Political Fighters

Political Fighters

 

ipolitboitsy), Communists and Komsomol members assigned to active units of the Red Army in the early period of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 through special party mobilizations.

On June 27, 1941, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) passed a resolution requiring 12 oblast committees of the party to choose within three days Communists and the best Komsomol members to be sent to the army as political fighters in order to strengthen the party’s political influence among the troops. The number was to be in proportion to the size of the oblast party and Komsomol organizations, with a total of 18,500 to be sent. On June 29, the Politburo gave new orders to 26 oblast committees to select and send another 23,000 political fighters to the army. Subsequently, the Central Committee of the party gave the Main Political Directorate of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army (RKKA) the responsibility of implementing further special mobilizations. By January 1942 there had been five mobilizations.

In military and military-political schools, training programs lasting two weeks or one month were organized for political fighters, who were grouped into companies for assignment to the most dangerous sectors of the front and to newly formed military units. In the regiments, they were deployed in groups of 15 to 20 per company. The first 250 companies of political fighters arrived at the front in mid-July 1941. By October 1941 more than 94,000 had joined the army. More than 58,000 of these political fighters were assigned to units of the Western, Northwestern, and Southwestern fronts.

Altogether, in the first six months of the war, 60,000 Communists and 40,000 Komsomol members were sent to the front. By late May 1942 there were more than 132,000 political fighters. Serving as privates for the most part, they were first assistants to the political leaders. They helped solidify the personnel of subunits and set examples of personal courage and steadfastness. Many of them died in combat or were wounded. The Main Political Directorate of the RKKA reported to the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in October 1941 that the political fighters “played an exceptional role in strengthening the units of the Red Army” (see KPSS i stroitel’stvo Sovetskikh Vooruzhennykh Sil: 1917–1964, 1965, p. 310). As time went on, a considerable number of political fighters were promoted to the positions of company deputy political leader, subunit party or Komsomol organizer, or squad commander. With the increase in 1942 in the number of Communists and party organizations among the troops and the strengthening of their influence among subunit personnel, no more special mobilizations were carried out.

REFERENCES

KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii iplenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 5, book 1. Moscow, 1970.
KPSS i stroitel’stvo Sovetskikh Vooruzhennykh Sil: 1917–1964. Moscow, 1965.
Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza: 1941–1945 gg., vol. 2. Moscow, 1963.
Ideologicheskaia rabota KPSS na fronte (1941–1945 gg.). Moscow, 1960.
Petrov, Iu. P. Stroitel’stvo politorganov, partiinykh i komsomol’skikh organizatsii armii i flota (1918–1968). Moscow, 1968.
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