J. V. Stalin

Order of the Day, No. 70

May 1, 1944

COMRADES, Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants, officers and generals, men and women guerillas! Working people of the Soviet Union! Brothers and sisters who have temporarily fallen under the yoke of the German oppressors, and who have been forcibly driven to fascist slave labour in Germany!

On behalf of the Soviet Government and of our Bolshevik Party, I greet and congratulate you upon May Day!

The peoples of our country meet the day of May 1, in the midst of outstanding successes of the Red Army.

Since the defeat of the German divisions at Stalingrad, the Red Army has been conducting a practically incessant offensive. During this time the Red Army has made a fighting advance from the Volga to the Sereth, from the foothills of the Caucasus to the Carpathians, exterminating the enemy vermin and sweeping it out of the Soviet land.

In the course of the winter campaign of 1943-44, the Red Army has won the historic battle for the Dnieper and for the territories of the Ukraine west of the Dnieper, crushed the powerful German fortified defences at Leningrad and in the Crimea, by skilful and vigorous actions overwhelmed the German defence on the water-barriers of the Southern Bug, Dniester, Pruth, Sereth. Nearly the entire Ukraine, Moldavia, the Crimea, the Leningrad and Kalinin Regions, and a considerable part of Byelorussia have been cleared of the German invaders. The metal industry of the south, the ore of Krivoi Rog, Kerch and Nikopol, the fertile lands between the Dnieper and the Pruth have been restored to the Motherland. Tens of millions of Soviet people have been delivered from fascist slavery.

Acting in the great cause of the liberation of their native land from the fascist invaders, the Red Army has emerged on our State frontiers with Rumania and Czechoslovakia and now continues battering the enemy troops on the territory of Rumania.

The successes of the Red Army became possible thanks to the correct strategy and tactics of the Soviet Command, thanks to the high morale and offensive ardour of our men and commanders, thanks to our troops being well supplied with first-rate Soviet war equipment, thanks to the improved skill and training of our artillerymen, mortar gunners, tankmen, airmen, signalmen, sappers, infantrymen, cavalrymen and scouts.

A considerable contribution to these successes has been made by our great Allies, the United States of America and Great Britain, which hold a front in Italy against the Germans and divert a considerable part of the German troops from us, supply us with very valuable strategical raw materials and armaments, subject military objectives in Germany to systematic bombing and thus undermine the latter’s military might.

The successes of the Red Army could, however, prove unstable and could be reduced to naught after the very first serious counterblow from the enemy, were not the Red Army backed from the rear by our entire Soviet people, by our entire country. In the battles for the Motherland the Red Army has displayed unexampled heroism. But the Soviet people has not remained in debt to the Red Army. Under difficult war-time conditions the Soviet people has attained decisive successes in mass production of armaments, ammunition, clothing and provisions, and in their timely delivery to the fronts of the Red Army. During the past year the power of Soviet industry has substantially risen. Hundreds of new factories, mines, dozens of power-stations, railway lines and bridges have been commissioned. Fresh millions of Soviet people have taken their places at machine-tools, mastered the most complex trades, become experts in their jobs. Our collective farms and State farms have stood the trials of war with credit. Under difficult war-time conditions the Soviet peasants work in the fields without folding their hands, supplying our army and population with food and our industry with raw materials. And our intellectuals have enriched Soviet science and technology, culture and art with new outstanding achievements and discoveries. Invaluable services in the cause of defence of the Motherland have been rendered by Soviet women, who work self-sacrificingly in the interests of the front, courageously bear all war-time hardships and inspire to fighting exploits the soldiers of the Red Army—the liberators of our Motherland. The Patriotic War has shown that the Soviet people is capable of performing miracles and emerging victorious from the hardest trials. The workers, collective farmers, Soviet intellectuals, the whole Soviet people, are filled with determination to hasten the defeat of the enemy, to restore completely the economy ruined by the fascists, to make our country still stronger and more prosperous. Under the blows of the Red Army the bloc of Fascist States is cracking and falling to pieces. Fear and confusion now reign among Hitler’s Rumanian, Hungarian, Finnish and Bulgarian “allies.” These underlings of Hitler, whose countries have been occupied, or are being occupied, by the Germans, cannot now fail to see that Germany has lost the war. Rumania, Hungary, Finland and Bulgaria have only one possibility of escaping disaster: to break with the Germans and to withdraw from the war. However, it is difficult to expect that the present governments of these countries will prove capable of breaking with the Germans. It would seem that the peoples of these countries will have to take the cause of their liberation from the German yoke into their own hands. And the sooner the peoples of these countries realize to what an impasse the Hitlerites have brought them, the sooner will they withdraw all support from their German enslavers and underling Quislings in their own countries, the less will be the sacrifice and destruction caused to these countries by the war, and the more can they count on understanding from the democratic countries.

As a result of the successful offensive, the Red Army has emerged on our State frontiers on a stretch of over 400 kilometres (250 miles), and liberated more than three-quarters of occupied Soviet land from the German-fascist yoke. The aim now is to clear the whole of our land from the fascist invaders and to re-establish the State frontiers of the Soviet Union along the entire line from the Black Sea to the Barents Sea.

But our tasks cannot be confined to the expulsion of the enemy troops from our Motherland. The German troops now resemble a wounded beast which is compelled to crawl back to the frontiers of its lair—Germany—in order to heal its wounds. But a wounded beast which has retired to its lair does not cease to be a dangerous beast. To rid our country and the countries allied with us from the danger of enslavement, the wounded German beast must be pursued close on its heels and finished off in its own lair. And while pursuing the enemy we must deliver from German bondage our brother Poles, Czechoslovaks and other peoples of Western Europe allied with us which are under the heel of Hitlerite Germany.

Obviously this task is more difficult than the expulsion of German troops from the Soviet Union. It can be accomplished only as a result of the joint efforts of the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States of America, by joint blows from the east dealt by our troops and from the west dealt by the troops of our Allies. There can be no doubt that only this combined blow can completely crush Hitlerite Germany.

Comrades, Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants, officers and generals, men and women guerillas! Working people of the Soviet Union! Brothers and sisters who have temporarily fallen under the yoke of the German oppressors and have been forcibly driven to fascist slave labour in Germany! I greet and congratulate you upon the festival of the First of May!

I order:

In honour of the historic victories of the Red Army on the front and to mark the great achievements of the workers, collective farmers and intellectuals of the Soviet Union in the rear, to-day, on the day of the world festival of the working people, at 20.00 hours (Moscow time) a salute of 20 artillery salvoes shall be fired in Moscow, Leningrad, Gomel, Kiev, Kharkov, Rostov, Tbilisi, Simferopol, Odessa.

Long live our Soviet Motherland!

Long live our Red Army and Navy!

Long live the great Soviet people!

Long live the friendship of the peoples of the Soviet Union!

Long live the Soviet men and women guerillas!

Glory eternal to the heroes who fell in the battles for the freedom and independence of our Motherland!

Death to the German invaders!

J. Stalin
Supreme Commander-in-Chief
Marshal of the Soviet Union