Miracles on the home front

Free and forced Soviet workers
by
September 2021, no. 435
Buy this book

Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet home front during World War II by Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer

Oxford University Press, £26.99 hb, 515 pp

Miracles on the home front

Free and forced Soviet workers
by
September 2021, no. 435

When I was a graduate student in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, Russian friends used to talk a lot about World War II. Their stories were of hardship and suffering stoically borne by the population and finally vindicated by victory in 1945. This was not dissimilar from what was published in the Soviet press on the subject, but without the press’s obligatory references to the wise leadership of the party. Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer tell basically the same story as my Soviet friends. Invoking the image of a ‘levée en masse spirit’ in the wartime Soviet Union, they admit that ‘strict discipline and repression certainly played a role’ in the state’s ‘unprecedented feats of mass mobilization’, but they put their interpretative emphasis elsewhere: ‘without the support of the vast majority of people and workers in particular, the great achievements on the home front would not have been possible’.

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet home front during World War II' by Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer

Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet home front during World War II

by Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer

Oxford University Press, £26.99 hb, 515 pp

Buy this book

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