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Title: German occupation policy and the effectiveness of the Soviet partisan movement as a military force 1941-1944 : the case of north-west Russia
Author: Hill, A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis uses Soviet and German archival sources from archives in Russia, previously untapped by Western historians, in addition to German material from the US National Archives. Using this material the author offers explanation for the changing fortunes of the Soviet partisan movement of the territory of north-western Russia occupied by the Germany Army Group North between 1941 and 1944. The author argues that after the virtual annihilation of the partisan movement of 1941, during the period from spring 1942 to autumn 1943, despite improvements in partisan combat effectiveness, ruthless German anti-partisan policies, in combination with other measures described, prevented the partisan movement from achieving results hoped for by its leadership. The partisan movement was particularly inhibited by intermittent German anti-partisan operations keeping the partisan movement in disarray, and German prevention of the establishment of sustained links with the civilian population required to facilitate effective partisan operations, particularly during the winter and especially in the vicinity of military objectives around which German security forces were increasingly tightly focused. This was achieved through the intimidation of the majority of civilians and the collaboration of a minority on which day-to-day German rule to a large extent depended. From the autumn of 1943 the prospect of a scorched earth policy in retreat by a German Army clearly on the run, in combination with the military development of the partisan movement and effective propaganda aimed at the civilian population and military collaborators, provided the foundations for increased partisan success. Partisan propaganda activities weakened German security efforts relying to a considerable extent on native forces and allowed a movement swelled by new recruits to have sufficient impact in German rear areas to significantly hamper the operations of German front-line units. The author concludes that despite not living up to contemporary expectations, or, for much of the war, to the claims of Soviet post-war accounts, the Soviet partisan movement was nonetheless for the Soviet government a cost effective means of hitting the German war machine in the context of the Soviet war effort as a whole and in particular the horrendous loss of life at the front.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available