Moscow, May 1, 1942
Information Bulletin, Embassy of the U.S.S.R., Washington, D. C., May 2, 1942.
Moscow, May 1, TASS: Order-of-the-Day of the People's Commissar of Defense, May 1, 1942, Number 130, Moscow:
Comrades-men, commanders and political workers of the Red Army and Red Navy; guerrillas, men and women; workers, men and women; peasants, men and women; brain workers, men and women; brothers and sisters beyond the front line, in the rear of the German fascist troops, who have temporarily fallen under the yoke of the German oppressors! On behalf of the Soviet Government and our Bolshevik Party, I greet and congratulate you on May Day!
Comrades! This year the peoples of our country celebrate International May Day in conditions of patriotic war against the German fascist invaders. The war has laid its imprint on every aspect of our life. It has laid its imprint also on this day, on the May 1 celebration. Mindful of the war situation, the working people of our country have renounced their holiday rest in order to pass this day in intense labor for the defense of our country. Living at one with our men at the front, they have converted the May 1 celebration into a day of labor and struggle, in order to give maximum assistance to the front and supply it with more rifles, machine guns, trench mortars, tanks, aircraft, ammunition, bread, meat, fish and vegetables. This means that, with us, front and rear form a single, indivisible fighting camp, ready to overcome any difficulties on the road to victory over the enemy.
Comrades! More than two years has elapsed since the German fascist invaders plunged Europe into the abyss of war, subjugated the freedom-loving countries of the European continent-France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece-and sucked their blood for the enrichment of German bankers. More than 10 months has elapsed since the German fascist invaders basely and treacherously attacked our country and began plundering and devastating our villages and towns, outraging and murdering the peaceful population of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Byelorussia, the Ukraine and Moldavia. For more than 10 months the peoples of our country have been waging a patriotic war against the bestial enemy, in defense of the honor and freedom of their motherland.
In this time we have had opportunity to gain sufficient knowledge of the German fascists, to understand their real intentions, to know their true face and understand it not according to their verbal profession but from the experience of war, from universally known facts. Who, then, are these enemies of ours, the German fascists? What kind of people are they? What does the experience of war teach us on this point?
It is said that the German fascists are nationalists, protecting the integrity and independence of Germany against attacks on the part of other states. This is of course a lie. Only liars can assert that Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Greece, the Soviet Union and other freedom-loving countries made attempts on the integrity and independence of Germany. In reality the German fascists are not nationalists but imperialists, who seize foreign lands and suck their blood to enrich German bankers and plutocrats. Goering, chief of the German fascists, is himself well known as one of the biggest bankers and plutocrats, exploiting dozens of factories and plants. Hitler, Goebbels, Ribbentrop, Himmler and other rulers of Germany today are the watchdogs of German bankers and place the interests of the latter above all other interests. The German Army is a blind tool in the hands of these gentlemen and is called on to shed its own blood and the blood of other peoples and to cripple itself and other peoples not for the interests of Germany, but for the enrichment of the German bankers and plutocrats. This is what the experience of war tells us.
It is said that the German fascists are socialists, endeavoring to defend the interests of the workers and peasants against the plutocrats. This is of course a lie. Only liars can assert that the German fascists, who introduced slave labor in their plants and factories and reestablished a system of serfdom in the villages of Germany and of subjugated countries, are defenders of the workers and peasants. Only insolent liars can deny that the system of slavery and serfdom instituted by the German fascists is advantageous to the German plutocrats and bankers, and not to the workers and peasants. In reality, the German fascists are reactionaries, serf owners, and the German Army is the army of the serf owners shedding blood to enrich the German barons and reestablish the power of the land owners. This is what the experience of war tells us.
It is said that the German fascists are carriers of European culture, waging war for the dissemination of this culture in other countries. This is of course a lie. Only professional liars can assert that the German fascists, who have filled Europe with gallows, who plunder and outrage peaceful populations, burn and blow up towns and villages and destroy the cultural values of the peoples of Europe, can be the bearers of European culture. In reality the German fascists are enemies of European culture, and the German Army is an army of medieval obscurantism, called upon to destroy European culture and assert the slave-owning "culture" of the German bankers and barons. This is what the experience of war tells us.
This is the face of our enemy, exposed and brought to light by the experience of war. But the experience of war is not restricted to these conclusions. The experience of war shows in addition that, in the period of the war, important changes have taken place both in the position of fascist Germany and its army, and in the position of our own country and the Red Army. What are these changes?
It is beyond doubt, first, that in this period fascist Germany and its army have become weaker than they were 10 months ago. The war has brought grave disillusionments, millions of human sacrifices, starvation and poverty to the German people. The end of the war is not in sight, and reserves of manpower are coming to an end, oil is coming to an end, raw materials are coming to an end. Realization that Germany's defeat is inevitable is growing on the German people. The German people realizes with growing clarity that the only way out of the present situation is to liberate Germany from the adventurist clique of Hitler and Goering.
Hitlerite imperialism has occupied vast territories in Europe, but it has failed to break the will to resist of the European peoples. The enslaved peoples' struggle against the regime of the German fascist highwaymen is beginning to acquire a universal character. Sabotage at war plants, explosions in German storehouses, wrecking of German military trains, murder of German officers and soldiers have become common occurrences in all the occupied countries. Whole Yugoslav and Soviet districts occupied by the Germans are swept by the conflagration of guerrilla war. All these circumstances have resulted in weakening the German rear, and consequently in weakening fascist Germany as a whole.
As for the German Army, despite its stubbornness in defense, it is nevertheless much weaker than 10 months ago. Its old, experienced generals like Reichenau, Brauchitsch, Todt and others have either been killed by the Red Army or else driven out by the ruling German fascist group. Its regular officer corps has been partly exterminated by the Red Army and partly demoralized as a result of plunder and violence against the civilian population. Its rank-and-file effectives, badly weakened during war operations, receive less and less reinforcements.
It is beyond doubt, second, that in the past period of war our country has become stronger than it was at the beginning of the war. Not only our friends but even our enemies are bound to admit that our country is now united and rallied around its government more closely than ever before, that front and rear in our country are united in a single fighting camp, firing at the same target, that the Soviet people in the rear supply our front with constantly growing quantities of rifles and machine guns, trench mortars and guns, tanks and aircraft, food and ammunition.
As for the international relations of our motherland, they have recently grown and gained strength as never before. All freedom-loving peoples have joined forces against German imperialism. Their eyes are turned to the Soviet Union. The heroic struggle which the peoples of our country are waging for their freedom, honor and independence calls forth the admiration of all progressive humanity. The peoples of all freedom-loving countries regard the Soviet Union as a force capable of saving the world from the Hitlerite plague. First place among these freedom-loving countries is held by Great Britain and the United States of America, to which we are bound by ties of friendship and alliance and which are rendering our country constantly increasing military assistance against the German fascist invaders. All these circumstances show that our country has become much stronger.
Lastly, it is beyond doubt that in the past period the Red Army has become better organized and stronger than it was at the beginning of the war. One cannot regard as accidental the universally known fact that, after the temporary retreat caused by the treacherous attack of the German imperialists, the Red Army brought about a change in the course of the war and passed from active defense to successful offense against the enemy troops. The fact is that, thanks to Red Army successes, the patriotic war has entered a new stage-the stage of liberation of the Soviet lands from the Hitlerite vermin. True, the Red Army undertook execution of this historical task in the difficult conditions of a severe and snowy winter, but nevertheless it achieved great success.
Having taken into its hands the initiative in war operations, the Red Army inflicted a number of severe defeats on the German fascist troops and compelled them to evacuate a considerable part of Soviet territory. The invaders' plan to take advantage of the winter for a respite and consolidation of positions along their defense line suffered a fiasco. In the course of its offensive, the Red Army annihilated enormous amounts of enemy manpower and equipment, captured a fairly large quantity of equipment from the enemy and compelled him prematurely to expend his reserves from the distant rear, which had been destined for spring and summer operations. All this shows that the Red Army has become better organized and stronger, that its officers' corps has grown steeled in battle and its generals more experienced and far-sighted.
A change has also taken place in the Red Army rank and file. Complacency and heedlessness in the attitude toward the enemy, observed among Red Army men in the first months of the patriotic war, have disappeared. The atrocities, plunder and violence perpetrated by the German fascist invaders upon the non-combatant population and Soviet war prisoners have cured our men of this disease. Red Army men have become more bitter and ruthless. They have learned really to hate the German fascist invaders. They have realized that one cannot defeat the enemy without learning to hate him heart and soul.
There is no more idle talk of the invincibility of the German troops, which occurred at the beginning of the war and which served to disguise fear of the Germans. The famous battles at Rostov and Kerch, at Moscow and Kalinin, at Tikhvin and Leningrad, in which the Red Army put the German fascist invaders to flight, convinced our Red Army men that idle talk about the invincibility of the German troops is but a fairy tale invented by fascist propagandists. The experience of war has convinced our Red Army men that the so-called courage of the German officer is something highly relative, that the German officer displays courage when dealing with unarmed war prisoners and the peaceful civilian population, but that courage leaves him when he is confronted by the organized strength of the Red Army. Recall the popular saying: "Brave when facing a sheep, but a sheep when facing the brave."
These are the conclusions from the experience of war with the German fascist invaders. What do they show? They show that we can and must continue to smite the German fascist invaders in the future until their final extermination and the final liberation of the Soviet land from the Hitlerite scoundrels.
Comrades! We are waging a patriotic war of liberation, a just war. We do not set ourselves the aim of seizing foreign countries, of conquering foreign peoples. Our aim is clear and noble. We want to liberate our Soviet land from the German fascist scoundrels. We want to liberate our brothers, the Ukrainians, Moldavians, Byelorussians, Lithuanians, Letts, Estonians and Karelians, from the disgrace and humiliation to which they are subjected by the German fascist scoundrels.
To achieve this aim we must defeat the German fascist army and exterminate the German occupants to the last man, as long as they will not surrender. There is no other way. We can do this and we must do this at any cost. The Red Army possesses everything necessary to achieve this lofty aim. Only one thing is lacking-ability to make full use against the enemy of the first-rate armament supplied to it by our motherland. Therefore the task of the Red Army-its men, its machine gunners, its artillerymen, its trench mortar crews, its tankists, its fliers and cavalrymen-is to study military art, to study persistently, to learn their arms to perfection, to become experts in their line, and thus to learn to defeat the enemy surely. Only in this way can one learn the art of defeating the enemy.
Comrades! Men, commanders and political workers of the Red Army and Navy! Guerrillas, men and women! Greetings and congratulations to you on May Day. I order:
(1) The rank and file must learn to use the rifle perfectly, become masters of their arms, hit the enemy without fail, as is done by our glorious snipers, exterminators of the German occupants.
(2) Machine gunners, artillerymen, trench mortar crews, tankists and fliers are to learn to use their arms to perfection, to become experts in their specialties, to smite the German fascist invaders point blank until they are finally exterminated.
(3) Commanders of army units are to learn to perfection the coordination of arms, to become experts in the art of directing troops, to show the whole world that the Red Army is capable of fulfilling its great mission of liberation.
(4) The entire Red Army is to see to it that the year 1942 shall become the year of the final defeat of the German fascist troops and the liberation of Soviet soil from the Hitlerite scoundrels.
(5) Men and women guerrillas are to intensify guerrilla warfare in the rear of the German invaders, to destroy enemy means of communication and transport facilities, to destroy enemy headquarters and equipment, not to spare cartridges against the oppressors of our motherland.
Under the invincible banner of great Lenin, forward to victory!
People's Commissar of Defense