Little Soldiers: How Soviet Children Went to War, 1941-1945

Hardcover | February 13, 2011

byOlga Kucherenko

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Germany's war against the Soviet Union raised a small army of child soldiers. Thousands of those below the enlistment age served with regular and paramilitary formations, even though they were not formally mobilised or allowed at the front. For several decades after the war, these youngstersplayed an important part in Soviet remembrance culture, though their true experiences were obscured by the myth of the Great Patriotic War. Situated at the crossroads of social, cultural, and military history, Little Soldiers is the first to tell the story of the Soviet Union's child soldiers in a critical and systematic fashion. Focusing on the mechanisms and psychological consequences of propaganda on Soviet children, as well as theircombat deployment, Kucherenko adopts a three-tier approach to writing the history of childhood: 'from above', 'from below', and 'from within'. A wide variety of new sources provide insight into young soldiers' combat motivations and the roles they played in the field, as well as their routineexperiences and relationship with older comrades. Far from being victims, Soviet child soldiers emerge as independent social actors capable of making choices about their behaviour .Little Soldiers interconnects with matters of increasing importance: the role of propaganda in military conflicts, the totalization of warfare, child-soldiering, and social reflexivity.

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Germany's war against the Soviet Union raised a small army of child soldiers. Thousands of those below the enlistment age served with regular and paramilitary formations, even though they were not formally mobilised or allowed at the front. For several decades after the war, these youngstersplayed an important part in Soviet remembranc...

Olga Kucherenko's research in history and military anthropology focuses on the impact of war on children, and specifically on Soviet children's experience of World War II. She is Research Fellow at St. John's College, Cambridge.

other books by Olga Kucherenko

Format:HardcoverDimensions:276 pagesPublished:February 13, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199585555

ISBN - 13:9780199585557

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. 'Prologue to the battle': Exercise in patriotism'What are little boys made of?': Constructing Soviet social identity'The land begins in the Kremlin': Reinventing the socialist Motherland'If tomorrow brings war': A nation in uniformOverviewPart II. 'Greatcoat, weapons and war': Soldiers in the making'All for the front! All for victory!': A mandate to actionBabes in grey: Children in the regular armyImps and eaglets: Children in the forestSea whelps: Children on shipboardOverviewConclusionSelect Bibliography