Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet Home Front During World War II (Hardcover)
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The first history of the Soviet home front experience during World War II and of the civilians who paid a very heavy price for total war and played a critical role in the global victory over fascism. After Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, German troops conquered the heartland of Soviet industry and agriculture and turned the occupied territories into mass killing fields. The country's survival hung in the balance. In Fortress Dark and Stern, Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer tell the epic tale of the Soviet home front during World War II. Against the backdrop of the Red Army's early retreats and regained offensive after Stalingrad, civilians contended with draconian state directives, teeming black markets, petty thievery, and official corruption, displaying spirited defense efforts and selfless heroism. In one of the greatest wartime feats in history, Soviet workers rapidly evacuated factories, food, and people thousands of miles to the east. After long and dangerous journeys in unheated boxcars, they built a new industrial base beyond the reach of German bombers. As the Soviet state reached the height of its power, imposing military discipline and sending millions of people to work thousands of miles from home, ordinary people withstood starvation, epidemics, and horrific living conditions to supply the front and make the Allied victory possible. This book examines the dark and painful war years rom a new perspective, telling the stories of evacuees, refugees, teenaged and women workers, runaways from work, prisoners, and deportees. Based on a vast trove of new archival materials, Fortress Dark and Stern reveals a history of suffering, sacrifice, and ultimate triumph largely unknown to Western readers.
About the Author
Wendy Z. Goldman is the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the author of numerous books, including Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin's Russia and Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917-1936. Donald Filtzer is Professor of Russian History Emeritus at the University of East London. His books include Soviet Workers and Late Stalinism: Labour and the Restoration of the Stalinist System After World War Two and The Hazards of Urban Life in Late Stalinist Russia: Health, Hygiene, and Living Standards, 1943-1953.