Soviet Veterans of the Second World War: A Popular Movement in an Authoritarian Society, 1941-1991

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OUP Oxford, Nov 27, 2008 - History - 336 pages
Millions of Soviet soldiers died in the USSR's struggle for survival against Nazi Germany but millions more returned to Stalin's state after victory. Mark Edele traces the veterans' story from the early post-war years through to the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. He describes in detail the problems they encountered during demobilization, the dysfunctional bureaucracy they had to deal with once back, and the way their reintegration into civilian life worked in practice in one of the most devastated countries of Europe. He pays particular attention to groups with specific problems such as the disabled, former prisoners of war, women soldiers, and youth. The study analyses the old soldiers' long struggle for recognition and the eventual emergence of an organized movement in the years after Stalin's death. The Soviet state at first refused to recognize veterans as a group worthy of special privileges or as an organization. They were not a group conceived of in Marxist-Leninist theory, there was suspicion about their political loyalty, and the leadership worried about the costs of affording a special status to such a large population group. These preconceptions were overcome only after a long, hard struggle by a popular movement that slowly emerged within the strict confines of the authoritarian Soviet regime.
 

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Contents

List of Tables and Figures
PART I
Introduction
IThe Epic of Return
2Welcome to Normalcy
3Becoming a Civilian
PART II
ii
4A Great Profession
ii
CHAPTER I
54
CHAPTER 2
58
CHAPTER 3
62
CHAPTER 4
70
CHAPTER 5
80
CHAPTER 6
95
CHAPTER 7
72
CHAPTER 8
81

5Marked for Life
ii
6Honour to the Victors
ii
PART III
iii
7The Struggle for Organization
6
8Entitlement Community
25
Afterword
43
Notes
48
AFTERWORD
148
Chronology
1874
Glossary
1876
Bibliography
1878
Index
2014
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Mark Edele studied Russian history at the Universities of Erlangen, Tübingen, and Chicago, and is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia, where he teaches continental European and Russian history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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