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Lecture 15

HIST 1F90 Lecture 15: Economics .docx

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Elizabeth Neswald

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HIST1F90 Module 4 Lecture 2
Comecon – Council of Mutual Economic Assistance 1949)
Collectivization – In Hungary it was imposed in 1948, Romania 1950, Czechoslovakia – 1956, it was drawn out. It never
really took place in Poland, there was effort to collectivize the land, but there was a lot of resistance from the peasants. The
Soviets were willing to forego this approach to modernization in interest of social peace. The only good thing it did was that it
freed people from domestic agricultural labor and moved people into the city to be a part of industrial development.
Industrialization – heavy industry, lack of consumer goods. 83% of businesses in Hungary were state owned, 85% of
Romania..Etc.. They wanted to bring an end to private ownership, the planned economies were a disaster because there
wasn’t any flexibility in the thinking, if you want to have a modern economy, you have to have a strong industrial sector. Many
countries didn’t have these resources so they had to import it. Czechoslovakia did have these resources. The planners in the
Soviet Union came and built factories for manufacturing steel and instead of Czech moving forward, they fell back.
Stackanovites - Russian miner (Shock workers) - People are paid by how much they produce not by the hour. It is easy to
exploit, you pay them little so they’d have to work really hard to get a decent wage. These workers were pushed to produce
new norms, if they could out do the amount of products that the person before them did.
Building a cannel from the Danube River to the black sea, to cut the length of the journey by several hundred miles. All of it
would be done by human labor, the plans were very inefficient. People had to work in terrible conditions, long hours in freezing
waters which caused many deaths. Once Stalin Died, the project was closed.
Ideal Cities: Nowa Huta, Poland and Szatlinovaros, Hungary
Much of these regions were devastated by the war. They wanted to build ideal cities using the workers freed from the land.
They believed these ideal cities would have wide streets, ideal houses for workers, heavy industry, and greenery. NO churches
were built in these areas because communists don’t care for religion. Poland was catholic so not having a church was a
These cities were built, but very rapidly. Thousands of people came; the houses weren’t that good in quality because they had
to be built very quickly. It was built near an ancient city
The Hungarian city was built on sand.
The conception of the city was also that there will be communal kitchens everywhere. They wanted women to work as well,
and they wanted to free the women from domestic labor so they would make communal kitchens so people can eat there.
Workers came here because they wanted to work, but they still didn’t live in good conditions. The reality and culture of these
cities, were different than expected.
Little Stalin’s of East Central Europe – Cult of the Personality
In each of these countries there was a cult of the personality just like in Russia. In a room or gathering there would be large
pictures of Lenin, Stalin, and whoever the Little Stalin was of the area.
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