Women in the Red Army, 1941-1945

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

5:30 pm

Lane History Corner, Building 200, Room 305 Map

Sponsored by:
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies

During the years of the Great Patriotic War about 500,000 women were called up to serve in the Red Army. In the Second World War, the Soviet Union was not the only country to enlist women in the military. But the Soviet experience was unique in the fact that a significant number of women served in combat units. Female pilots and snipers attained the greatest fame. Some women served as tank crew members, machine gunners, and some did other combat-related jobs. It is these women whose experiences have been studied in significant detail in a scholarly literature that focuses solely on women’s combat roles. In my paper, which is based on the analysis of diaries and memoirs by female war veterans that became available in the post-Soviet period, I intend to look at the social aspects of these women’s lives during the war. The heroines of this paper faced the realities of Soviet life, which these city dwellers and students of elite universities knew only superficially. Lastly, this was a specifically female experience – an experience of young women finding themselves in a male environment.  

Oleg Budnitskii is Professor of History and Director of the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences at the National Research University—Higher School of Economics, Moscow. His recent books include monographs Terrorism v rossiiskom osvoboditel’nom dvizhenii; ideologiia, etika, psikhologiia, 2nd. ed. (Terrorism in Russian Liberation Movement: Ideology, Ethics, Psychology) (2016), Russko-evreiskii Berlin (1920–1941) (Russian-Jewish Berlin, 1920–41 [2013], in collaboration with Aleksandra Polian), Russian Jews between the Reds and the Whites, 1917–1920 (2012), and the edited volumes Prava cheloveka i imperii. V.A. Maklakov – M.A. Aldanov. Perepiska 1929-1957 (Human Rights, Imperial Rights: Vasily Maklakov – Mark Aldanov, Correspondence 1929-1957) (2015, Egor Gaidar Prize, 2016), Vladimir Gelfand, Diary 1941-1946 (2015), Odessa: Zhizn´ v okkupatsii, 1941–1944 (Odessa: Life under Occupation, 1941–44 [2013]), and “Svershilos´. Prishli nemtsy!” Ideinyi kollaboratsionizm v SSSR v period Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny (“It’s Over. The Germans Have Arrived!” Ideological Collaboration in the USSR during World War II [2012, 2014]). He serves as editor-in-chief of the Archive of Jewish History, and is on the editorial board of several scholarly journals, including Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History and East European Jewish Affairs. He is the recipient of various honors and awards, including an Ina Levine Invitational Fellowship from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Skirball Fellowship from the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University, a Fulbright Visiting Scholarship in the Department of History at Stanford University, a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, an IREX Visiting Scholar Fellowship at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. He is currently working on a book project Soviet Jews at War, 1939-1945.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Lane History Corner, Building 200, Room 305 Map

RSVP requested.

Free and open to the public.


Lecture / Reading International Women / Gender 

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