On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany launched an attack on the USSR that caught Soviet leaders completely off guard. Over the next four years, the Red Army was transformed, as were the lives of more than 34 million men and women who served in its ranks. In this episode, Ben speaks with Brandon Schechter about his new book The Stuff of Soldiers: A History of the Red Army in World War II Through Objects (Cornell University Press, 2019) and how examining the objects used during World War II- from rifles, to shovels, to spoons- can give us a deeper understanding of soldiers’ lives and the war as a whole.
Dr. Brandon Schechter is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University, where he specializes in the history of the Soviet Union and material culture.
The images discussed in this episode can be seen below.