Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


The second half of 1941 has become a major focus in the writing of the history of the Nazi-Soviet War in the English-speaking and Russian-speaking worlds. For decades, historians outside of the Soviet Union tended to view 1941 as more of a German defeat brought about by Hitler’s mistakes and the weather rather than a Red victory brought about mainly by the resistance of the Soviet state, army and people. The reverse was true in the Soviet Union where historians explained the German failure to capture Moscow as a triumph of Soviet resistance. In more recent years, there is a trend among Western historians to reframe the Battle of Moscow as a Red victory, while in Russia the whole question of a Red victory has been problematised following the collapse of Communism and the opening of the Soviet archives. This thesis argues that the strongest trend evident in this literature is the repositioning of the Soviet state as an active rather than a passive actor in the events of 1941. While the history of the war is constantly being revised, a trend towards viewing the saving of Moscow as more of a Red victory than a German defeat is observable across the sample of accounts published in English and Russian studied for this thesis.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.