"Things must be bad at the front": Women in the Soviet Military during WWII

Title"Things must be bad at the front": Women in the Soviet Military during WWII
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMiner, Steven Merritt
JournalMarine Corps University Journal
IssueSpecial Issue: Gender Integration and the Military
Pagination41 - 64
Date Published09/2018

A number of claims have been advanced about the enlistment of some 900,000 women in the Red Army during WWII--that it resulted from the Communist commitment to gender equality; that voluntary service proves that the population supported the Stalinist regime; that the Soviet state was able to harness effectively its human and material resources; and finally that female service in combat units was both commonplace and a decisive factor in the war. In fact, far from being a well-executed policy, Soviet mobilization of women was hesitant, muddled, inefficient, and cruel. In other words, it reflected the many endemic social and governmental ills of the Stalinist state. If the experience of the wartime Red Army has any utility for debates elsewhere concerning women in the Armed Services, it is largely as a cautionary example. [MCU Press]

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