If Tomorrow Brings War was a song written by Vasily Lebedev-Kumach and the Pokrass brothers in 1938. The song accompanied a film by the same name. Both the song and the film are about the adventures of soldiers in a Soviet armor unit during a future war with what would become known as the Axis powers.
The song tells of a glorious campaign that the Russians embark on against the fascists. The soldiers sing about victory against the enemy in the land, sea, and air. They mention how cities from the farthest corners of the country will rise up to defeat the enemy in combat. The soldiers go on to say that they don’t want war, but that they are prepared to fight one if need be. The song ends by implying that Stalin will be the one that leads them to victory.
This tune is a perfect example of the mass culture that was prevalent during the pre-war period. Even in the 1930’s, many in the Soviet Union foresaw that a war with expansionist Germany in Central Europe and Imperial Japan in the occupied border territory of Manchuria was increasingly likely. A pre-war footing ultimately changes the type of culture that a country would experience. This was also true for the Western nations as well. At this point in time the Soviets were trying to create a sense of patriotism within the populace as well as to instill the image that they would undoubtedly win in any war that they got involved with.
The film itself is also indicative of a country in a pre-war state. However, the film also foreshadows the relative unpreparedness for war that the Russian’s experienced soon after entering WWII in June of 1941. The characters constantly praise a man named Voroshilov who is incredibly ignorant of modern military technology and tactics. It is this sentiment that ultimately hinders the Soviet military in the coming war.
Michigan State University: http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1939-2/tractor-drivers/1939-tractor-drivers-music/if-tomorrow-brings-war-1938/
Google Images: https://www.google.com/search?q=If+Tomorrow+Brings+War+(1938)+film&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwio-dbKoofeAhVFi1kKHbiSBbcQ_AUIDygC&biw=1280&bih=610#imgrc=hTme3EOCLrB31M:
Mass Culture in Soviet Russia: If Tomorrow Brings War (pgs. 316-318)
8 thoughts on “If Tomorrow Brings War (Song and Film)”
This is really different from American music during World War II, to me the American version would be something kind of like the performers in the first Captain America, what a really interesting contrast!
This is interesting to me because it is encouraging the Russian people to be ready for war, and glorifying it while simultaneously glorifying Stalin
Yeah! This is a super popular song this week. I would say that its very typical for the time period because this song and film both act as calls to action by the Soviet government… which was common in the 1930’s especially when it came to industrializing and modernizing. One could perhaps even compare this propaganda to the propaganda produced by the West in the later years of the war.