The powerful Soviet Iron and Steel Heavy Industry – Liberation Armies Illustrated


Liberation Army Magazine Illustrated, January 1954 edition, n. 34. The Central People’s Government of the People’s Revolutionary Military Committee of the Political Department Publishing house.

Newspapers, magazines and any other political sources of the Revolutionary China in the 1950’s were less politically interested on emphasizing the role of the political leaders and the achievements of the party, but instead they have a more practical and educational message for the population to build the socialist society.

Very simply, this articles have a core message, they obviously want to promote the importance of the Soviet Union, the Communists system and the importance their political leaders as well. Compared to order papers of the Cultural Revolution.

The article of today is “The Powerful Soviet Iron and Steel Heavy Industry ” by Liberation Armies Illustrated of January 1954.

A Modern History Class trough this pages


How the articles usually looks like in old magazines from the 1950s. The reading of this articles might be slower due to the fact the today simplified chinese character process was not yet, and finalized only in 1962.

This is the years of the First Five-years Plan (1953-1957), the one that will precede the disastrous plan of the Great Leap Forward policy lunched by Mao Zedong instead in the 1958-1961.

After the final steps of reunification in 1951, which concluded with the control of Tibet and Xinjiang, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and other revolutionary veterans of the Long March embraced a program of industrialization and socialization of the country following the direction of USSR.

The Soviet model was different from the one adopted by People Republic of China (PRC) so far, because had a full control of the economy in each sector, large collective units for agriculture and industries, and most of it a centralized economic planning.

The main goal for the rural Russia was to concentrate its efforts on developing a modern industrialized sector able to self-sustain the system, therefore the first step was the heavy industry sector.

Behind the  Chinese First Five-years Plan there were many soviet experts, engineers and scientists, and also the examples from the previous experiments in the Soviet Union.

The core of the article: USSR Heavy industry and its Five-years Plans

 我们祖国已经开始进入大规模经济建设的时期.根据国家过渡时期的总路线和第一个五年计划的任务,我们要集中力量发展重工业,建立国家工业化和国防现代化的强固基础.Our Motherland has already entered in the era of the planned economy. The main task for the Country in this transitional period, according to the general line and the first five-year plan, is to focus on the development of heavy industry, the establishment of strong basis for national industrialization and modernization of national defense.

The article we are examining today is exactly following the plot above mentioned in the First Five-Years Plan. To achieve this objective China had to “enchant the change the artisans sector, the private sector and agriculture sector into the industrialization”.

The example to be followed by China in the 1950’s is the road of the Soviet Union.

Staling giving a speach.

Stalin is giving a speech at the 14th CPSU Representative Conference of the Political Workers of the Central Political committee. The actual speech took place on November 7th 1924.

From the note in the article: “<commerade Stalin at the time of the First Five-year Plan of the Soviet Union in his speech said:,” The main aim for the Five-year Plan it’s not just to establish an industrialization of the country, but also to be able to change the transportation sector and the agricalture sector according to the socialism idea into a heavy industry sector”. Moreover the commerad Stalin at the CPSU Fourtheens Representative Conference’s of Political Workers of the Central Political Commette he pointed out that “Steel is the basis of the Soviet Union industrial base“.

According to the article before the Revolution, the production of Steel during the Russian empire could only amount to 420 tons, and for iron too was only 420 tons. Even if for that time the production was sufficient for the country, the actual production represented just the 5% of the world iron and steel production for that year. But at the end of the First World war, the production of the iron dropped as 3% of the whole world production.

But starting from 1923 the steel and iron production entered in the Russian agenda for the industrialization of the country, reaching its top in 1928.


We need to consider that the article was written in 1954. Just one year before the War of Korea ended and also just 9 months from the death of Joseph Stalin.

The relationships between China and USSR will worsen in the following years with the announcement of Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) who will begin the period of joint administration of the Soviet Union and of De-stalinization denouncing the figure of Stalin in 1956 and by easing the control of the party and society. This basically was the opposite of what Mao Zedong was aiming for after the Big-Leap Forward failure and to maintain the control of the power by eliminating his competitors and starting the Cultural Revolution.

The First Five-Year Plan was launched by Stalin in 1928 and ended in 1932. The writer explains that USSR had to start from the scratch the whole project of heavy industrialization because before the only iron and steel industries were led by foreign investors. But still this was not the biggest challenge for the USSR at that time but the scarcity of technicians and experts wich anyway were lacking of experience.

But “it is thanks to the direction of comrade Stalin who was leading the Central Committee” that this working team have been able to achieve the needs of the country. At the end of the plan the production of Steal rose to 620 tons and the one for iron at 510 tons.ABAA1542-2ACE-496E-BBE7-9DE313CC2292.png

Due to the success of the First Five Year Plan, Stalin immediately lunched the Second Five-Year Plan in 1933. This time the oil industry was also included and several other measures to support the new production targets. The article shows that at the end of the plan Russia was the 3rd country in world for steal and iron production, now rose respectively to 1450 tons and 1770 tons. What is not mentioned is that in this period were introduced some plans to support working mothers but also punishment actions for the work units that missed their targets.

The Third Five-Year Plan started in 1938, but “due to the advance of Western Germany in the Soviet area, the Thrid Five year Plan, which also would have been succesful, was deeply affected. Surely most of the production was devoted to production of vehicles, weapons and other tools for the armies, but some experts pointed out that during the first two years the Third five years plan was still below the expectations.

The article itself explained that during the Great War the 60% of the iron and steel production was utilized for war purposes. At the second year of the war the production of airplanes tripled, the one of tanks doubled, the one of bombs was six times higher and the one for soldiers armaments was four times bigger.

This is an interesting fact, but in the article isn’t explained how was the initial armament in hand of the soviet, therefore we could consider the one for soldiers perhaps the biggest investment. It would be worth to remember though that during the invasion of Moscow every rifle had to be shared by two soldiers, in case the first one died the second was still able to keep fighting.

During the Second World War the People of Soviet Union would have fought with courage, united against the fascist armies of Germany, Italy and Japan to stop the fascists armies of the West and of the East, the People of the Soviet Union gave a huge contribute to the peace and the stability of the whole world.”

Seriously damaged in its structures and in its economy Russia started its Fifth Five-Years Plan in 1946, right after the end of the World War II. Stalin proclaimed that in just few years USSR would have become the economic leader and model by achieving amazing results.

The article aims that ” thanks to the amazing strategical skills of Stalin, the Soviet Union, which was the most damaged by the end of the war, would have been the first system to recover from its own ashes. Shortly the production of Iron and steal in the Heavy Industry not only recovered to the level before the beginning of the War but also surpassed the one of all the richest european countries.”

The article has been written at the fourth year of the Fifth Five-year Plan of USSR, remembering Stalin words “without the development of the heavy industry, we cannot establish any other industry, and we cannot program any other form of industrialization“.

The People of China under the supervision of the Party and the leadership of the Charmian Mao has already reached a new Revolutionary and proletariat political structure, which also allowed to reach and surpassed the level of industrial production before the war. The level of today China {1954} is still the one belonging to a underdeveloped country.”


The writer was confident that under the leadership of the Party and the direction of Mao Zedong the country would have achieve new records confident in its belief.

Unfortunately, history teach us that at the end of this Five years Plan, Mao Zedong lunched the Long Leap Forward policies, which damaged the country stability, followed by political turmoil in the upper part of the CCP and which ended with Mao Zedong lunching the Cultural Revolution. Mao in fact had since 1949 the strongest of the powers any political leader would have aimed for, the control of the masses, especially of the youngest generation borned and shaped under the guidelines of the Chinese Socialist dream.