23. Pavlichenko’s Wartime Experiences Left Her With PTSD
Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s public relations tour also took her to Canada and Britain. Her arrival in Toronto was greeted by thousands of well-wishers, and she was presented with a scope-mounted sniper rifle, now on display at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow. In Britain, the lethal warrior gave speeches, visited factories and the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, and accepted donations for the Red Army. Despite her efforts, however, she and her countrymen had to wait two more years before a second front was opened in France in 1944. Upon her return, Pavlichenko was promoted to major, given the country’s highest military distinction, the title Hero of the Soviet Union, as well as the Order of Lenin – the highest civilian distinction – twice.
Pavlichenko never returned to combat, but trained snipers until war’s end. Afterwards, she resumed her studies and graduated from Kiev University with a history degree. Unfortunately, she struggled with depression and PTSD for many years. In 1957, during a visit to Moscow, Eleanor Roosevelt insisted that she see her friend, Pavlichenko. Amidst high Cold War tensions, the reunion took place under KGB supervision. However, the two women managed to give their attendants the slip and catch up, laugh, and reminisce about the months spent together touring America. Lyudmila Pavlichenko, history’s most lethal female sniper, passed away in 1974 after a stroke.