Mr. Mosier goes perhaps a step too far in his conclusion, in which he argues that the wartime losses contributed heavily to the eventual collapse of communism and the Soviet Union. The USSR was in a primitive stage of development when war broke out, and much of its physical infrastructure was laid to waste by the fighting. Stalin’s relocation of industry to the Ural Mountains, while surely a wartime necessity, could not be reversed easily once the war ended. Not until a 1980 census did the Soviets admit that the war left “a severe deficit of males aged 55 and over.”
The Soviet “experiment” likely was doomed from its inception, although decades lapsed before its collapse. As Mr. Mosier puts it, however, “Whatever chances the Soviet state had to achieve its dreams of prosperity and equality for its citizens, a realized utopia based on socialist principles, those visions perished along with tens of millions of Russians in the Great Patriotic War.”
Joseph C. Goulden is a Washington writer.
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