Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front

Anna Krylova

Book explores the unprecedented historical phenomenon of Soviet young women’s en masse volunteering for World War II combat in 1941 and writes it into the twentieth-century history of women, war, and violence.

Krylova narrates a story about a cohort of Soviet young women who came to think about themselves as “women soldiers” in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s and who shared modern combat, its machines, and commanding positions with men on the Eastern front between 1941 and 1945. The author asks how a largely patriarchal society with traditional gender values such as Stalinist Russia in the 1930s managed to merge notions of violence and womanhood into a first conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its armed forces. Pursuing the question, Krylova’s approach and research reveals a more complex conception of gender identities.