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The decree on ‘General compulsory military science education of USSR citizens’

17 September 1941

On September 17, 1941 I. Stalin signed the decision of the State Defense Committee ‘On general compulsory military science education of USSR citizens’. According to this decision in all educational institutions of the Soviet Union ‘military science’ subject was imposed.

In order to prepare the trained reserve for the Red Army, the State Defense Committee decided to impose a compulsory military education of USSR male citizens at the age from 16 to 50. In the first place it concerned the prospective draftees born in 1923 and 1924 and citizens liable for call-up from reserve (non-trained) at the age of 45.

The education process had to be organized by the People’s Committee of Defense (PCD) and its local bodies. Under the PCD of the USSR there was created the General department of compulsory military education, and in districts and regional (territorial and republic) military registration and enlistment offices there were created General department’s divisions. Each military office employed 2-3 instructors from commanders of reserve and the most trained non drafted private men of senior age.

Local party organizations had to train without discontinuing work. The primary attention was paid to drill, study of rifle, machinegun, high-explosive shell. In addition they studied the issues of anti-gas defense, camouflage, trenching, tactic training. The courses should not interfere with natural functioning of enterprises and institutions.

All party, soviet and social organizations made their contribution for reserve training. The General department of compulsory military education had become one of the primary sources of reinforcements. Women also took an active part in military training. The total number of citizens who had undergone the compulsory military education came up to 9 million 862 thousand. That was 1.5 times more than the overall strength of the army in the field including the reserves of headquarters in 1944.

The mass training of military reserves for the armed forces became one of the important factors of victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Lit.: Постановление Государственного комитета обороны № 690 от 17 сентября 1941 г. «О всеобщем обязательном обучении военному делу граждан СССР» // Работа партийных организаций в период Великой Отечественной войны 1941-1945 годов. Документы и материалы в двух томах. М., 1982. Т. 1. С. 102-103; Пешков И. А. Ленинский Всеобуч в годы Великой Отечественной войны. М., 1986; Сборник законов СССР и Указов Президиума Верховного Совета СССР (1938 — ноябрь 1958 гг.). М., 1959.

From the Presidential library materials:

The Great Victory Memory: collection.