This comes from a related question. It seems Germany never conceived of the possibility that Russia might migrate its heavy industry to safe locations beyond the Urals. So now I want to know if Soviet officials always had this plan, or if it was suddenly thought up at the last moment.

When was the migration plan first mentioned? What is the earliest written record? Did Stalin or Voroshilov always have this backup plan ever since 1933? (the year Hitler came to power.)

Or, did no one ever think of it until suddenly Barbarossa was launched? That would be pretty tough to believe IMO, but if there's no mentioning of it by anyone until June 1941, I guess we would have no choice but to believe it.


According to Philip Boobbyer in The Stalin Era,

The transportation of industries to the east was a feat which the party’s highly centralised structures were well suited for (Lieberman 1985: 71). It was nevertheless not a smooth operation, and was largely improvised. Sometimes, evacuated goods were simply dumped to permit empty trucks to return to the front.

John Erickson, in The Road to Stalingrad, says pretty much the same thing:

There had been only scant pre-war contingency planning, there were no actual plans for any strategic industrial withdrawl into the eastern hinterlands

The first evidence of any actual planning seems to be the 24th of June 1941 when (referring to major industrial plants in western areas)

the GKO created a Council for Evacuation to relocate these plants eastward to the Urals and Siberia. The task of coordinating this massive undertaking fell on N .A. Voznesensky, head of the Soviet industrial planning agency GOSPLAN....on 4 July he won approval for the first war economic plan. The Council's deputy chairman, the future premier A.N. Kosygin, controlled the actual evacuation.

Source: David M. Glantz, Barbarossa. See also Document 8.5 Formation of State Defence Committee (GKO) in Boobbyer's in The Stalin Era.

Despite this massive effort, there were huge losses in industrial capacity as the German advance was so rapid, even though

in the second half of 1941 a monthly average of 165,000 railway truckloads of industrial equipment rolled eastwards.

Source: Boobbyer

As further evidence of the lack of advanced planning, Glantz says:

All this machinery arrived in remote locations on a confused, staggered schedule with only a portion of the skilled workforce...Somehow the machinery was unloaded and reassembled inside hastily constructed, unheated wooden buildings.


Even allowing for the hyperbole so common to Soviet accounts, this massive relocation and reorganization of heavy industry was an incredible accomplishment of endurance and organization.

Note: highlighting is mine

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