Order of the Day, No. 95
February 23, 1943
Comrades, Red Army men and Red Navy men, commanders and political
workers, men and women guerillas!
To-day we are celebrating the
twenty-fifth anniversary of the formation of the Red Army.
A quarter of a century has passed since the Red Army was created. It
was created for struggle against foreign invaders who endeavoured to
enslave our country. February 23, 1918, the day when detachments of the
Red Army utterly routed the troops of the German invaders near Pskov
and Narva, was proclaimed the birthday of the Red Army. In 1918-21, in stubborn struggle against foreign invaders, the Red Army
defended the honour, freedom and independence of our Soviet Motherland,
defended the right of the peoples of our country to build their life in
the way the great Lenin had taught.
During two decades the Red Army protected the peaceful constructive
labour of the Soviet people. The peoples of our country never forgot
the encroachments of foreign invaders on our land, and spared no effort
to strengthen the might of the Red Army, supplied it with first-class
war equipment, and lovingly reared cadres of Soviet warriors.
The Red Army is an army of defence of peace and friendship among the
peoples of all countries. It was created not for the conquest of
foreign countries, but for the defence of the frontiers of the Soviet
country. The Red Army has always respected the rights and independence
of all peoples. But in June, 1941, Hitlerite Germany treacherously attacked our
country, in ruthless and base violation of the Treaty of
Non-Aggression, and the Red Army found itself compelled to march to
defend its Motherland against the German invaders and to oust them from
Since that time the Red Army has become an army of
life-and-death struggle against the Hitlerite troops, an army of
avengers of the outrages and humiliation inflicted by the
German-fascist blackguards on our brothers and sisters in the occupied
districts of our country.
The Red Army meets the twenty-fifth anniversary of its existence at a
decisive moment in the patriotic war against Hitlerite Germany and her
vassals—the Italians, Hungarians, Rumanians, Finns. For twenty months the Red Army has been waging an heroic struggle,
without parallel in history, against the invasion of the German-fascist
In view of the absence of a second front in Europe, the Red
Army alone bears the whole burden of the war. Nevertheless, the Red
Army has not only held its own against the onslaught of the
German-fascist hordes, but has become in the course of the war the
terror of the fascist armies. In the hard battles of the summer and autumn of 1942, the Red Army
barred the way to the fascist beasts. Our people will remember for all
time the heroic defence of Sevastopol and Odessa, the stubborn battles
before Moscow and in the foothills of the Caucasus, in the Rzhev area
and before Leningrad, the battle at the walls of Stalingrad, the
greatest in the history of war. In these great battles our gallant Red
Army men, commanders and political workers covered the standards of the
Red Army with undying glory and laid the firm foundation for victory
over the German-fascist armies.
Three months ago the troops of the Red Army began their offensive at
the approaches to Stalingrad. Since then the initiative in military
operations has remained in our hands and the pace and striking power of
the offensive operations of the Red Army have not weakened. To-day, in
hard winter conditions, the Red Army is advancing over a front of 1,500
kilometres (950 miles) and is achieving successes practically
everywhere. In the north, near Leningrad, on the central front, at the
approaches to Kharkov, in the Donets Basin, at Rostov, on the shores of
the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, the Red Army is striking blow after
blow at the Hitlerite troops.
In three months the Red Army has
liberated from the enemy the territory of the Voronezh and Stalingrad
regions, the Checheno-Ingush, North Ossetian, Kabardino-Balkarian and
Kalmyk Autonomous Republics, the Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories,
the Cherkess (Circassian), Karachaisu and Adygeisu Autonomous Regions
and almost the whole of the Rostov, Kharkov and Kursk Regions. The mass
expulsion of the enemy from the Soviet country has begun.
What changes have taken place during these three months? Whence these
serious reverses of the Germans? What are the causes of these reverses?
The balance of forces on the Soviet-German front has changed. The fact
is that fascist Germany is becoming more and more exhausted and weaker
while the Soviet Union is deploying its reserves more and more and
becoming ever stronger. Time is working against fascist Germany.
Hitlerite Germany, which forces the war industry of Europe to work for
her, until recently enjoyed superiority in equipment over the Soviet
Union, above all in tanks and aircraft. It was here that she had the
advantage. But in twenty months of war the situation has changed.
Thanks to the self-sacrificing labour of working men and women,
engineers and technicians of the war industry of the U.S.S.R., the
production of tanks, planes and guns has increased in the course of the
During this period on the Soviet-German front the enemy has
suffered enormous losses in war material, particularly in tanks, planes
and guns. In three months of the Red Army’s offensive in the winter of
1942-43 alone, the Germans lost over 7,000 tanks, 4,000 planes, 17,000
guns and large quantities of other arms.
Of course, the Germans will try to make good these losses, but this
will not be so easy to do, as the enemy will require no little time to
make up for these enormous losses in war material. And time does not
When Hitlerite Germany began the war against the U.S.S.R. she enjoyed
numerical superiority in troops already mobilized and ready for battle
as compared with the Red Army. It was here that she had the advantage.
In twenty months, however, the situation has changed in this sphere
also. In defensive and offensive battles, the Red Army, since the
beginning of the war, has put out of action about 9,000,000
German-fascist officers and men, of whom no less than 4,000,000 were
killed on the battlefield.
The Rumanian, Italian and Hungarian armies
hurled by Hitler on to the Soviet-German front have been completely
routed. In the last three months alone the Red Army has routed 112
enemy divisions, killing more than 700,000 men and taking over 300,000
The German Command will certainly make every effort to make good these
tremendous losses. But, first, the weakness of the German army is the
shortage of man-power reserves, and consequently it is not known from
what sources these losses will be replaced. Secondly, even supposing
that, by hook or by crook, the Germans are able to scrape together the
necessary number of men, it will require no little time to assemble and
train them. And time does not wait.
The Hitlerite army entered the war against the Soviet Union with almost
two years’ experience of conducting large-scale military operations in
Europe, applying the most modern means of warfare. The Red Army, in the
initial stages of the war, naturally had not yet had, and could not
have had, such military experience. It was here that the German-fascist
army had the advantage. In twenty months, however, the situation has
changed in this sphere.
In the course of the war the Red Army has
become a seasoned army. It has learned to smite the enemy for certain,
taking into account both his weak and strong points, as is demanded by
modern military science. Hundreds of thousands, millions of Red Army
men have become masters of their weapons—rifles, sabres, machine-guns,
artillery, mortars, tanks, aircraft, and sappers’ equipment. Tens of
thousands of Red Army commanders have mastered the art of commanding
troops. They have learned to combine personal daring and courage with
skill in directing their troops on the battlefield, having discarded
foolish and harmful linear tactics and having firmly adopted the
tactics of manœuvre.
It cannot be considered an accident that the Red Army Command not only
liberates Soviet soil from the enemy but does not let the enemy leave
our soil alive, carrying out such important operations as the
encirclement and annihilation of enemy armies which can well serve as
examples of military art. This is undoubtedly a sign of the maturity of
our commanders. There can be no doubt that only the correct strategy of the Red Army
Command, and the flexible tactics of our commanders who execute it,
could have resulted in such an outstanding fact as the encirclement and
annihilation at Stalingrad of an enormous picked army of Germans,
numbering 330,000 men.
In this respect, things are far from well with the Germans. Their
strategy is defective because, as a general rule, it under-estimates
the strength and possibilities of the enemy and over-estimates its own
forces. Their tactics are hackneyed, for they try to make events at the
front fit in with this or that article of the regulations. The Germans
are accurate and precise in their operations when the situation permits
them to act as required by the regulations. That is where their
strength lies. They become helpless when the situation becomes
complicated and ceases to “correspond” to this or that article of the
regulations, but calls for the adoption of an independent decision not
provided for in the regulations. It is here that their main weakness
Such are the causes which determined the defeat of the German troops
and the successes of the Red Army during the past three months.
not follow from this, however, that the Hitlerite army is done for and
that it now only remains for the Red Army to pursue it to the western.
frontiers of our country. To think so would be to indulge in unwise and
harmful self-delusion. To think so would be to over-estimate our own
strength, to under-estimate the strength of the enemy and to adopt an
adventurist course. The enemy has suffered defeat, but he is not yet
vanquished. The German-fascist army is now going through a crisis as a
result of the blows received from the Red Army, but this does not mean
that it cannot recover. The struggle against the German invaders is not
yet ended—it is as yet only developing and flaring up. It would be
stupid to suppose that the Germans will give up even a kilometre of our
soil without fighting.
The Red Army has before it a grim struggle against a perfidious, cruel
and still strong enemy. This struggle will require time, sacrifices,
exertion of our forces and the mobilization of all our potentialities.
We have begun the liberation of the Soviet Ukraine from German
oppression, but millions of Ukrainians still languish under the yoke of
the German enslavers. The German invaders and their vassals still lord
it in Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Esthonia, in Moldavia, in the
Crimea, in Karelia. The enemy armies have been dealt powerful blows,
but the enemy has not yet been vanquished. The German invaders are
resisting furiously, are launching counter-attacks, are striving to
cling to their defence lines, and may embark on fresh adventures. That
is why there can be no place for complacency, carelessness or conceit
in our ranks.
The whole Soviet people rejoices in the Red Army’s victories. But the
Red Army men, commanders and political workers should firmly remember
the precepts of our teacher Lenin. “The first thing is not to be
carried away by victory and not to get conceited; the second thing is
to consolidate one’s victory; the third thing is to finish off the
In the name of the liberation of our country from the hated enemy, in
the name of final victory over the German-fascist invaders – I order:
(1) Indefatigably to perfect military training and to strengthen
discipline, order and organization throughout the Red Army and Navy.
(2) To deal stronger blows against the enemy troops, to pursue the
enemy indefatigably and persistently, without allowing him to
consolidate himself on defence lines. To give him no respite by day or
night, to cut his communications, to surround his troops and annihilate
them if they refuse to lay down their arms.
(3) To fan brighter the flames of guerilla warfare in the rear of the
enemy, to destroy the enemy’s communications, to blow up railway
bridges, to frustrate the transport of enemy troops and the supply of
arms and ammunition, to blow up and set fire to army stores, to attack
enemy garrisons, to prevent the retreating enemy from burning down our
villages and towns, to help the advancing Red Army heart and soul and
by all possible means.
In this lies the guarantee of our victory.
Comrades, Red Army men and Red Navy men, commanders and political
workers, men and women guerillas! On behalf of the Soviet Government
and our Bolshevik Party, I greet you
and congratulate you on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Army.
Long live our great Motherland!
Long live our glorious Red Army, our valiant Navy, our brave men and women guerillas!
Long live the Party of Bolsheviks, the inspirer and organizer of the Red Army’s victories!
Death to the German invaders!
J. V. Stalin
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