J. V. Stalin

Order of the Day, No. 5

February 23, 1945

COMRADES, Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants, officers and generals! To-day we are celebrating the 27th Anniversary of the Red Army’s existence.

Created by the great Lenin to defend our Motherland from the attack of foreign invaders, and reared by the Bolshevik Party, the Red Army has traversed a glorious path in its development. It has fulfilled with credit its historic destiny and is rightfully the beloved child of the Soviet people. In the years of civil war the Red Army defended the young Soviet State from numerous enemies. In the great battles of the Patriotic War against German invasion the Red Army has saved the peoples of the Soviet Union from German-fascist slavery, upheld the freedom and independence of our Motherland, and helped the peoples of Europe to cast off the German yoke.

Now we are celebrating the 27th Anniversary of the Red Army in the midst of fresh historic victories over the enemy. The Red Army has not only freed its native land of the Hitlerite filth, but also hurled the enemy for many hundreds of kilometres back beyond those lines from which the Germans launched their bandit attack upon our country, carried the war into Germany’s territory and now, together with the armies of our Allies, is successfully completing the rout of the German-fascist army.

In January of this year the Red Army brought down upon the enemy a blow of unparalleled force along the entire front from the Baltic to the Carpathians. On a stretch of 1,200 kilometres (750 miles), it broke up the powerful defences of the Germans which they had been building for a number of years. In the course of the offensive the Red Army by its swift and skilful actions has hurled the enemy far back to the West. In stiff fighting the Soviet troops have advanced from the frontiers of East Prussia to the lower reaches of the Vistula—270 kilometres (175 miles), from the Vistula bridgehead south of Warsaw to the lower reaches of the Oder—570 kilometres (355 miles), and from the Sandomir bridgehead into the depth of German Silesia—480 kilometres (300 miles).

The first consequence of the successes of our winter offensive was that they thwarted the Germans’ winter offensive in the west, which aimed at the seizure of Belgium and Alsace, and enabled the armies of our Allies in their turn to launch an offensive against the Germans and thus link up their offensive operations in the west with the offensive operations of the Red Army in the east.

In forty days of the offensive in January-February, 1945, our troops have ejected the Germans from 300 towns, captured about 100 war plants, manufacturing tanks, aircraft, armaments and ammunition, occupied over 2,400 railway stations and seized a network of railways totalling over 15,000 kilometres (9,375 miles) in length. Within this short period Germany has lost over 350,000 officers and men in prisoners of war and not less than 800,000 in killed. During the same period the Red Army has destroyed or seized about 3,000 German aircraft, over 4,500 tanks and self-propelled guns and not less than 12,000 guns.

As a result, the Red Army has completely liberated Poland and a considerable part of the territory of Czechoslovakia, occupied Budapest and put out of the war Germany’s last ally in Europe, Hungary, captured the greater part of East Prussia and German Silesia and battled its way into Brandenburg, into Pomerania, to the approaches to Berlin.

The Hitlerites boasted that for more than a hundred years not a single enemy soldier had been within Germany’s borders, and that the German army had fought and would fight only on foreign soil. Now an end has been put to this German bragging.

Our winter offensive has shown that the Red Army finds more and more strength for the solution of ever more complex and difficult problems. Its glorious soldiers have learned to batter and annihilate the enemy in accordance with all the rules of modern military science. Our soldiers, inspired by the realization of their great mission of liberation, display miracles of heroism and selflessness, and ably combine gallantry and audacity in battle with full utilization of the power and strength of their weapons. The Red Army generals and officers in masterly manner combine massed blows of powerful equipment with skilful and swift manœuvre. In the fourth year of the war the Red Army has grown stronger and mightier than ever before, its combat equipment has become still more perfect and its fighting mastery many times higher.

Comrades, Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants, officers and generals!

Complete victory over the Germans is now already near. But victory never comes of itself—it is won in hard battles and in persistent labour. The doomed enemy hurls his last forces into action, resists desperately in order to escape stern retribution. He grasps and will grasp at the most extreme and base means of struggle. Therefore it should be borne in mind that the nearer our victory, the higher must be our vigilance and the heavier must be our blows at the enemy.

On behalf of the Soviet Government and our glorious Bolshevik Party, I greet and congratulate you upon the 27th Anniversary of the Red Army!

To mark the great victories achieved by the armed forces of the Soviet State in the course of the past year, I order:

To-day, February 23, on the day of the 27th Anniversary of the Red Army, at 20.00 hours (Moscow time) a salute of 20 artillery salvoes shall be fired in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Petrozavodsk, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Kishinev, Tbilisi, Stalingrad, Sevastopol, Odessa and Lvov.

Long live our glorious Red Army Long live our victorious Navy!

Long live our mighty Soviet Motherland!

Eternal glory to the heroes who fell in the struggle for the freedom and independence of our Motherland!

Death to the German invaders!

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