Walter Duranty maybe never intended to become Stalin’s apologist but what he wrote towards the end of this book is rather damning. He wrote in passing about Stalin’s speech of “Dizziness with Success” where everything was in Bolshevik tempo and high gear concerning industrialization and agriculture. See what you think:
p. 283 – “Crux of struggle came in the villages where an attempt was being made to socialize, virtually overnight 100 million of the stubbornest and most ignorant peasants in the world, that is, to force them into new and unfamiliar ways and expect them meanwhile to go on producing food…The dispirited peasants were galvanized into action, the crop was planted and the harvest of 1933 was the greatest Russia had ever known.”
On page 286, clearly Duranty and others don’t understand about farming – farms can’t be run like a factory which Henry Ford supposedly had said. Assembly line factories have a more controlled environment than fields where floods or pestilence could wipe out a whole harvest, acts of God and weather impact farming results as well. One can’t have farming quotas like you can in factories? Why was this so difficult for the Bolsheviks to understand? Collectivization was “inspired” to create a kind of factory and cogwheel mentality of those who worked the fields. (another name for that might be “slaves.”)
p. 287 – 1918 15 million peasants in Russia
1928 – 25 million
avg. acreage were 10 acres and the methods of cultivation was obsolete
must be thorough reform of agrarian system, 125,000 farms with an avg. 2,000 acres with modern machinery
Education can come to most backward section of population, Progress was thrust on them
W.D. met exiled kulaks on trip to Central Asia in 1930 – meeting of steel on Turk-Sib railway north and south, meet at part north of Ili river
p. 288 – local dignitaries – shock workers and their families while the fields for miles were dotted with round felt tents of Kazakh nomads.
Patriotism and Progress are high sounding words and noble as Ideas but are they always worth the pain they cost?