Promoting Patriotism

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. <>

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4 Responses to Promoting Patriotism

  1. jmhawkins says:

    I really liked this post, though i wish that it was longer. Russian propaganda has always been very interesting to me and i think that the best propaganda that Russia had was during World War II. Here is a poster from World War II

  2. Jimmy Jewett says:

    This anthem is really cool to listen to. I find it fascinating that they changed the anthem during the middle of the war, and am curious to see how long this anthem stayed as the official one of the Soviet Union.

    • A. Nelson says:

      I agree: it’s a magnificent anthem. It remained the anthem until the collapse of the Soviet Union (with major changes to the lyrics after Stalin’s death — in fact for a while there were no lyrics….). After the collapse of the Soviet Union it was swapped out for Glinka’s “Patriotic Song,” but then restored by Putin in 2000 (again with revised words.) Like the German national anthem, this one has prevailed through significant regime changes.

  3. phillip5 says:

    The soviets, did pretty much the same stuff we did here in the States. Our men did go away to fight in the war, but it was the people at home were the ones who kept everything going. Everyone had to pull their wight in some way to help with the war efforts.

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