Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union
Catastrophic wartime casualties and postwar discomfort with the successes of women who had served in combat roles combined to shatter prewar ideals about what service meant for Soviet masculine identity. The soldier had to be re-imagined and resold to a public that had just emerged from the Second World War, and a younger generation suspicious of state control. In doing so, Soviet military culture wrote women out and attempted to re-establish soldiering as the premier form of masculinity in society.
Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union combines textual and visual analysis, as well as archival research to highlight the multiple narratives that contributed to rebuilding military identities. Each chapter visits a particular site of this reconstruction, including debates about conscription and evasion, appropriate role models for cadets, misogynist military imagery in cartoons, the fraught militarized workplaces of nuclear physicists, and the first cohort of cosmonauts, who represented the completion of the project to rebuild militarized masculinity.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 272 pages
- Dimensions: 6.5in x 1.0in x 9.3in
"Throughout the book, the author emphasizes the ways in which military masculinity was defined in opposition to femininity and with disregard to women’s responsibilities and accomplishments. For these reasons, this book would be useful for students as a model of both thoughtful source interpretation and thorough gender analysis."
Deborah A. Field, Adrian College
"As she explores the process of reclaiming military masculinity in the postwar period in the context of competing masculinities in the Soviet landscape, Fraser divides her study into sections according to her source base, beginning with archival sources of military and Komsomol institutions and then moving on to sexualized and gendered imagery from Krokodil, then to memoir literature from nuclear physicists, and finally to the public celebrity of the first cosmonauts in the 1960s. Her use of a wide variety of sources and viewpoints allows for a unique perspective into ‘how hegemony as a relational form was reconfirmed and maintained – as part of postwar recovery narratives.’"
Greta Bucher, U.S. Military Academy, West Point
The Russian Review, Vol 79, July 2020
"Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union explores the crucial yet understudied question of how the Soviet Union sought to restore ideals of martial and scientific masculinity in the decades after the cataclysmic ‘Great Patriotic War.’ This compelling study will engage upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, as well as scholars in Russian studies, gender studies, and history of science.
Karen Petrone, Department of History, University of Kentucky
"By focusing on the reconstruction of the link between military service and masculinity after 1945, Fraser repeatedly proves that we cannot think about issues to do with masculinity in isolation – women also need to be a part of the picture. Compelling and detailed, this book deals with an aspect of Soviet society that is drastically under-researched with authority, and utilizes both a novel approach and source base in doing so."
Claire McCallum, Department of History, University of Exeter
Author InformationErica L. Fraser is an instructor in the Department of History at Carleton University.
Table of contents
The Soviet Union after the War
Sources and Narratives
Part I: Martial Masculinities and the Postwar Armed Forces
Chapter 1. Conscripting Soviet Manhood
Conscription in War and Peace
DOSAAF and Young Men in Civilian Defence
"No One is Interested": Avoiding DOSAAF
Soldiers without an Army: Khrushchev’s Troop Reductions
Chapter 2. Looking for Role Models in Education and Literature
War Orphans and Boyhood at the Suvorov Academies
Cadets and Community Surveillance of Masculine Behaviour
Defence Instructors as Surrogate Fathers
Masculine Role Models in Literature and Film
Part II: Martial Masculinities Outside the Military during the Early Cold War
Chapter 3. Gender and Militarism in Foreign Affairs Cartoons
Sex, Humour, and Visual Culture
Franco in a Skirt: Cross-dressing and Misogyny
The Soviet Counterpoint
Chapter 4. Telling Manly Stories About Nuclear Physics
Masculinity and "Scientific Impotence"
The Gendered Cold War Workplace
"Some Kind of God": Rearming a Soviet Prometheus
Telling Manly Stories
Chapter 5. Martial Masculinity and the Cosmonaut Brotherhood
Even Martian Girls Want to Date Gagarin
The Cosmonaut’s Wife
Cosmonaut Masculinity on Tour
Subjects and Courses