Soviet War Experiences, 1937-1950

This project charts the varieties of wartime experiences on Soviet-held territories between the outbreak of the Second World War in Asia in 1937 and the end of the counter-insurgency in the western borderlands by 1950.

RIA Novosti archive, image #602161
Center of Stalingrad after liberation. Creative Commons: RIA Novosti archive, image #602161

The project thus embeds the German-Soviet war of 1941-1945 (the Great Patriotic War in Soviet terminology) into a larger Eurasian war.

Refusing to extract one, allegedly ‘typical’ experience, this project focuses on the range, variety, and complexity of wartime experiences of ordinary (and some extraordinary) people living, fighting, surviving, dying, or passing through the lands controlled, sometimes more, sometimes less, by Stalin and his political apparatus during the years of war in the 1930s and 1940s.




  • Edele, M. 'Escaping the Holocaust: Restoring the Soviet Contribution to the Survival of Polish Jews in World War II,' in Yad Vashem Studies, forthcoming 48, No. 1, 2020.
  • Edele, M. 'Who Won the Second World War and Why Should You Care? Reassessing Stalin’s War 75 Years after Victory,' in Journal of Strategic Studies, forthcoming 2020.
  • Edele, M. 'The Soviet Union’s World War II, 75 Years after Victory,' contribution to special issue of Journal of Slavic Military Studies, forthcoming 2020.
  • Edele, M. 'Why did Ukrainian Red Army Men go over to the Germans? The Case of Defectors to the Wehrmacht’s 296 Infantry Division, 1942-1943,' in Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 5, 2019, pp. 86-102.
  • Edele, M. 'The Soviet Culture of Victory,' in Journal of Contemporary History 54, No. 4, 2019, pp. 780-798.
  • Edele, M and Glisic, Iva. 'The Memory Revolution Meets the Digital Age: Red Army Soldiers Remember World War II,' in Geschichte und Gesellschaft 45, 2019, pp. 95-119.
  • Edele, M. 'Fighting Russia’s History Wars. Vladimir Putin and the Codification of World War II in Russia,' in History and Memory 29, No. 2, 2017, pp. 90-124.
  • Edele, M. 'Not an Ordinary Man: Ivan Nikitich Kononov and the Problem of Frontline Defection from the Red Army, 1941-1945,' in Australian Journal of Politics and History 62, No. 4, 2016, pp. 546-560.
  • Edele, M and Slaveski, Filip. 'Violence from Below: Explaining Crimes against Civilians across Soviet Space, 1943-1947,' in Europe-Asia Studies 68, No. 6, 2016, pp. 1020-1035.
  • Edele, M. 'Take (No) Prisoners! The Red Army and German POWs, 1941-1943,' in The Journal of Modern History 88, No. 2, 2016, pp. 342-379.

Publications for a general audience

Project details


Australian Research Council Future Fellowship

Project team

Professor Mark Edele, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne

Research assistant

Dr Oleg Beyda