The Making of Eastern Europe by Philip Longworth (auth.)

By Philip Longworth (auth.)

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Although the process began in the nineteenth century (see Chapter 4) and saw its greatest spurt under Stalin (Chapter 2) it has been a continuous phenomenon. In Bulgaria the 45 per cent engaged in agriculture in 1965 was reduced to 26 per cent by 1975. In Romania the proportions were 57 per cent and 37 per cent respectively and it has since been reduced to about 25 per cent. 6. For estimated production statistics see World Bank Atlas. Bulgaria may not have done very much better than her neighbour Greece in the thirty years since Stalin's death, but Hungary narrowed her age-old developmental gap with the countries of Western Europe (I.

The other countries had abandoned the idea of separate, autarchic, economies such as Romania was clinging to. They now wanted a division of labour within the Bloc. COMECON, which had been set up in 1954 to coordinate the various national plans, but whose powers had hitherto been limited, now acquired considerable prominence as the instrument through which the economies of the region were to be integrated and developed. In June 1962 it announced its plan. Instead of every member country trying to manufacture everything it needed regardless of its size and resources, each was to specialize in what it could produce most efficiently.

The Bulgarian purge of 1962, on the other hand, secured the appointment of Todor Zhivkov as Party Secretary against a man of harder line, while Romania adhered even more grimly to the Stalinist model. The Soviet Seven Year Plan, launched in 1959, had placed yet more emphasis on agriculture and light industry. By contrast, the Romanian Five Year Plan, unveiled in 1960, aimed to achieve a higher rate of industrial growth, especially for heavy industry, than any other country in the Bloc. This was not welcome news to the rest of Eastern Europe, where the idea was taking hold that it was senseless to compete with each other in the sale of industrial goods.

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