The Soviet Union after 1945 : economic recovery and political repression
Harrison, Mark. (2011) The Soviet Union after 1945 : economic recovery and political repression. Past & Present, Vol.210 (Supplement 6). pp. 103-120. ISSN 0031-2746Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtq042
The story of the Soviet Union’s post-war years appears almost as remarkable as the story of the war. 1 The USSR came to victory in 1945 only after first coming close to total defeat. In 1945 the Red Army occupied Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and Sofia, but behind the army the country lay in ruins. Its people had suffered 25 million premature deaths. The survivors were profoundly weary. Many hoped for reconciliation and relaxation.
Despite this, in the years immediately following, the Soviet economy and polity returned quickly to their previous form. There was renewed political and economic mobilization. Economic resilience was reflected in rapid Soviet post-war economic recovery. Political resilience can be seen in Stalin’s rapid consolidation of the political system: there would be no reforms for a decade. The rigid hierarchies of party and state control were not loosened up, but were reinforced while their frontiers were pushed outward to the shores of the Baltic and into Central Europe.
What gave the Stalinist political economy its post-war resurgence? I will place the Soviet recovery in a broader European context. The result is a puzzle: across most of Europe there was a clear association between post-war prosperity and economic and social reforms, but not in the Soviet Union. A closer look at Soviet post-war institutions in the late 1940s suggests that if anything they were more centralized, militarized, secretive, and punitive than in the late 1930s. The rapid Soviet economic recovery from World War II becomes less surprising when we take into account the Soviet economy’s very large backlog of unexploited potential, not all of it due to the war. Institutions are still important, though, because ineffective institutions can mean that unexploited potential is never realized. In one respect, unchanged Soviet institutions could operate more …
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JC Political theory
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Soviet Union -- Economic conditions -- 1945-1955, Soviet Union -- Economic conditions -- 1955-1965, Soviet Union -- Economic conditions -- 1965-1975, Soviet Union -- Economic policy, Soviet Union -- Politics and government -- 1945-1991, Political persecution -- Soviet Union, Economic development -- Soviet Union|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Past & Present|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Page Range:||pp. 103-120|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
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