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28412904 Soviet Partisans in WW2

28412904 Soviet Partisans in WW2

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soviet partisans in ww2
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Published by: VanNell on Jun 04, 2011
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 Copyright © 1964 by the Regents of The University of Wisconsin
Soviet Partisans in World War II 
is a summation and an extension—both carried out with greattalent by Professor John A. Armstrong of the University of Wisconsin—of a postwar program of research into the origins, doctrine, operations, and effectiveness of Soviet irregular warfare. Thevolume can be read as an original and important contribution to the history of World War II andto the study of the Soviet political system operating under extreme stress. Today, when Soviet policy lays strong emphasis on "wars of national (or people's) liberation" and on Soviet backingfor them, these studies likewise provide a fresh examination of the most recent and intensiveSoviet experience in the waging of unconventional warfare.Extreme claims have been made, as Professor Armstrong points out in his Introduction, about thecharacter and military value of the partisan movement in World War II, and official Sovietappraisals have varied widely in the relative importance they ascribe to "spontaneous" and patriotic reactions of the population, to the courage and organizing skill of local CommunistParty officials, and to the control and direction exercised from above by the central Party andmilitary authorities. This volume represents the first attempt to clarify these questions through asystematic investigation of a vast amount of first-hand documentation, partly Soviet, mainlyGerman, which was captured at the close of World War II.After the German invasion of June 1941, which brought a large part of the Soviet populationunder Hitler's control, had been halted in the heroic defense of Moscow, Leningrad, andStalingrad (now Volgograd), a long road of suffering and sacrifice stretched out before theinvaders could be expelled from Soviet territory. How far did the partisan forces, operating in therear of Hitler's armies, weaken the German military effort and thus lighten the burden of the RedArmy? These studies suggest new and significant answers to this question and also to thequestion of how the people in occupied areas reacted to the German presence and to the prospective restoration of Soviet rule. It thus presents, as Professor Armstrong points out, a studyof "shadow" rule at a distance, in which the partisans served as a reminder of the impending or eventual return of the Soviet system.Finally, the partisan experience in World War II constitutes the largest single body of Sovietexperience in irregular warfare. That experience is embedded in the minds of many Sovietleaders, of high rank and low; many of them, now active in Soviet policy or administration, wereclosely concerned with the organization and direction of that arm of military and political action.Soviet policy is actively concerned today with the prospect of new wars of "national liberation"which, the leadership asserts, can bring important accretions of strength to the Communist blocwhile still holding the risks of general or nuclear war to an acceptable level. The expectations of Soviet policy-makers about actual or prospective partisan wars, as one possible stage in anystruggle for "national liberation," are doubtless influenced by past Soviet experiences as well as by current analyses of local factors that may favor or inhibit new revolutionary initiatives invarious continents. The factor of doctrinal and psychological continuity therefore makes it usefulfor students of present-day Soviet policy to examine the experience of the Soviet partisanmovement in World War II, even though no firm conclusions can be drawn from it with respectto future Soviet actions.The studies that form the major part of 
Soviet Partisans in World War II 
were originally prepared as part of Project Alexander, a research task which was undertaken by the War Documentation Project (A.F. Contract 18[600]-1), under contract with the United States Air Force. The research program was monitored by the Human Resources Research Institute of thePsychological Warfare Division, particularly by Dr. Raymond V. Bowers, Dr. F. W. Williams,and Dr. Charles E. Hutchinson. Special thanks go to these officials and likewise to Major 
General James McCormack, Jr., USAF (ret), who was then Director of Research andDevelopment in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Development.Without the farsighted decision of officers and advisers of the United States Air Force to devotea small fraction of its defense research funds to a systematic investigation of this problem, and toopen up the vast body of captured documents for investigation, the study could never have beenstarted, much less brought to successful completion. Great credit is also due to the Chief andstaff of the Departmental Records Branch, Advocate General's Office, Department of the Army,who generously provided full cooperation and many facilities indispensable to the work of the project. The work of the project benefited greatly from the advice and support of the HumanResources Research Institute and from the suggestions of an interdepartmental committeeconsisting of representatives of interested government agencies.Project Alexander proceeded through several distinct research phases. In a first period of  planning and survey, the major research purposes were defined and a voluminous mass of sourcematerials was screened and sifted; a large part of the relevant materials was catalogued in anextensive punch-card filing system. As the investigation proceeded, it drew more and more onthe records of corps, divisions, and even regiments, and therefore the process of identifying thecontents and research significance of additional bodies of records was continued on a reducedscale throughout the remainder of the three and one-half years of the project.In the first research phase the documentary raw material was tested by carrying out studies of several major topics within defined chronological and geographical limits. In the second research phase the inquiry widened its focus to embrace a full range of functional subjects, but was heldto manageable proportions by limiting the studies to selected geographic areas or individual partisan organizations. Special attention was given to the "classic" partisan areas in westernRussia, Belorussia, and northern Ukraine. In the selection of regions for study, the main purposewas to make sure that the case studies would represent a wide diversity of geographic and naturalconditions, ethnic composition, social and economic situations, and methods of partisanoperations. As a safeguard against excessive concentration on the "classic" areas, two additionalstudies were made of partisan movements in the central Ukraine and the north Caucasus. In athird research phase the findings of geographical studies were collated and compared to producea series of functional studies; among them were the role of airpower in partisan warfare,organization and control of the partisan movement, composition and morale of the movement,and partisan psychological warfare among the German-occupied population.Credit for this difficult and comprehensive research effort belongs first of all to the talented anddevoted scholars who constituted the staff of Project Alexander: John A. Armstrong, AlexandeDaliin, Kurt DeWitt, Ralph Mavrogordato, Wilhelm Moll, Eric Waldman, Gerhard L. Weinberg,Earl Ziemke. Each of them brought long experience, fresh insights, and great devotion to thistask, and it was these qualities that made the effort possible and fruitful.Fritz T. Epstein served in the first stage as Director of Research; after he was called to other duties, Hans J. Epstein became Director of the Project, and Alexander Dallin served with greattalent as Director of Research. Philip E. Mosely, then Director of the Russian Institute, ColumbiaUniversity, served part-time as senior consultant on research and Chairman of the StandingCommittee of the War Documentation Project. The contract was administered through theBureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University, and Dr. Charles Y. Glock, thenDirector of the Bureau, and his staff did a great deal to facilitate the smooth operation of the project.

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