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The Rise of Patriotism


The greatest credit for repelling the aggressor goes to the Soviet people. In the first week of the war, 5.3 million men joined the Red Army. In total, 31 million officers and soldiers were enlisted during the four years of the hostilities. Millions of Soviet citizens applied to join the Red Army as volunteers or served in the peoples volunteer corps, providing an important reserve for the regular army. The volunteers fought courageously side by side with the regular troops in defending major cities including Kiev, Leningrad, Odessa, Moscow, Sebastopol, and Kursk. 

The official propaganda sought to bolster the morale and fighting spirit of the population and the army by extolling Stalins great statesmanship and military genius. People were brainwashed into believing in Stalins infallibility, but they also drew moral strength from their trust in the leader. As the war went on and the strategic advantage began to tip to the Red Armys favor, the Soviet authorities inflated Stalins godlike image even more. The unfortunate defeats of 194142 were glossed over, the triumphal victories of 194345 were attributed to the party and the personal leadership of the Supreme commander in chief, Stalin. His name was made synonymous with the sacred word motherland: the soldiers went into battle with the cry For Motherland, for Stalin! modeled on the old Russian battle cry For Orthodoxy, for the Tsar, for Fatherland!

Stalin himself sought to strengthen popular morale by appealing to the patriotic and historical traditions of the imperial nation of Russians. The emphasis on the nationalist side of the war played down the Communist ideology. The reintroduction of military uniforms and insignia modeled on those of the prerevolutionary Imperial Army served to amplify nationalist and patriotic attitudes. Tsarist history and the rituals of the Eastern Orthodox Church were invoked in efforts to raise patriotic sentiments to the highest possible pitch. The theme of Russian patriotism and national pride was adumbrated in works of Soviet writers, journalists, and filmmakers throughout the war.

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USSR in World War II


Soviet Russia

Understanding the Soviet Period
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