Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Stalin’s Defectors: How Red Army Soldiers Became Hitler’s Collaborators, 1941–1945

Date and time

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 16:15 - 17:30


McDonald Room, Menzies Library, ANU

German propaganda flyer dropped over Soviet lines in order to increase desertion across the frontline.

The question of Red Army soldiers crossing the line to the Germans during the German-Soviet war of 1941–1945 has long obsessed historians. Some have treated all Soviet prisoners of war as deserters to the enemy, while others have tried to minimize the phenomenon. This seminar explores newly available evidence from German and Soviet sources in an empirical exploration of the reasons, the extent, and the problems of the process of switching allegiance at the frontline. In a second step, the seminar will explore how this phenomenon adjusts our perception about the Soviet war effort and the political loyalties of ordinary Soviet citizens.


Mark Edele is Professor of History at the University of Western Australia, where he has been teaching history and historiography since 2004. Currently, he is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2015–2019). He was trained as a historian at the Universities of Erlangen, Tübingen, Moscow, and Chicago. He is the author of Soviet Veterans of the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 2008), Stalinist Society (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Stalin’s Defectors (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). His latest essay, ‘Take (No) Prisoners: The Red Army and German POWs, 1941–1943’, has just been published in The Journal of Modern History in 2016. He is currently completing a short history of the Soviet Union.


Updated: 4 August 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher