Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 14

This post, covering Part 3, Chapter 14 is part of The Slavic Literature Pod’s chapter a day read along of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Learn more about our project here.

News of Novikov’s tank corps victory has made its way to the top. Stalin, along with his secretary Poskrebyshev, get the news of the encirclement over the radio. As he waits for Stalin to react, Poskrebyshev tries to remain perfectly still. 

The majority of this chapter takes place in the brief moments of Stalin’s reflections. He thinks that “He had not only defeated his current enemy; he had defeated the past. In the village the grass would grow thicker over the tombs of 1930. The snow and ice of the Arctic Circle would remain dumb and silent,” (p. 655). From this perspective, the war becomes necessary to win not only to prevent destruction from outside forces, but also to prevent a disintegration from the inside out.