Women of Kazakhstan during the Great Patriotic War:Soviet historiography (1970-1980s)

The article is devoted to the analysis of study degree of the issues of participation of women of Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet historical science of the 1970s-1980s. The interrelation of all-union and regional historiography is traced. However, it is not an integral phenomenon. The authors focus on rethinking the accumulated Soviet historiographic experience of the women's participation in the War. The relevance of the study of the problem of Soviet historiography is associated with the growing interest in the study of the female theme in wartime. In this regard, there is a need to identify its achievements, shortcomings and unsolved problems. Particular attention is paid to the works that have made a significant contribution to the study of the women's issues. The historiography of the studied problem began to form during the War itself and by the early 1970s had accumulated considerable historical baggage. The period of 1970s-1980s is the period of the most active study of the military and labor feats of women of the wartime. Of the women's theme in the War becomes independent. Historical publications on the period of 1941–1945 are conditionally divided into two groups: the works of a general nature that touch upon the female aspect in the War; special work on the military, labor and socio-political activities of the women during the War. The authors come to the conclusion that the women's issues were developed in the general context of the official concept of the Great Patriotic War and the content of the research is largely determined by politics and ideology. During the reviewed period, no generalizing studies appeared, giving a holistic picture of the women's military and rear everyday life.

The study of the history of War has always belonged to the leading areas of research in the Soviet historiography. Suffice it to say that almost 16 thousand of books, brochures, scientific and popular science articles were published on the history of the Great Patriotic War during the of 1945–1970 [1; 16]. However, to date the history of the participation of women of Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War remains poorly researched and relevant. The first studies appeared in the War years. Fundamental, factual and digital materials are contained in the fundamental works on military topics, and individual issues of the women's participation in the war are considered as well [2]. None of the editions has a special section dedicated to the women's theme in the War. Soviet scientists were little attracted to the gender aspects of military history.

The scientific literature on the War, published in the period of the 1970s^980s, is characterized by new qualitative indicators. The Soviet historiography of this time is characterized by the curtailing of the criticism of the «personality cult», the preservation of censorship bans on the discussion of the most acute subjects. The concept of the history of the Great Patriotic War was somewhat adjusted within the framework of that time, that later became known as the period of stagnation. Historians attached the main importance to showing the decisive role of the Communist Party, glorifying the front and labor feat of the Soviet people [3; 2]. The women's issues were developed in the general context of official approaches. Thus, a course of studying the problem of the «women and war» was set in the official essay «The Great Patriotic War»: «The Soviet women played an invaluable role in the implementation of the military-economic program of the party. They mastered difficult professions and replaced their husbands, sons, and brothers who went to the front. Glorious patriots of the Motherland became the leading force in plants, factories, in agriculture» [3; 91].

Valuable generalizing data of the all-union character on the participation of the women in the Great Patriotic War, contained in the works of Yu.V. Arutyunyan, V.A. Anfilov, V.M. Savelyev, V.G. Yeremin, A.V. Mitrofanova [4], etc., fit into the designated paradigms. And yet as the Russian researcher O.N. Nikonova accurately noted: «It was Brezhnev's rule» that was remarkable because for the first time in the USSR, the «feminine» memory of the War gained the right to life. Thus, the women at the state level were included in the memorial culture of the War» [5]. Thus, the studies of the leading specialists in the field of the women's war years — V.S. Murmantseva [6], N.I. Kondakova, F.I. Kochneva, A.I. Polskaya [7] laid the foundation for studying the topic in certain regions of the country, made a breakthrough in posing and highlighting new problems in the study of the topic of the women in the War.

The increase of the number of the Soviet publications on the participation of the women in the Great Patriotic War by the mid-1970s was associated with the preparations for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people in the fight against fascism. A significant contribution to the development of the studied problem was the monograph by V.S. Murmantseva «Soviet Women in the Great Patriotic War» [6]. This is the first comprehensive study that shows the picture of the labor and combat activities of the Soviet women in a generalized form. The author studied the motives that prompted the women to voluntarily join the army, determined the scale of mobilization of the female contingent in the Red Army and considered the order of their military service in the various kinds and types of troops. V.S. Murmantseva proved that the Soviet women mastered almost all military professions and represented all army services on an equal basis with the men. The work is written on the all-union material, on the basis of the documents of the state, party and Komsomol organizations of the central and local archives, memoirs, newspaper and magazine articles. The work contains the material on the participation of the women of our region in the War.

Work on the women's issues appeared in some republics of the USSR [8]. The research in military history took a firm place in Kazakhstan historiography of the 1970-1980s, with its expanded problems. So, by 1970, two doctoral and 43 master's theses were defended in the history of the Great Patriotic War [9; 13]. The subjects of scientific works covered such issues as the activities of the party, the Komsomol, trade unions in the solution of the material and everyday issues of the population, the restructuring of the work of education, health, science and culture in the military conditions and others [10]. These touched upon the women's issue in passing, but practically nothing was said about the everyday difficulties experienced by the women.

The historiography of Kazakhstan was replenished with the large-scale studies by M.K. Kozybayev [11], T.B. Balakayev, K.S. Aldazhumanov [12], N.Ye. Yedygenov [13], K. Orazov [14], P.S. Belan [15] and others, who had a significant impact on the further development of the problem. P.S. Belan [15], T.B. Balakayev [16], N.Ye. Edygenov [13] fruitfully engaged in the study of the participation of Kazakhstani people in hostilities, in the partisan movement. P.S. Belan, on the basis of the interviews with the participants in the War, attracting the extensive of archival material, wrote a series of books and pamphlets on the combat path of the divisions, regiments of individual battalions formed both in Kazakhstan and abroad. The work «Participation of Kazakhstan people in the final battles of the Great Patriotic War (January-May 1945)» [15] gives the names and describes the vivid examples of the heroism of women of Kazakhstan participating in the Berlin operation.

The collective work by P.S. Belan and N.Ye. Yedygenov «The Combat Commonwealth during the Patriotic War» [17] gave the names of the women of Kazakhstan who fought in the partisan movement. They showed some examples of the labor heroism of the Soviet women. T.B. Balakayev in his work «The Defense of the Conquests of the Great October Revolution (1941–1945)» [16] considered the role of the formed military units and formations on the territory of Kazakhstan and the Kazakhstani rear in defeating Nazi Germany. The text of the work mentioned the names of the Kazakh women, who were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, namely Manshuk Mametova and Aliya Moldagulova [16; 109]. The author noted the labor feats of the women, their contribution to the victory, but provided the workers of the rear in industry and agriculture only one small paragraph. The article by N.E. Yedygenov «Kazakhstan people in the enemy's rear» briefly highlighted the biographies and feats of the Kazakh women, Nurganym Baiseitova and Turgash Dzhumabayeva, who fought in the ranks of the Belarusian partisans [18; 179].

The role of the labor of the women of Kazakhstan in the national economy of the republic and at the front during the war years was reflected in the dissertation of V.I. Koval «The Glorious Way of Struggle and Victories: Women of Kazakhstan are the active builders of the new society» [19]. In the work by M.K. Kozybayev, «The Great Friendship is Strong» [20], the theme of the labor achievement of the Soviet women in the war years was touched upon. The monograph by M.K. Kozybayev «Kazakhstan is the arsenal of the front» [11] gave the numerous examples of the selfless labor of the women in agriculture. The article by M.K. Kozybayev «The Inspirer of the Great Victory» contained some fragments of the description of the women's labor activity in the rear [21]. The author reflected the names of the women who were the foremost people in industry and agriculture of Kazakhstan.

The work by M.Kh. Asylbekov «Formation and development of the personnel of the railway workers of Kazakhstan (1917–1970)» [22] showed the dedicated work of transport workers, it was written on the basis of the data already known or first introduced into the scientific circulation. The scientist cited the convincingstatistical data on the changes in the composition of railway workers by attracting girls and women to the ranks of the workers in the industry during the Great Patriotic War.

The monograph by T.B. Balakayev «The collective-farm peasantry of Kazakhstan during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945» [9] contained a large amount of factual material that revealed the dynamics of collective-farm production in Kazakhstan during the War. The role of the women in agriculture was highlighted in a special section «Women are the main force of collective-farm production». It described the difficulties that had fallen to the lot of the collective farmers of the republic and the ways to overcome them. The book contained the statistical, reporting, information and propaganda material of those years, as well as the memories of the women who were the foremost people in agricultural production and the active participants of the labor front.

The monograph by O.S. Seksenbayev «State farms construction in Kazakhstan: 1938–1953» [23] covered the problems of state farms making agriculture developing, the labor feat of the collective farm peasantry, including the war years. The study reflected the organizational and political work of the partystate bodies of the country in the training of the women's mass specialties, that was supported by the examples and statistical indicators. The collection «Leninsky Komsomol of Kazakhstan: (in figures and facts)» [24] was devoted to the brief history of the Republican Komsomol organization with a special section «Women in the composition of the Komsomol of Kazakhstan». It provided the data on the number of the Komsomol girls in particular years of the war, as well as the increase of the female youth proportion in the organization.

The works by A.V. Potapov, N. Saprykin, V.P. Demidenko, A.K. Kanimkulov, M.A. Akimzhanov, Zh.I. Ishmuratov [25], who chose the different regions of Kazakhstan during the War as the object of the research, reflected particular aspects of the Kazakhstan women's contribution to the victory.

Т∣т collection of letters «Frontal greetings to you, Kazakhstan!» [26] was published both in Kazakh and Russian languages by the 30th anniversary of the Victory in Kazakhstan. It included a little more than 300 letters collected from the family archives, also published during the war years in the pages of the republican, regional, district and front-line newspapers, in the pages of the «Letters from the Front» collection published in 1944. The work included the letters from girls of Kazakhstan. In the anniversary year, E.S. Segizbayeva's dissertation «The experience of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan on mobilizing the labor activity and ideological and political education of workers of aul and village during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945)» [27] was defended, that in the 1970s became the only work devoted to the participation of the women in the rear of Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War. The author investigated the activities of the party organizations of the republic to involve the women in industrial and agricultural production, revealed the change of the number of women of Kazakhstan in various sectors of the economy in different periods of the War.

General results of the painstaking and hard work of Kazakhstan historians of the period of 1970 — the first half of the 1980s on the history of the Great Patriotic War, that, one way or another, covered the participation of the women in the War, turned out to be quite significant. The works were focused on the participation of the women in the combat operations at the front and in the partisan detachments, various patriotic initiatives, as well as in the work in the Soviet rear, but none of them was concentrated on the difficulties of everyday life in the extreme wartime conditions. All works were written in the party history tendency, that led to the decrease of the historical research level. A lot of white spots and unresolved issues were available in the study of this problem.

During the reconstruction period, the topic of the War attracted the reasonable attention of various researchers. By the mid-1980s the Soviet historiography on the War had 20 thousand publications [28]. A certain place was occupied by the studies on the participation and contribution of the Soviet women in the rear and at the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. «Reconstruction» penetrated all areas of historical knowledge, but the content changes in the study of the Great Patriotic War appeared only in the early 1990s. Initially, the revision of the views and reevaluations of this topic came from the side of journalism. The well- established approaches to the coverage of the problem remained in the Soviet historiography until the end of the 1980s. The works of the recognized specialists in the women's issues were published, namely the works by V.S. Murmantseva, V.Ya. Galagan, L.P. Ovchinnikova, V.I. Vanshina [29]. The authors relied on a wide documentary base, systematized and generalized the research on the issue of the women's participation in the Great Patriotic War.

The studies of the Soviet Kazakhstan scientists on the women's issues of the war period were carried out on the basis of the established approaches. The historical science of Kazakhstan still did not cast doubton the «party spirit» principles of the historical knowledge and Marxist-Leninist doctrine. At the same time, the «reconstruction» of the historical science was conceived through the «objective and scientific» consideration of the history of the War, and not for the search of new methodological and theoretical approaches. In Kazakhstan there were no serious scientific studies [30] that did not fit into the official concept of the War until the end of the 1980s. The studies on the participation of the women of Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War were presented mainly in the form of the articles in commemorative collections devoted to the victory of the Soviet people. Thus, in the year of the 40th anniversary of the Victory, a number of studies and collections of articles were published in the republican publishing houses. The book entitled «Everything is for the front, everything is for the victory!» [31], popular and scientific in character, was published, covering the issues of restructuring the life of the republic on a military basis, mobilizing all forces and resources to fight the enemy, sending military units to the front, organizing general education, replacing personnel to the front, getting and locating the evacuated enterprises and population. It contained particular disjointed facts and examples of the women's participation in industrial and agricultural production, in the national patriotic movement to assist the front, and their photographs as well.

The collection «Aliya» was devoted to the life, combat activities and heroism of the Hero of the Soviet Union, Aliya Moldagulova. It contained the significant archival material, the memories in the form of essays and the articles of the relatives, friends, the Leningrad orphanage mates, fellow soldiers, as well as the essays and articles [32]. A.D. Bukeshev's brochure «Our Aliya» [33] described the hero's combat path. A.I. Khalimuldina's (Prokopenko) essay «Manshuk's finest hour» was based on the memory lane of the War veterans about Manshuk Mametova, the Hero of the Soviet Union [34].

The monograph by G.D. Nurbekova «Women of Kazakhstan — to the front: the labor feat of the women of Kazakhstan in the industry and agriculture of the republic during the Great Patriotic War» [35] was devoted directly to the women's rear themes. The author showed the Kazakhstan women's participation in the leading sectors of the economy during the War. On the basis of the factual material, the work highlighted the issues of the women's participation in the national patriotic movement to assist the front and disclosed the forms and methods of the party leadership in the women's collectives at the industrial enterprises, as well as in the collective and state farms. Using the documents of the central and local archives, the author showed the labor and combat heroism of women of Kazakhstan at all stages of the war.

Summing up the historiographic review of the participation of women of Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War, it should be stated that in the 1970-1980s the study of the problem in the USSR developed rather inconsistently. The number of the scientific works increased significantly, their issues were expanded, and a large stock of the factual knowledge was accumulated. A large range of the factual data was entered into the scientific circulation, however, the level of generalization of the material in the works was different, as it was noted in the historiographic reviews. In some works, the issues were often listed rather than analyzed. With all the achievements of Kazakhstani science, the possibility of an objective scientific analysis was largely limited to the party monopoly on covering the history of the War as a whole. In the presence of the certain developments on the participation of the women of Kazakhstan in the Great Patriotic War, no special monographs and dissertations of a generalizing nature appeared during the period under review. Despite these shortcomings, the studies of the Soviet scientists of the 1970^980s, devoted to the female aspect of the War, laid the foundation for the problem being studied in the modern historiography of Kazakhstan.

The article was prepared in the framework of the research project under grant No. 1992-I-19 «The Great Patriotic War and the women of Kazakhstan on the front and rear: women's stories and everyday life».

 

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  35. Halimuldina (Prokopenko), A.I., & Halimul'din, A.K. (1989). Zvezdnyi chas Manshuk [The finest hour of Manshuk]. Moscow: Molodaia hvardiia [in Russian].
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Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: History