Mouse invasion in 1932 in the Soviet Union: how it's connected with famine

History 21/02/20 Mouse invasion in 1932 in the Soviet Union: how it’s connected with famine

In 1932-33 vast territory of the USSR, including the Volga region, Kazakhstan, Northern Caucasus, Ukraine, part of the Chernozem regions, the Urals, Belarus, Western Siberia swept hunger, recognized subsequently, one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the Soviet period.

the tragedy brought the whole complex of reasons, first among which was the policy of dekulakization and collectivization pursued by the Stalinist leadership of the country and the need for massive supplies of grain abroad – the bread was paying for the machines and other equipment needed for industrialization. Played a role and kulak sabotage on the ground. But there was another reason that remember not always. Talking about the unique biological phenomenon — the “mouse plague” in 1932.

Which led to the invasion of mice

in 1929 the country initiated a policy of solid collectivization. The creation of collective farms have met strong opposition among the peasantry. The most active part of the rural population, youth and fists, left the village. First left voluntarily, young people fleeing the city, fleeing from the new “serfdom”, and the kulaks and their families were deported to unpopulated areas of the country. As a result, by 1931, the Soviet village lost many workers.

in addition, the government due to the need for supplies of grain for export increased the grain procurement plan, which caused in some regions a real panic. The peasants who had taken the bread, had to hide the grain, burying it in pits. Part of the harvest of 1932 remained in the fields because the harvest was not enough manpower, and in many places this was the result of direct sabotage.

“Rat attack”

In nature, when dramatically increasing the amount of food for any species, there is a rise in the number of members of this species. It happened in 1932 year. Because the fields remained a hefty portion of the harvest, in the background of this abundance of food began to multiply, the field mouse. In addition, the growth in the number of rodents was facilitated by the fact that many farmers have buried the grain in the ground. Normal bread pit is a rather complex structure. Walls coated with clay in the pit of burning fire that the clay is hot and was water resistant, carefully closed from mice all the cracks. The top hole is also tightly closed. This repository were in every farm and its location were not secret. But saving a crop from a wholesale of grain, the peasants hastily dug pits unequipped, hoping to take away from their grain later. Bred mouse, of course, to get to these caches.

Thus, in the autumn of 1932 in the USSR the disaster struck, the peasant had to use the name “mouse attack”. This happened before, but the situation in 1932 was overshadowed by the results of all previous observations of biologists.

rodent Populations tend to sharp jumps in population, which biologists call “explosive breeding”. The number of these animals is limited only by the size of the prey. Field mice in a year are able to breed up to 3 times, and if the conditions of life are favourable, and more. In each litter of 10 pups. The cub is in 35 days can bring their own offspring.

in the Autumn of 1932 in the Northern Caucasus and in the southern regions of the earth in the stacks it was possible to detect up to 4 thousand mice, that is, 70 pieces per meter. In the land of the number of mouse burrows reached 10 thousand per hectare. Describes the case when in the center of Nalchik once the train stopped, the wheels of which are stuck in the mass of rodents crossing the railway track.

Mouse flooded towns and villages, filled the houses and outbuildings. They run by sleeping, climbed under the clothes, sometimes tried to gnaw the fingers of the elderly and young children.

the Disaster covered the whole of the European part of the USSR – aboutt Moldova to the don basin and the entire steppe zone to the North Caucasus. The Council of people’s Commissars of Ukraine at the meeting on 11 November 1932 stated that “the proliferation of field mice acquires dimensions of disaster”.

government Response

In the end, in the villages left without food, in the winter of 1932-33 years made itself felt hunger, adopted by the summer of 1933 on a colossal scale. Weak from hunger winter people was not able to work on the ground, and by June, despite the fact that at this time in the South already Mature potatoes, in the Ukraine, Stavropol territory, etc. was marked by a peak of mortality.

the Government, unfortunately, did not take into account the panic that arose among the peasantry in the summer and early fall of 1932. Then, when the “mouse attack”, the response was also the fastest: a large-scale event for the extermination of rodents was organized only at the end of winter and in the spring of 1933.

One of the few official documents in which an attempt is made to analyze the causes of the disaster are “the Materials of the Commission of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee on the status of Soviet, economic and cultural development of the North Caucasus region” (November 1932). In this document, and the role of sabotage in the fact that a significant part of the crop remains in the fields, and the ensuing explosive growth of a population of field mice, and the resulting complex causes of hunger.

Olga Melnikova

© Russian Seven

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