This book looks at the impact of the German invasion on the Soviet Union and the effectiveness of various elements of the Soviet system in dealing with the German threat.
The book is organized thematically, looking at each aspect of society in turn. There is no narrative account of the war, and it is assumed that the reader is familiar with the course of events.
The book asks two main questions: how did the soviet system as modified by Stalin in the 1930s cope with the impact of war - did it help or hinder the war effort; how did the war change the system and what impact did that have on people's lives. In most cases the answer is a balance - on the one hand Stalin's purges, repression and overly rapid reforms did untold amounts of damage, on the other hand the repression allowed the Soviet government to mobilize the economy effectively if brutally at the height of the crisis.
The overwhelming impression one comes away with is of the enormous sacrifices made by the Soviet people during the Second World War, mostly inflicted on them by the Germans, but often made worse by Stalin and his policies. This is a very valuable piece of work, and an essential part of the literature on the Second World War.
1 - Industry and the Economy, Mark Harrison
2 - Propaganda and Public Opinion, Richard Bidlack
3 - Food Supply, Rationing and Living Standards, Nicholas Ganson
4 - Women, Reina Pennington
5 - The Red Army, David R. Stone
6 - The People's Avengers: The Partisan Movement, Kenneth Sleptan
7 - A Peasant Ordeal: The Soviet Countryside, Jean Levesque
8 - Non-Russian Nationalities, Jeremy Smith
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military