Young Guard: A Summary Of The Novel

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Young Guard: A Summary Of The Novel
Young Guard: A Summary Of The Novel
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The legendary novel by Alexander Fadeev "Young Guard" is dedicated to the heroic struggle of the youth of the Ukrainian city of Krasnodon against the Nazis. Having created an underground organization called "Young Guard", young men and women carried out subversive work. As a result of betrayal, all of them were captured by the Germans and, after the most terrible tortures, were executed. Over the years, researchers have found that distortions were made in Fadeev's novel, which cost the freedom, life and honor of several members of the organization.


Alexander Fadeev

He grew up in a family of revolutionaries. He himself was engaged in revolutionary activities. He was a prominent party leader. But first of all, Fadeev is known as a talented writer. His first work - "Spill" - became the successful debut of a writer. The novel "The Defeat" brought him widespread success and recognition from readers. After its publication, Fadeev was engaged not only in writing, but also in social activities, occupying a prominent place in the literary associations of Soviet writers.

During the war, Fadeev was a war correspondent. He was not afraid to visit the most dangerous sectors of the front in order to collect interesting and necessary material for readers.

The most famous and resonant work of Fadeev is "Young Guard". The author spoke brightly and talentedly about the history of an underground youth organization that operated in the fascist-occupied Krasnodon in 1942 - early 1943.

The first version of the book was published in 1946 and became incredibly popular in the USSR and beyond. However, the party leadership did not approve of the novel. In his opinion, the role of the party in the activities of the Young Guard was not sufficiently shown in the novel. There is a version that Stalin personally pointed out to Fadeev about ideological miscalculations.

Fadeev edited the novel, and its new version was published in 1951. He himself did not accept the changes. And his novel was introduced into the school curriculum, several generations of Soviet children studied on it.

"The Young Guard further strengthened Fadeev's authority as a party and literary leader. He became the head of the Union of Writers of the USSR, and in this position implemented the decisions of the party in relation to many writers and literary figures of the Soviet Union. With his direct participation, Akhmatova was deprived of the opportunity to publish and Zoshchenko, Eikhenbaum and LSU workers were criticized in the press, which put an end to their literary activity in the USSR.

At the same time, he tried as best he could to help the disgraced writers Gumilyov, Pasternak, Platonov. He fussed about a pension for him and the destroyed Zoshchenko.

During the Khrushchev thaw, Fadeev's position was shaken. Many openly accused him of repressive actions against writers.

However, more difficult than any criticism, Fadeev experienced the impossibility of acting in accordance with his convictions, the need to commit mean acts in relation to his colleagues. He began to abuse alcohol, fell into depression. “Conscience torments. It's hard to live, Yura, with bloody hands,”he told his close friend Yuri Libedinsky.

On May 13, 1956, Alexander Fadeev committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver. His dying letter, in which he expressed all his disappointment with the party's activities in relation to Soviet literature, was published only in 1990.

"Young Guard": summary

1942 year. July. Small town Krasnodon, Voroshilovgrad region.

Soviet troops were retreating. Together with them, residents tried to leave the city, which was about to be in the hands of the Germans. Few succeeded. People did not have time to cross the Donets River - the crossing was already captured by the Germans - and were forced to return to the occupied city. Among them were Komsomol members Oleg Koshevoy, Ulyana Gromova, Zhora Arutyunyants, Ivan Zemnukhov.At the same time, the Komsomol member Seryozha Tyulenin turned out to be in Krasnodon, who had already had to take part in the battles, on his account were two killed Germans. He was not going to stop. For various reasons, many Komsomol members, high school students, young workers, and students could not leave the city. All of them were united by hatred of the enemy and a desire to fight for the liberation of their hometown.

As in most of the occupied cities, members of the party were left in Krasnodon to organize underground work - Philip Lyutikov and Matvey Shulga. They waited for instructions from Voroshilovgrad and studied the situation in the city.

Lyutikov got a job working for the Germans - so he was aware of the events. Through Volodya Osmukhin, whose family Philip had known for a long time and whom he invited to work in the workshops, the party member approached Osmukhin's friends, and underground work began. A youth organization was formed, which was named "Young Guard".

The guys took an oath of loyalty to the organization, promised to fight the enemy, not sparing their lives. The organization was highly disciplined. Oleg Koshevoy was chosen as the secretary.

A little later, Evgeny Stakhovich, who had previously fought in a partisan detachment, Lyubov Shevtsova, who was sent to Krasnodon from Voroshilovgrad, and many other young Krasnodon residents, joined the "young guard".

Many party members who remained in Krasnodon were immediately arrested and executed - they were betrayed by policemen and enemies of the Soviet regime. Among them were the director of the mine Valko and Matvey Shulga.

The Young Guard began to act. Through Lyubov Shevtsova, the Young Guard contacted the headquarters of the underground in Voroshilovgrad and received assignments from there. The guys learned information about the Germans and their plans from various sources. Beautiful and laughing, bright, artistic Lyuba easily got to know the Germans and heard and saw a lot. The Germans lodged in the Koshevs' house and Oleg, who knew German, overheard their conversations and passed them on to his comrades-in-arms. The guys carried out agitation and informational work - they pasted leaflets and reprinted reports, distributing them in crowded places. A policeman was executed, who betrayed Shulga and other communists to the Germans. They stole weapons from the Germans and collected them on the battlefield, then used them for their own purposes. They undermined the work of the Nazis to recruit young people to work in Germany, or rather to steal young men and women into concentration camps. They attacked cars, killed the Germans, took away the goods. The Young Guards staged an explosion at the mine and the Germans were unable to extract coal and send it to Germany. The organization turned out to be effective, but it did not last long.

Before the New Year holidays, the guys robbed a truck with New Year's gifts and started selling them in the market. There, the Nazis caught a boy with a pack of cigarettes from stolen gifts. The boy had nothing to do with the Young Guard, he was simply instructed to sell cigarettes. He immediately admitted that he received this product from Stakhovich. On the same day, the first three Young Guard members were arrested - Stakhovich, Moshkov and Zemnukhov.

As soon as this became known, all the Young Guards were ordered to leave the city and take cover safely. However, this did not work for everyone. Many returned to the city when they could not find shelter, and some, due to their youth, excitement and carelessness, did not leave at all.

Meanwhile, Stakhovich, under torture, began to testify and named all the members of the organization known to him. General arrests began. In the dungeons of the Gestapo, almost all the Young Guards and their leaders found themselves. This was also facilitated by the testimony of two girls who were not members of the organization and who got into the Gestapo by accident - Lyadskoy and Vyrikova, who chickened out and told everything they knew and did not know.

Young men and women were subjected to terrible torture. For several weeks the Nazis tried to knock out information from them about the leaders of the underground, their plans, locations, but to no avail.In early February, all the underground fighters were executed - they were thrown into the pit of the mine. Many are still alive. By this time, they no longer looked like people - they were so disfigured by torture. They sang before they died.

Two weeks later, the Red Army entered Krasnodon. The bodies of the Young Guard were taken out of the mine. The parents of the children and the residents of the city fainted when they saw what they had done to their children, the harsh warriors who had gone through the most fierce battles and battles could not hold back their tears. The funeral of the Young Guard was attended by the few surviving members of the organization and all the surviving residents of Krasnodon.


Five Young Guard members: Lyubov Shevtsova, Oleg Koshevoy, Ivan Zemnukhov, Sergei Tyulenin, Ulyana Gromova were posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The rest of the members of the organization were awarded orders and medals.

History of creation

After the end of the war, Alexander Fadeev decided to write a novel about the feat of young men and women in the small Ukrainian city of Krasnodon, who created an underground organization called the Young Guard. All members of the organization were executed by the Nazis. Fadeev decided to immortalize their struggle in his novel.

Even during the war, the writer traveled to Krasnodon, talked with residents, collected information, and a little later his article was published in Pravda, which was called "Immortality" and was dedicated to the Young Guard.

The novel was published in 1946. In 1951, the second version of the novel was published.


Both readers and critics agree that Fadeev is incredibly talented and vividly portrayed the Krasnodon underground, whose courage inspires admiration and respect. But the novel brought not only glory to the heroes. As a result, some of the Young Guards and members of their families ended up in camps, their names were dishonored, and some received undeserved laurels.

Myths and truths of the "Young Guard"

Many events in the novel are distorted, and the people who were called traitors were not really traitors. Fadeev tried to justify himself by the fact that this is a work of fiction that has the right to fiction.

The names of the two leaders of the Young Guard are not named in the novel at all - they are Vasily Levashov and Viktor Tretyakevich. It was Tretyakevich who was the group's commissar, not Oleg Koshevoy. Moreover, the traitor Stakhovich, deduced in the novel, is very similar to the description of Viktor Tretyakevich, who in fact did not tarnish his honor in any way and, under the most terrible tortures, did not betray anyone to the Nazis. Even before the execution, when he was already pushed into the pit, he tried with the last bit of strength to drag the policeman away with him. Victor did not receive any awards, his family for many years lived with the stigma of a traitorous family. Only when the investigation was resumed and Tretyakevich was fully rehabilitated, he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree and his mother was given a personal pension. The father did not live up to this day - he did not survive the slander that disgraced the name of his hero-son.


Why did Fadeev act so cruelly with Viktor Tretyakevich? And he was really called a traitor. This was done by policeman Kuleshov, who tortured the young man. The steadfastness and heroism of the guy aroused such hatred in the coward and the traitor that he decided to discredit at least his name. The only strange thing is that everyone believed in his slander, and no one listened to the words of the surviving Young Guard, who claimed that Victor had never been a traitor.

This is probably the most cruel injustice of the novel, but not the only one.

The traitor Stakhovich did not exist. The entire organization was handed over by Gennady Pocheptsov. And not under torture, but at the request of his stepfather - the fascist informer Gromov, nicknamed Vanyusha. It was he who found cigarettes from gifts on his stepson and demanded that he turn in everyone. No market boy existed. The Germans did not touch Pocheptsov. He was shot in 1943 by court order. Fadeev did not name his name - he did not want to spoil the biography of his namesakes.

But the author did not take care of the fate of Lyadskaya and Vyrikova: they were convicted of treason and only in 1990 were rehabilitated.Although, in fact, they have never been to the Gestapo and have never betrayed anyone.

Oleg Koshevoy, who was shot by the Nazis in Rovenki, was also a hero. But he has never been a commissar of the Young Guard. He forged his signature on the Komsomol tickets. Previously, they were signed by Tretyakevich. The version of the commissioner Koshevoy was presented to Fadeev by Oleg's mother Elena Nikolaevna. During the occupation, she made a close acquaintance with the Germans, and this circumstance would have to be explained after the arrival of our troops. The version of Tretyakevich's betrayal and leadership in the organization of Koshevoy made Elena Nikolaevna the mother of a hero. She speculated in the name of her deceased son all her life. When the truth was revealed, there were "well-wishers" who accused Oleg of treason. It is not true. Oleg fought honestly for his homeland, did not betray anyone. Like other Young Guards, he earned respect and glory.

These are far from all the inaccuracies and distortions made in the novel. It was only about those as a result of which real people suffered.

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