Soviet Culture in the Years of the Great Patriotic War and the Post-War Period

Soviet Culture in the Years of the Great Patriotic War and the Post-War Period

Igor Asmarov (Voronezh State Institute of Arts, Russia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9985-2.ch006
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Soviet culture during the Great Patriotic War and the postwar period is conventionally divided into two periods: Soviet culture during the war years 1941-1945; and Soviet culture in the postwar period 1946-1950s. Of course, these stages of the evolution of Soviet culture differ from each other in many respects, as well as in the most important, that is, in their substantive relation. What suffered during the war during the first stage was either restored or rebuilt after the end of the war. Soviet culture during the Great Patriotic War suffered greatly in material and organizational terms. However, at the same time, the culture of the USSR in the years of the war acquired a great deal spiritually and morally. Previously unprecedented patriotism raised the whole country, the entire multinational Soviet people, to fight against the common worst enemy of all progressive humanity - fascism. Soviet culture reflected this rise in patriotism in music, painting, theater and cinema, on stage, in sculpture and architecture, etc. This time was the heyday of the multinational character of the Soviet people, the time of the epochal upsurge of folk culture, folk art, and the consciousness of the masses of the Soviet people.
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State policy in this period was aimed at fostering patriotism. Therefore, with the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the main trend in Soviet art was a patriotic theme. Glorification of the heroic past of the Russian people, which began in the pre-war period, greatly intensified.

The heroism and tension of all the spiritual forces of the multinational Soviet people in the war were maximum, which was sung and displayed on movie screens and country scenes of the Soviets. In all of this there was a communist ideology here, but then it was perceived by the working people quite naturally and normally.

Soviet patriotic songs of A. V. Aleksandrov, B. A. Mokrousov, V. P. Solovyov-Sedoi, M. I. Blanter, I. Dunaevsky, the symphony of D. D. Shostakovich and S. Prokofiev and other composers raised morale of Soviet citizens, strengthened their confidence in victory. During the war, many writers, including M.A. Sholokhov, A.A. Surkov, A.P. Gaidar, B.N. Polevoy became military correspondents in the central newspapers, appeared with their works on the radio, Sovinformbureau and TASS. The editors of the front-line newspapers were writers: V.A. Zakrutkin, Yu. P. Herman, A.S. Levada, I.L. Andronikov, S.P. Shchipachev and other well-known figures in Soviet literature.

Campaign leaflets and posters were widely used to mobilize the army and the people to fight the aggressor, expose his propaganda, disintegrate the enemy. The political organs of the fronts, armies and divisions published them. In the newspapers for the first time appeared the “Science of Hatred” by M.A. Sholokhov, “The People are Immortal” by V.S. Grossman.

Famous artists of the theater, cinema and stage created creative teams that went to the front, to hospitals, factory shops and collective farms. At the front, 42,000 creative workers gave 440,000 performances and concerts. Performances of famous artists raised the militant mood, helped to overcome the hardships of the front and rear.

The main content of cinematography in wartime was the heroic struggle of the Soviet people against the aggressor. Documentaries about the heroism and courage of Soviet people were prepared: “All forces to defeat the enemy”, “To defend our native Moscow”, “Leningrad in the struggle”, “The Battle for Our Soviet Ukraine” and others. Feature films, created during the war, told of Communist underground workers, partisans, life in the occupied territory and people who were forcibly taken to Germany (Batyuk, 2005).

In the films, examples of loyal friendship and fidelity were also reflected. Especially popular films were: “Secretary of the District Committee” (1942, directed by IA Pyryev), “Rainbow” (1944, directed by MS Donskoy), “Man No. 217” (1945, directed by M I.Romm), “Two Fighters” (1943, directed by LD Lukov), “Wait for Me” (1943, directed by AB Stolper), “Antosh Rybkin” (1942, director K. K. Yudin), etc. In these and other films, famous actors and actresses were shot: N.M. Uzhviy, E.A. Kuzmina, B.F. Andreev, M. Bernes and others. One of the leading genres remained a comedy that raised the mood and morale of people at the front and in the rear.

In the central newspapers were published publicist articles by A. N. Tolstoy, A. A. Fadeev, M. A. Sholokhov, radio patriotic verses of A. A. Surkov, N. N. Aseev, M. Isakovsky and others and poets. From June 27 in Moscow, and then in other cities, “Windows TASS” - agitational and political posters were posted. The content of the TASS windows was varied: information about the latest developments at the front; calls for vigilance; to strengthening the unity of the front and rear; satirical pamphlets on the enemy, etc. In their creation, the active participation was taken by the poets D. Bednyi, A. A. Aduev, S. I. Kirsanov, A. A. Zharov, graphic artists and cartoonists A. P. Bubnov, N. A. Dolgorukov, A. A. Radakov, MM Cheremnykh. In all, over the years of the war, over 1,200 “Windows TASS” were issued, which were distributed abroad, in the USA, Sweden, India and other countries.

The main themes of artistic and journalistic literature, music, cinema, other art trends were plots from Russia's heroic past, facts of courage, loyalty and devotion to the Motherland of Soviet people who fought the enemy at the front and in the occupied territories.

Soviet culture during the Great Patriotic War was the weapon that helped beat the hated enemy at the front, raising the morale of soldiers and officers. In the rear, it gave strength to accomplish labor feats, strengthened the belief in victory over the enemy.

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