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USSR in Second World War (1939-1945)

Beginning of World War II

Beginning of World War II (1 September, 1939 - 22 June 1941)

On September 1, 1939, at sunrise, troops of German Vermacht, out of the blue, began military actions against Poland. Using overwhelming dominance in manpower and technique, Nazi commanders could manage to gain large-scale results for a very short time. In spite of the fact, that France, Great Britain and countries of the British Commonwealth declared war to Germany right away, these countries didn't render Poland a real and effective assistance. Courageous resistance of Polish warriors in suburbs of Mlava and close to Modlin and heroic 20-day defence of Warsaw couldn't save Poland from collapse.

At the same time (within 17-29 September) units of the Soviet Army troops practically with no resistance occupied close-to-border regions of Belorussia and the Western Ukraine. By 28 September, 1939 the first campaign of the war had been over. Poland no longer existed.

That very day in Moscow a new Soviet-German Treaty "About friendship and the border" was signed, which confirmed the division of Poland. New secret covenants gave the USSR a possibility of "freedom of action" in creation of "security sphere" in the USSR's Western borders, confirmed attachment of Western regions of Belorussia and the Ukraine, allowed the USSR to complete agreement about "mutual aid" with Estonia on 28 September, 1939, with Latvia on October 5, with Lithuania on October 10. According to those agreements the USSR received a right to station its troops in the above lands and to set up military air-bases and naval stations there as well. Stalin gave out hundreds of antifascists to Gestapo, who had been in hiding from Nazi in Russia, and also carried out deportation of hundreds thousands of the Poles (not only former military men but civilian population as well)

At the same time Stalin's administration strengthened its pressing onto Finland. On October 12, 1939 Finland was suggested to complete a treaty on "mutual aid", but the latter refused, and the negotiations weren't a success.

Poland's frustration, Germany's temporary union with Stalin allowed Hitler to enjoy the sound rear for carrying out a "blitzkrieg" on the West-European theatre of operations. Already on October 12, 1939 Hitler signed a directive about preparation for an attack to France, and in ten days after that he issued a plan of strategic concentration of German troops for carrying out offensive operations against the West.

Soviet leadership undertook active steps to broaden "sphere of safety" in the North-West. On November 28, 1939 the USSR, in unilateral way, denounced the treaty with Finland on non-offence and started military operations (which lasted almost three months) against the country. The following day in a place of Ternoky "The Government of Democratic Finnish republic" was hurriedly declared.

On 12 March 1940 a peace treaty between Finland and the USSR was signed in Moscow, taking into consideration territorial demands towards the USSR. The Soviet Union suffered enormous loss in the war: 127,000 perished or missing; 248,000 wounded and frost-bitten. Finland's loss was 48,000 perished and 43,000 wounded.

In political terms the war brought much harm to the Soviet Union. On 14 December, 1939 League of Nations Council accepted a resolution to expel the USSR from the lists of the foundation, disapproved the USSR's steps, directed against Finland, and called the member-states of the League to support Finland. The USSR happened to be in international segregation.

The results of the "Winter War" obviously showed weakness of "adamantine" Soviet Armed Forces. Soon after Minister for Defence K. Voroshilov was replaced with S. Timoshenko.

In spring of 1940 Vermaht troops began a large-scale military operation in Western Europe. On 9 April, 1940 a striking group of Hitler's units (about 140,000 of manpower, 1,000 aircrafts and all Naval forces) attacked the Netherlands and Norway. The Netherlands, that had only 13,000 Army, was occupied for a few hours, and the government announced about capitulation right away.

The situation in Norway was a little different. The Armed Forces there could manage to escape frustration and drew off into the depth of the country. British and French forces came to help them. The armed fight promised to become a rather lengthy one, so already on 10 May, 1940 Hitler started an offensive, named "Helb"; according to that it was supposed to make a lightning-like drive at France via Luxembourg, Belgium and Netherlands, bypassing French defence line "Magino". On 22 June 1940 France's Capitulation Act was signed, according to which its northern territory was occupied by Germany, and the Southern part remained under the control of "collaboration" government of Marshall Peten (the so-called "Pishi" regime).

The defeat of France caused a sharp change in strategic situation in Europe. There appeared a real threat of German invasion into Great Britain. A large-scale marine war was in progress on naval communications, where German submarines sank 100-150 trade vessels per month.

Already since summer of 1940 the front in the West no longer existed, and the would-be collision between Germany and the USSR had more and more tangible lineament.

As a result of German "policy of pacification" territories with 14,000,000 population on the Northeast and East of Europe were adjoined to the USSR, and the Western border was pushed 200-600 km. aside. On the VIII Session of the USSR Supreme Soviet (2-6 August 1940) those territorial acquisitions were legally drawn up by means of laws about republics of Moldavia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania formation.

Germany, after its victory over France, activated preparations for war against the USSR. The question about "the westward campaign" was discussed on 21 July 1940 on Hitler's meeting with commanders of different combat arms, and on 31 July he set a task to begin the operation in May 1940, and to fulfil it in 5 months.

On August 9, 1940 the decision about moving the Vermaht forces to the USSR borders was accepted, and since September the troops started to concentrate in Romania. Simultaneously a vast desinformation campaign against the USSR administration began, that played a very harmful for the USSR role at the beginning of the war. On September 27 Germany, Italy and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact, with which Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia affiliated later. And on 18 December 1940 Hitler affirmed famous "Barbarossa Variant" - plan of the war against the USSR.

With an eye to conceal war preparations I.Ribbentrop offered I.Stalin (13 October, 1940) to take part in dividing spheres of interest world-widely. The meeting on this question was held on 12-13 November, but it came to no result, because of inadmissible conditions from both sides.

The rebuff organization

Beginning of Fatherland war of Soviet people (June 22, 1941 - 1942).

Organization of rebuff from Moscow to Stalingrad

According to "Barbarossa" plan, nazi Germany, breaking the agreement about non-assault, attacked the Soviet Union on the dawn of June 22, 1941. Germany had satellites in the campaign: Romania, and, in a few days, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Finland. The group of armed forces, that had been hammered together specially for the assault to the USSR, numbered about 190 divisions (including 19 tank and 13 mounted ones), with membership of 5,000,000; it had 4300 tanks and assault guns, 47,200 cannons and minethrowers, 4500 craft and 192 basic class ships.

The fascist bloc troops were confronted with Soviet Armed Forces, converted from border military circumscriptions into the North, Northwest, West, Southwest and South fronts, having in them up to 186 divisions, numbering over 3,000,000 people, more than 47,000 cannons and minethrowers, 131,000 tanks (only 38,000 in good repair) 8700 planes (6400 of which were in good repair). The sea borders on the flanks of the Soviet-German front were protected by the North, Baltic and the Black-sea fleets, numbering 182 basic class ships and 1400 units of aircraft.

The events at the front in Summer and Autumn of 1941 developed in a sweeping and tragic way. The situation demanded to convert the country into a one military camp, and to adjust national economy for the needs of defence. Urgent measures were taken for removing the train of economy to the military metals, which demanded certain changes in the structure of federal administration.

In late 1941 total compulsory military training was introduced, which covered 9,800,000 people.

In 1941 July the enemy developed its offensive on the whole length of the front. But on the Western direction, in Smolensk battle, the troops of Western and Central Fronts during acerbate fights could manage to stop the "Centre" Group of Armies, and on July 30, 1941 made German soldiers, aspiring to Moscow, take defensive positions. Simultaneously defensive fights were running high at Luga barrier, close to Leningrad. The long defence of the city began. Leningrad Front under the heading of marshal G. Zhukov in association with the Baltic Fleet and all the city inhabitants stopped the enemy and defended the city for 900 days and nights.

Debacle of Soviet troops in the Ukraine enabled Vermaht to resume the offensive along the three main directions of the Soviet-German front. In the South the adversary intervened the region of Donbass (abbreviation: The Don-river Coal-mining Basin), potted the city of Rostov, broke forth into the Crimea. But here German troops were stopped by the Sebastopol defence.

The main German Army efforts in the Autumn of 1941 were pointed to seizing of Soviet capital - on September, 30 Moscow Battle began. Since October 20 the city was announced under siege. German attempt to attack in the centre of West Front failed. The bleeding "Centre" group of armies had to proceed to defensive (successful offensive operations of Russian troops at Tikhvin and Rostov helped as well).

The campaign "summer-autumn 1941" lasted 5.5 months. It was the heaviest campaign in the whole war. Our Army stepped back 850-1200 km into the depth of the country's territory. The most important economic regions happened to be in the adversary's hands. Nevertheless German blitzkrieg was aborted. The enemy had to proceed to strategic defence along the whole front. Soviet troops achieved that by a very high price: irrevocable and sanitary loss of army came to 5,000,000 people only for the second part of 1941. German troops lost 750,000 of manpower, 2400 tanks and other pieces of machinery, 25 divisions and 13 brigades were destroyed.

Since the second part of 1941 discussions about creating anti-Hitler coalition grew more and more active. The USSR, the USA and Great Britain were at the head. As early as on 22 June, 1941 Winston Churchill's government announced about their support to the Soviet Union in its war against Hitler, and on 12 July a Soviet-British agreement was signed in Moscow about mutual actions in the war against Germany. On 24 July the USA President Franklin Roosevelt declared, that "his country would render all kind of assistance to the Soviet Union" in its struggle.

As the main efforts of the fascist bloc in summer-autumn of 1941 were concentrated on the war against the USSR, activity on other parts of the front of the World War II noticeably decreased.

The chief results of Moscow Battle and of the following Soviet troops' counter-attack were: (1) that the threat of losing the capital and the North Caucuses was liquidated; (2) strengthening of Leningrad defence; (3) liberation of over 60 Soviet cities; (4) routing of 50 enemy's divisions.

Nazi leadership turned out to be before a perspective of a lengthy war. The Soviet Army's successes strengthened the USSR's position in international arena. But the final goal - putting to rout basic German forces - wasn't reached. The USSR's General Staff overestimated offensive ability of Soviet troops. Army's commanders were equipping the troops with arms novelties at that time, but unfortunately didn't fulfil the process. Stalin set the main problem for the Army for summer-autumn campaign: overwhelming triumph over Vermaht forces and liberation of all the USSR's territory from nazi troops. But undervaluation of the Nazi and overestimation of Russian Army resulted in a tragedy. In course of German offensive on Kertch peninsula in May 1942 only for ten days the whole Crimean Front was broken into matchwood (the loss came up to 176,000 in manpower). On July 4, 1942 our troops left the city of Sebastopol. In May 1942 troops of Southwest and South Fronts, beginning offensive in the region of Kharkov, suffered a bitter frustration. Irrevocable losses of manpower came up to 170,000. Consequently the adversary possessed the strategic initiative again and in late June began a general offensive.

At the same time Soviet leadership decided to deploy partisan struggle on the occupied territory.

On July 17 defensive period in Stalingrad battle (1942-1943) began. In July-November 1942 losses of German troops in course of offensive to Stalingrad and the North Caucuses came up to 800,000 of the perished and wounded. But this period was the most hard for Russia and for Russian people. Huge losses of Soviet Army were the result of serious mistakes of political and strategic character. It was either the first time for German troops in the World War II, when they suffered that serious losses. Germany and its allies didn't reach their goals and their political and military plans collapsed.

Drastic reversal in the war

Since mid-November 1942 the Soviet Army was in a very difficult position. Along the 6200 km long front the Soviet armed forces were confronted with 258 divisions and 16 brigades of fascist bloc in manpower of over 6,200,000, which constituted 71% of all the adversary's forces. The British-American allies hadn't yet opened the Second Front in Western Europe. That gave an opportunity to add 80 divisions to the against-Russia group of Armies. Soviet acting army numbered 7,000,000 of manpower at that moment; it had been created some dominance in manpower and the means. General Staff defined capture of strategic initiative and creation a reversal in the war as main targets of the period.

During 1942-1943 winter it was planned to put to rout the adversary's troops on the south wing of the Soviet-German front and simultaneously to improve considerably the strategic situation in Moscow and Leningrad.

At the end of the Volga battle, by early February 1943, units of Donskoy Front terminated the enemy's troops, being in the ring. 91,000 warriors were taken prisoners, including 2500 officers and 24 generals with commander-in-chief of the 6-th German Army general F. Paulus. During 6.5 months of Stalingrad Battle Germany and the allies lost up to 1,500,000 people; strategic initiative moved to the Soviet Army completely. It was the beginning of drastic reversal in the World War II. Anti-Hitler coalition strengthened.

On the Caucuses direction Soviet troops in course of offensive operations moved 500-600 km. forward by the end of 1943 summer, and liberated the bigger part of the region. In 1943 January Leningrad blockade was run.

In course of 1942/43 winter campaign Soviet Army moved 600-700 km westward, having liberated 480 square kilometres. Over 100 German divisions were made a good execution of, that constituted 40% of all German troops fighting against the USSR. To refresh the losses, Vermaht had to redeploy over 34 divisions to the Eastern Front. Obviously, the situation in Italy and in North Africa became easier for the British and Americans.

In 1943 spring a strategic truce descend upon Soviet-German front. The opposing sides were getting ready for the tobe summer-autumn campaign. On the list of Russian Army there appeared (within international aid borders) Checkoslovakian battalion, in May 1943 - the Firs Polish Division named after T. Kostyushko, French aviation squadron (later - regiment) "Normandia". Romanian and Yugoslavian units.

In 1943 Germany and its satellites carried out a total mobilisation, and simultaneously skyrocketed war products output. By early 1943 July the adversary had had over 5,300,000 of manpower at his disposal only on the Eastern front. The balance of power was to the advantage of Russians: in manpower - 1.2 as much; on cannons and minethrowers - 1.9; on tanks - 1.7; on aircrafts - 3.4 as much.

Vermaht was planning to carry out a large-scale strategic offensive operation in summer of 1943 in region of Kursk city (the so-called "Citadel" operation), with the objective to rout Soviet troops and to strike a blow at Southwest Front's rearward ("Panther" operation), and hopefully to create a threat for Moscow again.

The Soviet Army HQ accepted a plan of deliberate defence on the Kursk bulge.

During the strategic truce period in Kuban region in spring of 1943 an aviation battle was on for strategic dominance in the air. Soviet Air Force crippled the enemy seriously, having destroyed 1100 adversary's airplanes.

During fights in Kursk Bulge the enemy lost over half a million people, and a great deal of equipment. The victory in Kursk region was actually the beginning of a drastic crisis in the war, it meant that Vermaht's war policy was no longer the offensive one. Soviet Army maintained the strategic initiative in their hands up to the end of the war. After the crushing defeat that German Army had suffered in Kursk Bulge German Army leadership tried to convert the war into position forms, putting much attention to the Dnepr river forcing.

Having thrown the enemy as far as 200-300 km away from Moscow, Soviet troops began to liberate Belorussia. Since November 1942 through December 1943 Soviet Army moved forward westward as far as 500-1300 km, having liberated about half of the occupied territory. 218 German divisions suffered complete rout. Partisan units (up to 250,000 people) made great harm for the enemy at that time as well.

The achieved by the USSR turningpoint in the area of single economic combat with Germany & Co became the material fundament for the turningpoint in the field battles.

The USSR's victories in grandiose fightings on the Volga river and in Kusk region in 1943 played an important role for activating British-American actions. The successes enabled among other things to change drastically the situation in North Africa. The extrusion of German troops from Africa gave British-American Forces a possibility to start preparations for penetration into Italy. At that very time when Russian troops fought in Kursk region, Britain and America successfully carried out the well-known descent operation into Sicily (named "Khaski"), and a number of others.

On 25 July 1943 Mussolini's government was unseated, and the head of the new one P. Badolyo signed a Truce with Western allies. On 13 October Italy declared war to Germany. Decomposition of the fascist bloc began.

Moscow summit of Foreign ministers of the three countries (October 1943) was an important stage in preparation of Teheran Conference with participation of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt (October 28 - December 1, 1943). The main question there was the date of the Second Front opening. Other questions were: about partisans in Yugoslavia, about relations with Turkey, about the post-war world figuration.

Liberation of the USSR and European countries

The most important events of the period were defined with growing mightiness of war-and-economic potential of the anti-Hitler coalition, with Soviet Army energetic victorious actions and with struggle activation of the British-American side.

By the beginning of the 1944 the situation in Germany worsened sharply: the material and manpower resources were speedily running out. Nevertheless the enemy was strong yet. Armed Forces of Germany and its satellites came up to 5,000,000 in manpower (236 divisions and 18 brigades), 5400 tanks and assault guns, 55,000 cannons and minethrowers, over 3,000 aircrafts. Vermaht proceeded to tough position defence. The USSR Army by 1944 had had over 6,300,000 in manpower, over 5,000 tanks and self-propelled cannons, over 95,000 cannons and minethrowers, 10,000 units of aircraft. Arms manufacturing was in 1944 at its peak.

The USSR HQ set a problem before the Army: to sweep the native land from the enemy, to start liberation of European countries and to finish the war by putting the adversary to rout at its territory. The main substance of 1944 spring-summer campaign was carrying out of consecutive strategic operations of Soviet troops, in course of which the main units of adversary's troops were routed so as a path to the federal border was open. In 1944 spring the Crimea was swept up from the enemy. As a result of a four-month campaign Soviet Armed Forces liberated 329,000 square kilometres of Soviet territory, put to rout over 170 enemy's divisions of up to 1,000,000 in strength.

In those favourable conditions Western Allies, after a two-year preparation period, opened the Second Front in Europe (North of France). Supported by French Defence, British-American troops on 25 June 1944 started an offensive operation targeting Paris, where on 19 August an uprising began against the occupants. When the allied forces came into Paris, it had already been in the hands of patriots. At the same time (15-19 August, 1944) British-American troops, consisting of seven divisions, landed in the region of Cannes city, in the South of France, and practically without any resistance, made for the centre of the country. Anyway, Vermaht commanders managed to escape encirclement and succeeded to bring the units to the western borders of Germany. Moreover, on December 16, 1944, having begun an offensive in Ardennes, German troops overwhelmed the First American Army and by that manoeuvred the whole British-American group of armed forces into an awkward position.

In 1944 summer Soviet troops developed a broad offensive operation in Karelia, Belorussia, the West Ukraine and in Moldavia. As a result of offensive in the North of the country Finland came out of the war with the USSR (19 September, 1944) and declared war to Germany (4 March 1944).

Victories of Soviet Army in the South direction in Autumn of 1944 helped Bolgarian, Hungarian, Yugoslavian and Czechoslovakian peoples in their liberation from fascism. On 9 September 1944 government of "Motherland Front" came to power in Bulgaria, that declared war to Germany. In September-October Soviet troops liberated a part of Czechoslovakia and supported Slovak national uprising.

"Liberating" campaign of the Red Army into the Eastern Europe countries caused some tension of geopolitical contradictions between the USSR and its western allies. W. Churchill was very much irritated by growing USSR's influence in the region. On 9-18 October 1944 he undertook a visit to the USSR and had negotiations with J. Stalin. He suggested to sign a British-Russian agreement about "spheres of influence" division in the countries of Southeast Europe, which was supported by Stalin. Nevertheless the document wasn't signed, since American ambassador in Moscow A. Harriman opposed that aggressively. Anyway the secret "gentlemanly" agreement between Churchill and Stalin played an active role in farther events in the region.

In winter 1944 campaign coordination between the anti-Hitler coalition allies developed deeper. In early April 1945 Western allies' troops successfully encircled and then took captives about 19 German divisions in the region of Rur. After that operation Nazi defence on the Western front was practically broken up.

On 2 May 1945 group of units "C" in Italy capitulated. On 4 May Act of German troops capitulation in Holland, Northwest Germany was signed.

In January - early April 1945 as the result of broad powerful strategic offensive along the whole Russian-German front Soviet Army crushed the main forces of the adversary. The road to Berlin was practically free.

Attempts of the new German government (after Hitler's suicide it was headed by admiral K. Denits) to reach a separate peace with the USA and Britain failed. Decisive victories of the Red Army in Europe influenced in some way results of Yalta Conference (4-11 February 1945), on which problems of the final stage in the fight against fascism were discussed. The USSR acknowledged its obligations about coming into war against Japan in 2-3 months after the war in Europe is over.

In cause of Berlin operation (16 April-8 May 1945) about 480,000 soldiers were taken prisoners, as well as great many pieces of arms. Victorious finish of Berlin operation created favourable conditions for putting the last German large-scale group of troops in Czechoslovakia to rout. The day of liberating Prague from fascists - 9 May 1945 - became the Day of Victory of Soviet people over fascism.

Crushing defeat of Japan. End of war

In accordance with allied agreement of 5 April 1945 the USSR denounced the Soviet-Japan Treaty on Neutrality and on 8 August declared war to Japan. Next day group of Soviet troops listing over 1,800,000 people, began military actions. For strategic management of the Eastern group of troops Chief HQ in the Far East headed by Marshall Vasilevskiy had been created as early as 30 June. Japan Quantoon Army, numbering 817,000 in manpower (let alone puppet troops), opposed Russian Army.

For 23 days of cut-throat fights along the 5,000-km front Soviet troops and marines, successfully moving forward, liberated the Northeast of China, Southern part of Sakhalin island and the Curilles. Shoulder to shoulder with Soviet warriors soldiers of Mongolian National Army fought. Soviet Army played the most active role in the events. Soviet troops took captives 600,000 soldiers and officers of the adversary, as well as great many pieces of arms and technics.

On September 2, 1945 in Tokyo bay, on board of American battleship "Missouri" Japan representatives signed the Act of Unconditional Surrender.

The victory of the USSR and the countries of anti-Hitler coalition over nazi Germany and militarist Japan in World War II had a world-wide historical meaning. It had also a powerful impact onto the post-war development of the mankind. The Great Patriotic War was its most important part. Soviet Armed Forces managed to preserve Motherland's existence, its freedom and independence; they liberated from fascist oppression peoples of eleven European countries, cast out Japanese occupants from Northeast China and Korea. During the four-year struggle (1418 days and nights) on the Soviet-German front the main forces of fascists were overwhelmed and taken captives: 607 divisions of Vermaht and its satellites. In battles with Soviet Armed Forces Hitler's Germany lost over 10,000,000 people (80% of all the war losses), over 75% of all the materiel.

But the price of the victory was a gigantic one. The war carried away 27,000,000 lives of Russians (according to approximate counting), including 11,000,000 soldiers, killed in action.

For the years of Great Patriotic War over 1,000,000 commanders perished, died of wounds, were missing. In the adversary's rear and on occupied territories there perished about 4,000,000 partisans and subterranean fighters. The USSR lost 30% of its national wealth. The occupants destroyed 1710 Soviet cities, towns and settlements, over 70,000 villages, 32,000 industrial production units, 98,000 collective farms and 2,000 state farms; 6,000 hospitals, 82,000 schools, 334 universities and institutes, 427 museums, 43,000 libraries. Only direct material harm came up to 679,000,000,000 roubles (in prices of 1941), and general expenses - to 1,890,000,000,000 roubles.

The USSR economics in the war years

The victory would be unthinkable without selfless titanic labour of workers and farmers, engineers and designers, scientists, workers of culture.

Loss of a considerable part of economic potential and removing thousands of industrial production units to the East of the country, vast breakup and manpower losses in national economy led at the beginning of the war to a sharp fall of industrial production output, which was especially tangible in defence areas. By the end of 1941 gross output volume lowered doubly. In those conditions Soviet government accepted very tough measures for strengthening the rear. From the very start of the fascist invasion mass mobilisations of citizens to the working front were held. In April, 1942 the mobilisation covered rural area inhabitants as well. Those measures touched firstly and mainly women and teenagers. In 1942 more than half of all employees in agriculture were women.

The problem of qualified personnel was one of the most acute. Evacuated works had not more than 30% of workers and specialists, so in December of 1941 a plan of preparation was worked out, designed for short-term training of 400,000 workers; all-in-all in 1942 about 4,400,000 workers and specialists had been trained. Nevertheless the number of the employed decreased, as compared with 1940, from 33,900,000 down to 18,400,000 in 1942.

Supply of the Army with weapons, arms, ammunition, technics was one of the most important problems. At the beginning of the war as a result of tremendous losses the aviation was very seriously weakened. There rose a demand for mass manufacturing of new aircrafts. Tank industry launched production of new models of tanks. Much was done to increase output of new arms, which were so needed at front. Anyway up to the end of 1941 the Army's and the Navy demands in technics, arms and ammunition were satisfied far not fully.

To manufacture aircraft, tanks and other fighting technique, a great amount of high-quality steel was necessary. In connection with removing part of Defence industry to the Urals and West Siberia many of manufacturing technologies had to be changed, as well as the whole system of manufacturing war technics on the new places. The Urals became the basic workshop of the country's defence industry.

With loss of Don Coal Basin and coal area of Rostovskaya region demand for coal rose dramatically.

The native agriculture suffered great losses too. With all the unbelievable efforts made my farmers, mainly women, production of grain and other food products fell down seriously. The main base of agricultural production became then East and Southeast regions of Russia: the Volga region, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia.

In consequence of extraordinary measures already by 1942 the Soviet Union had healthy military economics, giving enough products for the front. Since 1943 general recovery of industry began. Industrial output reached its peak in 1944.

Eastern regions of the country played a very significant role in heavy industry production. Output of metals, especially of special ones and copper/aluminium alloys increased considerably. In 1945 the total metals output doubled the 1943 one. Extraction of coal reached the pre-war level.

The experience of the war years proved persuadingly, that command system, established in the pre-war years, contained broad possibilities for mobilising the country's economic potential. Characteristic features of that system were flexibility, manoeuvrability in combination with get-tough repressive system of production/personnel control.

Science and Culture during the war

Development of Soviet science and culture during the war

1941-1945 were the years of audacious and original technical decisions, of high rise in creative thinking of scientists, designers, engineers, workers. Results of the USSR Academy of Sciences researches enabled to broaden production and primary base, researches on new types of arms and production of the new types of arms. As early as in the first months of the war many of research institutes had to emigrate to the East of the country. In the process of changing the place all scientific foundations kept their personnel communities. The themes of the research institutions were of three directions: development of practical military-technical problems, scientific help to industry, mobilising of primary resources.

Thanks to geologists new deposits of iron ore, molybdenum ore were discovered, new sources of oil in Bashkiria (Northeast of Europe, close to the Urals).

Scientists A. Alexandrov, B. Gayev, A. Regel and others successfully solved the problem of anti-mine defence of the ships.

Serious successes were achieved in realms of Biology, Agriculture and Health Care. Soviet scientists found new plant types of raw material for industry, searched for ways of raising productivity in agriculture.

One of the necessary conditions for successful development of national economy was continuous training of new personnel in higher educational institutions and technicums. In 1941 reception to universities and institutes was reduced doubly and the number of them decreased from 817 down to 460; the number of students lowered 3.5 times, and time of training was shortened from 5-6 years down to 3.5 years. Anyway by the end of the war the number of students was close to the pre-war one.

In the war time creators of Soviet fighting technics and arms worked really hard. On the fields of battle those arms were tested and improved, which concerns especially new types of cannons and minethrowers. Soviet scientists managed to shorten many-foldly period of development and implementation of novelties. About half of all types of small arms and vast majority of artillery novelties were introduced during the war years. The USSR exceeded Germany on annual output volume of:

field artillery - doubly;

minethrowers - more than 5 times;

antitank cannons - 2.6 times;

Germany's dominance in tanks was overcome comparatively quickly.

Since the second part of 1942 production of aircrafts and aviation engines was steadily piled up.

Since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War patriotic theme became a dominant one in cinema, theatre, fiction - everywhere. In the war years many prominent poets, writers became reporters at front.

Historical literature became popular as well.

In movie the main theme of the screen was heroic struggle of Soviet people with the enemy, and news-reel occupied the leading place. 129 camera-men worked at the frontier in 1945. Fiction films, created in war years, narrated about bolshevics, partisans, about life on the occupied territory and people, violently brought to Germany. The comedy remained one of the leading genre.

Since the first days of the war Trade Unions Central Committee Plenum addressed to workers of Art to participate in great liberating struggle. On 3 July 1941 Presidium of the All-Union Theatrical Society accepted a decision to create a defensive and anti-fascist repertoire. There were created 400 theatre-concert brigades for work at front, 25 front theatres. 42,000 actors worked at front, who gave 1350 performances, including 437 at the forefront itself.

Soviet Russia
Revolutions of 1917
Civil War
Russia in NEP
Industrialization. USSR in 30s
USSR in Second World War (1939-1945)
First Post-war Decade
XX CPSU Congress. "Thaw" (1956-1964)
Epoch of "Developed Socialism" (1964-1985)
"Perestroika" (1985-1991)

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