Late Stalinist Domestic Policy

Post-War Domestic Policy, 1945-1949

World War II had cost the USSR immensely, both in human lives (an estimated 22 million) and in war damage. The war having ended in May 1945 (the war in the Far East in August/September had little impact on life in the USSR) did not mean that suffering was over. A severe shortage of food, in the areas formerly occupied by the Germans also a shortage of housing, a shortage of all kinds of consumer goods would last on for years to come; progress was slow.
German P.O.W.s had to work in Soviet factories; the last survivors were released only in 1955. The Soviets dismantled railway lines and industrial facilities in occupied Germany, to reassemble them in the USSR. 'Invited' German technicians also contributed to the modernization of Soviet technology, especially in the arms production sector. Stalin's spies supplied him with information on western nuclear technology, which would result in the emergence of a Soviet nuclear technology.
The war now faced Stalin with a number of new problems. The Ukrainians who had collaborated with Hitler were, upon return, executed. Yet thousands and thousands of Soviets who, as soldiers in the Red Army or as Forced Labour in German factories, had seen the west, in Stalin's eyes were dangerous, as they knew a world different from their own. Thus upon return they had to undergo interrogations trying to establish if they were 'spoiled' or not.
Russia's system of suppression of critics, of sending many into the GULAG (labour camps, mostly in Siberia) continued. PARTY PURGES were again undertaken.

DOCUMENTS 1952 Olympics Helsinki, Final Medal Standings, from Olympic Website
Files on German P.O.W.s in the USSR, posted by, scroll down for Russia, in English
REFERENCE Article : Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.745-748, 1947 pp.767-771, 1948 pp.741-746, 1949 pp.640-646 [G]
Article : Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encycvlopedia Year Book 1946 pp.413-419 [G]
Keith Sword, The Repatriation of Soviet Citizens at the end of the Second World War, pp.323-325 in : Robin Cohen, The Cambridge Survey of World Migration, Cambridge : UP 1995, KMLA Lib.Sign. 304.809 C678c
Article : USSR, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.715-720 (on events of 1946) [G]
VIDEOS Est-Ouest, French/Russian language w. English subtitles

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 18th 2007

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