A very important and significant reward for those who resisted fascism during the Second World War was the Order of Victory. This award was awarded to a few, some of them twice in their lives. With the help of this sign of distinction, it was decided to note the feat of outstanding personalities from the high command of the Red Army and not only. Awards were worthy and five foreign allies, which had a significant contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany.
The history of the award
In 1943, in November, a decree was issued to establish this highest distinction. Several people worked on its creation, and the first sketch was presented by the officer Neelov. For some reason, Stalin did not accept the proposed title and sketch. The second attempt was given to Kuznetsov. This artist already had experience in creating such awards. He presented several options, from which was chosen the one where the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin with the inscription "Victory" was depicted.
The Order of Victory in this version was adopted. At the suggestion of Stalin, the sketch presented was slightly modified (background, scale of the tower itself, etc.). After all the wishes were taken into account, a test copy was made, which was approved. Thus, in November 1943, the Supreme Council described the order of awarding the order, describes its signs, and adopted a statute.
In the statute it was stated that the Order of Victory (photo it can be seen below) was a reward for the high command of the army. He was entrusted with special merits, actions that led to an inevitable victory or improvement of the situation for the Soviet army.
What does this high insignia look like?
The Order of Victory is the most expensive award (in terms of money) of the Soviet Union. For its manufacture precious metals, such as platinum and gold, as well as precious stones - diamonds were used. Originally for these purposes, they intended to use real rubies, but jewelers faced the following problem: it was impossible to pick stones in one color range, they all differed in shades. As a result, it was decided to replace these stones with artificial stones.
Each order of the "Victory", a photo of which demonstrates its beauty very clearly, was made by hand by craftsmen of the jewelry and watch factory in Moscow. This, by the way, was a unique case in the history of the USSR, since all other orders and medals were made at the Mint with appropriate stamping. On these models it was not.
So, what was this highest reward? The Order had the appearance of a five-pointed ruby star, in the center it was convex. Closer to the center of the Order, the stars were decorated with triangles of rubies, and along its edges was a line of diamonds. Between them were small rays (five in each interval), which were also decorated with small transparent precious stones.
In the middle of the order was a circle with a picture on the blue background of the Kremlin, where the mausoleum is located, as well as the Spassky Tower. Below, on a red background, the word "Victory" was written, from which a wreath rose up. It was done in gold.
For each order, forty-seven grams of platinum, two grams of gold, and nineteen grams of silver were used. Also each star had five rubies (five carats each) and 174 small diamonds with a total weight of sixteen carats.
To date, the Order of Victory is considered a unique work of jewelry art, and not only a symbol of military glory and courage.
An integral part of the Order is the ribbon
Awarded this award, in addition to the order itself, were to carry the ribbon attached to it. It was much wider than the ribbons that come complete with other awards. So, its width was 46 millimeters. The six-colored ribbon combined the colors of other orders that were used among the rewards of the Soviet Union.
So, the color scheme was the following: in the center was a wide strip of red color, on the sides of it there were stripes of green, dark blue, burgundy, blue and orange with a black color insert.
Knights of the Order of Victory were to wear their award on the left side of the chest, below all other orders and medals (approximately 12-14 centimeters above the waist). The strap with the ribbon should have been one centimeter above other awards.
How many orders there are and how many
If we talk about how many orders of "Victory" was made, then we can say that there were only twenty. However, to date, the awardees, who are marked on the memorial board, are only nineteen. Of these, three citizens of the Soviet Union were awarded twice.
Another eight Soviet military leaders became Knights of the Order during the Second World War once. There are also foreign citizens who were also awarded.
As for another, the twentieth Order, then in February 1978, the then Secretary General and Marshal of the USSR, Brezhnev, was awarded to them. After his death, the award was annulled, as an award not corresponding with the statute. This happened in September 1989.
Knights of the Order, twice awarded
There are among those who received the Order of Victory, awarded twice. They were only three people. Let's consider each of them.
He was a truly great commander of the time. He did not have a higher military education, but he lacked the theoretical basis to replace the practical experience that he received during the civil war. In addition, Zhukov had a natural talent for leading him, making the right decisions at a difficult moment.
During the Second World War he was awarded the rank of USSR marshal. He was also one of the first to receive the Order of Victory. This happened on April 10, 1944 for the fact that he conducted a successful operation to liberate the right-bank Ukraine.
The second order was received by Zhukov in 1945, the thirtieth of March. This award was given to him for the fact that he was very well performing the tasks of the command, commanding the troops.
Alexander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky
This man went down in history as the greatest strategist of the Second World War. Even Zhukov noticed his unrivaled talent as a military commander. Together they led the liberation of the right-bank Ukraine, and it was for this that Vasilevsky received the second order of Victory. This was also the tenth of April 1944.
Almost a year later, on April nineteenth, 1945, Vasilevsky was presented to the award for a second time. At this time, he led operations in East Prussia and won victories.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin
The award was awarded to the third order in the account by the commander-in-chief of the USSR of that time. The first time it happened on the twenty-ninth of July 1944. The award was also presented for the liberation of the right bank of Ukraine from fascist Germany.
The second time Stalin received the order on June 26, 1945, as a reward for the final victory over Hitler's Germany.
Soviet Knights of the Order
Let us now list the Soviet commanders who received the Order of Victory. Awarded with this high distinction, they made an invaluable contribution to the victory of the Soviet Union over fascism.
- Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov. This marshal of the Soviet Union was awarded his medal in 1945, the eighth of September. His achievements were successful military actions during the military operations with Japan.
- Alexey Innokentievich Antonov. The case of his award is unique. The fact is that at the time of signing the decree, Antonov was just a general, while the other gentlemen of the Order of Victory had the title of marshals, and also were Heroes of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, in 1945, on June 4, he was awarded this award for the completed tasks, which entrusted him with the main command. These were successful military operations of a large scale.
- Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko. Became a Knight of the Order in 1945, the fourth of June. The award was given to him for planning combat operations, as well as for skilful coordination of actions on the fronts.
- Leonid Alexandrovich Govorov. The Soviet marshal, who participated in the liberation of Leningrad, as well as in the defeat of the fascist troops in the Baltic region. He was awarded this high award in 1945, the thirty-first of May.
- Fedor Ivanovich Tolbukhin. The Soviet marshal, who participated in the liberation of Austrian and Hungarian lands. For his services in 1945, on April 26th, he was awarded this distinction.
- Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky. He also participated in the liberation of Hungary and Austria from the fascist invaders. Awarded the award in 1945, the twenty-sixth of April.
- Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovsky. The Soviet marshal received the award on March 30, 1945. This honor he was awarded thanks to a tangible contribution to the liberation of Poland.
- Ivan Stepanovich Konev. He held the rank of marshal at the time of receiving the award. Cavalier, he became on March 30, 1945, also for the liberation of Polish lands from the Nazis.
Each of these generals was worthy of this award, each of them deserved it with his strength of spirit and courage.
Allies of the Soviet Union, who were also awarded
Among those who received the Order of the Great Victory, there were also foreign citizens. We propose to find out who was awarded this honor.
- Josip Broz Tito. This is one of the Yugoslav leaders, who led the resistance of the country during the Second World War. In 1945, on September 9, for his services in the victory over Germany, for successful military operations, he was awarded the Order of Victory. It was a very strong personality. In the postwar period, Tito was elected president of Yugoslavia, who saw his own way in governing the state.
- Michal Rola-Zhimersky. Polish Marshal, who during the Second World War was an ardent opponent of aggressive Germany. He was a member of the resistance movement. He received his order in 1945, on August 9th, for the successful organization of Polish troops, as well as for conducting various combat operations. After the war, Rola-Zhimerski held the post of minister, also spent some time in prison on false accusation.
- Bernard Montgomery. He is an outstanding man who participated in many battles during the Second World War, and also conducted military operations on the side of opponents of fascist Germany. Montgomery was also one of the founders of the creation of NATO. For his services in the fight against the Nazis in 1945, on June 5th, he received the Order of Victory.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was the general of US troops during the Second World War. For his services in various operations, he was awarded the honorary award of the Soviet Union. It happened in 1945, the fifth of June. In the postwar years, Eisenhower served as President of the United States.
Each of these people made a special contribution to the struggle against fascist Germany, as a result of which they were awarded such an honorable award.
Awarding of the Order of the King of Romania
Among the foreign allies was the king, who was awarded the Order of Victory. To date, he is the only Knight of the Order who survived. Rewarding was held in July 1945, for the fact that Mihai I was able to show determination and turn Romania's policy toward a break with fascist Germany. At the time of the award, he was only twenty-three years old.
The king, awarded the Soviet Order of Victory, showed real heroism and fortitude. In August 1944, when the final victory over fascism was not yet certain, he opposed Germany, ordered the arrest of many members of the government (among them was Antonescu, the actual ruler of Romania). After this, the country ceased military operations on the side of the fascist invaders.
The Significance of the Order of Victory for the Soviet Union and Contemporary Russia
The Order of Victory of the Great Patriotic War is a very significant symbol of what happened in the distant 1941-1945. It is a sign of the indestructibility of the Russian people, of the belief in the victory over the fascists, and also of faith in their command. Of course, the war itself was cruel, sometimes cruel were the decisions made by the generals of those times. However, not a single soldier doubted their correctness. This expressed the patriotism of the Russian people of that time, his ability to stand up to the last for the good of the Motherland.
Today, despite the fact that the Order of Victory is no longer awarded, it is the most honorable award in Russia, as well as one of the highest awards, which has not yet been abolished.
Today the Soviet Order of Victory is history. Naturally, they are no longer awarded, and almost all copies are kept in museums.
According to some reports, one of the orders, namely the one that was awarded to the Romanian King Mihai I, was sold, and is now in one of the private collections. Although the former owner himself denies this, however, he never put him on various festivals, although other orders and medals were present on his chest.
The awards, which were awarded to the Soviet command and marshal of Poland, are currently located on the territory of Russia. Five orders are kept in the Central Museum of the Armed Forces, and the rest are in Gokhran.
If we talk about the USSR Order "Victory", which was handed to Eisenhower, now it is in the state of Kansas in the city of Abilene, namely in the Memorial Library.
That order, which was awarded to Marshal Tito, today is located in the Serbian capital - the city of Belgrade. He is kept in the museum "May 25".
The award, which was awarded to the British Field Marshal Montgomery, is also in his homeland. It is stored in the Imperial War Museum in the city of London.
It can be said that every commander who was awarded this order was worthy of it. This order symbolizes their enormous contribution to the victory over fascism, strength of spirit and courage in opposing to what was disastrous for their people.