Moscow Victory Parade of 1945

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Moscow Victory Parade of 1945, June 24.

The Moscow Victory Parade of 1945 (Russian: Парад Победы, tr. Parad Pobedy) was a victory parade held by the Soviet army (with a small squad from the Polish army) after the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War. It took place in the Soviet capital of Moscow, mostly centering around a military parade through Red Square. The parade took place on a rainy June 24, 1945, over a month after May 9, the day of Germany's surrender to Soviet commanders.

Stalin's order for the observance of the parade[edit]

The parade itself was ordered by Marshal of the Soviet Union Joseph (Iosif) Stalin on June 22, 1945, by virtue of Order 370 of the Office of the Supreme Commander in Chief, Armed Forces of the USSR. This order is at follows:

This was preceded by another letter by General of the Army Aleksei Antonov, Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces to all the participant fronts in attendance on the 24th of the previous month which is as follows:

Marshals Georgy Zhukov, who had formally accepted the German surrender to the Soviet Union, and Konstantin Rokossovsky, rode through the parade ground on white and black stallions, respectively.[1] The fact is commemorated by the equestrian statue of Zhukov in front of the State Historical Museum, on Manege Square. Zhukov's stallion was called Кумир ("Idol") The General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, stood atop Lenin's Mausoleum and watched the parade alongside other dignitaries present.

According to certain editions of Zhukov's memoirs, Stalin had intended to ride through the parade himself, but he fell from the horse during the rehearsal and had to yield the honor to Zhukov, who used to be a cavalry officer. However, this story is disputed by former Soviet spy Viktor Suvorov. He claims that the story was inserted into Zhukov's memoirs as a counterargument to his theory, (although it apparently was in circulation earlier)[2] that Stalin didn't lead the parade because he considered the war's results not worthy of the effort invested.[3] Suvorov notes several inconsistencies in the story, along with numerous evidence that Zhukov was intended all along for the role of leading the parade; for example, the memoirs of Sergei Shtemenko, the man responsible at the time for the preparation of the parade, state that the roles were decided from the start,[4] and Igor Bobylev (who took part in the preparations) claims that the story never happened and that Stalin never visited the Manege at that time.[5]

Displays of the Red Army vehicles were some of the focal points of the ceremony. One of the most famous moments at the end of the troops parade took place when various Red Army soldiers carried the banners of Nazi Germany and threw them down next to the mausoleum. One of the standards that was tossed down belonged to the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, Hitler's personal bodyguard. Due to the bad weather that day the flypast segment and the planned civil parade were cancelled; if the weather had improved, the flypast would have been led by Chief Marshals of Aviation Alexander Novikov and Alexander Golovanov.

Parade participants[edit]

First Ukrainian Front in Victory Parade.
  • Massed Military Bands of the Moscow Military District
    • Conductor: Major Gen. Semen Chernetsky, Senior Director of Music of the Central Military Orchestra, People's Commissariat of National Defense
  • Moscow A. Surovov Military Music School Corps of Drums

Ground Column

Mounted Column

Mobile Column

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]