Home Front During the War
The triumph of the USSR in the War could not be achieved by the only military operations. It wouldn’t have been possible without the mobilization of the entire Soviet economic system and combined efforts of all Soviet people for the sake of victory. That naturally required a firm political leadership. The Soviet propaganda made an emphasis on Russian patriotism instead of communist rhetoric. The Russian Orthodox Church was somewhat rehabilitated. It also summoned people to fight against fascist invaders. The Church became a fundraiser for the Red Army. Contributions of parishioners to the Defense Fund amounted to more than 300,000,000 rubles. Russian clergymen took part in the fighting. A tank column and a fighting air squadron were built with the funds raised by the Church in 1943.
All men from 16 to 55 years old and women from 16 to 45 were mobilized to work for the defense industry. Females accounted to 54% of the workforce in industry and up to 70% in agriculture. The agricultural production which had to provide food for cities and soldiers at the front was essentially based on women's labor. During the war factory workers demonstrated a high labor enthusiasm. In July of 1941 a turner from Moscow Fedor Bukin made a proposal to produce 200% of the day norm. As it was being said then “to work for yourself and for a workmate who has gone to the front”.
The rapid advance of the enemy into the interior of the country posed the problem of evacuation of important factories and population. Despite enormous organizational difficulties, about 17 million people had been relocated to eastern parts of the country by February 1, 1942. Also the most important factories were being relocated. As official data shows, 2,593 industrial enterprises in the western regions were dismantled and shipped to the east. However, contemporary studies consider these figures to be understated. It should be stressed that all this work was done within a few weeks when all railroads were busy with supplying the fighting army. That prompt measures saved millions of Soviet citizens, as well as considerable part of industrial resources. After relocation to new places, those factories worked for the defense sector.
The population began spontaneous material and financial assistance to the Red Army from the early days of the war. Workers of the factories and collective farms called for a transfer of one-day earnings from every month to the Defense Fund. People also donated government bonds, money from saving accounts, cash, valuables and jewelry, etc.
Of great importance was the collection of warm clothes for soldiers. Millions of people mostly women participated in this activity. People of Siberia alone collected and sent to the front over 5.6 million items of warm clothes. As some estimates show, the overall amount of clothes collected during the war was sufficient to dress up about 10 million soldiers. There were also gifts for the Red Army servicemen. In most cases they were very simple and reflected the routine of the time. Those gifs included tobacco, bars of soap, mittens. Especially important was that they were usually prepared and sent by children. The Vologda Region alone sent off to the front 95 truckloads of gifts.