Nationalism, anti-Bolshevism or the will to survive? : collaboration in Belarus under the Nazi occupation of 1941-1944
Title: Nationalism, anti-Bolshevism or the will to survive? : collaboration in Belarus under the Nazi occupation of 1941-1944
Author: BARANOVA, Olga
Citation: European review of history, 2008, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 113-128, A comparative perspective
ISSN: 1350-7486; 1469-8293
This paper examines how the issue of collaboration was presented and dealt with in Soviet, Western and post-Soviet Russian and Belarusian writings. Furthermore the paper discusses the national, socioeconomic and political preconditions of collaboration with the German occupation forces in Belarus. The author highlights the relationship of collaboration with the prewar Soviet policies and analyses the politics of Belarusian nationalists and independentist émigrés from 1917 to 1941. The Nazi recruitment of Belarusian exiles of different military, political and intelligence organisations and the funding of Belarusian pro-German oriented right-wing organisations are described. The reactions of the Belarusian civilian population and its attitudes vis-à-vis the German occupation authorities and Soviet partisans at the initial stage of the war are then discussed. The paper underlines the complexity of motives and the variety of forms of collaboration. The collaboration movement in Belarus was far from homogeneous: some people supported the Germans on the basis of their political principles, nationalistic ideas and state-building aspirations; some collaborated because they rejected Soviet economic and cultural polices, while the majority just wanted to survive the war and improve their postwar chances. Particular attention is devoted to the nature and peculiarities of Nazi polices in the occupied territory of Belarus. The harsh measures introduced by Germans (requisitions by the troops, forced labour program, collective reprisals and the genocide of Belarusian Jewry etc.) jeopardised the positive or neutral attitude of the local population toward the Germans, aroused hostility and became one of the main factors that caused the change in attitude. Finally, the paper analyses the transition from collaboration to resistance in late 1943–1944 on the basis of several considerations: the change in the course of the war, the influence of propaganda, and an emerging understanding that the Soviets would emerge victorious.
Published online: 16 Apr 2008
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.