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Soviets

Nurturing a deep-held belief that the fruits of a society's labor should be shared by all, the Soviets aim to spread their ideology to all corners of the planet.

The Soviet army’s capacity to contain and then push back the German offensive changed the course of the Second World War. By immobilizing more than 3.8 million Wehrmacht soldiers and joining the Allied Forces, the Soviet Union played an active part in defeating Axis troops in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Asia. In the regions that were occupied by Soviet armies, it supported the accession to power of local communists and encouraged the growth of a bloc of nations governed according to Marxist principles.

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Relations between the USSR and the United States were constantly changing during the 45 years of the Cold War. While the death of Stalin (1953) alleviated political tensions between the two superpowers, it was the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 that finally eased most fears of outright war. Positioned as leader of the “anti-imperialist and democratic camp,” the Moscow regime encouraged (well beyond its sphere of influence) the rise of communist governments to power and then interfered heavily in their affairs. Capitalizing on its moral victory over fascism, the Soviet Union supported decolonization movements and numerous Marxist parties and organizations around the world, and in this way the USSR established itself as a political model of emancipation and human development for many militants. The revelations made at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union concerning the excesses of Stalin’s regime and the emergence of Maoism and Titoism, however, tempered the international influence of the Soviet Communist model. Revolutionary speeches on a New Soviet Man evolving in a classless society could no longer draw attention away from the Eastern Bloc’s state censorship and oppressive control of citizens. In the 1970s, stories of the deportation of thousands of political opponents began to circulate outside the Soviet Union, prompting deep misgivings in Marxist circles.

Did you know?

The USSR was a pioneer in the development of kibernetika, or cybernetics. Developed by three Soviet computer engineers in 1984, a video game based on assembling tetromino puzzle pieces—Tetris—became immensely popular around the world and was a pop-culture reference in the 1990s.