Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. History Dept.


Julie K. Mueller


The Soviet partisan movement is an intricate subject, which remains one of the least explored aspects of the war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The transformation, over a three-year period, of the Soviet partisan movement into a resistance movement involving hundreds of thousands of participants is amazing when one considers its humble origins. Traditional Soviet and Western historiography correctly states that the massive growth of the Soviet partisan movement was the result of popular support for partisan resistance. Yet traditional historiography does not address the fact that the majority of this support was coerced through forced recruitment and mistakes the limited, spontaneous civilian resistance of 1941, for the government sponsored resistance activity of the genuine Soviet partisan movement. Hence, the growth, and therefore the success of the Soviet partisan movement was primarily a result of the leadership of the Soviet regime.


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Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, partisan resistance, civilian resistance, World War II