Lost Love and Suspended Romance

The years that marked World War II were full of emotions related to the brutality and sacrifice Soviet soldiers endured during wartime. Many parents lost their children, children often lost parents, and lovers had to endure long spans of separation and the distinct possibility that their partner would not return.

The civilians often felt the urge to cope with issues of love lost or suspended love through art and song. Artistic expression has always had an important role in dealing with emotional turmoil, providing a space for catharsis that people could find comfort in. An example can be found in Konstantin Simonov’s wartime song, “Wait For Me”(Song). In the song he pleas for his lover to wait for his return from the War. The song spoke to and comforted millions of people put in the same situation by war-torn Europe(Source).


(Konstantin Simonov)

Outside of the fight against fascism, which was no doubt a huge motivating factor in people’s will to continue to fight, in many ways, people personalized the war effort especially when love and romance are involved. Due to a resurgence in traditional gender roles and relationship structure, people went to war to fight for the safety of their loved ones, making love an important motivator for Soviet soldiers. An example of this can be found in the song, “The Blue Kerchief” by Jerzy Petersburgsky and Yakov Galitsky. This emotional song touches on taking the sorrowful emotions surrounding separation and using them to stay strong while fighting the war. “It’s all for our loved ones, our nearest and dearest that we go to war, The machine-gunner fights for the blue kerchief that those dear shoulders wore.”(Mass Culture in Soviet Russia, 373, ebook). These lyrics give us a glimpse into the motivators and values of the Soviet people in a time where far too many people lost their lives in the struggle against German fascism.

Jerzy Petersburgsky and Yakov Galitsky, “The Blue Kerchief”. In Mass Culture in Soviet Russia, edited by James von Geldern and Richard Stites, 372-373.


2 thoughts on “Lost Love and Suspended Romance

  1. I think your title is really apt — so much loss!!!! I like how you bring out the way that the return to conventional gender roles (part of the “great retreat”) made the separations and longing of the war experience even more dramatic. Fighting for the “blue kerchief” might have been symbolic at one level, but it was the emotional appeal was definitely real. Nice post!
    Check out Joy’s post on Simonov’s backstory here: https://jvillvt.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/shall-i-compare-thee-to-a-russian-winter/comment-page-1/#comment-39


  2. I think what you said about people personalizing loss is really interesting. I could image the “do it for the motherland” concept got old after a while. I image that people needed other sources of motivation to keep them in the effort. Nice post!


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