One of the most tragic and at the same time heroic episodes of the Second World War, or as it is referred to in the Soviet/Russian context The Great Patriotic War, is the Siege of Leningrad. The siege itself, although not a key strategic event on the Eastern front, holds an important place in the national memory of war. At the same time, it is one of the events of the war that was commonly overlooked by scholars. The first book addressing the topic of the blockade emerged only in 1958, fourteen years after the siege was lifted. The siege is even more overlooked in Western sources. While textbooks often mention the heroics of the Battle of Stalingrad, Leningrad is rarely mentioned. The city had once been the capital of Imperial Russia. At the time that hostilities broke out between the Soviet Union and Germany it was still a major center despite the face that it had been somewhat relegated to secondary status after Moscow. Leningrad had a significant value as an industrial center. Even in the face of abysmal odds and a dramatically weakened labor pool the factories of the city remained open throughout the blockade. In addition, the naval base of Kronshtadt was a major military installation, but it too, like the city, never succumbed to the Nazi onslaught.
[...] Their book Writing the Siege of Leningrad: Women's Diaries, Memoirs, and Documentary Prose is a collection of primary sources and brief introductory chapter which illustrate how the Siege of Leningrad was, in effect, a women's war. The fact that this theme is rarely addressed in the other works is the primary shortcoming of the secondary sources. The secondary sources, integrate women into the greater picture of the blockade instead of addressing them separately. The memoirs on the other hand present the reader with a clearer depiction of everyday problems that are, for the most part, overlooked in the secondary sources. [...]
[...] It is those practices, the importance of the family during the blockade, and the underlying implications of domesticity which will be examined in this thesis. The first chapter of this thesis deals with holidays and the role that they played in people's lives. The various special occasions were important in different ways. All of the celebrations, both secular and religious, acted as anchors in people's lives, particularly their family lives. They helped give people's lives some semblance of normality, even though a war was raging around them. [...]
[...] Salisbury, The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1969) Ibid Dmitri Vasilevich Pavlov, Leningrad 1941: The Blockade (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965) Salisbury, The 900 Days Elena Skrjabina, Siege and Survival: The Odyssey of a Leningrader (USA: Southern Illinois University Press, 1971) Elena Kochina, Blockade Diary (Ann Arbor: Ardis Publishers, 1990) Natal'ia Vladimirovna Stroganova, “Oral History, recorded June 1994” in Writing the Siege of Leningrad: Women's Diaries, Memoirs, and Documentary Prose, ed. Nina Perlina and Cynthia Simmons (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002) Salisbury, The 900 Days Stroganova, Writing the Siege of Leningrad Skrjabina, Siege and Survival ,l50. [...]
[...] A portion of this grass and the remnants of the bread ration would be left for an evening meal.” It is not only the preparation of the food that she enjoys, but it is the for it as well. The act of finding it is entertaining for her and makes things a little easier. She recalls with great, grateful I am to it, my dear, green, fresh, dewy grass. In the years since then, much has gradually disappeared from memory, but the memory of those bright spring mornings will never fade.” Moreover, the knowledge that one could supplement one's diet gave people hope, Miliutina notes, totally devoured their tender bark and needles. [...]
[...] The virtually complete turn around by the Soviet regime with its regard to internationalism and the brotherhood of the proletariat is perhaps one of the most prominent examples of the reevaluation and revival of traditional ideas and values. At the same time however, smaller, although no less significant reevaluations took place in people's lives. The way in which women behaved with regard to their home lives can be seen through the greater lens of this construct. This was the reevaluation of older societal values that had fallen to the wayside during the 1920s and 1930s in the wake of progressive Soviet programs which attempted to remove women from their traditional roles in the home and instead pushed them into the greater realm of Soviet society, where in theory, they were equal players with their male counterparts. [...]
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