Even though the Germans weren’t actually on Kazakh soil, however, the people of the country began to play a part in the defense of the Soviet Union from early on. At first, those from Kazakh were mainly required to serve in labor battalions rather than in combat. This may have been because the Russians didn’t fully trust the Kazakh people.
But needs must, and a Soviet Union desperate for manpower overturned this policy in December 1941. Consequently, the Kazakhs were now ushered into fighting roles – and in that same month the first signs of a turn in the tide of Soviet military fortunes appeared.