A very important and significant award for those who opposed fascism during World War II was the Order of Victory. This award was awarded to a few, some of them twice in their lives. With this insignia, it was decided to celebrate the feat of prominent personalities from the high command of the Red Army and not only. The awards were worthy and five foreign allies, who had a significant contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany.
The history of the reward
In November 1943, a decree was signed on the basis of this highest insignia. Several people worked on its creation, and the first draft was presented by 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 the experience of creating such awards. He presented several options, of which the one was chosen, where the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin was depicted with the inscription “Victory”.
The Order of “Victory” in this version was adopted. At the suggestion of Stalin, the presented sketch 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 procedure for awarding the order, described its signs, and adopted a statute.
The statute stated that the Order of “Victory” (the photo can be viewed below) was a reward for the high command of the army. He was awarded for special services, actions that led to an inevitable victory or improvement of the situation for the Soviet army.
What does this high mark look like?
The Order of “Victory” is the most expensive award (in monetary terms) of the Soviet Union. For its manufacture used precious metals such as platinum and gold, as well as precious stones - diamonds. Initially, real rubies were going to be used for these purposes, however jewelers faced the following problem: it was impossible to pick up stones in one color range, they all differed in shades. As a result, it was decided to replace these stones with artificial ones.
Each order of “Victory”, a photo of which very vividly demonstrates its beauty, was made by hand by the masters of the jewelry-watch factory in Moscow. This, by the way, was a unique case in the entire history of the USSR, since all the other orders and medals were produced at the Mint with the corresponding stamping. On these models it was not.
So what was this highest award? 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 rays of the star were decorated with triangles of rubies, and along its edges was a line of diamonds. Between them there were small rays (five in each gap), which were also decorated with small transparent precious stones.
In the middle of the order there was a circle depicting the Kremlin on a blue background, where the mausoleum is located, as well as the Spasskaya Tower. Below, on the red background, the word “Victory” was written, from which a wreath rose. It was done in golden color.
Forty-seven grams of platinum, two grams of gold, nineteen grams of silver were used for each order. Each star also 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 to be a unique piece of jewelry art, and not just a symbol of military glory and courage.
An integral part of the order - tape
In addition to the order itself, those awarded this award were to wear the ribbon attached to it. It was much wider than the ribbons that came with other awards. So, its width was 46 millimeters. The six-color ribbon united colors from other orders that were used among the awards of the Soviet Union.
So, the color scheme was as follows: in the center there was a wide strip of red, on either side of it were strips of green, dark blue, burgundy, blue and orange with a black color insert.
Holders of the Order of “Victory” were supposed to wear their reward on the left side of the chest, below all other orders and medals (approximately 12-14 centimeters above the belt). The ribbon bar should have been one centimeter higher than the other awards.
How many orders of all exist and how many are awarded
If we talk about how many orders of “Victory” were made, then we can say that there were twenty of them altogether. However, to date, the winners, who are marked on the memorial plaque, are only nineteen. Of these, three citizens of the Soviet Union were awarded twice.
Eight more Soviet commanders became the holders of the order during the Second World War once. There are also foreign nationals who also received awards.
As for another, the twentieth order, he was awarded in February 1978 by the then Secretary General and Marshal of the USSR Brezhnev. After his death, the award was annulled as a non-statutory award. It happened in September 1989.
Order holders awarded twice
There are among those who received the Order of “Victory”, awarded twice. These were just three people. Consider each of them.
George Konstantinovich Zhukov
This was truly a great commander of the time. He did not have a higher military education, but the lack of a theoretical base replaced the practical experience he gained during the civil war. In addition, Zhukov had a natural talent to lead, to make the right decisions in difficult times.
During the Second World War, he was awarded the title of Marshal of the USSR. He is also one of the very first to receive the Order of Victory. This happened on April 10, 1944, because he conducted a successful operation to liberate 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 very well carried out the tasks of command, leading the troops.
Alexander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky
This man went down in history as the greatest strategist of World War II. Even Zhukov noticed his unsurpassed talent as a commander. Together they led the liberation of the right-bank Ukraine, and it was for this that Vasilevsky received the second by the order of “Victory”. This also happened on April 10, 1944.
Almost a year later, on the nineteenth of April 1945, Vasilevsky was presented for the second time. At this time he led operations in East Prussia and won victories.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin
The award to the third order in a row was received by the commander-in-chief of the USSR himself at that time. The first time was on the twenty ninth of July 1944. The award was also presented for the liberation of the right bank of Ukraine from Nazi Germany.
The second time, Stalin received the Order on the twenty-sixth of June 1945, as a reward for the final victory over Nazi Germany.
Soviet Order Holders
Let us now list the Soviet military leaders who received the Order of “Victory”. The distinctions awarded with this high mark made an invaluable contribution to the victory of the Soviet Union over fascism.
- Kirill Meretskov. This marshal of the Soviet Union was awarded his medal in 1945, the eighth of September. His achievements were successful military operations during hostilities with Japan.
- Alexey Innokentievich Antonov. The case of his rewarding is unique. The fact is that at the time of the signing of the decree, Antonov was just a general, while other cavaliers of the Order of “Victory” had the rank of marshals, and were also Heroes of the Soviet Union. And nevertheless, in June 1945, on June 4, he was awarded this award for the assignments that were entrusted to him by the high command. These were successful large-scale military operations.
- Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko. He became a holder of the Order in 1945, the fourth of June. The award was given to him for planning combat operations, as well as for skillful coordination of actions on the fronts.
- Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov. Soviet Marshal, who participated in the liberation of Leningrad, as well as in the defeat of the fascist troops in the Baltic region. Awarded this high award in 1945, the thirty-first of May.
- Fedor Ivanovich Tolbukhin. Soviet Marshal, who participated in the liberation of the Austrian and Hungarian lands. For his merits in 1945, twenty-sixth of April, 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 30th, 1945. He was honored with this honor thanks to a tangible contribution to the liberation of Poland.
- Ivan Stepanovich Konev. Had the rank of marshal at the time of receipt of the award. He became a cavalier on March 30, 1945, also for the liberation of the Polish lands from the fascists.
Each of the listed commanders was worthy of this award, each deserved it with his fortitude 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 offer to find out who has received this honor.
- Josip Broz Tito. He is one of the Yugoslav leaders who led the country's resistance during World War II. In 1945, the ninth of September, for merits in the victory over Germany, for successful military operations, he was awarded the Order of “Victory”. It was a very strong personality. After the war, Tito was elected president of Yugoslavia, who saw his own way in government.
- Michal Rola-Zhimersky. The Polish Marshal, who during World War II was an ardent opponent of invading Germany. He was a member of the resistance movement. He received his order in 1945, the ninth of August, for the successful organization of the Polish troops, as well as various military operations. After the war, Role-Zhimersky served as minister; he also spent some time in prison on a false charge.
- Bernard Montgomery. This is an outstanding person who, during the Second World War, participated in many battles, as well as himself conducted military operations on the side of the opponents of Nazi Germany. Montgomery was also one of the founders of the creation of NATO. For his merits in the fight against the Nazis in 1945, the fifth of June, he received the Order of “Victory”.
- Dwight Eisenhower. He was a general in the US military during World War II. For merits in carrying out 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 honorary award.
Awarding of the King of Romania Order
Among the foreign allies was the king, awarded the Order of “Victory”. To date, he is the only holder of the order, survivors. The award took place in July 1945, for the fact that Mihai I was able to show determination and turn the policy of Romania in the direction of the 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 strength of mind. In August 1944, when there was still no confidence in the final victory over fascism, he spoke out against Germany, ordered the arrest of many members of the government (among them was Antonescu, the de facto ruler of Romania). After that, the country ceased hostilities on the side of the Nazi invaders.
The significance of the Order of “Victory” for the Soviet Union and modern Russia
The Order of “Victory” of the Great Patriotic War is a very significant symbol of what happened in the distant years 1941-1945. It is a sign of the invincibility of the Russian people, of faith in the victory over the fascists, and also of faith in their command. Of course, the war itself was fierce, sometimes there were cruel 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, its 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 canceled.
The Soviet order of “Victory” today 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 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 wore it at various festivities, although at the same time other awards and medals were present on his chest.
The awards that were given to the Soviet command and the Marshal of Poland are currently on the territory of Russia. Five orders are kept in the Central Museum of the Armed Forces, and the rest in Gokhran.
If we talk about the Order of the USSR “Victory”, which was awarded to Eisenhower, now he is in the state of Kansas in the city of Abilene, namely in the Memorial Library.
The order that Marshal Tito was awarded to is currently in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade. It is stored in the museum "May 25".
The award, which was awarded to British Field Marshal Montgomery, is also in his homeland. It is stored in the Imperial Military 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 mind and courage in opposing what was disastrous for their people.