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Collectivization (from Latin collectivus , 'collected') generally refers to the organized amalgamation of people to form communities, associations or cooperatives . Most of the current linguistic usage is about the merger of individual producers into agricultural , artisanal and other smaller businesses.

Agricultural collectivization in individual states

Soviet Union

The Soviet leadership under Josef Stalin began in the late 1920s with a radical reorganization of agriculture. The traditional obshchina was to be replaced by the village soviet , which, in close association with the new large socialist enterprises, be it collective farms or sovkhozs , turned the village social structure upside down. The Bolsheviks used economic, physical and psychological violence on a large scale. In the course of the “ Great Turnaround ”, collectivization went hand in hand with the forced industrialization of the Soviet Union . Because this industrialization could neither be financed by exploiting colonies nor by taking out loans abroad, the peasantry had to pay a “ tribute ”, according to Stalin. Despite the scarcity, the Soviet Union exported the grain in order to be able to buy machines and tools (so-called starvation exports). The farmers themselves should not receive full equivalents for the agricultural products they acquire . Stalin made the peasantry more or less an internal colony from which the necessary capital for economic development was to be extracted.

One trigger for the collectivization were the difficulties of the state buyers in meeting the grain needs through a procurement campaign in the winter of 1927/28. The New Economic Policy , which was oriented towards compromise towards the farmers , was replaced by a policy of intensified forced evacuation ("extraordinary measures"), which were supposed to bring additional grain into the state stockpiles. The now notorious Article 107 of the RSFSR's Criminal Code , which was intended to combat speculation , was also used.

Between June 1928 and July 1932, more than 61 percent of the peasant farms were transferred to collective farms using coercive measures. Nearly complete collectivization was enforced on the Lower Volga and in the North Caucasus by the early 1930s. The main victims of this development were many middle peasants, especially the kulaks . Because they actually or allegedly resisted the coercive policy, they were persecuted with extreme severity by the Soviet rulers. Often the accusation of being a Kulak or a sympathizer (Subkulak / Kulakenknecht = mostly middle peasant) was enough to be deported . The deculakization accompanying collectivization claimed the lives of around 530,000 to 600,000 people. The agriculture of the USSR collapsed as a result of collectivization and deculakization.

Stalin's policy hit the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic particularly hard, where between five and seven and 14.3 million ( Robert Conquest ) people died during the Holodomor . While the population ate leaves and buds out of necessity and cannibalism was already emerging, Stalin had grain exported on a large scale. The people were denied the escape from the hunger areas. In the Kazakh SSR, too, a devastating famine occurred in the course of the collectivization campaign and forced evacuation, killing around 1.5 million people.

German Democratic Republic

Memorial stone in Mecklenburg

In the GDR , collectivization in agriculture began in 1952 with the establishment of the first agricultural production cooperatives (LPG). After the last 400,000 farmers, with a few exceptions such as the Marienhöhe farm , were forced into LPGs in the three months of the “Socialist Spring” in 1960 , collectivization was considered complete on May 31, 1960. During this period 200 farmers committed suicide and 15,500 fled to West Germany. About 8,000 show trials took place. A memorial was unveiled in Kyritz in April 2010 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the forced collectivization by the German Farmers' Union . On the bronze plaque on a boulder is the sentence:

The victims of forced collectivization in the so-called socialist spring of 1960 in the GDR

A total of 19,345 agricultural cooperatives (LPG) were founded in the GDR, producing on 83.6 percent of the agriculturally usable area. (See the main article Agriculture in the GDR ). In the GDR and in the socialist states the term collectivization did not exist, there was spoken in partly Marxist terms of cooperative formation , transfer into cooperative ownership and socialization of the means of production .

The usual inscription on memorial stones was

United we are everything, alone we are nothing.



In Spain during the civil war from 1936 to 1939, there was collectivization in parts of the republican-held areas, which was not carried out at the state level, but under anarchist auspices as collective self-government . The nature, implementation and scope of these measures varied greatly from region to region. In the province of Jaén 65% of the usable area was expropriated and 80% of it was collectivized, in the province of Valencia it was 14%. Where the large estates cultivate most of the land, the approval of these measures and the severity of enforcement tended to be highest. The property owners had fled many times in the civil war. Smaller landowners who were not subject to forced collectivization sometimes "voluntarily" joined the collective. In addition to the fear of being expropriated in later phases , control by social revolutionary control bodies played a role. It was not possible to act freely in the market; The remaining free farmers were also involved in the war economy .

The extent of collectivization is only roughly known. In 1936/37 the Republicans stated that 1,500 collectives had been formed, for August 1938 2,213 collectives were named. At the top 3 million Spaniards were affected by the collectivizations.

The expropriations were based de jure on the expropriation and nationalization decree of the José Giral Pereira government of October 7, 1936. According to this decree, all "insurgents" were expropriated without compensation in favor of the state. The workers received a right of use. This was used to justify the formation of a collective.


See also


Web links

Commons : collectivization  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hildermeier, 1998, p. 378.
  2. Luks, Geschichte Russlands und der Sovietunion , p. 265. On Stalin's speech about the “tribute” of the peasants, see Viola, The unknown Gulag , p. 15 f.
  3. Viola et al. (Eds.), The War Against the Peasantry , p. 64.
  4. Hildermeier, 1998, p. 379.
  5. Hildermeier, 1998, p. 389, table 9.
  6. Manfred Hildermeier: The Soviet Union 1917–1991 (Oldenbourg floor plan of history, vol. 31), Oldenbourg, 2nd edition, Munich 2007, p. 38 f. ISBN 978-3-486-58327-4 .
  7. Wolfgang Zank: Stille Vernichtung , Zeit online , December 3, 2008.
  8. Hellmuth Vensky: Stalin's Crimes of the Century , in: Die Zeit online, February 1, 2010.
  9. N. Pianciola: The collectivization famine in Kazakhstan, 1931-1933. In: Harvard Ukrainian studies. Volume 25, Numbers 3-4, 2001, pp. 237-251, PMID 20034146 .
  10. Wolfgang Böhmer: in "That was a great injustice". Forced collectivization 50 years ago . Thuringian regional newspaper, April 26, 2010
  11. Mechthild Küpper: Kyritz. Böhmer and the fifth agitator. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, April 26, 2010
  12. ^ Carlos Collado Seidel: The Spanish Civil War: History of a European Conflict, Edition 2, 2010, ISBN 3406602886 , pages 79-81, online
  13. Introductory to this Walther L. Bernecker : Agrarkollektivismus und Revolution. On the socio-economic development in the republican territory during the Spanish Civil War 1936–1939 , in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 4th vol., No. 3, 1978, pp. 392–411.
  14. Walther L. Bernecker: History of Spain in the 20th Century, 2010, ISBN 3406601596 , page 164, online