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Poster: Soviet Scrap Metal Collection - WII

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Soviet Home Front Support for Red Army Weapons

WWII Societ poster: Collect old metal

When Russia was invaded in June 1941, the Soviet Union reported had four times more tanks than Germany, but most of them were light, obsolete or out of commission for a variety of reasons. Large amounts of Soviet armaments and industry were captured or destroyed by the attacking Germans making drastic measures necessary for the Russians to re-arm.

Soviet factories were re-located to the east and manned by non-military personnel — women, teenagers, and the elderly. Production of new tanks was dramatically increased and production time was decreased. Even the citizens of the besieged city of Sevastopol, with its citizens hiding in caves and tunnels, were able to continue the manufacture munitions from their underground retreats.

Severe rationing was instituted and scrap metal was collected. Not all scrap metal was useable for recycling for use in arms manufacturing. However, if it contained the proper alloys, recycled metal melted at a much lower temperature than the original mined ore, and didn't have to be mined, or refined (separated it from the slag), all of which used less energy and time and reduced overall costs. Wood could also be substituted for metal for such items as flooring in aircraft and trucks.

Farm workers pooled their money to buy tanks for the Red Army. According to John Shay in Red Army Resurgent, (p.92), “By the end of the War, the Soviet citizenry had contributed some 10 billion rubles (the equivalent of 800 million wartime U.S. dollars) to build a formidable arsenal of tanks, planes, artillery, armored trains, torpedo boats and submarines”. By the end of 1942, Soviet war production had surpassed German production.

Poster reads: "For the new cannons and tanks, collect the old metal!" and pictures scrap metal followed by tanks and aircraft apparently heading for the front.

*Disclaimer: World War II posters, insignias and documents of Nazi Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, are displayed on this website as historical documents of the time period. They are not intended to promote or condone any political, racial, military, religious, or social views and/or actions. This website does not condone genecide.