Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union during World War II

Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union during World War II

Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union during World War II

Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union during World War II

Synopsis

Drawing on recently released Soviet archival materials, Hunger and War investigates state food supply policy and its impact on Soviet society during World War II. It explores the role of the state in provisioning the urban population, particularly workers, with food; feeding the Red army; the medicalization of hunger; hunger in blockaded Leningrad; and civilian mortality from hunger and malnutrition in other home front industrial regions. New research reported here challenges and complicates many of the narratives and counter-narratives about the war. The authors engage such difficult subjects as starvation mortality, bitterness over privation and inequalities in provisioning, and conflicts among state organizations. At the same time, they recognize the considerable role played by the Soviet state in organizing supplies of food to adequately support the military effort and defense production and in developing policies that promoted social stability amid upheaval. The book makes a significant contribution to scholarship on the Soviet population's experience of World War II as well as to studies of war and famine.

Excerpt

Donald Filtzer and Wendy Z. Goldman

Every year, victory day, or DEN′ pobedy, the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender on May 9, 1945, is celebrated in Russia. in the Soviet period, the day was marked by great festive demonstrations. Elderly men, their medals pinned to worn suit jackets, marched proudly holding the hands of their young grandchildren, and families thronged the streets. the parks were filled with veterans, who met to sing, dance, and remember the war. Today, the ranks of the veterans have thinned, but both state-sponsored events and popular traditions continue. in cities throughout the country, monuments to the war dead are ritual sites of commemoration for wedding parties. in the spring, smiling young girls in bridal dress and their grooms can be seen laying bouquets of flowers at the base of these monuments. the gesture has become a nationwide tradition linking the living and the dead. the wedding party’s homage captures a deep, unspoken understanding that future children are in some way consecrated to those young people who did not survive to raise children of their own. Even now, four generations later, the missing are still felt, their memory kept alive, through state-sponsored efforts and family remembrances, from one generation to the next.

The Soviet Union lost more people during World War ii, in both absolute numbers and as a percentage of its population, than any other combatant nation: 26.6 million according to the latest figures. More than 8.6 million soldiers died, including almost 3.4 million lost from the ranks or taken prisoner and deliberately starved to death in German camps. of the civilian population, between 700,000 and 1 million people died in besieged Leningrad. in the occupied territories, 13.6 million perished . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.