This thesis focuses on the perceptions of Muslims soldiers regarding their military service during World War II. To thoroughly analyze Muslim soldiers' attitudes, the thesis explores the total experience of Muslim military service through the Soviet Union's and Red Army's policies toward Muslims and how Russian soldiers viewed their Muslim counterparts. To achieve this, the thesis summarized current scholarship on Soviet and Red Army policies toward Muslims. The thesis analyzed the oral histories and written accounts of Muslim soldiers and Russian soldiers to understand the perceptions of Russians and Muslim soldiers. A hierarchy of cultural backwardness underlined Soviet policies in both the Red Army and the larger Soviet system. Soviet authorities viewed Russians and other Slavic peoples as more highly advanced and therefore could progress 'backward' minorities through the Marxist teleology. Muslim soldiers who were able to communicate in Russian with Russian soldiers forged primary bonds with them. Muslim soldiers who did not form these relationships correlated the Russian soldiers with the Soviet state. Russian soldiers downplayed the contributions of Muslim soldiers while glorifying their central role to the Red Army's victory as the 'Slavic Backbone.' Immediate post-war interviews focused on the difficulties of serving with Muslims including poor communication, self-injury, & desertion. However, the post-soviet interviews described the Muslim members of their primary groups as integral parts of their units. Their successful service stood tall when balanced against the larger perception of Muslim ineffectiveness.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Bradfield, Daniel, "Comrades In Arms?: Russian & Muslim Soldiers In The Red Army During World War II" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5297.