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In the Name of the Great Work: Stalin's Plan for the Transformation of Nature and its Impact in Eastern Europe

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Volume 10

Environment in History: International Perspectives

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In the Name of the Great Work

Stalin's Plan for the Transformation of Nature and its Impact in Eastern Europe

Edited by Doubravka Olšáková

322 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-252-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (September 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78920-502-2 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (June 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-253-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The book makes a valuable contribution to the understudied environmental history of Central and Eastern Europe.” • H-Soz-Kult

“This is a necessary book… the first monograph dedicated entirely to how [Stalin’s parallel] plans played out in the ‘people’s democracies’ of Eastern Europe during Stalin’s lifetime and beyond… Olsakova’s work is thus a significant addition to extant literature on environmental history and the twentieth century history of Eastern Europe.” • Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe

“By focusing on the Eastern European experience, this book offers an original angle on the ‘Stalin Plan.’ Its case studies are substantial, covering a considerable amount of ground and presenting new empirical findings.” • Jonathan Oldfield, University of Birmingham


Beginning in 1948, the Soviet Union launched a series of wildly ambitious projects to implement Joseph Stalin’s vision of a total “transformation of nature.” Intended to increase agricultural yields dramatically, this utopian impulse quickly spread to the newly communist states of Eastern Europe, captivating political elites and war-fatigued publics alike. By the time of Stalin’s death, however, these attempts at “transformation”—which relied upon ideologically corrupted and pseudoscientific theories—had proven a spectacular failure. This richly detailed volume follows the history of such projects in three communist states—Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia—and explores their varied, but largely disastrous, consequences.

Doubravka Olšáková is a senior researcher at the Institute for Contemporary History at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, where she leads a working group on environmental history. Her publications include the book Science Goes to the People! (2014), which examines mass indoctrination and the dissemination of science in communist Czechoslovakia.

Subject: History: 20th Century to PresentEnvironmental Studies (General)
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


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