War Communism and the N. E. P. By: Fiona O'Donnell, Tulsa Scott, Erica Strictland, BethAnn Willis

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War Communism and the N.E.P.

War Communism

  • War Communism was an economic system that existed in Russia from 1918 to 1921. It was introduced by Lenin and the Bolsheveiks with the goal of combating the economic problems brought on by the Russian Civil War. The policy's chief features were the expropriation of private businesses and the nationalization of industry throughout Soviet Russia, and the forced requisition of surplus grain and other food products from the peasantry.

War Communism

  • 1) Everything was owned by the State.

  • 2) The State controlled the labour of every citizen. Once  the military army had served its purpose, it would transform into a labour army.

  • 3) Extreme centralisation was introduced.

  • 4) The State attempted to become the soul distributor as well as the sole producer.

  • 5) War Communism attempted to abolish money as a means of exchange.

Effects of War Communism

  • These measures negatively affected both agricultural and industrial production. With no incentives to grow surplus grain, the peasants’ production of it plummeted, resulting in starvation of many city dwellers. In the cities, a bureaucracy was hastily created to supervise the newly centralized, state-owned economy. This resulted in a drop in labour productivity and industrial output.1 Uncontrolled inflation made paper currency worthless. Therefore, the government had to resort to the exchange and distribution of goods and services without the use of money. 





  • Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "War Communism," accessed November 28, 2011, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/635613/War-Communism.

Effects of  War Communism

  • By early 1921 public discontent with the state of the economy had spread from the countryside to the cities, resulting in numerous strikes and protests that culminated in March of that year in the Kronshtadt Rebellion. As a result, the Bolsheviks had to temporarily abandon their attempts to achieve a socialist economic system and adopt the New Economic Policy.

War Communism



  • Temporarily bringing back elements of capitalism, to boost the economy and transfer to communism. This would boost the economy by giving laborers more affordable taxes, and then the free will to sell their own crops for profit to them, as well as allowing foreign trade.


  • '“...economically and politically speaking the New Economic Policy completely ensures to us the possibility of building the foundation of a socialist economy.” -Lenin'1




  • The New Economic Plan was proposed as a replacement to the failure that was War Communism. The NEP brought a sense of economy and trade back into Russsia. Everyone was employed, regardless to if theyr were needed or not. Industries were not required to supply for the state. According to Lennin, "the Communists had to learn how to trade". 1

  • Unforturnately, Russia was still weak. Between the diaster of the first world war, and the failure of war communisum, getting the economy back on its feet would take centuries. Russia's only hope for a steady income was exporting goods that were not found in other countries that only Russia posessed.

N.E.P Troubles....

  • Russia was dependent on the export of

  • grain and coal to help revivie their economy.

  • The lack of effective transportation and effective currency also hindered the N.E.P, requring railroads be rebuilt.

  • The trouble with the inflammed currency lead to yet another crisis, known as the scissor crisis**. The scissor crisis basically meant that industrial prices were 3x as high as agricultural prices. The government reduced the inflammation by cutting industry workers, therefore lowering prices, and essentially 'closing the scissors'.

**The Scissor Crisis

  • In layman's terms, the scissor crisis is the movement of the agricultural and industrial prices of goods. The agricultural disicipline of the economy had rebounded well from the famine, while the industry was slow healing from the wounds of war and neglect.


Work Cited

  • http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/new_economic_policy1.htm

  • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/635613/War-Communism

  • http://www.soviethistory.org/

  •  http://www.core.org.cn/NR/rdonlyres/72739987-7991-498F-99BD-E817FF10433D/0/b2_21895image1.jpg

  • http://www.sovietposters.com/posters/large_Le_060.jpg

  • http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/59/lenins-new-economic-policy-what-it-was-and-how-it-changed-the-soviet-union\

  •  http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/war_communism.htm

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