Olga Kucherenko

in Little Soldiers

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199585557
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725043 | DOI:

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Gradually conditioned to accept the regime and its ideology, Soviet youngsters developed an identity and a set of beliefs that became a non-reflexive driving force for many young volunteers during the war. The state's ideological influences were so strong that whatever other factors there might have been, for some children ideological explanations of their involvement prevailed in the end. Their militancy and eagerness to fight not only reflect the modes of operation of a collectivist society, but also demonstrate that convictions can be a powerful motivation. After the war, child-veterans played an important part in war commemoration culture. Even though they were deprived of special economic privileges and status, former child-soldiers were nonetheless empowered as their wartime adventures were fitted into a heroic narrative. For some, however, the relegation to their status as children in the post-war years created adjustment problems.

Keywords: Lieutenant prose; child-veterans; child-heroes; the Great Patriotic War; combat motivations; life cycle

Chapter.  3301 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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