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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

8 - Patriotic War, 1941–1945

from Part I - Russia and the Soviet Union: The Story through Time


Standing squarely in the middle of the Soviet Union's timeline is the Great Patriotic War, the Russian name for the eastern front of the Second World War. During the nineteenth century international trade, lending and migration developed without much restriction. The Soviet Union was an active partner in the process that led to the opening of the 'eastern front' on 22 June 1941. Soviet war preparations began in the 1920s, long before Adolf Hitler's accession to power, at a time when France and Poland were seen as more likely antagonists. In June 1941 Hitler ordered his generals to destroy the Red Army and secure most of the Soviet territory in Europe. The main features of the Soviet system of government on the outbreak of war were Joseph Stalin's personal dictatorship, a centralised bureaucracy with overlapping party and state apparatuses, and a secret police with extensive powers to intervene in political, economic and military affairs.
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