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Soviet War Effort

 

Having overcome the initial shock of the surprise attack, the Soviet administrative machine was soon able to orchestrate an unprecedented economic effort that defeated Germany and its satellites in armaments production. The achievement was especially remarkable in view of the fact that in 194142 the USSR lost to the enemy over half its industrial capacity and countless skilled workers. To appreciate the Soviet spectacular economic effort in the war, it is important to note that the task was not simply of switching over from civilian to military production but also of moving massive productive resources to the safety of the countrys eastern regions.

 

The Soviet leadership had never planned for a war that would be waged in Russias industrialized heartlands, with the Soviet rear turned into a battlefield. To salvage its key productive resources from the rapidly advancing enemy in 1941, the Soviet leadership organized mass evacuation and redeployment of its industry to the Urals and the Asian hinterland. It was an exceptional relocation of human and material resources over a distance of from one thousand to two thousand miles, involving millions of workers and over 2,500 enterprises.

As a result, Soviet armaments production boomed and had even surpassed its prewar level by 1944. In the course of the war the Soviet Union produced submachine guns 4.7 times more than the enemy, artillery 1.5 times more, tanks 2.2 times more, and military aircraft 1.1 times more. The Soviet Union mass-produced armaments of equal or better quality than those of the enemy, including the famous T-34 tanks and the awesome Katyusha barrage rockets.

There is still no conclusive answer to the question of the extent to which Stalins brutal industrial revolution of the 1930s, with all the enormous sacrifices it entailed, had created the foundations for the victories of 194145. What is clear, however, is that in the extreme conditions of war the overcentralized command economy displayed formidable mobilizing capabilities, overturning the calculations of German strategists at attaining a speedy conquest of Russia.

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USSR in World War II

 

Soviet Russia

Understanding the Soviet Period
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