Postwar Soviet society : The “return to normalcy,” 1945-1953

Book chapter


Fitzpatrick, Sheila. (2015). Postwar Soviet society : The “return to normalcy,” 1945-1953. In In Lee, Loyd E. (Ed.). World War II : Crucible of the contemporary world : Commentary and readings pp. 248-276 Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315489575-19
AuthorsFitzpatrick, Sheila
EditorsLee, Loyd E.
Abstract

[Extract] Beyond doubt, Soviet society bore the brunt of fighting during the Second World War. Three-fourths or more of all wartime casual-ties occurred on the Russo-German front; the fighting continued unabated from June 1941 until May 1945. Axis armies occupied the western portions of the country where about 40 percent of the population lived. Through these were the most urbanized and industrialized areas, they also produced most of Russia's foodstuffs. Nearly ten million soldiers died at the front and another 3.5 million in captivity, most deliberately starved or killed. Neither the Germans nor the Soviets adhered to the Geneva Convention. The Germans fought the war as a radical conflict, killing some seven million civilians (700,000 of whom were Jews) through deportation, occupation, or the siege of Leningrad.

Although many United States citizens recall the Second World War as "the good war", there is no question that for citizens of the Soviet Union the war was cataclysmic and that death and destruction far outweighed any benefits. Susan Linz estimates that the war cost the Soviet Union 18 to 25 years of earnings. She also notes that "there is, however, no a priori reason to believe that net effect of World War II was negative when taking into account political and social factors".¹ She points to the gain in territory, new technologies and greater social cohesion. Even so, the contrast with American society could hardly be greater. AS Professor Fitzpatrick notes in the following selection, Soviety society had its own particular restraints and a "return to normalcy" may not be the best way to characterize the impact of war.

Page range248-276
Year2015
Book titleWorld War II : Crucible of the contemporary world : Commentary and readings
PublisherRoutledge
Place of publicationLondon, United Kingdom
New York, New York
ISBN9780873327329
9780873327312
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315489575-19
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84952937634
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All rights reserved
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Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online22 Jun 2016
Print1991
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Mar 2023
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