Research Group Seminar - Stalinism at War: A New History of the Soviet Second World War
On 29 April 2019, the Second World War Research Group, in conjunction with the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War and King's Contemporary British History, will host a research seminar presented by Professor Mark Edele of the University of Melbourne on the subject of 'Stalinism at War: A New History of the Soviet Second World War.'
Abstract: 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of Allied victory in World War II. While Russia will celebrate its greatest victory in style, outside the region the Soviet contribution to victory is still poorly understood. Meanwhile, other successor states of the Soviet Union have embraced a very different narrative of World War II. In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, or Ukraine the Soviet Union in is seen as the aggressor rather than the victor, the perpetrator rather than the victim. In the centenary year, we can expect these conflicting memories to collide openly.
This talk will provide a historical background to these current polemics, which are all dependent on simplifications of the complexity of the Soviet Second World War. In order to sketch this complexity, this talk locates the Soviet war in a long Second World War spanning from the outbreak of war in Asia in 1937 to the pacification of the Soviet western borderlands by 1949. It contextualises the Soviet diplomatic and military efforts in this period with its domestic history, that is, the social, political, and economic developments of Stalinist society.
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Professor Mark Edele is a historian of the Soviet Union and its successor states, in particular Russia. He is the inaugural Hansen Professor in History at The University of Melbourne as well as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He was trained as a historian at the Universities of Erlangen, Tübingen, Moscow and Chicago. His publications include Soviet Veterans of the Second World War (2008), Stalinist Society (2011), Stalin’s Defectors (2017), Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union (with Atina Grossmann and Sheila Fitzpatrick, 2017), and The Soviet Union: A Short History (2019). He is currently working on three books: a historiography of Stalinism, a history of Stalinism at war, and (with Martin Crotty and Neil Diamant) a global history of war veterans.