Michail Viktorovič Chodjakov

Waiting for World War III: German prisoners of war and Soviet citizens in the late 1940s

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On the basis of archival materials there are considered moods that prevailed in the early years after World War II among foreign prisoners of war in camps of the Nkvd, the Soviet Interior Ministry, as well as the civilian population of the Soviet Union. The Soviet political leadership became firmly convinced in the thought that the primary responsibility for the outbreak of World War II rests with Germany. At the same time the process of taking of reparations/war indemnity from Germany became more complicated for the Ussr. As a result, the West Germans were put on the lists of those repatriated in the last places. The author states that the decisive factor that significantly affected the moods of the prisoners of war was the delaying of their repatriation to their homeland. This fact caused a flood of criticism directed not only at the camp authorities, but also at the Soviet political leadership. The situation was aggravated by hard life conditions of prisoners. Prisoners of war thus used to discuss the impending World War III. Spreading rumors about a new war by the end of the 1940s took mass character among population of the USSR as well, and the state security agencies actively sought to learn the reasons for these decadent/gloomy moods and «anti-Soviet statements».


  • German Prisoners of War
  • World War III
  • the NKVD
  • Soviet Citizens
  • USSR


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