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The USSR economics in the war years

The victory would be unthinkable without selfless titanic labour of workers and farmers, engineers and designers, scientists, workers of culture.

Loss of a considerable part of economic potential and removing thousands of industrial production units to the East of the country, vast breakup and manpower losses in national economy led at the beginning of the war to a sharp fall of industrial production output, which was especially tangible in defence areas. By the end of 1941 gross output volume lowered doubly. In those conditions Soviet government accepted very tough measures for strengthening the rear. From the very start of the fascist invasion mass mobilisations of citizens to the working front were held. In April, 1942 the mobilisation covered rural area inhabitants as well. Those measures touched firstly and mainly women and teenagers. In 1942 more than half of all employees in agriculture were women.

The problem of qualified personnel was one of the most acute. Evacuated works had not more than 30% of workers and specialists, so in December of 1941 a plan of preparation was worked out, designed for short-term training of 400,000 workers; all-in-all in 1942 about 4,400,000 workers and specialists had been trained. Nevertheless the number of the employed decreased, as compared with 1940, from 33,900,000 down to 18,400,000 in 1942.

Supply of the Army with weapons, arms, ammunition, technics was one of the most important problems. At the beginning of the war as a result of tremendous losses the aviation was very seriously weakened. There rose a demand for mass manufacturing of new aircrafts. Tank industry launched production of new models of tanks. Much was done to increase output of new arms, which were so needed at front. Anyway up to the end of 1941 the Army's and the Navy demands in technics, arms and ammunition were satisfied far not fully.

To manufacture aircraft, tanks and other fighting technique, a great amount of high-quality steel was necessary. In connection with removing part of Defence industry to the Urals and West Siberia many of manufacturing technologies had to be changed, as well as the whole system of manufacturing war technics on the new places. The Urals became the basic workshop of the country's defence industry.

With loss of Don Coal Basin and coal area of Rostovskaya region demand for coal rose dramatically.

The native agriculture suffered great losses too. With all the unbelievable efforts made my farmers, mainly women, production of grain and other food products fell down seriously. The main base of agricultural production became then East and Southeast regions of Russia: the Volga region, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia.

In consequence of extraordinary measures already by 1942 the Soviet Union had healthy military economics, giving enough products for the front. Since 1943 general recovery of industry began. Industrial output reached its peak in 1944.

Eastern regions of the country played a very significant role in heavy industry production. Output of metals, especially of special ones and copper/aluminium alloys increased considerably. In 1945 the total metals output doubled the 1943 one. Extraction of coal reached the pre-war level.

The experience of the war years proved persuadingly, that command system, established in the pre-war years, contained broad possibilities for mobilising the country's economic potential. Characteristic features of that system were flexibility, manoeuvrability in combination with get-tough repressive system of production/personnel control.

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