Stalin defies the Nazi invaders

The following speech was delivered by Josef Stalin to the Red Army parade that was held on 7 November 1941 to mark the anniversary of the October revolution. Despite the fact that the Nazi invasion had overrun the south west of the USSR and brought the enemy to the very gates of the city, Stalin refused to leave Moscow or to call off the celebrations. Standing firm, and broadcasting live to the nation, he gave a call to arms that inspired the people of the Soviet Union to the heights of heroism as they battled on all fronts to defeat fascism and liberate their socialist motherland.

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Comrades, Red Army Men, Red Navy Men, commanders and political workers, working men and working women, collective farmers, intellectuals, brothers and sisters behind enemy lines temporarily under the yoke of the German freebooters, our glorious men and women partisan fighters who are destroying the German invaders’ rear!

On behalf of the Soviet government and our Bolshevik party, I extend to you greetings and congratulations on the 24th anniversary of our Great October Socialist Revolution.

Comrades, it is in difficult circumstances that we observe today the 24th anniversary of our October revolution. The perfidious attack of the German freebooters, and the war which they have imposed on us, have created a threat to our country. We have temporarily lost several regions. The enemy is at the gates of Leningrad and Moscow. The enemy reckoned our army would be dispersed after the first blows and that our country would be brought to its knees. But the enemy grossly miscalculated. Temporary reverses notwithstanding, our army and navy are heroically repelling enemy attacks along the entire front, inflicting heavy losses on him.

Our country, our whole nation is organised in a united fighting camp to bring about, in conjunction with our army and our navy, the defeat of the German invader.

There were days when our country was in an even more difficult position. Remember the year 1918 when we celebrated the first anniversary of the October revolution. At that time three quarters of our country was in the hands of the foreign interventionists. We had temporarily lost the Ukraine, Caucasus, Central Asia, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. We had no allies, we had no Red Army – we had only just begun to create it. We experienced a shortage of bread, a shortage of arms, a shortage of clothing. At that time fourteen states were pressing against our country.

But we were not become despondent, we did not become disheartened. In the midst of the conflagration of war we organised the Red Army and converted our country into a military camp. The spirit of the great Lenin inspired us at that time for the war against the interventionists.

And what happened? We defeated the interventionists, recovered all the lost territory, and achieved victory.

Now our country is in a far better position than 23 years ago. Now our country is many times richer as regards industry, raw materials and food than 23 years ago. Now we have allies, who jointly form a united front against the German invaders. Now we enjoy the sympathy and support of all the peoples of Europe who have fallen under the yoke of fascist tyranny. Now we have a splendid army and a splendid navy defending with their lives the freedom and independence of our country. We experience no serious shortage of either food, arms or clothing.

Our whole country, all the peoples of our country, are backing our army and our navy, helping them to smash the robber hordes of German fascism. Our reserves of manpower are inexhaustible. The spirit of the great Lenin and his victorious banner inspire us now for patriotic war just as 23 years ago.

Can we doubt that we can and must win victory over the German invaders?

The enemy is not so strong as certain would-be intellectuals depict him. The devil is not as terrifying as he is painted. Who can deny that our Red Army has on more than one occasion compelled the much-vaunted German troops to beat a panicky retreat? If we judge not by the bragging statements of German propagandists but by the actual state of affairs in Germany it should not be difficult to understand that the Nazi invaders are facing catastrophe.

Hunger and impoverishment reign in Germany today. In four months of war Germany has lost four-and-a-half million soldiers. Germany is bleeding white. Her manpower reserves are becoming exhausted. The spirit of indignation is taking grip not only of the peoples of Europe who have fallen under the yoke of the German invaders but also of the German people itself, which sees no end to the war. The German invaders are exerting their last strength. There can be no doubt that Germany cannot stand this tension for long. A few more months, another half-year, perhaps a year, and Hitler Germany must collapse under the burden of her crimes.

Comrades, Red Army men and Red Navy men, commanders and political workers, men and women guerrilla fighters, the whole world looks to you as a force capable of destroying the German invader’s robber hordes. The enslaved peoples of Europe who have fallen under the yoke of the German invaders regard you as their saviours. A great mission of liberation has fallen to your lot. Be worthy of this mission! The war which you are fighting is a war of liberation; it is a just war.

May you be inspired in this war by the courageous images of our great forefathers – Alexander Nevsky, Dmitry Donskoi, Kuzma Minin, Dmitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Kutuzov!

May you be inspired by the victorious banner of the great Lenin!

For the complete destruction of the German invaders!

Death to the German occupation forces!

Long live our glorious country, its liberty, its independence!

Forward to victory!