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Category: History

Time and space are at war


The LOOK (to the 65 anniversary of the Victory)



"War time" as borderline and the split "war space" with specific features inherent in them are shown through the subjective perception and existential experience of participants of the Great Patriotic War reflected in their letters, diaries, memoirs, front poetry and songs of military years.

Any war is developed in time and space which have the natural and social characteristics.

The space is characterized by the extent, physiographic environments (terrestrial, water, air), climatic zones (from tropics to a polar circle), a landscape (plains, mountains, the woods, deserts, steppes, the seas and the rivers, etc.). Every Wednesday also has the characteristics. For air is height, for water - depth, etc. Also social characteristics of space are known. For example, at political space - frontiers, at geopolitical - the spheres of interest and influences, at ekistichesky - placement of settlements.

Natural characteristics of time - duration, annual and daily recurrence. Being imposed on natural and geographical zones, time gains additional characteristics (change

* Article is prepared with assistance of the Russian humanitarian scientific fund, project No. 08-01-00496a.

Historical psychology and sociology of history 1/2010 5-17

seasons, local climatic parameters: temperature, humidity, duration of light day, draft, etc.).

Structuring space and time, the system of their measurements - social characteristics, for example measurement in kilometers or miles, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist chronology, solar, lunar and other calendars.

The absolute majority of natural and social characteristics of time and space anyway, but, as a rule, is very essential, influence conducting wars.

War is the phenomenon social, developed in the environment. In a sense it can be considered as opposition of social energy of political subjects: in space and time troops, the technician move, lines of defense lament, military facilities and settlements of belligerent parties collapse, territories are given and engaged. However we are interested in other - psychological - characteristics of time and space.

Distinguish time objective and time subjective. Subjective time is measured not for hours, minutes and seconds, and the number of the events which filled it. Time in the war passes under special laws. This extreme time, on the verge of life and death. And any borderline causes the aggravated subjective perception of the world around. At the same time there is no impassable side between social and personal and psychological time: social it consists of individual. For example, social assessment, feature, value of wartime are fixed by both consciousness of specific people, and society. Not casually time "spressovannost" in the Great Patriotic War as especially significant, socially valuable its participants in biographies found later reflection in the state regulations, including calculation of an experience of military service (on a first line - "year for three").

One more aspect: The Great Patriotic War was a new reference point, other system of coordinates fixing "split of time", a special piece of life and the country in general and certain people. At the same time as "dividing line" the concrete date - acted June 22, 1941. Here is how Konstantin Simonov wrote about it (1990a: 287):

That long day in a year With its cloudless weather

Gave us the general trouble On all, for all four years.

She such pressed a trace And so many down to the ground put,

That twenty years, and thirty years Live are not believed that are alive...

The importance of wartime was reflected not only in his subjective perception by each person, but also in the real biography of the person - as time of the accelerated growing (for youth), acquisitions of important, though specific experience, radical change of destiny. "War quickly made us adults. Many of us and youth did not learn: at once maturity", - the first lieutenant Boris Krovitsky wrote in 1944 from the front (tsit. on: Wolf 1987: 60). We find the same observation in military notes of Simonov (1975: 365-366): "The life experience got by years of war very significantly differs in something from any other life experience. We turn the concept "mature" usually by the childhood and youth; it is supposed that exactly there the person can in a year, for two so to be changed that speak about it "matured", meaning the spiritual party of this concept. In the war, however, from it it is brutal, cruelly pressed time people, quite already mature on age, mature not only in a year, but also in a month, and even for one fight". "Time in the war passes under special laws. I have a feeling that it was somehow terribly pressed... In two weeks of war I felt that I matured, grew old for several years at once. Based on my observations, so was with all...", - Simonov in an interview with the journalist Vasily Peskov told (Sands 1979: 147). Young people who had to pass through war always felt is more senior and are more adult than the not being at war age-mates. Let's remember in this regard the title of the famous movie - "One "Old Men" Go into Battle".

Psychological time by definition is subjective. Perception of time depends on personal characteristics: age (young and mature), a floor, marital status (bachelors, married people, fathers of families), education and culture, the biography (personal history), life experience (starting out and already lived). The extreme situation of war sharply enhances subjectivity of perception of time, puts the person on "an existential boundary" between life and death. A problem of personal life, existence of the person, over which in usual conditions

seldom think, in the war rises in all practical importance as a possibility of violent death, probability "to pass into nothingness" it is extremely high. Therefore perception of personal time as "receptacles of life" becomes aggravated, think of time ("How many still remained?", "As to use it?") at extremely limited opportunities to dispose of itself. There is a need to manage to make something, to experience, tell, write the letter, etc. Time in the war gets essentially other value.

"To me already twenty. I remember school days. University. The feeling is for some reason approved that I could not take everything that followed, from these quickly, very quickly flown twenty years. Two years we are at war. Were involved. Nobody complains... It is firmly convinced that after war we will begin to live vigorous, happy life again. Well and me to live up to this life. To meet mother, the father, the brother...", - the sergeant Adolf Pavlenko wrote down on April 14, 1943 in the front diary (tsit. on: Sands 1979: 79). He died in half a year, October 14, on the Kalinin front.

During the war "personal time" strongly depends on a situation, the place and conditions in which there is a person, first of all from degree of proximity to the war (at the front and in the back; on a front line and in the second echelon; before baptism of fire and later; before fight, in fight and after fight; in approach, defense and retreat; in hospital, on rearrangement, etc.). The Ekzistentsial-nost of perception of time much amplifies directly on a front line. Here existence or lack of fighting experience is of great importance. First, the "fired" veterans have more chances to survive (the highest percent of death, as a rule, in the first fight); secondly, they develop the special attitude towards reality dictated by specifics of existence in a fighting situation. At the same time the habit to a fighting stressful situation reduces sharpness of experiences of existential problems, including such protective mechanism of mentality as "obtusion of feelings" over time, sometimes weakening at the same time even instinct of self-preservation.

Certainly, there are both general characteristics of perception of time by veterans and the attitudes towards him. So, in the period of the Great Patriotic War the usual structuring time for the past, the present and the future essentially shared on "to", "in time" and "after war". At the same time were inherent in the majority

a certain romanticizing of the pre-war past and unreasonably optimistic hopes for the post-war future up to which it was still necessary to live. "... Then it seemed to me that after war a lot of things will be absolutely, absolutely in a different way - is better, kinder, than was before war", - Simonov remembered, for example, (1990b: 450). However understanding that up to the end of war "not all will live", dictated the special relation at the right time: dreams of the bright post-war future were combined with the pragmatical principle "to hurry to live", "not to make plans", "to live for today" as any minute can kill or cripple, - and then the image of the individual future cardinally changes contents.

The military situation affected also subjective perception of extent of time: in certain situations it was characterized by conciseness and prolixity, the same pieces of objective time could be perceived as eternity and as a moment (painful minutes before fight, infinite moments under fire, intense expectation of the sniper in an ambush, "the flying days" before discharge from hospital, etc. - i.e. different emotsionalnosobytiyny time).

"I cannot tell precisely, what is the time we so carried out. Seconds seemed for hours", - often sounds in stories by veterans about very intense fighting episode (Bessonov 1988: 118). But time on the eve of battle when the person psychologically prepared for possible fast death was especially burdensome. Here, for example, as describes the movement of a regiment on a position the participant of World War I colonel G.N. Chemodanov: "In foggy lunar dregs it seemed some lump, some one exotic monster, is lazy creeping in an unknown and invisible distance... Neither habitual laughter, nor even single exclamations was heard... Covered feeling of loneliness more and more, despite thousands of people among whom I went. And all of them were lonely these minutes. They were not in that place in which their legs knocked. For them there was no present but only the lovely past and the inevitable fatal deadly close future... I well knew these minutes, the most terrible, tiresome and heavy minutes before fight when at automatic walking you have no opportunity to distract, deceive themselves some, at least unnecessary work when nerves did not fuse for horrors of directly facing death yet. Quickly circulating blood did not obscure brains yet. And death seeming inevitable costs

still close. Who knew and saw fights when losses reach eighty percent, that can have even no spark of hope to endure the future fight. All being, all healthy organism protests against violence, against the destruction" (Suitcases 1926: 48-49). Even more figuratively and precisely this state is reflected in the poem by Semyon Gudzenko "Before the attack" (Lyrics... 1985: 75):

When to death go - sing, and before it it is possible to cry.

The most terrible hour in fight - hour of expectation of the attack...

War in general is characterized by a special "condition of expectation" (news of the fate of relatives, messages about situation on fronts, the course of fights, etc.). In the deep back "time of war" is first of all disturbing expectation of letters from the family who is at war, and constant fear to receive "death notification". The emotional connection between those who wait and for whom wait in a symbolical form found reflection in the poem by Simonov, sign for the time, "Wait for me" (In the same place: 236):

As I survived, Only we will know with you - Just you were able to wait,

As nobody else.

At last, at the right time in the war many features depending on a situation and ethnosociocultural parameters of belligerent parties also had practical relation. It was known that Germans "are at war on hours" and "do not like to be at war at night", and Muslims (for example, during the Afghan war) could interrupt suddenly military operations to make a Mohammedan prayer. These features of the opponent were surely considered and used.

The pragmatical relation at the right time in the war mostly depends not on physical parameters, and on a situation. For example, when fighting sleep not when "time to sleep" on biological clock, i.e. at night and when for this purpose there is an opportunity. "In general, time of day at the front - a concept very relative. Not the hour hand defined time of a dream and wakefulness. There were no days of the week also. The regulations of life were dictated by a military situation. Sometimes day seemed week, and sometimes disappeared in a never-ending dream at all after multi-day fight. Room -

a nu only that during big offensive operations we did not undress till many days in succession", - the officer of investigation I.I. Levin remembered (1990: 260).

Perception of social time in many respects depends on the course of war, the provision and prospects of a belligerent party, on a stage of military operations. The excess optimism connected with pre-war propaganda influence is quite often characteristic of an initial stage: "In few weeks we will be already at home!" So, in 1940, during the Finnish campaign, Evgeny Dolmatovsky wrote (Accept... 2000: 78):

War we understand not everything in the beginning.

And before departure, are a little sad,

Each other we promised to meet At six o'clock in the evening after war...

But if expectation of a fast victory is not met, other moods appear: "The end is not visible to war!" and "When it, at last, will end?!" At the same time perception of wartime is influenced always by correlation of personal prospect with the course of fighting. If in the middle of heavy dragged-out war the fighter lives for today at the front, then at its final stage it has a hope to survive, and together with it - impatience and keen desire to live up to peace time. Therefore between war and peace there is a psychological boundary for which overcoming special efforts are required. This state very precisely transfers in the quatrain written on February 22, 1944, the poet Dmitry Kedrin (Kedrin 1978: 107):

When battle will abate gradually,

Through a peace murmur of silence we Will hear as wars complain to god Pogibshiye in the last day...

The same feelings are reflected in the song by Mikhail Nozhkin "The last fight" (About fires big fires. 1994: 251):

It is a little more, still slightly,

The last fight, it is difficult most.

And I to Russia, home want,

I did not see mom so long ago!

At last, retrospective perception of wartime in individual memory of veterans is quite often characterized by brightness, distinctness, a detail ("It seems, it was yesterday..."), and at times - a romanticizing and nostalgia. In figurative and symbolical

to a form the relation to the place of war in the biography of the generation was expressed by poets-veterans Boris Slutsky ("War - it was remembered on days, / And other - it on five-years periods..." [Slutsky 2000: 311]) and Semyon Gudzenko ("We not will die of an old age - / we will die Of old wounds..." [This. 1985: 95]). Exact time calculation according to which the Great Patriotic War went three years ten months and eighteen days became not less symbolical also. But at the same time the integrity of an image of this war as the uniform interval of time which remained in national memory remains. David Samoylov (Height. 1995: 185-186) wrote:

>. The fortieth, fatal,

Lead, powder...

War walks across Russia,

And we are such young people!

The space in the war also has objective and subjective characteristics. Extent, distance, a land relief - all this is functionally used in retreat, defense and approach. Social structuring space has such characteristics as "" and "others" (the back of the enemy, the territory of the opponent), "anybody's earth", "neutral zone", connection and division ("front line", "first line", Ladoga - "Road of Life") as protection in defense and an obstacle in approach (a water barrier which should be forced; the open area which should be passed under fire; unapproachable height which should be taken, etc.). Important and such social measurement as space value ("Russia is big, and there is no place to recede - behind Moscow", "To a step backwards!", "Beyond Volga for us there is no earth!", etc.), his perception as line of defense.

Like "the split time", the war space is also represented broken, divided, broken off on a part. "We go on the spoiled, blown up and burned world, on the ground, spoiled with explosions of mines, on fields as if smallpox, disfigured by funnels, on roads which Germans, receding, split as a human body, on pieces, having blown up all bridges", - Simonov wrote on March 17, 1943 in an essay "On old Smolenskaya Road" (1975: 232).

In personal and psychological sense the space as well as time, was perceived depending on specific features and a specific social situation in which there was a person. However there were also many general parameters of perception.

For example, the opposition of the front and back which is bitingly expressed by Simonov (1975: 189):

Though blinders put on


And nevertheless you will divide a time of Friends - into lain in Tashkent And in snow fields near Moscow.

And Gudzenko in 1946 will write about the soldier who came back from the front who ". wants to know what was here, / when we were there..." (This. 1985: 95).

The space could be perceived as the friend and the enemy, as protection and danger, as a symbol of separation from relatives and meetings with death. Let's remember the well-known lines from Alexey Surkov's "Dugout" (Lyrics... 1985: 253):

>. It is hard for me to reach you,

And to death - four steps...

The space extent judgment in the war, as a rule, was value, connected not with the actual distance, and with that danger which trapped on the way. Then several meters under the enemy's fire to the shelter, the purpose, etc. turned into infinity, into "death space" which cannot be overcome. "Earth span... In days of war there was in the course this expression. It was clear to everyone why on spans there was an account of the earth. Very difficult the soldier got it in fight...", - one of veterans remembered (Ovchinnikova 1989: 129).

For example, in Stalingrad to creep several dozen steps, the whole day, and 100 meters to Volga which Germans did not manage to pass was required sometimes, became a symbol of firmness of our fighters. "Only here, in Stalingrad, people know what is kilometer. It is one thousand meters, these are hundred thousand centimeters", - Vasili Grossman wrote on November 26, 1942 in the Pravda, telling about "fight, unprecedented on bitterness" which "lasted, without calming down, several days" and "went not for certain houses and shops", and "for each separate step of a ladder, for a corner in a close corridor, for the separate machine, for flight between machines, for a gas pipeline pipe... And if Germans occupied any space, then it meant that there were no living Red Army men any more..." (tsit. on: Roberts 2003: 87).

Correlation of social and personal space at which the trench of the ordinary fighter could vosprini-was of particular importance

to matsya by it as the place where the destiny of war, the fate of the country is decided. Quite often so it also was, especially on the direction of the main blow of the opponent or "the" party. But also where "fights of local value" were going ("At the unfamiliar settlement at anonymous height...", on axiomatic expression of Mikhail Matusovsky), understanding of the role and the place in war, the importance of "the" fight, was an important component of fighting motivation. Not casually in 1943 Sergey Orlov wrote about the tankman who looks at the world through a viewing crack of the car (the Lyric poet. 1985: 184):

And the crack is narrow, edges are black,

Sand and clay fly to it...

But in this crack from Mgi1 Suburbs of Vienna and Berlin are visible.

A year later, in 1944, he will create even more unexpected poetic image: "It was buried to the globe, / And there was it only the soldier..." (In the same place: 185). And on this background of a word of one of veterans: "A trench - here my scale" (Ovchinnikova 1989: 69) - are perceived in absolutely new foreshortening.

War, certainly, changed spatial experience of most of its participants who in peace time would never appear in those places which they visited during the war (Mikhail Isakovsky: "I went to you four years, / I conquered three powers..." [Lyrics. 1985: 110-111]; "We with friends passed very distant distances." [Oshanin 1980: 321]), would not move those ways which are characteristic of military operations (Mikhail Nozhkin: "We in a plastoon way plowed half of Europe..." [About fires big fires. 1994: 251]).

Before war of people, as a rule, lives in rather narrow "internal" space (village, the city, the area, etc.) and seldom it appears beyond its limits. War pulls out it from a habitual environment and throws out in wide "outside world", to "other regions" though at the same time he is often imprisoned in the limited, and at times and closed space of a trench, the tank, plane, a blindage, teplushka, hospital chamber, etc. War gives many new foreshortenings in perception of space, including a landscape as factor of protection or danger, difficulties of movement and burdens of life as obstacles in a way to peace and to return home. "Then, after war, I never any more tested that any more

1 Mga - the settlement in the Leningrad Region.

feelings of distances which we had during the war, - Simonov remembered (1975: 365). - Distances were then absolutely others. Almost their each kilometer was hardly, is to the full filled by war. And it also did them then such huge and forced people to look back in the recent past, sometimes being even surprised to itself".

At last, it is necessary to tell also about retrospective perception of war (especially infantrymen) as infinite, difficult, full dangers of the road. One of the most well-loved by veterans of the songs written in the years of war became "Eh, are expensive." on verses by Lev Oshanin (1980: 316):

Eh, are expensive, dust yes fog,

Cold weather, alarms yes steppe weeds.

You cannot know the share -

Perhaps you will put wings in the middle of steppes.

Dust under boots, steppes, fields curls,

And around the flame storms and bullets whistle.

In the same 1945 when were written tragic "Eh, are expensive.", Oshanin wrote the rollicking song "I from Berlin Went" where return of the winner soldier from war is described. And here the central image - the same roads, but already in the opposite direction, deprived of former killing obstacles, and therefore quickly flashing by (In the same place: 320):

I from Berlin On the direct road went,

Drove passing cars from the front home.

Went by Warsaw,

Went by Oryol - Where the Russian glory passed All footpaths...

the Image of "front roads" was

one of key in Simonov's creativity. Since the well-known poem "You Remember, Alyosha, Roads of Smolensk Region" (the Lyric poet. 1985: 232) (The path Went tears measured more often than by versts,/, on hillocks disappearing from the sight: / Villages, villages, villages with churchyards, / As though all Russia agreed on them...") and finishing with the documentary "There Was a Soldier" which main idea was in how it is long and the way to the Victory was difficult. In his military diaries vstre-

the description spring (the end of March) approaches of 1944 in Ukraine in which we find a key to understanding of "war space" is hoped: "The most ordinary ordinary infantryman, one of millions going along these roads sometimes made... transitions on forty kilometers a day. On a neck at it the automatic machine, behind the back the full calculation. It bears on itself(himself) everything that is required to the soldier in way. The person passes where there does not pass the car, and in addition to what he already bore on himself, bears on himself and what would have to go. He goes in the conditions coming to living conditions of the cave person sometimes till several days forgetting about what is fire. The overcoat does not dry month on it up to the end. And he constantly feels its dampness on shoulders. During the march he for hours has no place to sit down to have a rest - around such dirt that in it it is only possible to sink knee-deep. He sometimes on day does not see some hot food because sometimes after it cannot pass not only the car, but also a horse with kitchen. At it is not present to tobacco because tobacco too somewhere got stuck. Such number of tests which to other person will not drop out for all his life falls down it every day in the condensed look... And, of course... besides and first of all, he daily and fiercely is at war, subjecting himself to danger of death... Such is the soldier's life in this our spring approach" (Simonov 1975: 346).

And still: "In memory there were not so much fights, how many infernal work of war: work, sweat, exhaustion; not so much a roar of tools, how many soldiers rolling in dirt, in an embrace in kilometers the heavy shells bearing from backs to artillery positions because everything, all got stuck!" (In the same place: 342). "Long versts of war" - one of characteristic images of that time.

After war the return of veterans to habitual peace space was not return to former, his pre-war perception as the person was enriched and changed by military experience with which also his views of the world changed. And even "the small Homeland" (at Simonov: "The plot of land which dropped to three birches" [Lyrics. 1985: 237]) - personally significant living space of the person - fitted into a wide context of "the big Homeland" now.

Thus, war in consciousness of the person is always perceived as the certain boundary, a special piece of life different from all its other stages, including in temporary and in spatial measurements that allows to speak about "time and space of war" as about important components of existential experience of combatants.


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Max Sanders
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