People, Church, and State in Modern Russia

By Paul B. Anderson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
Russia During the Patriotic War

IN any country the outbreak of war presents a crisis when everything comes under question and under control. The present war is one of such extent and ferocity that the national resources of every country have had to be utilized to the full. New resources have been earnestly sought and heavily drawn upon. Lifting each individual's attention and feelings to the level of a national interest with which he identifies himself, war produces a surmounting of distinctions and rivalries between individuals and groups; the will to survive and to advance becomes a common will uniting all peoples and groups. At such a time collective life and discipline becomes reasonable, and those in authority are given willing obedience, provided their authority is justified by their effectiveness in leading toward the common goal.

The Nazi leaders counted on a different course of events in the U.S.S.R. They had convinced themselves that the differences within the body politic in the U.S.S.R. were so deep and the objectives sought by various elements in the population were so divergent, that the shock of attack would intensify centrifugal tendencies and disunity. They had in mind the tendencies in the army which led to the liquidation of eight generals and many others, and the persistent trend in the religious life of the people which had

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