investments in the amount of 192 billion rubles. The plan attached great importance to the comprehensive development of the economy of all major economic regions and the more rapid development of the eastern regions of the Volga region, the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East. All-round development of the coal-metallurgical and oil base (Second Baku), the construction of backup enterprises in a number of branches of mechanical engineering, aircraft industry, ammunition, weapons, oil refining, chemistry, light and food industries were planned.

Despite the fact that the third five-year plan paid great attention to strengthening the country's military-industrial base, from the first year of the five-year plan, the party and the government took a number of measures to strengthen the defensive power of the Soviet state. The construction of new and backup enterprises in the East of the country was accelerated. Vigorous measures were taken to eliminate the backlog of a number of leading sectors of heavy industry, to reduce the disproportion in their development (non-ferrous, ferrous metallurgy, energy, fuel, etc.). The pace of deployment of defense industry capacities accelerated. In industry and construction, progressive methods of technology and organization of labor were introduced, the system of personnel training was improved, the system of management of industry and construction was reorganized, the management apparatus was approaching production. 

During the years of the third five-year plan, the creative activity of the working people increased immeasurably, which manifested itself in the broad sweep of the Stakhanov movement.

The documents and materials of this collection contain information about the main directions of the industrial development of the USSR in 1938 - 1941. The collection consists of two sections. The first section contains documents on the development of industry in the USSR (financing, capital construction, organization of production and the results of industry work). The second section is devoted to the size and composition of the working class, the training and distribution of industrial cadres, the creative, heroic work of the Soviet people, the collection opens with a resolution of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party on the results of the second five-year plan and the tasks of the third five-year plan [inaudible] the results of the second five-year plan ways and methods of their achievement. For the study of all other materials, the published document is fundamental.

Most of the first chapter of the first section of documents is made up of reports of the budgetary department of the People's Commissariat of Finance of the USSR on the execution of the state budget of the USSR for 1938-1940. (doc. No. 1 - 4). These documents contain information on tax and non-tax budget revenues, expenditures for financing all sectors of the national economy on the execution of the budgets of the union republics, as well as an overview of the general conditions in which the budget was executed for the reporting period. The published extracts from the documents contain important information about the financial performance of the industry and the amount of intraindustrial savings, about the ratio and size of budget  and their distribution by industry. NKF reports show that in 1938-40. the budgetary financing of the defense [inaudible] industry has been systematically increased. If in 1938  18.7% of the budget, then in 1940 - 32.6%. During the same time, the share of expenditures on industrial development increased from 41% to 48% of all expenditures on the national economy, and [inaudible] was directed to the leading sectors: [inaudible] energy, metallurgy, chemistry, mechanical engineering. The reports also contain information about the participation of the population in the financing of socialist industry, including mass loans, their size and significance for the development of industry in the USSR [2]

In addition to the documents published in the collection of documents on the financing of socialist industry, of great interest are materials such as the draft state budgets of the USSR and the union republics, the speech of the people's commissars of finance at the meeting of the Supreme Soviets of the USSR  budgets published in the reporting [inaudible] at the sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, in monthly surveys of the CSO on the implementation of state plans of the national economy. A number of information on issues related to the financing of industry contains the minutes of the budget commission of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the People's Commissariat of Finance of the USSR and other materials. In the chapter "Capital construction [inaudible] materials characterizing  construction and revealing the process of improving the construction business in the country."

The methods of high-speed construction mastered in the years of the third five-year plan found wide application during the years of the Patriotic War.

Materials on the organization of construction are supplemented by statistical tables of the People's Commissariat for Construction (doc. No. 24-27), which contain information on the volume of capital work performed, the mechanization of construction work, the output of production enterprises of the People's Commissariat for Construction of the USSR for 1939-1940. The Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR (doc. No. 9, 15, 18) contain information on the implementation of capital construction plans and the commissioning of the most important enterprises in the first years of the third five-year plan. The documents show that as a result of the implementation of the directive of the 18th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks on the further progressive distribution of the country's productive forces, a large construction program was carried out, the capacities of heavy industry were significantly increased, new backup enterprises were created in a number of industries in the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia.

The party and government, given the growing threat from Nazi Germany, were forced to allocate most of the funds for the construction of the leading branches of the heavy and defense industries. As a result, 3 thousand new large industrial enterprises were built before the start of World War II. The commissioning of these enterprises made the country's industrial base and especially its defense industries more powerful and stable.

To the chapter “Organization of production. The results of the work of industry” includes documents containing information about the organizational activities of the Party and the state in the field of industrial development. The industry of the Soviet Union during the years of the third five-year plan, as in the previous two five-years, developed along an ascending line. But her path to new frontiers was not easy, as mentioned above. From the end of 1939, the direct danger of a war approaching our borders began to affect the entire national economy. As a result, it was necessary to radically change the initial assignments of annual, quarterly and monthly plans, to switch financial and material resources, as well as production capacities for the deployment of the defense industry. In these difficult conditions, the Communist Party, by mobilizing the working class and engineers and technicians to overcome difficulties, she achieved a decisive improvement in the work of the most important branches of the heavy and sharp growth of the defense industry. 

The documents published in the chapter are the resolution of the XVIII party conference "On the tasks of party organizations in the field of industry and transport", resolutions of the Council of People's Commissars and the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) "On the work of the coal industry of Donbass", "On increasing the role of the foreman", "On state all-union standards and the order of their introduction ”show the great work of the Party and the government aimed at overcoming the difficulties and shortcomings that have arisen in the work of industry (doc. No. 33, 35, 37, 44). The reports of the People's Commissariat for Industry and the People's Commissariat for Ferrous Metallurgy published in the chapter for 1940 (doc. No. 39, 42) tell about the measures taken by the Party and the government to raise the coal industry and ferrous metallurgy. Documents show that in the second half of 1940 a turning point came in the work of the ferrous metallurgy and coal industry. And in the first half of 1941, the level of pig iron production exceeded the average monthly level of 1937 by 25%, steel - by 29%, rolled products - by 26%. The increase in steelmaking was ensured not only by an increase in production capacity, but also by better use of equipment. Coal production increased in 1940 by 30% against the level of 1937.

The largest group of documents of the chapter - orders and reports of industrial people's commissariats - contains information about the large organizational and technical work to improve the production management system, revise production rates and prices, standardize products, mechanize labor-intensive processes and increase labor productivity on this basis. Since the main activities in this area have been unfolding since 1939, the information for 1938 is presented only as a part of generalizing materials. Since the publication of the reports of all the people's commissariats, due to their large volume, is not possible, preference was given to the reports of the people's commissariats of heavy industry - fuel and energy, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, heavy and medium machine building,

The general reporting materials in the chapter are presented by the State Planning Committee's report to the USSR Council of People's Commissars on the progress of the implementation of the third five-year plan for the development of the national economy and statistical materials from the TsUNKhU and the Central Statistical Administration of the USSR on the gross industrial output and production of the most important types of industrial products in the USSR and the main economic regions for 1939-1940. (doc. No. 38, 45, 47). These documents show that, despite a number of significant shortcomings in the organization of production, revealed at the XVIII conference of the All-Union Communist Party), the industry during 1938-1940. has achieved great success. During the first three and a half years of the five-year plan, the main tasks of the plan were successfully completed. With an increase in industrial production from 1937 to 1940 by 45%, the production of means of production increased by 54%, and the production of mechanical engineering - by 75%. The labor productivity of workers in industry during the same period increased by 32%. The defense industries have made especially great strides. The total volume of its products has increased 2.8 times over 3 years (while the target is 3.3 times in general over a five-year period)

Further technical re-equipment of the national economy took place on the basis of the acceleration of scientific and technological progress and the growth of production of the means of production. The branches of mechanical engineering and metalworking received significant development. Machine-tool building grew rapidly, especially the production of automatic and special machine tools, at the same time their assortment expanded. On the eve of the war, over 500 new types of machine tools were mastered. Let us recall that in 1932 only 40 types of machine tools were produced in the country. The production of improved open-hearth and cut-off equipment means of transport, and equipment for the coal industry increased. In 1939-1941. great success was achieved in the development of new types of weapons, not inferior to the best foreign models. As the chronicles show,

The economic and defense power of the Soviet state increased and strengthened every year, as evidenced by the documents published in the collection. Moreover, it should be noted that they are very important, but not the only ones. When preparing the collection for publication, the compilers took into account that a number of important decisions of the party and government have already been published in widely known collections: "The CPSU in resolutions and decisions of congresses, conferences and plenums of the Central Committee," "Decisions of the party and government on economic issues," print.

In the chapter “The size and composition of the working class. Training and Distribution of Personnel”, documents are published on the ways and methods of solving one of the most important national economic problems during the third five-year plan - providing the growing socialist production with qualified personnel. These documents mainly reflect the peculiarities of the growth in the number and changes in the composition of the working class at a new stage of historical development; the implementation of the measures outlined in the five-year plan to raise the cultural and technical level of industrial and production personnel and the creation of a new system for training qualified workers. By the beginning of the third five-year plan, the main form of replenishing workers was still the recruitment of workers directly by enterprises and construction sites and organized recruitment under agreements with collective farms. At the same time, most of the workers were trained or retrained directly in production at the machine. The orders and certificates of the people's commissariats published in the collection on the results of brigade and individual apprenticeships at enterprises, as well as advanced training in Stakhanov schools (doc. 67, 77), the statement of the State Planning Committee's labor department about the sources of replenishing the industry with labor (doc. 73) show that these forms could no longer meet the needs of the national economy. Many branches of industry, armed with advanced technology, needed not just labor, but qualified personnel. Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) took practical measures to streamline the recruitment and distribution of labor, and to introduce a new system of organized replenishment of industry, construction and transport with skilled workers. A system of state labor reserves was created. In this regard, the report of the Main Department of Labor Reserves on the progress of organizing schools and the first enrollment of students is of great interest (doc. No. 75).

The documents of the chapter give an idea of ​​the situation with the provision of labor for all branches of industry and construction, about the change in the number and composition of workers by industry in the republics and large industrial regions of the country. Of great interest are the statistical materials of TsUNKhU on the composition of workers and engineering and technical workers. In 1939, TsUNKhU conducted a survey of the organization of labor and wages in industry. The collection includes statistical tables on the distribution of workers and engineering and technical workers in large industry by sex and age, by length of service in production as of November 1, 1939 (by industry) and by education. The data of the 1939 All-Union Census show the level of education of workers and employees by profession, including women workers (doc. No. 56-60).

On January 1, 1941, the CSO conducted a survey of leading personnel and specialists throughout the USSR (except for Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia). The collection publishes a memorandum of the State Planning Commission on the results of the survey, as well as statistical materials on the composition of leading personnel and specialists in the Union and Union-Republican industrial people's commissariats and their subordinate organizations and enterprises in education and party membership, on the saturation of industrial enterprises with engineers and technicians, on the number of women and on the promotion of new personnel for managerial work (doc. No. 79-82).

The chapter "Labor Activity of the Working Class" publishes documents revealing the selfless struggle of the Soviet people for the fulfillment of the third five-year plan, for new creative forms and methods of labor. The chapter includes information summaries, memoranda, as well as letters from collectives of enterprises and individual workers who spoke with new labor initiatives. Most of the documents are published for the first time. They contain information about the activities of party, economic, trade union and Komsomol organizations, as well as scientific and technical societies on the widespread dissemination of advanced forms of labor organization in the main industries and construction. Letters and appeals from production leaders - miners, metallurgists, machine builders - economic and party organizations show a high political consciousness of the advanced detachments of the Soviet working class (doc. Nos. 85, 88, 97). At the suggestion of the Stakhanovites of the steelworkers of the Donetsk Metallurgical Plant, a competition was launched between the leading professions of metallurgical enterprises in order to withdraw the lagging industry from the breakthrough and promote the dissemination of best practices among steelworkers and furnaces. The collection also contains materials on the implementation of this valuable initiative (doc. No. 101, 113, 123, 124). Numerous materials highlight the origin and development of multi-station service and combination of professions, i.e. such forms of production activity of workers, which played a large role in the fulfillment of production targets not only in peaceful conditions,

In the goals of the third five-year plan, the movement of the Komsomol youth brigades, which originated in the early years of industrialization, gained wide scope. Among the published materials, one should especially note the reports of the central committees of a number of trade unions on mass production work, information from the Narkomchermet and some other institutions about the Stakhanov movement (doc. No. 104, 106, 129, 131). These materials contain information about the number of workers - participants in the Stakhanov movement, about the spread of new promising forms of socialist competition, about the main shortcomings in work and about ways to overcome them. Of great interest are the reports and resolutions of the Presidium of the All-Union Scientific and Technical Society on the participation of engineering and technical workers in the dissemination of advanced labor methods, in carrying out organizational and technical measures in production in accordance with the objectives of the third five-year plan (doc. No. 86, 90, 91, 94, etc.). The chapter ends with statistical materials from the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions on the number of workers who participated in socialist competition in 19383-1940, and on the number of rationalization proposals. The published documents summarize the great organizational work of the Communist Party, the Soviet government and the trade unions to provide conditions for mass labor enthusiasm and heroism of the Soviet working class.

The published documents have been extracted from the funds of the Central State Archives of the National Economy of the USSR (TSGANKH USSR), the Central State Archives of the October Revolution, the highest bodies of state power and government bodies of the USSR (TSGAOR USSR), the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism under the Central Committee of the CPSU (TsPA IML) , The Central Archives of the Komsomol and the Central Archives of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions.

Archaeographic processing of documents was carried out in accordance with generally accepted publication rules. Typos in documents, as well as minor errors, including inaccurate names of enterprises (if the correctness of the names of the latter is beyond doubt) have been corrected without reservations. All abbreviated words not included in the abbreviation list are also expanded without square brackets, unless the correctness of the expansion is in doubt or may be twofold.

Some of the documents are published in extracts. Omitted without reservation information that is not related to the topic of the collection or is of secondary importance, as well as extracts from the resolutions of the XVIII Congress and the XVIII Conference of the CPSU (b), resolutions of the Council of People's Commissars and the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and from statistical tables, the information of which is beyond the scope of published documents ... In other cases, the omitted parts of the documents are specified in textual notes, which indicate the names of the entire omitted sections, chapters and paragraphs or the content of the omitted parts of the text. In the reports of the people's commissariats and central administrations, the omitted information is indicated only for the section or chapter, the material of which is published in the collection. Excursions are not placed in the event that All extracts from documents are marked in the title with the preposition "from" and dots in the places where the text is missing. 

 In the documents of the collection, the numbering of tables has been changed in accordance with the extracts. Published materials and statistical tables that do not have dates are dated by content, since it is not possible to establish an exact date. Summary statistics appear at the end of each section, regardless of their date.

Document notes are specified in textual notes. The overwhelming majority of documents are typewritten, therefore only other ways of reproducing the text are stipulated.

The appendices to the collection contain notes, a list of abbreviations, a list of sources used, an index of industrial enterprises, as well as a chronicle of decisions of the Communist Party and the Soviet government on industrialization issues for the period from January 3, 1938 to December 31, 1940.

[1] "The CPSU in resolutions and decisions of congresses, conferences and plenums of the Central Committee", vol. 5. Moscow, 1971, p. 339

[2] During 1938-1941, four loans were issued for a total amount of about 34 billion rubles. ("Finals of the USSR". M., 1958, p. 112).