Hunger as a weapon: short-term and long-term effects (the case of the siege of Leningrad)

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Hunger as a weapon: short-term and long-term effects (the case of the siege of Leningrad)
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2022. No 2 (63). P. 125-149
DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2022-2-125-149

Abstract. In the end of August 1941, the Nazi leadership decided to besiege Leningrad to deliberately starve the city’s inhabitants. Since November, Leningrad was entering its period of mass starvation and death. In December 1941, according to incomplete records, starvation and dystrophy killed more than 50 000 people, in January and February of 1942 – almost 100 000 monthly. Relying on various archival materials, as well as on published sources and literature, the article analyzes impacts of lasting hunger on civilians during the longest siege of the World War Two. Also, it explores the long-term effects of starvation on health of siege survivors and their descendants. While various dimensions of hunger-related illnesses were studied during the siege of Leningrad, the scholarly attention to this topic has significantly decreased since early 1950s, although the consequences of prolonged starvation affected the health of blockade survivors throughout their lives and had an impact on the health of their descendants. Further study of this topic is suggested, to be conducted with the use of methods of biology/epigenetics.

Keywords: World War Two, German strategy, siege of Leningrad, hunger, starvation, dystrophy, mortality, physical effects of starvation


About author

Nikita Lomagin is a Professor of the European University at Saint Petersburg and a Head of the Institute for the History of Defense and Siege of Leningrad of the State Memorial Museum of Defense and the Siege of Leningrad.


Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Lomagin N. Hunger as a weapon: short-term and long-term effects (the case of the siege of Leningrad) // Pathways to Peace and Security. 2022. No 2 (63). P. 125-149. https://doi.org/10.20542/2307-1494-2022-2-125-149



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