The Famine Of The Soviet Union

2553 WordsMay 14, 201511 Pages
Between the years of 1932 and 1933, an estimated 4 to 5 million Ukrainians perished in a famine unprecedented during peacetime. Called the Holodomor, Ukrainian for ‘death by hunger’, the famine fits into a number of other famines that occurred simultaneously in the Soviet Union including but not limited to Kazakhstan, the north caucuses, and the Urals. The famines were a consequence of Stalin’s first 5 year plan, which called for mass collectivization and nationalization of industry with the intention of ushering forth rapid industrialization. Industrialization was prioritized in order to bring the Soviet Union in line with Marx’s dialectal history, according to which worldwide Communist Revolution can only be spearheaded by…show more content…
The famine too was an assault on Ukraine’s rising nationalism, which threatened to remove the country from Soviet influence and thus undermine the Party as Stalin saw it. Thus, in those few months during which millions died, not only was the traditional Ukrainian village effectively destroyed, but much of Ukraine’s political and cultural elite were purged. Moreover, Russian settlers were brought in to repopulate the *devastated countryside, altering the country’s ethnic makeup. Take together, these factors severely retarded the country’s nation-building and nationalist ambitions, and it would not be until 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union that the country would achieve independence. In this paper I will describe the events which led up to the famine, the famine itself, the subsequent Russification of Ukraine, the extent of Stalin’s knowledge and intentions toward Ukraine, explanations for the famine including the role of ideology and the importance of individual personalities, outside reactions from foreign nations and journalists, and the famine’s lasting impact. For much of its history, Ukraine had been under the control of larger powers. Before and during WWI, parts of modern Ukraine were under the control of the Russian Empire and other parts were under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There were multiple attempts at independence during the
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