In the same year, Soviet coal output was 75 million tons, while German output was million. The USSR nevertheless out-produced Germany in the quantity though seldom in the quality of most major weapons, from this much smaller industrial base. The impressive production of weapons was achieved by turning the whole of the remaining Soviet area into what Stalin called 'a single armed camp', focusing all efforts on military production and extorting maximum labour from a workforce whose only guarantee of food was to turn up at the factory and work the arduous hour shifts.
Without Lend-Lease aid, however, from the United States and Britain, both of whom supplied a high proportion of food and raw materials for the Soviet war effort, the high output of weapons would still not have been possible. The chief explanation lies not in resources, which Germany was more generously supplied with than the Soviet Union, during the two central years of the war before American and British economic power was fully exerted. It lies instead in the remarkable reform of the Red Army and the Russian air force, undertaken slowly in Every area of Soviet military life was examined and changes introduced.
The army established the equivalent of the heavily armoured German Panzer divisions, and tank units were better organised - thanks to the introduction of radios. Soviet army tactics and intelligence-gathering were also overhauled. Camouflage, surprise and misinformation were brilliantly exploited to keep the German army in the dark about major Soviet intentions. The air force was subjected to effective central control and improved communications, so that it could support the Soviet army in the same way as the Luftwaffe backed up German forces.
The Red Army was fortunate that in Stalin finally decided to play a less prominent role in defence planning and discovered in a young Russian general, Georgi Zhukov, a remarkable deputy whose brusque, no-nonsense style of command, and intuitive operational sense, were indispensable in making the Red Army a better battlefield force. The Communist Party also accepted the need to give the Red Army greater flexibility in fighting the war, and in the autumn of scaled down the role of political commissars attached to the armed forces.
The Soviet people also played their part.
Despite exceptional levels of deprivation and loss, they kept up the production of food, weapons and equipment. Some were terrorised into doing so, particularly the millions of camp labourers who worked fully for the war effort.
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But others did so from a genuine patriotism or a hatred of German fascism. The harsh treatment of the Soviet population in those areas of Russia occupied by Germany made it easier for the Stalinist regime to mobilise support elsewhere in Russia for the war effort.
Stalin relaxed the repression of the Church so that it could be used to mobilise enthusiasm, while propaganda played on the theme of past Russian glories against European invaders, rather than on Communist successes. An exceptional burden was borne by Soviet women. By over half the workforce was female, and on the land, more than four-fifths.
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Women fought in their thousands in the Soviet armed forces as pilots, sharpshooters, even tank commanders. Many women joined the partisan movement operating behind the German lines - and by there were an estimated , of them. They constantly harried German troops, and were themselves the victim of harsh punitive expeditions, which led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent villagers along with the partisan bands. The so-called 'barbarisation of warfare' has a number of explanations. Conditions were harsh for both sides, and losses were high.
German forces entered the USSR with instructions from Hitler's headquarters to use the most brutal methods to keep control, and to murder Communist commissars and Jews in the service of the Soviet state. By the autumn of these instructions had expanded to include all suspected partisans and other categories of Jew. In the remaining Jewish population was rounded up and killed on the spot or sent to extermination camps. The mass-murder of the Jews illustrates the importance of ideology in the conflict.
Both sides fought in effect a civil war - the Soviets against imperialist invaders, the Germans against Jewish Bolshevism. The nature of the dictatorships determined the savage character of the eastern conflict. Soviet victory came at a high price, but a combination of total-war mobilisation, better fighting methods and high operational skills defeated a German army that in was a formidable, heavily armed and modern fighting force.
Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany. The Soviet state was transformed in the process into a superpower, and Communism, close to extinction in the autumn of , came to dominate the whole Eurasian area, from East Germany to North Korea. Richard Overy is professor of history at the University of Exeter. Search term:.
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Roots of war On 22 June , some three million soldiers of Germany and her allies began an attack on the Soviet Union. Dinner Party Tips. Are you excited to throw a dinner party, but terrified at the thought? The Right Braai for You. Most of us listen to music, even though it might be different kinds of music. Some genres we love, some leave us indifferent and some we hate. The Musical Effect. What fierce motivation drives warriors to commit themselves to a last stand against a more powerful and better-armed enemy?
The reasons are countless: anger, fear, brotherhood, personal glory, and survival. These 13 examples of persistence against incredible odds come from two centuries worth of combat in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. Slight surface scratching on cover and faint creasing on spine.
Light browning on thickness of pages. Rest of book in very good condition, pages neat and clean and binding tight. Buyer Protection. Oh no! Your cart is currently empty An Item has been added to cart x.
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