Events Calendar

Jochen Hellbeck: Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers

Friday, October 24, 2014, 09:00am - 02:30pm

 Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers

2014-2015 Seminars


The "Great Patriotic War" of the Soviet Union (1941-1945): Myth and Realities

Friday, October 24, 2014, 9am—2:30pm
Jochen Hellbeck, Professor, Department of History, Rutgers

An estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died in the course of the "Great Patriotic War" (1941-1945).  This staggering number illustrates the enormous impact of World War II on Soviet society; it also helps to explain why commemorations of the war in Russia and other Soviet successor states play such an important role to this day.  This seminar explores the meanings of the war for a wide range of participants - Red Army generals and soldiers (male and female), civilian defenders and other residents of cities under siege, writers who were mobilized to report on the war, and Soviet citizens who fell under enemy occupation. We will seek to relate these individual meanings to the state mythology of the "Great Patriotic War," and we will trace the lineages of individual experience and state myth to the present day.  The seminar will also reflect on the place of the war in the larger history of Soviet society and communist rule.  Sources will include wartime military orders, editorials, personal letters, poetry and songs, as well as postwar memoirs, monuments, and film. The website, "Seventeen Moments in Soviet History" contains a useful array of sources: