Stalin’s Speech

During the USSR election [of candidates to the Supreme Soviet on February 10], the Soviet government has made it clear that the danger of war is far from over, and that in the next Five-Year Plan, the Soviet people will be called on to make a further tremendous effort to rebuild Soviet heavy industry, at the cost of a further postponement of increased standards of consumption.

Premier Stalin’s speech, which will be discussed and memorized at thousands of Red Banner Clubs in the USSR and in Communist circles throughout the world, is largely a defense of the forced industrialization policy before the war as a necessary part of wartime victory.


We understand the necessity for this program. If it had not been for the industrialization of the USSR, we might have lost this war. The sacrifices made by the Soviet people were made for all of us, and we should be forever grateful to them. Yet there is a danger that this new program may require creating again, among the friendly peoples of the USSR, a political atmosphere of distrust and fear of other nations in order to justify large-scale rearmament and the building of armament industries. A large part of Stalin’s speech is devoted to demanding a great Red Army, to proving that capitalism was the cause of this war and that under capitalism, war is inevitable. Other candidates in the elections went much further. “We are still within the capitalist encirclement,” said Lazar Kaganovich, “…we must strengthen Bolshevik vigilance.” “It is no secret that our friends respect us because we are strong,” said G. M. Malenkov, Secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee. “Our friends will respect us so long as we remain powerful…That’s why we must…strengthen the glorious Red Army.”


We accept Premier Stalin’s condemnation of monopoly capitalism, but it must not lead to a fatalist attitude toward war. We understand the reasoning of Kaganovich and Malenkov, yet both Britain and America have already disarmed to the point at which we barely have functioning air forces, and our occupation forces are dangerously small. Neither country has accepted postwar conscription, and in both, there is a deep yearning for peace. It would be tragic if this yearning were not given full expression in the world policies of all nations.

One reason for forced industrialization within the USSR is the fact that Russia must finance this industrialization out of her own depleted resources. A large-scale loan from America now would permit the rapid raising of consumption standards and the expansion of heavy industry in the USSR at the same time. It would demonstrate our good faith, it would help maintain prosperity in this country and it should lead to the broad cultural and social interchange between our peoples that is vital to continuing peace.

Source: Editorial, "Stalin's Speech," The New Republic (New York), February 18, 1946

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