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Stalin's Guerrillas: Soviet Partisans in World War II

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  • Stalin's Guerrillas: Soviet Partisans in World War II

    When the Wehrmacht rolled into the Soviet Union in World War II, it got more than it bargained for. Notwithstanding the Red Army's retreat, Soviet citizens fought fiercely against German occupiers, engaging in raids, sabotage, and intelligence gathering--largely without any oversight from Stalin and his iron-fisted rule.

    Kenneth Slepyan provides an enlightening social and political history of the Soviet partisan movement, a people's army of irregulars fighting behind enemy lines. These insurgents included not only civilians--many of them women--but also stranded Red Army soldiers, national minorities, and even former collaborators. While others have documented the military contributions of the movement, Slepyan is the first to describe it as a social phenomenon and to reveal how its members were both challenged and transformed by the crucible of war.


    By tracing the movement's origins, internal squabbles, and evolution throughout the war, Slepyan shows that people who suddenly had the autonomy to act on their own came to rethink the Stalinist regime. He assesses how partisan initiative and self-reliance competed with and countered the demands of state control and how social identities influenced relations among partisans, as well as between partisans and Soviet authorities.


    Slepyan has tapped newly opened Soviet archives, as well as wartime radio broadcasts and Communist Party publications and memoirs, to depict the partisans as agents actively pursuing their own agendas. His book gives us a picture of their day-to-day struggle that was previously unknown to all but those few who personally survived the experience, paying special attention to questions of nationality, ethnicity, and gender to illuminate the sociopolitical relations within this diverse group. Through these varied accounts, he demonstrates that Soviet citizens reinterpreted Stalinism and the Soviet experience in the context of total war.


    Offering numerous fresh insights into the partisans' multifaceted relationship with the state, Slepyan's book reveals the ways in which the war simultaneously reinforced and undermined both Stalinism and the Soviet system. Ultimately, his study rescues the Soviet partisans from obscurity to depict the complexity of their lives and underscore their vital contributions to the defense of their homeland.


    This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/070...SIN=070061480X
    "To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat."
    --Marshal Józef Piłsudski

  • #2
    Just a side note - why is everything what happened in the Soviet Union in Stalin's time given the adjective "Stalin's"? Ironically the Western "scholars" unvittingly repeat the Soviet propaganda techiques aimed at attributing any positive social event to Stalin or other party leader. Just like in a Soviet joke: "The spring is gone - the summer's in/We praise the Party for this"
    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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    • #3
      Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, and thus under his control. Just like everything done by the German military in WWII is often referred to as "Hitler's".

      In any case, it's a trival point.
      "To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat."
      --Marshal Józef Piłsudski

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      • #4
        But they were guerillas! Surely, rather soon in the war the partisan movement was put under centralised control, but they weren't appointed by Stalin and therefore can't be called "Stalin's". Just like German civilians can't be called "Hitler's population", for example.
        www.histours.ru

        Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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        • #5
          You're still arguing a trival point in regards to semantics.
          "To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat."
          --Marshal Józef Piłsudski

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pilsudski View Post
            You're still arguing a trival point in regards to semantics.
            I know, I'm just pretty fed up with this.

            As for the book, it looks quite promising from the annotation.

            Here's the bio of the most famous partisan of the war: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydir_Kovpak
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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            • #7
              A part of discussion is moved to the new thread
              http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=78846
              If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ShAA View Post
                Just a side note - why is everything what happened in the Soviet Union in Stalin's time given the adjective "Stalin's"?
                I imagine its because of the total power he wielded at the time.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wokelly View Post
                  I imagine its because of the total power he wielded at the time.
                  Just another half-myth. Many people take "1984" as a guidebook to the SU, unable to realise it was terribly far from this "ideal".

                  Partisan detachments started forming without orders from the abouve, and even when they willingly accepted Stalin's control, they still possessed a degree of autonomy significant enough not to call them "Stalin's units".
                  www.histours.ru

                  Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                  • #10
                    The absolute majority of Soviet partisan detachment were fromed either by Soviet authorities and NKVD before retreating or they were formed on the basis of the Red Army units that found themselves in the German rear.

                    As to "1984" and reality in the USSR. "1984" is not far from Soviet reality especially of certain periods. The USSR is not just 1960-1980s.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shamil View Post
                      The absolute majority of Soviet partisan detachment were fromed either by Soviet authorities and NKVD before retreating or they were formed on the basis of the Red Army units that found themselves in the German rear.
                      They could barely escape from the German during the retreat, not speaking of organising anything. This was nowhere near a "majority" and definitely not an "absolute" one.

                      As to "1984" and reality in the USSR. "1984" is not far from Soviet reality of certain periods. The USSR is not just 1960-1980s.
                      Then we can say lawlessness, murder and genocide are the American reality. Cause the US isn't the 20th century and East Coast only. So what?
                      www.histours.ru

                      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ShAA View Post
                        They could barely escape from the German during the retreat, not speaking of organising anything. This was nowhere near a "majority" and definitely not an "absolute" one.
                        Without the work of NKVD aimed at creation and support of partisan units/infrastructure/resourses before German arrival and afterwards as well as these Red Army units the Soviet partisan movement wouldn't have had most of its power. Most likely it would have been nipped in the bud.


                        Then we can say lawlessness, murder and genocide are the American reality. Cause the US isn't the 20th century and East Coast only. So what?
                        Well, I believe everyone can answer the question for himself where he would prefer to live in American lawlessness that nevertheless did not frighten huge numbers of voluntarily arriving colonists or in Lenin-Stalin's legitimacy.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shamil View Post
                          Without the work of NKVD aimed at creation and support of partisan units/infrastructure/resourses before German arrival and afterwards as well as these Red Army units the Soviet partisan movement wouldn't have had most of its power. Most likely it would have been nipped in the bud.
                          I said these people joined in voluntarily - surely the assistance was needed. But it's really stupid to think that Stalin had the same control over people behind the German lines as on the Soviet territory.

                          Well, I believe everyone can answer the question for himself where he would prefer to live in American lawlessness that nevertheless did not frighten huge numbers of voluntarily arriving colonists or in Lenin-Stalin's legitimacy.
                          I'm not comparing this - you're missing the point completely. Just stop twisting here to present the whole Soviet period as one big 1937 - it looks stupid for those who know the Soviet history and outright ridiculous to those who lived through it.
                          www.histours.ru

                          Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shamil View Post
                            The absolute majority of Soviet partisan detachment were fromed either by Soviet authorities and NKVD before retreating or they were formed on the basis of the Red Army units that found themselves in the German rear.
                            The first partisan groups were created mainly for survival purposes and to get back to the Soviet side. They were mostly comprised of Red Army soldiers who escaped encirclements either solely or in groups. The NKVD and Soviet authorities had little to do with the initial partisan movement. Although partisans, at first, solely accepted those they thought could be trusted. That most likely meant either other soldiers or perhaps party members. Slepyan discusses all of this in detail. But that partisan movement had little impact on the German or Soviet war effort. We are talking about the first months of the war here.


                            Originally posted by Shamil View Post
                            As to "1984" and reality in the USSR. "1984" is not far from Soviet reality especially of certain periods. The USSR is not just 1960-1980s.
                            "1984" is a representation of what one westerner thought the Soviet Union exemplified in 1948. Fortunately, he was incorrect in his observations.
                            "This isn't Paris, you will not get through here with a Marching Parade!" Defenders of Stalingrad
                            "Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man" - with his mouth". Mark Twain
                            "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Voltaire

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                            • #15
                              A few videos on partisans:



                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOgNX...eature=related
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTJ_...eature=related
                              "To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat."
                              --Marshal Józef Piłsudski

                              Comment

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