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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16769

Title: Healing the Wounds: Commemorations, Myths, and the Restoration of Leningrad's Imperial Heritage, 1941-1950
Authors: Maddox, Steven
Advisor: Viola, Lynne
Department: History
Keywords: Postwar Russia
Blockade of Leningrad
Historic Preservation
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2009
Abstract: This dissertation is a study of Leningrad during World War II and the period of postwar restoration (1941-1950). Leningrad was besieged by the Germans for nearly nine-hundred days. As hundreds of thousands of people died from bombings, shelling, cold, and starvation, local authorities surprisingly instituted measures to ensure that the city’s historic monuments be safeguarded from destruction. When Leningrad was liberated in January 1944, a concerted effort was put into place to breath life into these damaged and destroyed monuments and to heal the wounds inflicted on the city. Instead of using the damage to modernize the city, Leningrad and Soviet authorities opted to privilege the country’s tsarist heritage. In the postwar period, municipal authorities proclaimed that restored monuments commemorate the determination and heroism shown by the people of Leningrad during the war. The memory of the blockade, it was argued, was a “red thread” that must run through and be inscribed in all restoration works. Although this dissertation is a local study of war and postwar restoration, it speaks to broader trends within the Soviet Union before, during, and after World War II. I argue that the care shown for Leningrad’s imperial monuments was the result of an ideological shift that began in the mid-1930s away from iconoclasm toward rehabilitating and respecting certain events and characters from the past. With international tensions rising in the 1930s, this turn to the past acted as a unifying force that had a tremendous influence on the patriotism shown during the war with the Nazis. In the postwar period, as the Soviet state began to redefine its image based on the myth of war and the country’s tsarist heritage, this patriotism was further promoted, resulting in a flurry of work throughout the Soviet Union to restore the vessels of the country’s past. Like many other modernizing states, the Soviet Union looked to its past to create a united and patriotic citizenry.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16769
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of History - Doctoral theses

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