Russia's War Achievements
THE TASK OF RESTORATION AND ORGANIZATION AHEAD
By JOSEPH STALIN, Premier of U.S.S.R.
Delivered before a meeting of Moscow workers on the eve of the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Socialist revolution, October 31, 1943.
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 105-108.
COMRADES, today the People's Soviet Union is celebrating its twenty-sixth anniversary of the great Socialist revolution, celebrating for the third time under war conditions.
In the first year our troops had to retreat. It took the entire effort of the army and nation to stop the enemy and impose fierce blows against him. In October, 1942, the position improved.
Soon after October of last year our troops went over to the offensive and inflicted against the Germans new and heavy blows, first at Stalingrad and the middle bend of the Don and then at the beginning of 1943 at the approaches to Leningrad and the area of Lgov and beyond.
After this the Red Army never let the initiative go from her hands. In the summer of this year the Red Army blows increased in power all the time. Steadily every month the strength of the Red Army grew. The Germans suffered one defeat after another and however much they tried they could not achieve any serious success.
In the present year the Red Army, between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth anniversary of the revolution, experienced a state of alert. In the summer the offensive was fully implemented and the enemy was compelled to leave territory he had occupied. The Germans had only one recourse, fleeing and abandoning huge quantities of equipment, wounded and stores on the field of battle.
The success of the second campaign this year—the summer campaign—was only a continuation and implementation of the winter offensive that preceded it. This explodes, once and for all, the theory and superstition that the Red Army is unable to carry out an offensive in the summer. The Red Army proved it can launch successful summer and winter offensives, and in the central areas of the front the enemy was thrown back for 600 kilometers and 1,300 kilometers in the south.
Vast Territory Liberated
Our troops liberated almost two-thirds of the territory previously occupied by the enemy. Enemy troops were thrown back from Vladikavkaz to Kherson, from Stalingrad to Kiev, from Voronezh to Gomel, from Viazma and Rhzev to the approaches to Orsha and Vitebsk.
The enemy constructed important defense lines, especially along rivers. During the last half year the Red Army destroyed many of these defense points and forced four very important water barriers.
These water barriers were the northern Donets, the Desna, the Sozh and the Dnieper.
The enemy also made important defense bases west of Rostov and near Melitopol on the Molochnaya River which were destroyed by the Red Army. Now the Red Army is successfully routing the enemy in the Dnieper bend.
During the first year it was considered that the Red Army could not prevail for long against the excellent cadres of the German Fascist troops.
The German Fascist cadres fighting on the Eastern Front lost more than 4,000,000,000 officers and men during the last year. Of these four million 1800,000 were killed. Additionally more than 14,000 aircraft, more than 25,000 tanks and not less than 40,000 guns were destroyed.
In this way the best German cadres have been destroyed and they cannot get indispensable reserves. Red Army cadres, on the contrary, are growing and will continue to grow. Indispensable reserves are at hand and it is the task of military authorities to recognize promising candidates and bring them forward to responsible positions.
Instead of 240 divisions standing on our front last year, of which 179 divisions were German and the other vassal States, there now stand 257. The Germans had a complement of deteriorated quality troops at the front to keep up their effective numbers. However, the defeat of German
troops during the past year shows the worsened quality of their divisions which cannot be compensated by increased numbers.
From a purely military point of view, the defeat of the German Army was decided beforehand, at the end of last year, and was fulfilled by events, both of the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Kursk. The Battle of Stalingrad ended with the destruction of an army of 300,000 men, which meant the rout of about one-third of the German defensive troops.
Stalingrad Loss Stressed
To get a clear view of the extent of the slaughter—unheard of in military history—that took place at Stalingrad one must realize that at the end of the Stalingrad battle 147,210 officers and men were picked up from the battlefield and buried. Forty-six thousand, seven hundred Soviet fighting man also were picked up from the battlefield at Stalingrad.
After the Stalingrad slaughter the Germans were unable to recover.
As for the fighting at Kursk, it witnessed the destruction of the main forces of the German Fascists. The Germans did not expect such a powerful reply from the Red Army. The fighting at Kursk, which began with local fighting from the north and south, was the last German attempt to materialize the so-called German offensive. The offensive ended in a complete fiasco. The Red Army not only repulsed the enemy offensive but started one itself.
During the summer period the Germans were thrown back. If Stalingrad was a defeat for the German Army, Kursk was a catastrophe. The much-vaunted German offensive was limited and the successes of the Red Army on the battlefield greatly deteriorated the positions of the Fascists inside Germany.
The Red Army smashed all plans and calculations of the German High Command and drove the Germans westward and trampled on all the prestige of German arms. The Germans attempted to hold positions on intermediate lines, but here, too, the Red Army frustrated all German calculations. The success of the Red Army continued without pause.
The Germans wanted to improve their position and carried out total mobilization. The summer campaign cost Germany two-thirds of her mobilized manpower so Germany might have to carry out another total mobilization, but even this can hardly ease the position.
The Germans intended to hold the Ukraine and use its produce for the benefit of their armies and population. They meant to make use of railways for transport for Germany. But here they miscalculated.
As a result of the successful Red Army offensive the Hitlerites lost not only the Donets coal but a large part of the fertile land of the Ukraine. There is no reason to suppose that they will not lose in the future even the remaining portions of the Ukraine.
Position of Germans Weakened
Obviously all these miscalculations worsened, even considerably worsened, the economic and political position of Fascist Germany. Fascist Germany is suffering an acute crisis and stands face to face with catastrophe.
The successes of the Red Army would not have been possible without the support of the peoples in the rear and the self-sacrificing work of Soviet workers, intelligentsia, miners and farmers who constantly produced the necessary raw materials as well as manufactured products while constantly improving the methods of work.
During all periods of the war still greater and greater quantities of armament and equipment have been sent to the front.
Last year was the turning point not only of military operations but also of production from our industries. We had to face problems such as the removal of our factories to the east and switching over from peacetime to wartime production.
The Soviet people quickly adapted themselves to wartime industry and organization and succeeded constantly in increasing and improving production in armaments, especially of tanks, planes and guns.
The Red Army, supported by the nation-wide effort, increased the defeat inflicted on the enemy and rained millions of bombs on him, and threw into the battle thousands of tanks and planes.
War Workers Are Praised
History will recognize as an act of world heroism the unselfish efforts of the people in the rear who contributed their share to the heroic struggle of the Red Army.
The industry of the Soviet Union has proved itself capable, through its socialist construction, of defeating such an enemy and has thereby given evidence of its great power. Everyone knows Hitler had at his disposal not only a strongly developed industry in Germany but also the fully developed manpower of other nations, but despite this he did not succeed in keeping the numerical superiority of war equipment.
If now the enemy's numerical superiority in tanks, guns, planes, mortars, rifles and other equipment is liquidated, if now the Red Army does not feel the lack of equipment or ammunition, the credit lies with our workingmen.
The transition from peacetime to wartime production in agriculture is shown by an output unsurpassed in history. Their self-sacrifice to bring help to the front has shown that Soviet farmers consider the present war against German Fascists as a war for lives and freedom.
As a result of the invasion of the Fascist hordes, our country for a while was deprived of the main productive region of the Ukraine, the Don and the Kuban. And still our collective farmers supplied the Red Army and the country with provisions. Of course, without the collective farm system and without the self-sacrificing labor of our farmers, we would have been unable to solve the most difficult problem.
If in the third year of the war the Red Army does not suffer from any lack, and if the supply of food and the war materials for work are satisfactory, this is a testimony to the strength and vital force of the collective farm system, and the patriotism of the collective farmers.
The great part in supplying our front is played by the transport organization. Railway, river, sea and motor transport each has played a part in providing a connection between the rear and the front. It must be stated that their uninterrupted services played a major part in the supply of arms, ammunition, etc., to the front.
That the country itself never lacked for food and fuel also goes to the credit of the transport workers.
Intelligentsia Also Helped
The intelligentsia did not lag behind the workers and the farmers. The Soviet intelligentsia was devoted to our work in constantly perfecting armament for the Red Army and organization for the production and support of workers, farmers and industry in their tasks.
All peoples of the Soviet Union, united in support of our fatherland, entered the fight without regard for nationality or religion. They all united in the struggle against the German Fascist invaders, justly considering this as a common cause of all of them. Herein lies the strength of the Soviet State.
The leading force in the country in peace and in war is the Communist party, the party of Lenin. No other party had or has such authority as the Bolshevist party. This is quite obvious, as under the leadership of our party, the workers, farmers and intelligentsia created Socialist order. The party is the inspiration and organizer of all people warring against the Fascist invaders.
Organizing workers of the party joined and directed all forces of the Soviet people, having subordinated all our forces to the paramount task of defeating the enemy. During this war the party strengthened the bond between all creative powers. The present war once more has proved the saying of Lenin that war puts on trial all the materials and all the forces of a country. The history of war teaches us that it is only those countries that are able to withstand trials that surpass their enemies in the development and organization of economy. The war has shown that our country is just such a country. The Soviet State never has been so firm and unshakable as now in the third year of war. The Soviet State has shown that a Socialist State is not only the best form of organization in building up the country in peacetime but the best form of uniting all forces of the people to repulse the enemy.
Now "Uncrushable Fortress"
During twenty-six years the Socialist State has converted our country into an uncrushable fortress. The Red Army, compared with all the armies in the world, has the firmest, most stable hinterland. There is no doubt that the Soviet Union will emerge from the war a powerful and even more strengthened country.
The German invaders have been pillaging and laying waste our territories and striving to undermine the power of our State. The Red Army offensive revealed to an even greater extent the barbarous and vandalistic character of the Hitlerite army.
Like medieval barbarians and hordes of killers they carry away our peaceful civilians and burn down our towns and villages. They destroy our industrial centers. All this speaks for the weakness of the Fascist invaders, for only mercenaries act in such a way; they themselves do not believe in their victory.
The more hopeless the situation of the Hitlerites becomes the more they run riot, the greater their atrocities and the greater they pillage.
Our people will not forgive the German monsters for these crimes. We shall compel the German criminals to answer for all atrocities and for all crimes.
In areas that were temporarily under the control of the Fascist pogromists we are carrying out the great task of restoration of towns and villages. We restore cultural institutions, industry, transport and farming, create living quarters with all amenities for the population, and restore production and agriculture in areas liberated from the enemy.
But this is only the beginning. We must completely erase the results of German misrule in districts liberated from German occupation. This is a great national task. We must and shall solve the problem.
The results and consequences of the Red Army victories have changed the whole course of the war. During the last year there have been changes not only in the fatherland's war but in the whole world situation. Changes have taken place this year in the military field and in the Held of foreign relations there has been profit among friendly nations to the detriment of Germany and her companions in the plunder of Europe.
Course of War Altered
The results and consequences of the Red Army victories have gone far beyond the limits of the Soviet-German front. They have altered the course of the World War and acquired enormous international importance.
The victory of the Allies over the common enemy has come nearer. The relations between them, the fraternity in arms of their forces, despite expectations of the enemy, not only did not weaken but on the contrary have grown firmer.
The historic decisions of the Moscow conference gave shining proof of this when the representatives of the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States met and reached decisions recently published.
Now the United Nations are fully decided to deal concerted blows to the enemy. These will lead to final victory over the enemy. This year's blows the Red Army dealt the German Fascist armies were assisted by the military operations of our Allies in North Africa and the Mediterranean as well as in southern Italy. Now at this very moment also our Allies are subjecting—and continue to subject—to a smashing bombing that shatters to the foundations the important industrial centers of Germany and by so doing are considerably weakening the military might of the enemy. And so, if we add up all factors, including the fact that the Allies are regularly supplying various munitions, armaments and war materials to us, we can say without prejudice that by all this they have rendered considerably easier the successes of our troops on the fronts.
Of course the present operations of the Allied armies in the south of Europe cannot yet be regarded as a second front. Nevertheless this is something like it.
New Front Not Far Off
It is clear that the opening of the real second front in Europe, which is not far off, will considerably speed up the victory over Hitlerite Germany. And it will consolidate still further the alliance of the Allies with the U.S.S.R.
In this way it will be shown that the anti-Hitlerite coalition is a firm union of peoples and one built on solid foundations.
It is now clear to everyone that the Hitlerite clique, by starting the present war, has led Germany and her satellites into an impasse. The defeat of the Fascist armies on the Soviet-German front and under the blows of our Allies on the Italian-German front has shattered the structure of the Fascist myth which now is crumbling before our eyes.
Italy has fallen from the Hitlerite coalition. Mussolini cannot change anything in that situation, being in fact a prisoner of the Germans.
Take in turn the other participants of the Hitlerite coalition : Finland, Hungary, Rumania and other Hitlerite vassals. Discouraged by the present position of Germany, they now entirely have lost faith in their enterprise and are worried by the manner of getting out of the abyss into which Hitler led them.
The leaders of these vassals, until so recently still obedient to their master, now recognize the time has come to answer for their robbery and are taking to the bushes and trying to find a favorable moment to slip away unnoticed from the robber giant.
Entering the war, the participants of the Hitler gains divided up in advance what pieces would fall to whom: to whom the cakes and the buns, to whom the bumps and thebruises. Of course, the bumps and the bruises were reserved for their enemies. For themselves the cakes and the buns.
Allies Will Give the Bruises
But now it is clear that Germany and her vassals won't get the cakes and the buns and instead the Allies reserve for them the bumps and the bruises.
Foreseeing the inevitable future, they try to break off the chain. Each of them now is trying to find a way out of the war, having received the least of the bumps and the bruises. They understand that the longer they delay their rupture with Hitler and allow the Germans to lord it over their countries, the more devastation is awaiting their countries, the greater the suffering of their peoples.
The Germans have shown not even a dream of defending the vassal countries and only use them for the purpose of war, intending to throw part of the German rout on the shoulders of the vassals.
The cause of the Hitlerite Fascists is lost and, on the other hand, the front of the freedom-loving great powers has been constituted.
In the occupied countries of Europe the people's wrath is growing and bringing growing popular forces to fight against the Fascist oppressors. The prestige of Germany is lost irretrievably. The prestige of the Allies is growing. The feeling of indignation against Germany is rising. Political and economic links with all neutral countries have been undermined for Germany.
The time when the Hitlerite clique was able to conquer positions toward implementing world domination is left far behind. Now, as you know, Hitler has not won world domination. He did not live up to it—may he now go to hell. In this way the course of the war has shown the alliance of Fascist states has not, and did not, have a firm underlying foundation. The Hitlerite coalition was founded on the basis of companionship in robbery and conquest. From the first defeat the Fascist coalition was sent cracking.
Unequal to Situation
While it had successes, the Hitlerite coalition appeared strong. Hitler Germany has proved unequal to the situation.
The victory of the Allies will set the urgent and most important task of restoration and organization of the state, economic and cultural life of European countries. Together with our Allies, we must.
First: Free countries subjected by the Fascist invaders and give assistance for the establishment of national states that were dismembered by the Fascist oppressors. The peoples of France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Greece and other countries under the Fascist yoke must recover full rights of freedom and independence.
Second: The liberated countries of Europe must receive full right and freedom to decide for themselves their form of state.
Third: Fascist criminals, guilty instigators of the present war and suffering of peoples, must be dealt stern punishment, whatever countries in which they may hide themselves. They must bear retribution for their crimes.
Fourth: Such order must be established in Europe as completely to preclude the possibility of new aggression by Germany.
Fifth: Economic, political and cultural collaboration of the peoples of Europe must be created and based on mutual trust and assistance with the object of restoring what has been destroyed.
This year the Red Army achieved great successes together with the Soviet people against the German invaders. We have turned the course of the war so that it now favors our country and the war unfolds itself in a final conclusion, the complete rout of the Hitlerites.
But it is not befitting the Soviet people to rest on their laurels and be inebriated by success. Victory can slip if all efforts are not constantly applied to achieve the final decision. Victory does not come of itself. It must be carried in fighting.
Enemy Must Be Crushed
Victory is near. But to achieve victory a new mustering of all forces, the self-sacrificing labor of all in the rear and the skillful conduct and decisive action of the Red Army on the front are necessary. It would be criminal toward the Fatherland and the Soviet peoples temporarily under the Fascist yoke if we did not seize every opportunity for speeding the rout of the enemy.
Everything must be done to smash the enemy. The Soviet people and the Red Army will see the difficulties ahead but are cheered by a consciousness that the day of victory is nearing. The war has entered a phase when the complete ousting of the Fascist invader is at hand. The day is not far off when we will liberate from the enemy completely the Ukraine and the White Russia, Leningrad and Kalinin regions, when we will liberate from the invaders the people of Crimea and Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldavia and Karelia, the Finnish republic.
Comrades: To the victory of the Anglo-American-Soviet fighting alliance, to the liberation of the peoples of Europe from the Fascist yoke!
To the complete ousting of the German Fascist monsters from Soviet soil! Glory to the army! Glory to the Red Fleet! Glory to the daring men and women guerillas! Glory to the great Fatherland! Death to the German invaders!