Patriotism was inculcated in the population from birth and Soviet propaganda “guaranteed” that any possible forthcoming war would be fought on foreign land, with minimal losses and a quick victory. Prior to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Soviet news media was intensely anti-Fascist. In the 1937 film, “If there will be War Tomorrow,” Soviet citizens young and old rush to volunteer and fight for their Motherland. They march to a sweeping victory in Berlin, where the local German workers and socialist proletariat are preparing to topple capitalism. In movies such as “Professor Mamlock” (1938), Soviet film was among the first to address the issue of Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany. Yet, with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, the Soviet people were suddenly informed that their sworn enemy had become an ally. Standard terms such as “fascist beasts” and “fascist barbarians” were eradicated from the media’s vocabulary and newspapers were ordered to stop writing about fascism altogether, so as not to provoke Hitler. A moratorium was placed on any mention of German atrocities and any remaining anti-German rhetoric from abroad was ascribed to the malicious work of foreign agents.
We didn't think the war would erupt but we were prepared.