The victory over Nazi Germany made the Soviet Union the world's second superpower and Stalin found himself at the climax of his national and international prestige. However, it was a bitter triumph for which the country and its inhabitants paid a horrible price. Throughout history no victory has ever been accompanied by so much glory and so much misery. The immediate material damage was immense and left large sways of the country in utter devastation. In addition the Soviet Union suffered dramatic demographical losses. The war left not only 27 million dead, but also millions of widows, orphans and invalids. The country emerged victorious, yet domestically extremely weakened, from the fighting. Especially economically the country was far from ready to assume its status as a world power. In order to safeguard its ‘spoils of war’ the regime had to acquire solid economic foundations very quickly. At the same time, the social consequences of the war had to be ‘overcome’. Otherwise social disintegration was to threaten the regime from within and endanger its ideological and structural make-up. Despite the deprivation and losses suffered by the Soviet people the mood in the immediate post-war period was one of optimism and full of hope for a quick return towards normality. In particular, crippled and injured veterans expected significant improvements to their lives – in exchange for the victory, for which they had fought so bitterly and tenaciously. This belief had already been nurtured by official propaganda during the war years. The press had again and again promised ‘comprehensive care’ to injured and crippled veterans and thus confirmed the Soviet state's commitment to welfare. This essay analyses to what extent the Soviet welfare rhetoric on injured war veterans was translated into reality. The focus will be on veterans’ reintegration into work processes, which, according to Soviet understanding, was the most important aspect of social policy. From the perspective of the regime, the immediate return to work of the whole population was one the most important preconditions for quick economic reconstruction and recovery.