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Title:All Stalin's men? Soldierly masculinities in the Soviet war effort, 1938-1945
Author(s):Jug, Steven
Director of Research:Koenker, Diane P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Koenker, Diane P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Steinberg, Mark D.; Micale, Mark S.; Randolph, John W.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Red Army
World War II
Soviet Union
Abstract:This dissertation examines the different but interconnected ways Soviet leaders and citizen-soldiers interpreted the Soviet war effort as a masculine endeavor. At the front, the entry of women into the ranks of combatants challenged not only men’s preeminence, but also official and popular narratives of a masculine ethic of national defense that stretched back to the Russian Revolution. The chapters of this dissertation explore the ways in which masculine values and priorities from the 1930s persisted in the Red Army despite the distinguished service of female combatants and divisions among male soldiers, commanders, and propagandists. Motives and actions such as hating and killing, comradeship and revenge, or serving Stalin and using skill, appeared as exclusively masculine in frontline culture, in contrast to depictions of vulnerable women as non-combatants and passive victims in the civilian realm. Analyzing Russian archival materials, military newspapers, and soldiers’ letters and memoirs, this study investigates the interaction and evolution of official and popular notions of soldiers and heroes as masculine subjects. This dissertation argues that divergent official and soldierly masculinities retained a common set of values that emphasized women’s non-military nature and non-combatant roles as a way to preserve the gendered motivations established at the outset of the war. In order to challenge scholarship that presents catch-all sets of motives that operated throughout the war, this study focuses on civilian men’s creative synthesis of influences from front life, soldier-specific propaganda, and small group combat dynamics into a soldierly identity. Made up of battle-tested fighters, the combat collective emerged as source of masculine affiliation separate from the national collective or soldiers’ families. An examination of rank-and-file narratives, not just propaganda, reveals how ordinary soldiers participated in the creation of Red Army practices and values in wartime.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Steven Jug
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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