The Bolsheviks’ pursuit of a state-managed socialist economy, seen as the first step toward attaining communism, were embodied in the doctrinaire policies of War Communism. Implemented during the civil war, the austere measures of War Communism—such as seizing grain from the peasantry—contributed to widespread strikes and uprisings, while the economy was left completely exhausted. Even the sailors at the Kronshtadt naval base, known as ardent Bolshevik supporters, staged a revolt against the regime in March 1921. Trotsky and certain other leaders favored continuing the forced progress toward communism. Lenin, convinced that the revolution needed a “breathing space,” wanted a different course: demobilization of the Red Army, reduction of the requisitions of grain and produce from the peasants, and, for the time being, relaxation of controls over industry and trade. The Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), deferring to Lenin’s authority, adopted his New Economic Policy (NEP) at the Tenth Party Congress, also in March.
The NEP stimulated private initiative and quickly revived the economy. The Soviet Union achieved pre-World War I production levels in most sectors by 1926. This rebound prompted renewed debate about how to foster economic development on a socialist basis. Proponents of a continuation of the NEP said socialism should be built step by step, as economic development allowed. The NEP’s opponents, who were more vocal after 1926, maintained that it was entrenching private property and bourgeois (capitalist) elements and would never beget the savings needed for high-pace industrialization. "USSR" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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