The Great Patriotic War victory is one that is constantly on display in Moscow and other Russian cities. Between the many memorial park installations, the main museum in Moscow, and the newest war monument in St. Petersburg, people can feel a sense of Russian pride from the victory throughout the vast country. This Russian pride came at a huge cost to the population and morale of Soviets in the 1940s. Nikita Bogoslovsky and Vladimir Agatov produced a song named “Dark Night” in 1943 to symbolize the family struggle during the Great Patriotic War. The lyrics are:
Dark is the night, only bullets careen across the steppe, On the wires the wind plays its song, while the stars glitter dimly. I know, my love, you don't sleep in the dark of the night. And you secretly wipe your tears back near the baby's cradle. Oh how I love the deep regions of your gentle eyes. How I long to press my lip upon those eyes. Dark is the night, and it keeps up, my love, far apart, The perilous steppe, wreathed in black, stretches out between us. My faith in you, oh beloved friend of my heart, Is a faith that has saved me from death by an enemy's bullet. Life is a joy - I can face mortal battle and know, Know that you'll greet me with love, whatever should happen.
These lyrics mirror the thoughts of millions of soldiers, who had families at home and were not sure if they would survive the war. It also provides an emotional element to a war fought with heavy machinery and caustic ideologies. Bogoslovsky was criticized for his work because many believed it romanticized the war. However, if a reader thinks deeper than the words themselves, they can determine that this ideology was realistic, and applied to all factions of the war. Soviet soldiers fought to protect their families at home and save their country from the German onslaught. This resolve helped them win the war. Many believed the Soviets to be the craziest army during WWII because they lost an immense amount of soldiers, yet never gave up and were unperturbed by their massive losses. This determination, combined with the phenomenal strategies employed to reserve weaponry and mount campaigns, allowed the Soviets to protect their homeland, while capturing other territories simultaneously. Nazi Germany was the true world enemy at this time, and this message did not resonate stronger in any other part of the world, than in the Soviet Union. Fascism never matched Communist ideologies, and German hatred for Slavic populations further aggrandized the anger Soviets held towards Nazi Germany.
While Bogoslovsky’s song is a softer touch on a brutal war effort, its underlying symbolism truly defined a time period filled with horror and death.
The following video provides a beautiful rendition of the song as it was meant to be sung.
Geldern, James Von, and Richard Stites. Mass Culture in Soviet Russia: Tales, Poems, Songs, Movies, Plays, and Folklore, 1917-1953. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995. 377-78. Print.