Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date






Publication Title

Endangered Cities: Military Power and Urban Societies in the Era of the World Wars


With the approval of Admiral Oktriabrskii (Commander of the Black Sea Fleet), Sevastopol's governing body (the Municipal Executive Committee or Gorispolkom) issued temporary instructions on 4 December 1944 that forbade all activity by the civilian municipal government on naval territory without the consent of the Fleet or the People's Commissariat of the Navy. Only six months after Sevastopol's liberation from a two-year German occupation, even as the war continued, the navy thus delineated its sphere of influence in the city. The navy did not, however, reciprocate; military and naval officials played a seminal role in the redesign of the civilian sectors of the city as well. Two days after Gorispolkom's order, with most of the city in ruins, the Military Council of the Primorskaia Army presented a proposal to Gorispolkom for a museum at Sapun Gora, which had been the site of a major battle during the liberation of the city, as well as for improvements around monuments throughout the city. With construction resources already overburdened, the city government directed municipal and naval officials to provide materials and services to fulfill the proposal. With factories and homes still in rubble, why did the city government approve the diversion of vital resources to memorialize military feats of the near and distant past? What does this decision tell us about priorities in a city devastated by war, and what can we learn about municipal-military cooperation and contestation? To anticipate, the navy was about to undertake a concerted effort to restore an urban biography and refashion an "imagined community."


Published as:

Qualls, Karl D. "Whose History is "Our" History? The Influence of Naval Power in Sevastopol's Reconstruction, 1944-1953." In Endangered Cities: Military Power and Urban Societies in the Era of the World Wars, edited by Marcus Funck and Roger Chickering, 177-91. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2004.

This author pre-print is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Brill's Website.