Stalin's First Five-Year Plan Begins

The first Five Year Plan introduced in 1928, concentrated on the development of iron and steel, machine-tools, electric power and transport.

Joseph Stalin set the workers high targets. He demanded a 115% increase in coal production, 200% increase in iron production and 335% increase in electric power. He justified these demands by claiming that if rapid industrialization did not take place, the Soviet Union would not be able to defend itself against an invasion from capitalist countries in the west.

Every factory had large display boards erected that showed the output of workers. Those that failed to reach the required targets were publicity criticized and humiliated.

We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us.”

— Joseph Stalin

The introduction of collectivization spurred industrialization in the nation as millions of people, of the 80% of the total population that was engaged in agriculture, moved from the country into the city. Despite many of the targets being unbelievably high (a 250% increase in overall industrial development, with a 330% percent expansion in heavy industry), remarkable results were achieved:

Pig iron: 6.2 million tons (compared to 3.3 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 8.0 million tons)
Steel: 5.9 million tons (compared to 4.0 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 8.3 million tons)
Coal: 64.3 million tons (compared to 35.4 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 68.0 million tons)
Oil: 21.4 million tons (compared to 11.7 million tons in 1928, and a prescribed target of 19.0 million tons)
Electricity: 13.4 billion kWh (compared to 5.0 billion kWh in 1928, and a prescribed target of 17.0 billion kWh)

However, while the plan encouraged industrialization, it damaged Soviet agriculture to such an extent that it didn't recover until after the Second World War. The plan was considered by the Soviet leadership so successful in this sense that the second Five-Year Plan was declared in 1932, lasting until 1937.