J. V. Stalin
COMRADES, Red Army and Red Navy men, commanders and political workers, men and women guerillas, working men and women, men and women peasants, people engaged in intellectual work! Brothers and sisters who have temporarily fallen under the yoke of the German oppressors!
In the name of the Soviet Government and of our Bolshevik Party I greet and congratulate you on the occasion of the First of May.
The peoples of our country meet May the First in the stem days of the Patriotic War. They have entrusted their destiny to the Red Army, and their hopes have not been misplaced. The Soviet warriors have stood up self-sacrificingly in defence of their Motherland, and for nearly two years already have been defending the honour and independence of the peoples of the Soviet Union.
During the winter campaign of 1942-43 the Red Army inflicted grave defeats on the Hitlerite troops, annihilated an enormous amount of the enemy’s man-power and equipment, surrounded and annihilated two enemy armies at Stalingrad, took prisoner over 300,000 enemy men and officers and liberated hundreds of Soviet towns and thousands of villages from the German yoke.
The winter campaign demonstrated that the offensive power of the Red Army has grown. Our troops not only hurled the Germans out of territory which the enemy had seized in the summer of 1942, but occupied a number of towns and districts which had been in the enemy’s hands for about a year and a half. It proved beyond German strength to avert the Red Army’s offensive.
Even for its counter-offensive in a narrow sector of the front in the Kharkov area, the Hitlerite command found itself compelled to transfer more than thirty fresh divisions from Western Europe. The Germans calculated on surrounding the Soviet troops in the Kharkov area and on arranging a “German Stalingrad” for our troops. However, the attempt of the Hitlerite command to take revenge for Stalingrad has collapsed.
Simultaneously, the victorious troops of our Allies routed the Italo-German troops in the area of Libya and Tripolitania, cleared these areas of the enemy, and now continue to batter them in the area of Tunisia, while the valiant Anglo-American air forces strike shattering blows at the military and industrial centres of Germany and Italy, foreshadowing the formation of the second front in Europe against the Italo-German fascists.
Thus, for the first time since the beginning of the war, the blow at the enemy from the East, dealt by the Red Army, merged with a blow from the West, dealt by the troops of our Allies, into one joint blow.
All these circumstances taken together have shaken the Hitlerite war machine to its foundations, have changed the course of the world war and created the necessary prerequisites for victory over Hitlerite Germany.
As a result, the enemy was forced to admit a serious aggravation of his position, and raised a hue and cry about a military crisis. True, the enemy tries to disguise his critical situation by clamour about “total” mobilization, but no amount of clamour can do away with the fact that the fascist camp is really going through a grave crisis.
The crisis in the fascist camp finds expression, in the first place, in the fact that the enemy has had openly to renounce his original plan for a “lightning war.” Talk about a lightning war is no longer in vogue in the enemy camp—the vociferous babble about lightning war has given place to sad lamentations about the inevitability of a protracted war. While previously the German-fascist command boasted of the tactics of a lightning offensive, now these tactics have been discarded, and the German-fascists boast no more of how they have conducted or are intending to conduct a lightning offensive, but of how they managed skilfully to slip away from under the flanking blow of the British troops in North Africa, or from encirclement by Soviet troops in the area of Demyansk. The fascist Press is full of boastful reports to the effect that the German troops succeeded in making good their escape from the front and avoiding another Stalingrad in one or another sector of the Eastern front or the Tunisian front. Evidently the Hitlerite strategists have nothing else to boast about.
Secondly, the crisis in the fascist camp finds expression in that the fascists begin to speak more frequently about peace. To judge by reports in the foreign Press, one can conclude that the Germans would like to obtain peace with Britain and the U.S.A. on condition that they draw away from the Soviet Union, or, on the contrary, that they would like to obtain peace with the Soviet Union on condition that it draws away from Britain and the U.S.A. Themselves treacherous to the marrow, the German imperialists have the nerve to apply their own yardstick to the Allies, expecting some one of the Allies to swallow the bait. Obviously, it is not on account of good living that the Germans babble about peace. The babble about peace in the fascist camp only indicates that they are going through a grave crisis. But of what kind of peace can one talk with imperialist bandits from the German-fascist camp, who have flooded Europe with blood and covered it with gallows? Is it not clear that only the Litter routing of the Hitlerite armies and the unconditional surrender of Hitlerite Germany can bring peace to Europe? Is it not because the German-fascists sense the coming catastrophe that they babble about peace?
The German and Italian fascist camp is experiencing a grave crisis and faces catastrophe.
This, of course, does not mean that catastrophe has already come for Hitlerite Germany, No, it does not mean that. Hitlerite Germany and her army have been shaken and are experiencing a crisis, but they have not yet been smashed. It would be naïve to think that the catastrophe will come of itself, will drift in with the tide. Another two or three powerful blows from west and east are needed, such as that dealt to the Hitlerite army in the past five or six months, for the catastrophe to become an accomplished fact for Hitlerite Germany.
For this reason the peoples of the Soviet Union and their Red Army, as well as our Allies and their armies, still face a stern and hard struggle for complete victory over the Hitlerite fiends. This struggle will demand of them great sacrifices, enormous staying power, iron staunchness. They must mobilize all their forces and potentialities to smash the enemy and thus blaze the road to peace.
Comrades! The Soviet people displays the greatest solicitude for its Red Army. It is ready to give all its forces for the further strengthening of the military might of the Soviet country. In less than four months the peoples of the Soviet Union have donated more than seven milliard roubles to the Red Army Fund. This demonstrates once more that the war against the Germans is a truly national war of all the peoples inhabiting the Soviet Union. Without folding their hands, staunchly and courageously facing the hardships caused by the war, workers, collective farmers and intellectuals are working in factories and institutions, on transport, in collective farms and State farms. But the war against the German-fascist invaders demands that the Red Army receives still more guns, tanks, aircraft, machineguns, automatic rifles, mortars, ammunition, equipment, provisions. Hence it is necessary that workers, collective farmers and all Soviet intellectuals work with redoubled energy for the front.
It is necessary that all our people and all institutions in the rear work with the efficiency and precision of clockwork. Let us remember the behest of our great Lenin: “Once war has proved inevitable—everything for the war, and the least slackness and lack of energy must be punished by war-time laws.”
In return for the confidence and solicitude of its people, the Red Army must strike at the enemy still more strongly, exterminate the German invaders without mercy, uninterruptedly drive them out of our Soviet land. In the course of the war the Red Army has acquired rich military experience. Hundreds of thousands of Red Army men have learned to wield their arms to perfection. Many commanders have learned skilfully to direct troops on the field of action. But it would be unwise to rest at that. Red Army men must learn to wield their arms well, commanders must acquire mastery in the conduct of battles. But even this is not enough. In military matters, and especially in modern warfare, one cannot stand still. To stand still in military matters means to lag behind, and, as is known, those who lag behind are beaten. Therefore, the main point now is that the entire Red Army must day in, day out, perfect its combat training, that all commanders and men of the Red Army must study the experience of the war, must learn to fight in such a manner as is needed for the cause of victory.
Comrades, Red Army and Red Navy men, commanders and political workers, men and women guerillas! While greeting and congratulating you on the occasion of the First of May,
(1) that all Red Army men—infantrymen, mortar gunners, artillerymen, tankmen, airmen, sappers, signallers, cavalrymen—indefatigably continue to perfect their fighting mastery, to execute precisely the orders of commanders, the requirements of Army regulations and instructions, sacredly to observe discipline, and to maintain organization and order;
(2) that commanders of all units and branches of the service become expert in leading troops, skilfully organize the co-ordination of all arms and direct them in battle; that they study the enemy, improve reconnaissance—the eyes and ears of the army—and remember that without this one cannot beat the enemy for certain; that they raise the efficiency of the work of military headquarters and see that headquarters of Red Army units and formations become exemplary organs for the direction of troops; that they raise the work of the army rear establishments to the level of the requirements of modern warfare, and bear firmly in mind that on the full and timely supply of troops with ammunition, equipment and provisions depends the outcome of combat operations;
(3) that the whole Red Army consolidates and develops the successes of the winter battles, that it does not surrender to the enemy a single inch of our soil, that it be prepared for decisive battles with the German-fascist invaders, displaying in defence the stubbornness and staunchness inherent in soldiers of our army, and in attack, resolution, correct co-ordination of troops and bold manuvre on the field of action, crowned by the encirclement and annihilation of the enemy;
(4) that men and women guerillas strike powerful blows at enemy rear establishments, communications, military stores, headquarters and factories, destroy the enemy’s lines of communication; that they draw wide strata of the Soviet population in the areas occupied by the enemy into active struggle for liberation, and thus save Soviet citizens from being driven away to German slavery and from extermination by the Hitlerite beasts; that they take merciless revenge on the German invaders for the blood and tears of our wives and children, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters; that they assist the Red Army heart and soul in its struggle with the base Hitlerite enslavers.
The enemy has already felt the weight of the shattering blows of our troops. The time is approaching when the Red Army, together with the armies of our Allies, will break the backbone of the fascist beast.
Long live our glorious Motherland!
Long live our valiant Red Army!
Long live our valiant Navy!
Long live our gallant men and women guerillas!
Death to the German invaders!
(Signed) J. Stalin
Marshal of the Soviet Union