Today we added a long due work to the library entries: The official history of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, 1941-1945. Research into the historiography of the Second World War in the USSR is still ongoing, so expect additions and corrections.
The first official history of the Second World War was published in the Soviet Union from 1960-64 and bore the title “История Великой Отечественной войны Советского Союза“ (History of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union). The six volumes prepared by the editorial team around G. A. Deborin decribed the German attack on the USSR and the subsequent war until Germanys surrender in 1945. Although the work was translated in several languages, no English translation is available.
Vol 1: Подготовка и развязывание войны империалистическими державами. Events leading up to the war, the annexation of the baltic republics and the initial period of the Second World War (1 September 1939 until the invasion of the Soviet Union.
Vol 2: Отражение советским народом вероломного нападения фашистской Германии на СССР. Создание условий для коренного перелома в войне (июнь 1941 г. — ноябрь 1942 г.) From the German invasion of the Soviet Union to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad (22 June 1941 to November 1942)
Vol 3: Коренной перелом в ходе Великой Отечественной войны (ноябрь 1942 г.— декабрь 1943 г.) From The Battle of Stalingrad to the Battle of Kursk, (November 43 to August 1943)
Vol 4: Изгнание врага из пределов Советского Союза и начало освобождения народов Европы от фашистского ига (1944 год) From the Battle of Kursk to the liberation of Belorussia (August 1943 to July 1944)
Vol 5: Победоносное окончание войны с фашистской Германией. Поражение империалистической Японии (1945 г.) From the liberation of Belorussia to the defeat of Germany (July 1944 to May 1945)
Vol 6: Итоги Великой Отечественной войны Cost and consequences of the Second World War.
The historiography of the Second World War in the former USSR is more complex due to censorship and the heavy political influence that went into any official description of events. Additionally, official viewpoints on historical events and persons were bound to occasionally sudden chances, depending on political developments.
A very useful description of the works genesis, its contents and public perception of the war in the USSR during the sixties can be taken from Yan Mann’s dissertation “Contested Memory: Writing the Great Patriotic War’s Official History During Khrushchev’s Thaw“, Dissertation, Arizona State University, 2016.
Since 2003 RKKA provides a host of information on the Soviet Forces in World War Two: Formations, Force Structure, uniforms, Losses, Weapons and Maps. The Design hasn’t changed much since then, and the site hasn’t really been updated since 2010, so the website structure belies the sheer amount of information available, which definitly could use a more accessible navigation, and a lot of the maps and individual documents would profit from context. But the amount of material presented makes RKKA one of the reference points for the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War. Since Alex, the site’s webmaster, is russian, many items are based on original research and russian sources.
Date: April 6th, 2018