1939 – 1941: the war at the door

The offensive military doctrine of the Red Army of Workers and Peasants envisaged aggressive foreign policy and permanent military readiness of the whole Soviet society. Schools were required to study arms. Active among the population were “voluntary” societies – the Society to Aid the Army, Aviation and Navy, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. State-sponsored physical education and sports classes also aimed to prepare young people for service in the Armed Forces. Propaganda poster “Each female member of the Komsomol must master Soviet military defense techniques” in the exposition demonstrates active involvement of women in military affairs.
The signing of the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939, paved the way for a World War. The main component of the Treaty was the secret protocol on the distribution of spheres of influence in Europe between the aggressors. Eastern Poland, Baltic countries, Finland and Romania all fell under the influence of the USSR, while Nazi Germany obtained freedom of action in Western and Southern Europe. Popular propaganda explanation of the Soviet military aggression against Poland as “liberation of her working people” is shown in a well-known poster by Victor Koretsky.
For the next two years, fights took place far from Shostka. These were briefly reported upon in the local Zorya newspaper, but the local population was actively involved in preparations for the war. The war changed or affected everyone’s life. The new law “On General Military Service” reduced the age of draftees to 18 and increased the duration of active military service to 3 years. These measures indicated secret partial mobilization of the Red Army.
Under the new ammunition mobilization plan, Shostka enterprises had a dramatic increase in their military production output.