Journal article

"What Are We Fighting for?" Loyalty in the Soviet War Effort, 1941-1945

Mark Edele

INTERNATIONAL LABOR AND WORKING-CLASS HISTORY | CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS | Published : 2013

Abstract

When, beginning on June 22, 1941, German forces sliced through Soviet defenses, Soviet citizens severed their ties with the Stalinist state. In the Western Borderlands, annexed in 1939–1940 as a result of the Hitler-Stalin pact, locals welcomed the invaders with bread and salt as liberators from the Bolshevik yoke. Red Army men hailing from these regions left their posts and went home. Soldiers from the pre-1939 Soviet territories stationed in Ukraine deserted, too, reasoning that the Bolsheviks had “sucked our blood for twenty-five years, enough already!” A group of two hundred soldiers, including an outspoken Siberian, “decided to force our way back, at all cost, toward the Germans.” When ..

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