The role of nationalism during World War 2 was vital to the success of the Soviet Union. Due to the fact that war was seen as a national struggle and the protection of Russia was everyone’s goal the war effort was taken on by all citizens. The utilization of nationalism and pushing the population to support the total war effort pushed the Soviet Union to victory during the war despite early struggles and severe deficits in the domestic realm. Most men served during the war; women, children, and the elderly took on industrial and labor force roles. Through the mass participation of the population to serve either in the army or promoting the war at home, Russia was able to conduct total war. Freeze claims, “the greatest credit for victory belongs to the Soviet population itself” (390). Everyone was involved in the war effort and sacrificed a great deal to win the war and support the survival of Russia and communism.
Additionally, the Soviet leaders used propaganda and media censorship to get citizens involved and boost morale after the struggles during the early years of the war. Citizens and those involved called the war, the Great Patriotic War. One example of the promotion of nationalism during the war was the adoption of a new national anthem. The new national anthem, composed by General Aleksandr Vasilievich Aleksandrov, Sergei Mikhalkov, Garold El-Registan and adopted in 1944, promoted the nationalism in Russia during the war.
The anthem makes reference to Stalin, “and Stalin our leader with faith in the people”, who was seen as a symbol of national unity during the war time years; despite mistakes made by Stalin during the war. Stalin was seen as “the embodiment of the resistance” (Freeze, 388). Furthermore the national anthem makes reference to the motherland, destroying the invaders, and cherishing victories over other nations. All of this seems to promote winning the war and a strong sense of support for the nation. The national anthem adopted during the war reflects the idea of protecting the survival of Russia and the boost in morale during the later years of World War 2.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Von Geldern, James. “1943: New National Anthem” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. Macalester College, n.d. Web. 19 Oct 2014. <http://soviethistory.macalester.edu/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1924antireligion&Year=1924&navi=byYear>