Propaganda and the politics of community in the USSR, 1941-1947 / David C. Spaeder.
German forces crossed the western borders of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 to wage a "race war" against the "Jew-Bolshevik" Enemy depicted in Nazi propaganda. The Soviet Union mounted its response to the invasion by developing countervailing images of the Nazi Enemy as the focus of its unprecedentedly vast war effort. These images reflected the efforts of Soviet propagandists and other officials to mobilize communities within their prospective audience, from the "Soviet people" to "workers," "collective farm workers," or "soldiers," to make the contributions necessary to fight a "total war." This dissertation explores the efforts of Soviet officials to constitute various kinds of communities of concerted action against the external threat personified by the Nazi Enemy. Each image of the Nazi Enemy invoked identities within the Soviet body politic--and in some cases politicized previously excluded or problematized identities for incorporation into the body politic--in their collective forms as communities with specialized roles to play in the greater war effort. The communities in question, as well as the qualities that were said to define them, were the products of propaganda argument rather than sociological affiliation and reflected the propagandists' attempts to assemble the many components of the common effort of a "patriotic war." This, then, is a study of how the Soviet Union mobilized for war through a concerted effort to constitute appropriate communities of action. Whether this strategy succeeded in pulling together the individual identities that would make these communities sociological "facts" is beyond the scope of this study and, I believe, beyond the reach of historical study in general. Nevertheless, by examining the arguments of community themselves, from the perspective of those who articulated them, this dissertation sheds light on the distinctly Soviet reality of the "Great Patriotic War."
- Soviet Union
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