J. V. Stalin

Order of the Day, No. 20

May 1, 1945

COMRADES, Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants and petty officers, officers of the Army and Navy, generals and admirals!

Working people of the Soviet Union!

To-day our country is celebrating the First of May—the international festival of the working people.

This year, the peoples of our Motherland are celebrating May Day under conditions of the victorious termination of the Great Patriotic War.

The hard times when the Red Army fought back the enemy troops at Moscow and Leningrad, at Grozny and Stalingrad, are gone—never to return. Now our victorious troops are battering the enemy’s armed forces in the centre of Germany, far beyond Berlin, on the River Elbe.

Within a short time Poland, Hungary, the greater part of Czechoslovakia, a considerable part of Austria, and her capital Vienna, have been liberated.

At the same time the Red Army has captured East Prussia, home of German imperialism, Pomerania, the greater part of Brandenburg and the main districts of Germany’s capital Berlin, having hoisted the banner of victory over Berlin.

As a result of these offensive battles fought by the Red Army, within three to four months the Germans have lost over 800,000 officers and men in prisoners and about one million in killed. During the same period the Red Army troops have captured or destroyed up to 6,000 enemy aircraft, up to 12,000 tanks and self-propelled guns, over 23,000 field guns and enormous quantities of other armaments and equipment.

It should be noted that in these battles Polish, Yugoslav, Czechoslovak, Bulgarian and Rumanian divisions successfully advanced against the common enemy side by side with the Red Army.

As a result of the Red Army’s shattering blows, the German Command was compelled to transfer dozens of divisions to the Soviet-German Front, baring whole sectors on other fronts. This circumstance helped the forces of our Allies to develop their successful offensive in the West. Thus by simultaneous blows at the German troops from East and West, the troops of the Allies and the Red Army were able to cut the German forces into two isolated parts and to effect a junction of our troops and the Allied troops in a united front.

There can be no doubt that this circumstance means the end of Hitlerite Germany.

The days of Hitlerite Germany are numbered. More than half of her territory is occupied by the Red Army and by the troops of our Allies. Germany has lost the most important, vital districts. The industry remaining in the Hitlerites’ hands cannot supply the German army with sufficient, quantities of armaments, ammunition and fuel. The man-power reserves of the German army are depleted. Germany is completely isolated and stands alone, if her ally Japan is not counted. In search of a way out from their hopeless plight, the Hitlerite adventurers resort to all kinds of tricks, down to flirting with the Allies, in an effort to cause dissension in the Allied camp. These fresh knavish tricks of the Hitlerites are doomed to utter failure. They can only accelerate the disintegration of the German troops.

Mendacious fascist propaganda intimidates the German population by absurd tales, alleging that the Armies of the United Nations wish to exterminate the German people. The United Nations do not set themselves the task of destroying the German people. The United Nations will destroy fascism and German militarism, will severely punish war criminals, and will compel the Germans to compensate damage they have caused to other countries. But the United Nations do not molest and will not molest Germany’s civilian population if it honestly fulfils the demands of the Allied military authorities.

The brilliant victories won by the Soviet troops in the Great Patriotic War have demonstrated the colossal might of the Red Army and its high military skill. In the progress of the war our Motherland has come to possess a first-rate regular army, capable of upholding the great Socialist achievements of our people and of securing the State interests of the Soviet Union.

Despite the fact that the Soviet Union has for nearly four years been waging war on an unparalleled scale demanding colossal expenditures, our Socialist economic system is gaining strength and developing, while the economy of the liberated regions, plundered and ruined by the German invaders, is successfully and swiftly reviving. This is the result of the heroic efforts of the workers and collective farmers, of the Soviet intellectuals, of the women and the youth of our country, inspired and guided by the great Bolshevik Party.

The world war unleashed by the German imperialists is drawing to a close. The collapse of Hitlerite Germany is a matter of the nearest future. The Hitlerite ringleaders, who imagined themselves rulers of the world, have found themselves ruined. The mortally wounded fascist beast is breathing its last. One thing is now rewired—to deal the death-blow to the fascist beast.

Fighting men of the Red Army and Navy!

The last storming of the Hitlerite lair is on. Set new examples of military skill and gallantry in the concluding battles. Smite the enemy harder, skilfully break up his defence, pursue and surround the German invaders, give them no respite until they cease resistance.

Beyond the border of our native land be especially vigilant!

Uphold the honour and dignity of the Soviet soldier as heretofore!

Working people of the Soviet Union!

Increase your all-round assistance to the front by persistent and indefatigable work. Swiftly heal the wounds inflicted on our country by the war, raise still higher the might of our Soviet State!

Comrades, Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants and petty officers, officers of the Army and Navy, generals and admirals!

Working people of the Soviet Union!

On behalf of the Soviet’ Government and of our Bolshevik Party, I greet and congratulate you upon the First of May.

in honour of the historic victories of the Red Army at the front and of the great achievements of the workers, collective farmers and intellectuals in the rear, to mark the international festival of the working people, I hereby order:

To-day, on May 1, a salute of 20 artillery salvoes shall be fired in the capitals of Union Republics—Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Baku, Tbilisi, Erevan, Ashkabad, Tashkent, Stalinabad, Alma-Ata, Frunze, Petrozavodsk, Kishinev, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn—as well as in the hero-cities of Leningrad, Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa.

Long live our mighty Soviet Motherland!

Long live the great Soviet people, the people victorious!

Long live the victorious Red Army and Navy!

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

Forward to the final rout of Hitlerite Germany!

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