Speech at Celebration Meeting of the Moscow Soviet of Working People’s Deputies and Moscow Party and Public Organizations
November 6, 1944
By J. V. Stalin
COMRADES, to-day the Soviet people celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the triumph of the Soviet Revolution in our country.
This is the fourth time that our country is observing the anniversary of the Soviet Revolution in the midst of the war against the German-fascist invaders.
This does not mean, of course, that the fourth year of the war does not differ from the preceding three years of war in its results. On the contrary, there is a radical difference between them. Whereas the preceding two years of the war were years when the German forces were on the offensive and when they advanced into the interior of our country—years when the Red Army was compelled to fight defensive actions—and whereas the third year of the war was a year of radical change on our front, when the Red Army launched powerful offensive actions, smashed the Germans in a number of decisive battles, cleared the German troops out of two-thirds of the Soviet territory and compelled them to pass to the defensive while the Red Army was still waging war on the German forces single-handed without substantial support from the Allies—the fourth year of war has been a year of decisive victories over the German forces for the Soviet armies and the armies of our Allies, a year in which the Germans, now compelled to fight on two fronts, found themselves flung back to the German frontiers.
In the upshot, this year has ended in the expulsion of the German forces from the Soviet Union, France, Belgium and Central Italy, and the transfer of hostilities to German territory.
I. Germany in the Vice Between the Two Fronts
The decisive successes of the Red Army this year and the expulsion of the Germans from Soviet territory were predetermined by the succession of shattering blows which our troops dealt the German forces, beginning as far back as last January and continuing throughout the year under review.
The first blow was struck by our troops in January this year at Leningrad and Novgorod, when the Red Army broke up the permanent German defences and flung the enemy back to the Baltic. This blow resulted in the liberation of the Leningrad Region.
The second blow was struck in February and March this year on the River Bug, when the Red Army routed the German forces and flung them beyond the Dniester. As a result of this blow the Ukraine west of the Dnieper was freed of the German-fascist invaders.
The third blow was struck in April and May this year in the area of the Crimea, when the German troops were flung into the Black Sea. As a result of this blow the Crimea and Odessa were delivered from German oppression.
The fourth blow was struck in June this year in the area of Karelia, when the Red Army routed the Finnish forces, liberated Vyborg and Petrozavodsk, and flung the Finns back into the interior of Finland. This blow resulted in the liberation of the greater part of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Republic.
The fifth blow was struck at the Germans in June and July this year, when the Red Army utterly routed the German forces at Vitebsk, Bobruisk and Mogilev; this blow culminated in the encirclement of thirty German divisions at Minsk. As a result of this blow our forces (a) liberated the whole of the Byelorussian Soviet Republic, (b) gained the Vistula and liberated a considerable part of our Ally Poland, (c) gained the Niemen and liberated the greater part of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic; and (d) forced the Niemen and approached the frontiers of Germany.
The sixth blow was struck in July and August this year in the area of the West Ukraine, when the Red Army routed the German forces at Lvov and flung them beyond the San and the Vistula. As a result of this blow: (a) the Western Ukraine was liberated, and (b) our troops forced the Vistula and set up a strong bridgehead beyond it west of Sandomir.
The seventh blow was struck in August this year in the Kishinev and Jassy area, when our troops utterly routed the German and Rumanian forces. It culminated in the encirclement of 22 German divisions at Kishinev, this number not including Rumanian divisions. As a result of this blow: (a) the Moldavian Soviet Republic was liberated, (b) Germany’s Rumanian ally was put out of action and declared war on Germany and Hungary, (c) Germany’s Bulgarian ally was put out of action and likewise declared war on Germany, (d) the road was opened for our troops to Hungary, Germany’s last ally in Europe, and (e) the opportunity arose to reach out a helping hand to our Ally Yugoslavia, against the German invaders.
The eighth blow was struck in September and October this year in the Baltics, when the Red Army routed the German forces at Tallinn and Riga and drove them from the Baltics. As a result of this blow (a) the Esthonian Soviet Republic was liberated, (b) the greater part of the Latvian Soviet Republic was liberated, (c) Germany’s Finnish ally was put out of action and declared war on Germany, and (d) over 30 German divisions found themselves cut off from Prussia and gripped in pincers between Tukums and Libava where they are now being hammered to a finish by our troops. (Prolonged applause.)
In October this year the ninth blow was launched by our troops between the Tisza and the Danube in the area of Hungary; its purpose is to put Hungary out of the war and turn her against Germany. As a result of this blow, which has not yet been consummated: (a) our forces rendered direct assistance to our Ally Yugoslavia, in driving out the Germans and liberating Belgrade; (b) our troops obtained the opportunity of crossing the Carpathians and stretching out a helping hand to our Ally the Czechoslovak Republic, part of whose territory has already been freed from the German invaders.
Lastly, at the end of October this year a blow was dealt at the German troops in Northern Finland, when the German troops were knocked out of the Pechenga area and our troops, pursuing the Germans, entered the territory of our Ally Norway. (Applause.)
I shall not give figures of losses in killed and prisoners which the enemy sustained in these operations, or the numbers of guns, tanks, aircraft, shells and machine-guns captured by our troops. You are probably acquainted with these figures from the Communiqués of the Soviet Information Bureau.
Such are the principal operations carried out by the Red Army during the past year, operations which have led to the expulsion of the German forces from our country.
As a result of these operations as many as 120 divisions of the Germans and their allies have been routed and put out of action. Instead of the 257 divisions that faced our front last year, of which 207 were German, we now have against our front—after all the “total” and “super-total mobilizations”—a total of only 204 German and Hungarian divisions, the German divisions numbering no more than 180.
It must be admitted that in this war Hitler Germany with her fascist army has proved to be a more powerful, crafty and experienced adversary than Germany and her army were in any war of the past. It should be added that in this war the Germans succeeded in exploiting the productive forces of nearly the whole of Europe and the quite considerable armies of their vassal states. And, if in spite of these favourable conditions for the prosecution of the war, Germany nevertheless finds herself on the brink of imminent destruction, the explanation is that her chief adversary, the Soviet Union, has surpassed Hitler Germany in strength. (Loud applause.)
What must be regarded as a new factor in the war against Hitler Germany this past year is that this year the Red Army has not been operating against the German forces single-handed, as was the case in previous years, but together with the forces of our Allies. The Teheran Conference was not held for nothing. The decision of the Teheran Conference on a joint blow at Germany from west, east and south began to be carried out with astounding precision. Simultaneously with the summer operations of the Red Army on the Soviet-German Front, the Allied forces launched the invasion of France and organized powerful offensive operations which compelled Hitler Germany to wage war on two fronts. The troops and Navy of our Allies accomplished a mass landing operation on the coast of France that was unparalleled in history for scope and organization, and overcame the German fortifications with consummate skill.
Thus, Germany found herself gripped in a vice between two fronts.
As was to be expected, the enemy failed to withstand the joint blows of the Red Army and the Allied forces. The enemy’s resistance was broken, and in a short time his troops were thrust out of Central Italy, France, Belgium and the Soviet Union. The enemy was flung back to the German frontiers.
There can be no doubt that without the opening of the Second Front in Europe, which holds as much as 75 German divisions, our troops would not have been able to break the resistance of the German forces and thrust them out of the Soviet Union in such a short time. But it is equally indubitable that without the powerful offensive operations of the Red Army in the summer of this year, which held as many as 200 German divisions, the forces of our Allies could not have coped so quickly with the German forces and thrust them out of Central Italy, France and Belgium.
The task is to keep Germany gripped in this vice between the two fronts.
This is the key to victory.
II. The Great Exploit of the Soviet People in the Patriotic War
If the Red Army was able successfully to fulfil its duty to its country and drive the Germans from the Soviet land, it was because of the unreserved support it received in the rear from our whole country, from all the peoples of our country. “Everything for the Front!” has been the watchword this year in the selfless work of all Soviet people—workers, peasants, intellectuals—as well as in the directing activities of our Government and Party bodies.
The past year has been marked by fresh successes in industry, agriculture and transport, by further progress in our war economy.
With the war in its fourth year, our factories are producing several times as many tanks, planes, guns, mortars and ammunition as in its opening phase. In the rehabilitation of agriculture the most difficult period lies behind us. With the fertile lands of the Don and Kuban restored to our country, after the liberation of the Ukraine, our agriculture is recovering rapidly from its grave losses. The Soviet railways have stood a strain that the transport of other countries would hardly be able to bear. All this indicates that the economic foundation of the Soviet State has proved to possess infinitely greater vitality than the economy of the enemy states.
The Socialist system born of the October Revolution has lent our people and our Army a great, invincible strength. Despite the heavy burden of this war, despite the temporary occupation by the Germans of very large and economically important parts of the country, the Soviet State did not reduce the supply of arms and ammunition for the front as the war proceeded, but increased it from year to year. To-day the Red Army has not less but more tanks, guns and planes than the German army. As for quality, our war material is far superior to that of the enemy in this respect. Just as the Red Army in its long and arduous single-handed struggle won military victory over the fascist forces, so the working people of the Soviet rear won an economic victory over the enemy in their long fight against Hitler Germany and her associates. (Loud applause.) The Soviet people have denied themselves many necessities, have consciously accepted serious material privations, in order to give more for the front. The unexampled hardships of the present war have not broken, but further tempered the iron will and fearless spirit of the Soviet people. Our people has justly won for itself the fame of a heroic nation.
Our working class gives all its strength for the cause of victory, constantly perfects the technique of production, increases the capacity of industrial enterprises, erects new mills and factories. The working class of the Soviet Union has a great labour exploit to its credit in the present war.
Our intellectuals proceed boldly along the road of innovation in the sphere of technique and culture, successfully promoting modern science, displaying the creative spirit in applying its achievements to the production of munitions for the Red Army. By their creative work the Soviet intellectuals have made an invaluable contribution to the enemy’s defeat.
An army cannot fight and win without modern arms, but neither can it fight and win without bread, without food. Thanks to the solicitude of the collective farm peasantry, the Red Army is experiencing no shortage of food in this fourth year of war. Men and women collective farmers are supplying the workers and intellectuals with food, and industry with raw materials, making it possible for factories and mills producing arms and equipment for the front to function normally. Our collective farm peasantry, actively and fully conscious of its duty to its Motherland, is helping the Red Army to achieve victory over the enemy.
The matchless labour exploits of Soviet women and of our splendid youth will go down in history, for it is they who have borne the brunt of the work in the factories and mills, on the collective and state farms.
For the sake of the honour and independence of the Motherland Soviet women, young men and girls are displaying true valour and heroism on the labour front. They have shown themselves worthy of them fathers and sons, husbands and brothers who are defending the Motherland against the German-fascist fiends.
The labour of Soviet people in the rear, like the immortal deeds of our soldiers at the front, are rooted in the fervent exploits and life-giving spirit of Soviet patriotism.
The strength of Soviet patriotism lies in the fact that it is based not on racial or nationalistic prejudices, but on the peoples’ profound loyalty and devotion to their Soviet Motherland, on the fraternal partnership of the working people of all the nationalities in our country. Soviet patriotism harmoniously combines the national traditions of the peoples and the common vital interests of all the working people of the Soviet Union. Far from dividing them, Soviet patriotism welds all the nations and peoples of our country into a single fraternal family. This should be regarded as the basis of the inviolable friendship of the peoples of the Soviet Union which is growing ever stronger. At the same time the peoples of the U.S.S.R. respect the rights and independence of the peoples of foreign countries and have always shown themselves willing to live in peace and friendship with neighbouring states. This should be regarded as the basis of the contacts growing and gaining strength between our State and the freedom-loving peoples. The reason Soviet men and women hate the German invaders is not because they are people of different nationality, but because they have brought immeasurable calamity and suffering on our people and on all freedom-loving peoples. It is an old saying of our people: “The wolf is not beaten because he is grey, but because he ate the sheep.” (Laughter and prolonged applause.)
The German-fascists chose the misanthropic race theory for their ideological weapon, in the expectation that by preaching bestial nationalism they would create the moral and political conditions for the domination of the German invaders over the enslaved peoples. Actually, however, the policy of racial hatred pursued by the Hitlerites has proved a source of internal weakness and international isolation for the German-fascist State. The ideology and policy of racial hatred have been a factor in the disintegration of the Hitlerite bandit bloc. It cannot be considered an accident that not only the subjugated peoples of France, Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands have risen against the German imperialists, but also Hitler’s former vassals—the Italians, Rumanians, Finns and Bulgarians. By their savage policy, the Hitler clique have set all the peoples of the world against Germany; and the so-called “chosen German race” has become the object of universal hatred.
In this war the Hitlerites have sustained not only a military defeat, but also a moral and political defeat. The ideology of equality of all races and nations, which has taken firm root in our country, the ideology of friendship among the peoples has emerged completely victorious over the Hitlerite ideology of bestial nationalism and racial hatred.
To-day, when the Patriotic War is drawing to its victorious conclusion, the historic role of the Soviet people is revealed in its full greatness. It is universally acknowledged now that by their selfless struggle the Soviet people have saved the civilization of Europe from the fascist vandals. That is the great service rendered by the Soviet people to the victory of mankind.
III. The Consolidation and Extension of the Front of the Anti-German Coalition. The Question of Peace and Security
The past year has been a year of triumph of the common cause of the anti-German coalition for the sake of which the peoples of the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States of America have united in fighting alliance. It has been a year of consolidation of the unity of the three main Powers and of co-ordination of their actions against Hitler Germany.
The decision of the Teheran Conference on joint actions against Germany and the brilliant realization of that decision are one of the striking indications of the consolidation of the front of the anti-Hitler Coalition. There are few instances in history of plans for large-scale military operations undertaken in joint actions against a common enemy being carried out so fully and with such precision as the plan for a joint blow against Germany drawn up at the Teheran Conference.
There can be no doubt that without unity of opinion and co-ordination of actions of the three Great Powers, the Teheran decision could not have been realized so fully and with such precision. Nor on the other hand can there be any doubt that the successful realization of the Teheran decision was bound to serve to consolidate the front of the United Nations.
An equally striking indication of the solidity of the front of the United Nations is to be seen in the decisions of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference on post-war security. There is talk of differences between the three Powers on certain security problems. Differences do exist, of course, and they will arise on a number of other issues as well. Differences of opinion occur even among people in one and the same Party. They are all the more bound to occur between representatives of different States and different Parties. The surprising thing is not that differences exist, but that they are so few, and that as a rule in practically every case they are resolved in a spirit of unity and coordination among the three Great Powers. What matters is not that there are differences, but that these differences do not transgress the bounds of what the interests of the unity of the three Great Powers allow, and that, in the long run, they are resolved in accordance with the interests of that unity. It is known that more serious differences existed between us over the opening of the Second Front. But it is also known that in the end these differences were resolved in a spirit of complete accord. The same thing may be said of the differences at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. What is characteristic of this Conference is not that certain differences were revealed there, but that nine-tenths of the security problems were solved at this Conference in a spirit of complete unanimity. That is why I think that the decisions of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference are to be regarded as a striking indication of the solidity of the front of the anti-German Coalition.
A still more striking indication of the consolidation of the front of the United Nations are the recent talks in Moscow with Mr. Churchill, the head of the British Government, and Mr. Eden, the British Foreign Secretary, held in an atmosphere of friendship and a spirit of perfect unanimity.
Throughout the war the Hitlerites have made frantic efforts to cause disunity among the United Nations and set them at loggerheads, to stir up suspicion and unfriendly feeling among them, to weaken their war effort by mutual distrust, and, if possible, by conflict between them as well. These ambitions of the Hitlerite politicians are easy enough to understand. For them there is no greater danger than the unity of the United Nations in the struggle against Hitlerite imperialism, and for them there would have been no greater military and political success than the splitting of the Allied Powers in their struggle against the common enemy. It is known, however, how futile the efforts of the fascist politicians to disrupt the alliance of the Great Powers have proved. That means that the alliance between the U.S.S.R., Great Britain and the United States of America is founded not on casual, transitory considerations, but on vital and lasting interests.
There can be no doubt that, having stood the strain of more than three years of war and being sealed with the blood of the nations risen in defence of their liberty and honour, the fighting alliance of the democratic powers will all the more certainly stand the strain of the concluding phase of the war. (Prolonged applause.)
The past year, however, has been not only a year of consolidation of the anti-German front of the Allied Powers, but also a year of its extension. It cannot be considered an accident that after Italy other allies of Germany—Finland, Rumania and Bulgaria—were also put out of the war. It should be noted that these States not only got out of the war but broke with Germany and declared war on her, thus joining the front of the United Nations. This signifies, undoubtedly, an extension of the front of the United Nations against Hitler Germany. Without doubt Germany’s last ally in Europe, Hungary, will also be put out of action in the nearest future. This will mean the complete isolation of Hitler Germany in Europe and the inevitability of her collapse.
The United Nations face the victorious conclusion of the war against Hitler Germany.
The war against Germany will be won by the United Nations—of that there can no longer be any doubt to-day.
To win the war against Germany is to accomplish a great historic task. But to win the war does not in itself mean to ensure for the peoples a lasting peace and guaranteed security in the future. The task is not only to win the war but also to make new aggression and new war impossible—if not for ever, then at least for a long time to come.
After her defeat Germany will, of course, be disarmed, both in the economic and in the military political sense. It would, however, be naïve to think that she will not attempt to restore her might and launch new aggression. It is common knowledge that the German chieftains are already now preparing for a new war. History shows that a short period—some 20 or 30 years—is enough for Germany to recover from defeat and re-establish her might. What means are there to preclude fresh aggression on Germany’s part, and if war should start nevertheless, to nip it in the bud and give it no opportunity to develop into a big war?
This question is the more appropriate since history shows that aggressor nations, the nations which attack, are usually better prepared for a new war than peace-loving nations which, having no interest in a new war, are usually behindhand with their preparations for it. It is a fact that in the present war the aggressor nations had an army of invasion all ready even before the war broke out—while the peace-loving nations did not even have adequate armies to cover their mobilization. One cannot regard as an accident such distasteful facts as the Pearl Harbour “incident,” the loss of the Philippines and other Pacific Islands, the loss of Hong Kong and Singapore, when Japan, as the aggressor nation, proved to be better prepared for war than Great Britain and the United States of America, which pursued a policy of peace. Nor can one regard as an accident such a distasteful fact as the loss of the Ukraine, Byelorussia and the Baltics in the very first year of the war, when Germany, as the aggressor nation, proved better prepared for war than the peace-loving Soviet Union. It would be naïve to explain these facts by the personal qualities of the Japanese and the Germans, their superiority over the British, the Americans and the Russians, their foresight, etc. The reason here is not personal qualities but the fact that aggressor nations, interested in a new war, being nations that prepare for war over a long time and accumulate forces for it, usually are, and are bound to be, better prepared for war than peace-loving nations which have no interest in a new war. That is natural and understandable. This is, if you like, a law of history, which it would be dangerous to ignore.
Accordingly it is not to be denied that in the future the peace-loving nations may once more find themselves caught off their guard by aggression unless, of course, they work out special measures right now which can avert it.
Well, what means are there to preclude fresh aggression on Germany’s part and, if war should start nevertheless, to stifle it at its very beginning and give it no opportunities to develop into a big war?
There is only one means to this end, apart from the complete disarmament of the aggressor nations: that is to establish a special organization made up of representatives of the peace-loving nations for the defence of peace and safeguarding of security; to put at the disposal of the directing body of this organization the necessary minimum of armed forces required to avert aggression, and to oblige this organization to employ these armed forces without delay if it becomes necessary, to avert or stop aggression, and to punish those guilty of aggression.
This must not be a repetition of the sad memory of the League of Nations, which had neither the right nor the means to avert aggression. It will be a new, special, fully authorized international organization having at its command everything necessary to defend peace and avert new aggression.
Can we expect the actions of this world organization to be sufficiently effective? They will be effective if the great Powers which have borne the brunt of the war against Hitler Germany continue to act in a spirit of unanimity and accord. They will not be effective if this essential condition is violated.
* * * * *
The Soviet people and the Red Army are successfully executing the tasks which have confronted them in the course of the Patriotic War. The Red Army has worthily fulfilled its patriotic duty and liberated our Motherland from the enemy: henceforth and for ever our soil is free of the Hitlerite pollution. Now remains its last, final mission: to complete, together with the armies of our Allies, the defeat of the German-fascist army, to finish off the fascist beast in its own den, and to hoist the flag of victory over Berlin. (Loud and prolonged applause). There is reason to expect that this task will be fulfilled by the Red Army in the none too distant future. (Loud and prolonged applause.)
Long live our victorious Red Army! (Applause.)
Long live our glorious Navy! (Applause.)
Long live the mighty Soviet people! (Applause.)
Long live our great Motherland! (Loud applause, all stand.)
Death to the German-fascist invaders! (Loud and prolonged applause, shouts of “Long live Comrade Stalin!”)