College Of Arts And Sciences | Soviet Women in World War II
E103 | 0060 | Perlina, N.


On June 22, 1941, despite the non-aggression pact that the two
countries had signed, and without a declaration of war, military
troops of Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, moving in three
directions: toward Leningrad (Saint Petersburg, the city founded by
Peter the Great), toward Kiev (the major city of ancient Rus, and the
capital of Ukraine), and toward Moscow – the capital of the USSR and
Russia. After the initial shock of invasion, the populace
concentrated its energies on the smashing of the enemy and
saving “Mother Russia.” The war was proclaimed to be Russia’s Holy
War, the Great Patriotic War, the People’s War, and immediately,
along with men called up for military service, 800,000 young girls
and women were mobilized for wartime service and frontline duties
with the Red Army. Far in the rear behind the front line, most of the
horrendous work-load was carried on by women. And during the heroic
Siege of Leningrad, the city endured the 900 days of blockade thanks
to the work and suffering of women. But once victory had been
achieved, their contribution to the feat of life and survival was
played down, and their memoirs and authentic accounts of the events
ignored as incompatible with the teachings of Stalin’s official
version of History.

The proposed course will discuss different roles of Soviet women in
the war by focusing on the view points chosen by women themselves so
that their variously narrated individual stories will confront,
amend, and complement the solidified position of the official History.