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to national organizations such as the German Workers Front. A number of
women™s organizations were assimilated into the NS-Frauenschaft, and a sep-
arate organizational sphere was created for women, extending from youth to

Gisela Bock, Zwangssterilisation im Nationalsozialismus: Studien zur Rassenpolitik und

Frauenpolitik (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1986).
Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina

Press, 1995), 23“38.
Bock, Zwangssterilisation im Nationalsozialismus, 94“103.
Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum

adulthood. Programs like Kraft durch Freude offered to lower-class Germans
the opportunity for vacations previously reserved for the propertied. The Work
Service and Land Year ensured in turn that privileged Germans would be given
the duty of doing healthy and productive physical labor in the community.
With the introduction of military conscription in 1935, all ¬t male Germans “
excluding Jews of course “ were once again pressed into the same uniform
and the same training, invoking the patriotic “socialism of the trenches” of
the Great War. Such rituals, symbols, and rhetoric would scarcely have been
effective, however, if they were simply cynical manipulations of the regime
imposed from above. Both Nazi and SPD sources at the time reported numer-
ous complaints and widespread dissatisfaction on economic issues among var-
ious groups such as industrial workers and peasants, but they did not crys-
tallize into broader disaffection much less opposition to the regime. As Ian
Kershaw concluded, “Nazism painted over rather than eliminated the divi-
sions within German society,” and the credibility of the Volksgemeinschaft
myth derived from “interpreted” rather than “objective” conditions.59 This was
possible in part because of a “readiness for consensus” (Konsensbereitschaft)
based on a widespread longing for security and normality after traumatic
Complementing the myth of the Volksgemeinschaft was the increasingly per-
vasive and effective “Hitler myth.” Charismatic identi¬cation of Germans with
Hitler as the personi¬cation of a German renewal transcending the mundane
and petty problems and shortcomings of everyday life reinforced the belief in
a Volksgemeinschaft transcending the divisions of German society. Just as a
“readiness for consensus” underlay Germans™ belief that the Third Reich had
restored the Volksgemeinschaft, Hitler™s charisma likewise re¬‚ected society™s
transcendental longings and hopes.61
If the Nazi regime was based on a blend of coercion and consent, it also con-
stituted a blend of restoration and revolution. As long as political effectiveness
and great power status were restored, unemployment eased, and economic

Ian Kershaw, Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich, Bavaria 1933“1945

(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), esp. 2, 384.
The term comes from Bernd Stover, Volksgemeinschaft im Dritten Reich: Die Konsensbe-

reitschaft der Deutschen aus der Sicht sozialistischer Exilberichte (Dusseldorf: Droste, 1993).
For the attraction of the notion of Volksgemeinschaft for workers and youth, see: David Welch,
“Nazi Propaganda and the Volksgemeinschaft: Constructing a People™s Community,” Journal
of Contemporary History 39, no. 2 (2004): 213“38. Another attractive aspect of the notion
of Volksgemeinschaft was the way in which Germans could invoke and appropriate it in their
negotiations with party and state. John Connelly, “The Uses of Volksgemeinschaft: Letters to
the NSDAP Kreisleitung Eisenach, 1939“1940,” Journal of Modern History 68, no. 4 (1996),
Ian Kershaw, The “Hitler Myth”: Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford Uni-

versity Press, 1987); Martin Broszat, “Soziale Motivation und Fuhrerbindung des National
Sozialismus,” Vierteljahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 18 (1970): 395“409; Stover, Volksgemein-
schaft im Dritten Reich, 295“306.
Frameworks for Social Engineering 249

hope returned, the regime™s racial revolution “ starting cautiously and pro-
ceeding incrementally “ found consent, both tacit and overt, among the vast
majority, and coercion was reserved for the victims. By the mid-1930s there was
little doubt that the Nazis had won the support of the “majority of the major-
ity”62 who had not voted for them prior to 1933. Compared to the success of
the policies of inclusion, the policies of exclusion had cost the regime virtually
nothing. And compared with the horrendous loss of life wrought by the Stal-
inist regime™s collectivization drive, forced industrialization, and famine, the
Nazi regime could still boast of a relatively “bloodless” revolution.

expanding exclusion: enemies of the people, enemy
nations, and asocials
Toward the end of the First Five-Year Plan, the regime™s obsession with prole-
tarian purity noticeably diminished. A harbinger was Stalin™s speech of June 23,
1931, in which he condemned “specialist baiting” and called for the reinstate-
ment of bourgeois specialists who had proven their dedication to the cause of
socialist construction.63 Increasingly, statistical surveys and other authoritative
publications lumped together new promotees and the old technical intelligentsia
as “engineering-technical personnel” (ITR), and their status and privileges rose.
In April 1932, most of the above-mentioned “proletarian” associations were
disbanded by order of the Central Committee.64 The proletariat, it would seem,
was relieved of its mission as an agent of history; by the middle of the decade,
Stalin could proclaim that it was “cadres” who decided “everything.”65
This is not to suggest that the “commanders of production” enjoyed a free
rein. One of the purposes of the Stakhanovite movement was to expose output-
restrictive practices that had taken hold in both industry and agriculture and
put managers on notice that they would not be tolerated. Another, of course,
was to identify the most productive workers and collective farmers and reward
them in a more lavish fashion than previously.66 But though largely con¬ned
to these two groups, Stakhanovite status was articulated less in terms of class

Sebastian Haffner, Anmerkungen zu Hitler (Munich: Kindler, 1978), 43. For positive memories

of the 1930s that persisted even into the postwar period, see Ulrich Herbert, “Good Times, Bad
Times: Memories of the Third Reich,” in Life in the Third Reich, ed. Richard Bessel (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1987), 97“113.
I. V. Stalin, Sochineniia, vol. 13 (Moscow: Gos. izd“vo polit. Lit“ry, 1946“51), 69“73.

“Resolution of the Central Committee on the Reconstruction of Literary-Artistic Organizations,

23 April 1932,” in KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK,
9th ed., vol. 5 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1982“89), 407“8. The more inclusive “Soviet” replaced
“proletarian” as in the case of the title of ARRK™s journal.
I. V. Stalin, Sochineniia, 3 vols. (numbered 1[XIV]“3[XVI] of Stalin™s Sochineniia published in

13 vols.), ed. Robert H. McNeal (Stanford, CA: The Hoover Institute on War Revolution and
Peace, Stanford University, 1967), XIV: 56“64.
Siegelbaum, Stakhanovism, esp. chapter 3, “Managers and Specialists in the Stakhanovite Year,”

99“144 and Chapter 4, “The Making of Stakhanovites,” 145“78.
Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum

than as exemplary of the emergence of the “new Soviet person,” con¬dent in
his/her skills and “cultured” “ or at least interested in becoming so “ in other
facets of daily life.67
Another, more broad-ranging indication of the deemphasis on class was the
dismantling of legal and institutional structures of class discrimination. This
process, which at ¬rst proceeded cautiously and informally with respect to
former kulaks and their offspring, culminated in the 1936 Soviet Constitu-
tion™s declaration of civil rights for all citizens. The logic of this step was that
the former exploiting classes had been decisively routed and the USSR had
become a socialist society consisting, as Stalin asserted at the Extraordinary
Eighth Congress of Soviets in November 1936, “exclusively of workers, peas-
ants, and the intelligentsia.”68 For census purposes, in both 1937 and 1939,
respondents were asked to identify themselves according to one of the follow-
ing “social groups” (obshchestvennye gruppy): workers, employees, collective
farmers, independent farmers, craftsmen, people of the free professions or ser-
vants of a (religious) cult, and nontoiling elements.69 Although the order of the
categories roughly corresponded to their ideologically charged valence, none
was associated with restrictions on civil rights.
The diminution in importance of class as the basis for legal discrimination “
not incidentally accompanied by the abolition of rationing in 1935 “ did not
mean that class was of no consequence as a basis for self-identi¬cation. The use
of terms such as “intelligent” or for that matter muzhik remained potent means
of identifying with an af¬nitive community. Class resentments also remained
palpable at the popular level. “The road has been opened for kulaks and
priests,” complained one collective farmer during a discussion of the draft
constitution, “but nothing has changed for us.” This was one of many remarks
recorded in NKVD summaries of such discussions that expressed apprehension
about dispossessed kulaks returning from exile to reclaim their property and
the granting of voting rights to priests.70
At the same time, resentment against those who had ensconced themselves in
comfortable positions and purportedly did no work also found expression. As
another collective farmer from Azov“Black Sea krai wrote in connection with

Ibid., 223“36; Vadim Volkov, “The Concept of kul™turnost™: Notes on the Stalinist Civilizing

Process,” in Stalinism, New Directions, ed. Sheila Fitzpatrick (London: Routledge, 2000), 226“
8. Allusions to Stakhanovites tended to be organic (“Stalin™s tribe”) or mythohistorical (“Soviet
knights” (bogatyri)) rather than expressed in class terms.
I. V. Stalin, O proekte konstitutsii Soiuza SSR: Doklad na VIII Vsesoiuznom chrezvychainom

s”ezde sovetov (Moscow: Partizdat, 1936), 10.
V. B. Zhiromskaia, I. N. Kiselev, and Iu. A. Poliakov, Polveka pod grifom sekretno: Vsesoiuznaia

perepis™ naseleniia 1937 goda (Moscow: Nauka, 1996), 12“13. Left out were dependents (who
were supposed to record the category of the person on whom they relied for support, or in the
case of pensioners, the group to which they previously had belonged), and the over 2 million
inmates and civilian employees of prisons, labor camps, and colonies who were counted in
separate “special” censuses (104“23).
Quoted in Siegelbaum and Sokolov, Stalinism as a Way of Life, 184. See also Fitzpatrick,

Stalin™s Peasants, 241.
Frameworks for Social Engineering 251

the draft constitution, “A special paragraph needs to be included . . . saying
that all able-bodied men and women who do absolutely no work and are
not engaged in any activity for the general bene¬t shall be deprived of polit-
ical rights. The point is that a new Soviet bourgeoisie “ loafer-parasites “ is
taking shape.” Yet another collective farmer, describing bureaucrats as “off-
shoots of the capitalist class,” asked for the insertion of a clause that would
protect working people from their exploitation; and a Red Army soldier, writ-
ing from Chita, targeted the “wives of many directors, managers, engineers
and technicians” who “don™t work and have a servant,” which he considered
“out-and-out exploitation.”71
During the Great Purges of 1937“8 the Politburo targeted politically pow-
erful individuals and groups for arrest and execution, affording a measure
of satisfaction to many who had nursed grievances against the “higher-ups”
(verkhushki). Subordinates and rivals, emboldened by the campaign of vigi-
lance initiated by the February 1937 plenum of the Central Committee, mean-
while denounced smaller fry “ that is, local political authorities, administrators,
and bosses. In both cases, the accused usually were characterized as counterrev-
olutionaries, wreckers, Trotskyites, traitors, spies, vermin, and, more generi-
cally, “enemies of the people.” The last of these terms appeared in article
131 of the constitution (“Persons who encroach on public or socialist prop-
erty are enemies of the people”), and it can be found in correspondence with
the constitutional commission.72 Although authors of denunciations continued
to include incriminating references to the alien social origins of the accused
for many years afterward, “enemy of the people” essentially replaced “class
enemy” in of¬cial parlance.73 This was the logical extension of the declaration
made at the Seventeenth Party Congress that the class enemy had been defeated
Two other dimensions of the Great Purges recently have received consider-
able attention from scholars, and both bear directly on the state™s expanding
identi¬cation of enemies: the “mass operations” of the summer and autumn
of 1937 and the overlapping but slightly longer-lasting “national operations.”
The mass operations, conducted on the basis of a Politburo resolution and the
NKVD™s Order No. 447, represented a recapitulation of the dekulakization
campaign in terms of their modus operandi (quotas assigned to each region,
categories distinguishing between “most hostile” and “less active,” and corre-
sponding punishments).74 They also were the culmination of several years of
mounting frustration over the failure of the internal passport regime, imposed
in 1933, to stem the tide of illegal “parasitical” elements in the cities as well as

Quoted in Siegelbaum and Sokolov, Stalinism as a Way of Life, 195“6.

Konstitutsiia (Osnovnoi zakon) Soiuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (Moscow: Gos.

iz“vo iurid. Lit“ry, 1963), 105; Siegelbaum and Sokolov, Stalinism as a Way of Life, 197.
Vladimir A. Kozlov, “Denunciation and Its Functions in Soviet Governance: From the Archive

of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs, 1944“53,” in Stalinism, New Directions, ed. Sheila
Fitzpatrick (London: Routledge), 132.
Trud, 2 June 1991.
Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum

crimes against persons and property in both urban and rural areas. Kulaks, or
rather former kulaks, were again prime targets for repression, although other
“socially harmful” (sotsvrednye) and “anti-Soviet elements” such as escaped
and former convicts, former participants in anti-Soviet and bandit uprisings,
recidivist criminals, political refugees, beggars, and other declassed groups were
also included in the round-ups.75 The frequent, in fact increasing, use of such
terms “ like that of “enemy of the people” “ is itself indicative not only of
the diminution of the language of class, but also of the conceptual dif¬culty of
explaining deviant behavior in other terms.
The linguistic shifts are well illustrated in the case of rural communities in
Western Siberia. Having been dekulakized and deported from their villages
in European Russia, they were reclassi¬ed as special (and after 1934 labor)
settlers. Many died or ¬‚ed, hiding their class-alien backgrounds if they could,
but others remained. In May 1934 some of their civil rights were restored, and
in January 1935 they received the right to vote. The model Kolkhoz Charter
of March 1935 permitted them to join or form collective farms in their new
places of settlement. How many actually took advantage of this provision is
unknown, but it must have been suf¬cient to prompt party plenipotentiaries
to cease referring to residents of collective and state farms as kolkhozniki and
sovkhozniki and instead to use the less approbatory moniker of “peasants.”76
As such, they, or at least substantial numbers of them, could be subjected once


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