The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest of the Second World War. In September 1941, around 400,000 civilians were evacuated from the city most of which being children. The civilians were assured that this siege would not be long as the enemies “were incurring heavy losses.” However, this was not the case, every able-bodied civilian was called to fight or dig trenches to fortify the city. The above photo depicts the soldiers using an Anti-Aircraft gun to defend against German Bomber planes.
Times were tough for the citizens of Leningrad as food and other resources like electricity became scarce. The Germans made sure to destroy all the railroads to cut off resources to the city. Rations became extremely rare and citizens were forced to eat anything including rats, birds, bark, and in some instances human flesh. At the end of the siege around 800,000 died of starvation and another 200,000 were killed in bombing or combat.
This seems extremely dark however in order to keep morale up the state turned to a unique style of propaganda. They would organize games and athletic events with extra rations as a prize. They also would film fit men and women competing and broadcast it to show the citizens that they remained strong. Another form of moral was poetry. Concerts and poetry sessions were broadcasted to keep people interested and busy. While some people remained positive there was also more grim forms of poems depicting the gruesome events occurring. In order to keep public morale high, the state was sure to shut down those who opposed the movement.
This was a dark time for the Comrades however, throughout the city there remains a plethora of stone monuments containing the words and poems of those who chose to write during this time.