The USSR on the eve of war - Strengths and weaknesses
- good defence economy created by Five Year Plans
- industry to East of Urals - harder to attack
- adaptability to total war
- DAVIES: "The armaments industry of the 1930s was by far the most outstanding success of the Soviet pre-war economy"
- OVERY: "The pre-war experience of economic planning and mobilisation helped the regime run a war economy on an emergency basis"
- people used to hardship and tight control
- Red Army Purge, 1937
- Stalin only used to "attrition" warfare
What strengths and weaknesses did this leave the USSR with?
Impacts of the invasion
- economy fell dramatically, 1941-2
- central planning worked well for a war economy - the USSR was arguably the only true war economy of WW2
- came out stronger
- agriculture decimated by "scorched Earth"
- 20 million Soviet citizens (inc. military and civilians) killed
- exile of suspect nationalities
- campaign of Russification
- fuelled by suspicion of outside world
- renewed need for buffer states
- lead to SOME advice being taken
- reliance on the 1941 winter
How big an impact did the invasion really have on the USSR in both the long and short terms?
Stalin's war-time leadership
- diplomacy before the war, buying time
- centralisation of power, STAVKA
- creation of GKO (State Defence Committee) to by-pass bureaucracy when making important decisions
- personal strengths - commanded respect etc
- allowed Zhukov to help
- learning to take advice
- grasp of strategy
- total war
- Order Number 270, August 1941 (all deserters to be shot and their families to be imprisoned)
- failures at the start of the war
- PEARSON: "Stalin's first, most fatal error was not to allow his troops to mobilise in time before impending Nazi disaster"
- to blame for many failures, eg Siege of Leningrad
- military purge
- lack of modern, military knowledge
How significant was Stalin's leadership in the Soviet war victory? (This is a regular exam question, and should not be ignored)
Economy during the war
- total war adaptability
- Movement East
- falling productivity at the start
- out-producing Germany
- large industrial capacity
- quick mobilisation of people to war effort
- relocation of industry
- out-producing Germany
- HARRISON: "If WW2 was a test, then the Soviet Economy passed it"
- industry in vulnerable areas
- agriculture. Full stop.
- relocation fraught with problems
- shortage of skilled labour
How great an impact did the economy have on the war-effort as a whole?
Impacts on Soviet Society
- Orthodox Church
- hailing old war heroes, eg Peter The Great
- 'Mother Russia'
- anti-German, not anti-Nazi
- tartar exile
- Volga Germans
- 250 000 working on German side
- most fully involved in Soviet War Effort
- LAVER: "Stalin was obsessed with a supposed national threat"
- membership rose by 3 million, mostly members of armed forces = total support
- running factories etc in men's absence
- employment rose 47%
- in party, proportion rose to 18.3%
- worked for Russia from behind enemy lines
- attacked German soldiers and destroyed equipment
- often killed for their work
Which social issue was most significant to the war effort as a whole?
Kay Battles of the War
MOSCOW, WINTER 1941-2
- October, push begins
- 600 000 troops killed by Germans
- resistance aided by harshest winter on record
- Hitler refused to allow withdrawl
- Russian counter-attack, Dec 1941, leads to Germany's first defeat of the war
- FERGUSON: "the era of Blitzkrieg was over"
- Soviet troops told to "defend at all costs"
- Soviets turned it into a war of attrition
- Soviet operation Uranus, Nov 1942, meant Germans were surrounded by 22 Nov, in the "Kessle"
- Hitler ordered General Paulus to stand firm
- surrender 31 Jan 1942
- DOCKRILL: "the beginning of the end for Germany"
KURSK, JULY-SUGUST 1943
- biggest tank battle in history!!
- NAGORSKI - "the turning point of WW2"
Which are the most significant battles and why? Remember, you'll never be asked about a battle; you'll merely have to refer to its significance in the war as a whole.
And, that's the war over!
Obviosuly, the USSR won - they pushed back to Berlin in May 1945, and Hitler committed suicide, meaning victory in Europe.
If you have any questions or thoughts, or would like information on sources or resources, please don't hesitate to comment!
- HistGrrl x