Military Review

“I asked the agitator when the order for peace would be issued”

The main research work on propaganda work in the territories previously occupied by the enemy appeared only after the 20th Congress of the CPSU. However, they focused on the organizing role of the party, expanding the network of propaganda institutions and the effectiveness of propaganda work with the population of the areas liberated by the Soviet troops. Whereas the difficulties (and especially the shortcomings) in organizing propaganda campaigns either avoided or were due mainly to the destruction of the material and technical base.

Indeed, in the temporarily occupied territory of the RSFSR, over 17 thousands of school buildings, more than four thousand libraries (with a book fund of about 23 million editions), over eight thousand clubs, houses of culture and reading rooms were destroyed. By the middle of 1944, in the regions of the RSFSR that had been invaded by the German invaders, it worked only after the liberation of 38,8% of the number of communists. But the pace of restoration of the propaganda resource base was also quite high. By December 1943, in the liberated areas, 1066 party offices were restored and 65 bookstores were organized.

In April, 1944 was published on the liberated territory of 28 regional and regional newspapers and 872 "district". In the 1943-1944, radio communications were largely restored. Political shifting schools were created at the village councils and propaganda machines worked.

In total, during the war years in the RSFSR, all the reading rooms in the village were restored, a third of clubs and cultural centers, about half of theaters and libraries, and almost two thirds of cinema installations.

Of course, one cannot fail to note the generally limited resource base for ensuring effective propaganda campaigns: insufficient provision of the rural area with a radio network, a shortage of media, paper, problems with transport and a lack of professional propagandists. In a secret letter from 27 in November 1943, the Chairman of the Committee on Cinematography at the SNK of the USSR, IG Bolshova addressed to G.M. Malenkov (he headed the Committee of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR for the restoration of the economy in areas liberated from occupation) it was about the lack of electricity for cinema installations (the letter was called: "On cinema services in the cities and districts exempted from German occupation"). As a result, the population was "deprived of the opportunity to watch Soviet films." As a temporary measure - "before the release of a sufficient number of mobile power plants" - Bolshakov proposed to introduce film guides, working "from a manual drive."

Under these conditions, the propaganda apparatus faced the question of how to take into account in propaganda Soviet values ​​and at the same time the negative experience that the population acquired during the years of occupation? How to compensate for the lack of qualified propaganda staff?

Archival documents show that the difficulties in organizing propaganda campaigns were not limited to the scarcity of material resources. For example, even in 1944, the problem of forming a qualified correspondent network remained acute. Because of this, very little information came from the newly liberated areas, sometimes with a long time delay.

In view of the universality and ambiguity of the propaganda itself, it is obvious that Soviet propaganda during the Great Patriotic War, despite its main focus on mobilizing forces, performed many functions and conveyed various ideological attitudes. This can clearly be seen on the example of propaganda work in the territories previously occupied by the Nazis. First of all, the specifics of this work was determined by the size of the territory that was occupied by the Wehrmacht. Thus, in the RSFSR, 1944 territories, regions and autonomous republics underwent invasion by administrative division of the 23 of the year. Such a scale and, in some cases, long periods of occupation dictated the need to “re-socialize” the population (and in the case of the territories that became part of the USSR on the eve of the war, the continuation of the process of political socialization).

It extended to the army, the new recruitment of which largely consisted of conscripts of previously occupied territories. Thus, according to the calculations of the Chief of the Political Department of the 2 of the Baltic Front, Major General A.P. Pigunova, at the beginning of 1944, in some companies it was up to 40 percent of the fighters from the liberated regions. ”Later this figure only increased.

A.S. Shcherbakov, speaking on July 12, 15, at the Military-Political Propaganda Council on the state of party-political work in the troops of the 1944-th Ukrainian Front, noted that one-third of the replenishment of parts of the front were those who were captive and surrounded, as well as Bessarabians. Since among them there are a lot of peasants from Western Ukraine and Bessarabia, many illiterate and religious, "we must organize work with this replenishment differently". People needed to be “revived” after the occupation.

Modern Western historians recognize that German propaganda among the population of the occupied areas during the war years has completely failed. And the reason for this was not so much the incompetence of the fascist propaganda apparatus as the real practices of the most severe occupation regime, including the exploitation, deportation and repression of the civilian population.

Reorganization of the apparatus

The expulsion of the enemy from the territory of the USSR began at the end of 1941 - the beginning of 1942. The first reorganization of Soviet propaganda institutes coincided with this. For example, in January-February 1942, interregional two-month propaganda courses were established in Sverdlovsk, Kuibyshev, Novosibirsk, Tashkent, Tbilisi and Moscow. And in the Directorate of Propaganda and Agitation of the Central Committee of the Party 10 mobile propaganda groups were organized.

By a decision of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (B) in June 1942, the Council of Military-Political Propaganda was created at the Main Political Administration of the Red Army (GlavPUR), which included the secretaries of the Central Committee A.A. Zhdanov and A.S. Shcherbakov, members of the Central Committee D.Z. Manuilsky, L.Z. Mehlis, E.M. Yaroslavsky and a number of party workers in the army and fleet.

In addition to the Main Political Directorate of the Red Army, a group of full-time and freelance agitators were created under the political administrations of the fronts and districts, the political departments of armies and divisions.

But the radical restructuring of the propaganda apparatus in the army and rear began in the spring of 1943. Thus, the Council of military-political propaganda under GlavUPR 15-16 on April 1943 of the year held an all-army meeting of the workers of the apparatus of political agencies on special propaganda. Among other things, the meeting discussed topical issues of propaganda in connection with the beginning of the expulsion of the invaders from the Soviet land.

In May 1943, the institution of deputy commanders for political affairs was liquidated, which meant the transfer of propaganda work to the primary party organizations of the army and navy.

The process of reviving party committees was accompanied by an increase in the number of interregional propaganda courses and the creation of six-month party courses with all the regional committees of the party.

And in 1944, at the regional committees, regional committees and the Central Committee of the allied parties, one-year party schools and district schools were established in all regional centers of the country. To improve the skills of propagandists, annual republican and interregional schools in Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan and others were also formed.

In May 1944 was established under the Sovinformburo by the Bureau for the promotion of enemy and occupied countries. At the end of the same year, the Central Committee of the Party opened the correspondence Higher Party School, and in February, the Central Komsomol School of the Central Committee of the Komsomol began to work on 1945.

Simultaneously at the end of 1944 - the beginning of 1945. In all regional, territorial and republican party organizations short-term courses were organized for the training and retraining of propagandists, leaders and teachers of district party schools.

Enhance censorship

The liberation of the territories was accompanied by an increase in censorship practices. Thus, in a letter to Colonel Berzin, Head of the Department of Military Censorship, Colonel Berzin, authorized by the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR for the protection of military secrets in the press, and to the head of Glavlit N. Sadchikov about the preliminary censorship of the civil press in February 1944 was informed about the duty of the "front's military censor to carry out the censorship of the military press on the territory freed from the enemy before organizing the Glavlit departments there, personally or through lower censors."

In April Sadchikov informed 1944 of the year S.S. Mamulov on the seizure and destruction of the fascist literature stored in libraries and printing houses in the Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Voronezh, Kalinin, Kursk, Leningrad, Oryol, Rostov, Smolensk and Tula regions.

How to determine the nationality of a child born to a German?

The local population also became involved in propaganda campaigns. In conditions when official propaganda did not enjoy full confidence, the stories of collective farmers from the occupied regions sometimes seemed more convincing. An important marker of the sentiments of the population of the regions liberated from the German districts were the questions asked by members of propaganda groups.

Here, for example, are the questions posed by the population of the liberated districts of the Stavropol, Krasnodar Territories, Kalinin, Oryol, Smolensk, Kursk, Rostov and Stalingrad regions in December 1943 of the year. Some of these issues were directly related to the situation and expectations of local residents. First of all, they were interested in the military situation of the USSR and the prospects for ending the war.

Some residents were concerned about the question, "is not the Germans' retreat a trap" for the Red Army? They reacted negatively to the increased supply of bread from the liberated territories.

If the communists were worried about the questions of the post-war party cleansing (“will the communists in the occupied territory remain in the party?”), Then the majority of people waited for peaceful life and, above all, state aid for those who suffered from the occupiers. It was embarrassing to citizens that some people who served the Germans did not suffer any punishment. Part of the inhabitants was eager to evict the kulaks who had returned during the occupation from the houses. Others feared that those who worked for the Germans would be evicted to Siberia.

Sometimes the question was raised about the fate of men in general, "who remained in the occupied territory."

There were a lot of questions: “Will the families of former policemen be expelled from the villages?”, “What should be done with the children of former policemen who are now orphaned?”, “What about the houses that were built by the people who served the Germans?” "What will they do with those people who voluntarily went to work in Germany?"

Also, residents asked how they "treat those women whose husbands are in the Red Army, and during the occupation they cohabited with the Germans of their own accord?" Should women with children from Germans be childless? And even how to determine the nationality of a child born to a German?

The religious question

Sharply stood in the liberated territories and the religious issue. And if some people were interested in “whether state funds will be released for the construction of new churches,” others were concerned about the premises of schools and clubs that “were occupied by churches and prayer houses during the German occupation.” The priests also came for advice.

Will Shrovetide and Anglo-American bondage?

Some part of the population was worried about the restoration of national holidays, for example, carnival. Others feared that after the war the USSR would fall into the bondage of "Britain and America for their deliveries."

There were even doubts about the preservation of Soviet power after the war: "Or will there be the same power as in America and England?" And, on the contrary, some residents were interested in, “will we establish Soviet power in Germany?” Or "can the USSR get along peacefully with capitalist countries after the defeat of Germany"?

In February and March 1944, residents of the liberated districts of the Ivanovo, Rostov and Kurgan regions continued to worry about the opening of a second front and the end of the war, the losses of the Red Army, the restoration of the national economy with the possible involvement of German prisoners of war.

Cattle, grain, household plots

As the Red Army moved westward, the population increasingly shifted to more pressing problems: the return of stolen cattle and grain exported by the Germans, the restoration of collective farms, the cutting off of household land that the Germans had cut, the establishment of trade in essential goods.

Although many people looked with optimism into the post-war reorganization of life, some feared changes to the 1936 Constitution of the year "in relation to citizens liberated from German occupation."

“I asked the agitator when the order for peace would be issued”

Questions about the post-war world

However, the population did not focus on the problems of their own and the region. Residents were interested in the fate of post-war Germany and its allies, the opening of a second front in Europe, the fate of the decisions of the Moscow and Tehran conferences, the upcoming elections in the United States, relations with Japan, the prospects for the victory of socialism in Western European countries.

In a number of cases, the Office of Propaganda and Agitation united in a summary of the questions that were asked by the population of the liberated territories with questions from territories that had never been occupied. On the basis of such reports, it can be concluded that the issues of war and the post-war world equally worried Soviet citizens, regardless of the area of ​​residence.

Specific issues

It is possible to single out a range of specific questions that worried those who survived the German occupation. Thus, the residents of the liberated districts of the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions of the RSFSR in April-May 1944 were primarily concerned about the fate of the evacuated cattle, squatted homestead plots and hijacked youth in Germany, about the restoration of destroyed housing, taxation ("how will accruals be: for all war or since the liberation from the German occupation? ") and the cleaning of employees of Soviet institutions.

People in the liberated territories were agitated by rumors that they would not be given cards and wages for three months.

Read us an order of peace.

At the end of May - the beginning of June 1944, the Political Administration of the 3 of the Belarusian Front carried out the work to clarify the order of the Supreme Commander No. 70 of 1 on May 1944 about the organization of salutes in Moscow, Leningrad, Gomel, Kiev, Kharkov, Rostov, Tbilisi, Simferopol and Odessa , in the Krasnensky and Rudnya districts of the Smolensk region.

During 10 days, 31 general meetings, 25 group and 318 individual interviews were held by political workers in the 1407 collective farm and one state farm. It turned out that with Stalin's order "only a small part of the collective farmers are familiar, and that is only superficial."

The attitude of the population was most accurately expressed by one of the collective farmers: “Why do you clarify any orders to us. You'd rather read the peace order to us.”

Sometimes the inhabitants did not even know that the Soviet troops had reached the state border and were fighting in the territory of Romania.

In the overwhelming majority of collective farms there were neither party nor Komsomol organizations, and "the existing communists and single-member Komsomol members" did not conduct any political work among the population. The overwhelming majority of the agitation collectives created in the village councils from the local rural intelligentsia, the village Soviet and collective farm assets did not work either. The wall press on collective farms did not come out, even where the editorial boards were elected.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the population is not very familiar with current issues of both domestic and foreign policy. In conversations and meetings, the collective farmers asked questions about the military-political situation of the USSR, translating them into the usual practical plane. Those evicted from the front line were worried about returning home, war loan holders — money back, etc.

The locals were offended by the contemptuous nickname "trophy", and they said: "Is it really our fault that we were in occupation?" And they had their own revenge against not only the Germans ("The Russian people will never forgive the German executioners of these crimes"), but also their accomplices: "Our policemen mocked us more."

Speaking of German prisoners, the population was unanimous: "We have a lot of German prisoners, they eat our bread. They have to be made to work day and night, let them build what they have destroyed." There were also suggestions about bringing to work and the "wives of policemen."

The Germans "inherited"

In a letter to G.F. Alexandrova and M.T. Iovchuk on the restoration of propaganda work in the Crimea, directed by A.A. Zhdanov 19 July 1944, along with a statement of the fact that "German attempts in the Crimea to win over the intelligentsia failed," admitted that "the German occupation, in which speculation, bribery, looting, humiliation, was cultivated and encouraged in human psychology. "

As a result, certain groups of people "have fallen markedly, have lost many of the qualities of a Soviet person, have forgotten about the socialist attitude to work, have lost the habit of conscious discipline and honest observance of state laws."

The question "about the restoration of the socialist consciousness of the people, about the revival of the Stakhanovist methods of work and the socialist discipline of labor" was urgently raised.

But in the restored party offices and libraries there was a catastrophic lack of party political literature during the period of the Patriotic War. The “unsatisfactory pace” was the restoration of the radio network in Crimea. After the liberation of the peninsula, not a single mass screening of motion pictures was organized, reflecting the struggle of the Soviet people against the German fascist invaders. There was an "acute shortage" of personnel of staff propagandists, lecturers, consultants in district and city committees and newspaper editors. The almost complete lack of information about military-political and international events (except for partisan leaflets) gave rise to a whole storm of questions, fed by rumors about the dissolution of collective farms and the return of Soviet industry to the allies in payment for their help. "

Thus, the propaganda authorities were aware of the negative effect of the prolonged German occupation, including through the identification of public sentiment. All this had to be overcome over the years.

Использованная литература:
Kondakova N.I. The ideological and political struggle of the Communist Party in the liberated regions of the RSFSR (1941-1945). Voronezh, 1971.
Komkov GD The ideological and political work of the CPSU in 1941-1945. M., 1965.
Yudenkov A.F. Political work among the population of the occupied Soviet territory (1941-1944). M., 1971.
Party political work in the Soviet Armed Forces during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). M., 1963.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 23 July 2015 08: 04
    And yet, they did .. all that they could ..
  2. Mareman Vasilich
    Mareman Vasilich 23 July 2015 09: 54
    Propaganda was, is and will be. The main thing is who controls it.
  3. tundra
    tundra 24 July 2015 22: 35
    A little off topic .... Ivan Rogov served in it with Vladik and went to the Baltic.
    as he said the favorite project of the then commander-in-chief of the Navy