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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Moscow -- Hero City of the USSR


"Your Name is Unknown, Your Feat is Immortal" -- Image from the Battle of Moscow


From a folder of historic cards published in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War on May 9, 1945, today -- on the 78th anniversary -- we begin a series looking at the Hero Cities and Fortresses as well as other sites and battles critical to the Soviet victory. The folder was entitled "No one is Forgotten. Nothing is Forgotten."


This first post starts with the folder's introductory notes and then looks at the Hero City of Moscow. Future Hero Cities will include Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa and others. There will be 18 posts in total.


It is important to never forget the tremendous determination, courage and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples and Red Army in the great struggle of liberation against Nazism and fascism that was World War II.



Introductory notes:


Forty years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War, but the memory of it is timeless - carefully preserved and passed down from generation to generation, it will live for centuries. The war imposed on the Soviet people by German fascism was the most difficult and cruel of all wars ever experienced by our Motherland. More than 20 million Soviet people died on the battlefields, were buried under the ruins of cities and villages, shot by fascist fiends, tortured to death in Nazi concentration camps. The fascist barbarians turned over 71,000 of our cities, towns, villages into ruins, destroyed 31,850 industrial enterprises, ruined and robbed 98,000 collective farms, 1,876 state farms and 2,890 machine and tractor stations. The country lost almost 30 percent of its national wealth during the war. Hitler's regime wanted to destroy the world's first socialist state, turn into slaves the peoples of the countries they occupied.


The Soviet Union and its Armed Forces thwarted these monstrous plans, defended the honor, freedom and independence of the socialist Fatherland, carried out a great liberation mission, saved the world from the fascist plague. The victory of the Land of Soviets in the Great Patriotic War showed the whole world the unprecedented moral and political unity of Soviet society, the close alliance between the working class and the peasantry, the intelligentsia, and their monolithic unity around the Communist Party.


The motherland remembers that under the difficult conditions of the perfidious attack of the Nazi hordes on the country, the party managed to mobilize the Soviet people to fight the invaders, to ensure the solution of such complex defense tasks as the relocation of 1523 of the largest industrial enterprises to the eastern regions of the country and the restructuring of the entire economy for military production.


At the front and in the rear, the communists, by personal example, inspired the masses to exploits in the name of the Fatherland. The faithful assistant of the Communist Party during the harsh years of the war was the Lenin Komsomol. The names of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Liza Chaikina, Marita Melnikaite, Oleg Koshevoy and many other young patriots are forever inscribed in the history of the Komsomol. In a long and difficult struggle against a cruel enemy, millions of Soviet soldiers showed unparalleled bravery and courage, iron steadfastness and self-denial, mass heroism unprecedented in history.


Do not count the valiant names and glorious military deeds of Soviet soldiers. The motherland adequately appreciated their exploits. Over 7 million participants in the war were awarded orders and medals. More than 11 thousand soldiers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, almost 11 thousand orders adorned the Battle Banners of formations, units, Naval flags of warships. The hearts of Soviet people are filled with pride at the memory of the valiant defenders of Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Sevastopol, Stalingrad, Novorossiysk, Kerch, Tula, the legendary Brest Fortress, and at the titanic efforts that dispelled the myth of the invincibility of the Nazi army.


The people have not forgotten the fighters of the people's militia who fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army. During the most difficult days of the summer and autumn of 1941, on the initiative of the working people of Moscow and Leningrad, about 60 divisions and 200 separate regiments of the people's militia were formed in the country, adding to the army 2 million fighters.


The Soviet people will always remember the enormous role played in the defeat of Hitler's fascism by the nationwide struggle behind enemy lines, led and directed by the Communist Party. More than 6,200 partisan detachments and underground groups operated in the Soviet territory temporarily occupied by the enemy, in which more than 1 million partisans and underground fighters fought - representatives of all the peoples of the USSR.


When the soldiers of the Soviet Army smashed the invaders on the battlefields, the home front workers created the products needed for the front. It was also a great feat - a feat of labor. The motherland will never forget that during the Great Patriotic War, Soviet women, along with men, endured all the hardships of the war years, all the hardships of front-line, partisan and rear everyday life.


Long overgrown with grass and smoothed are the trenches on the battlefields. Destroyed cities and villages have been revived, but the Motherland remembers its sons and daughters, who defended the country in the hour of mortal danger. Thousands and thousands of monuments to national courage have been erected in the cities and villages of our Fatherland and abroad. The monuments of Moscow and Leningrad, Volgograd and Kiev, Minsk and Smolensk, Rzhev and Velikiye Luki, Orel and Belgorod, countless cities and villages on the fields of past battles - this is the eternal immortal glory of the people.


The bell of the Khatyn memorial, immortalizing the inhabitants of Belarusian villages and villages destroyed by the Nazis. An angry reminder of fascism, a call to the vigilance of the peoples, are the monuments on the site of the former death camps, Babi Yar and Salaspils.


A tribute to the deep national respect for the outstanding merits of metallurgists and machine builders who forged the sword of the Motherland in a time of severe trials, the personification of the indestructible unity of a warrior and a worker, monuments stand forever on the squares of many cities in the Urals and Siberia. The majestic monument to the Soviet soldier-liberator with a rescued child in his arms in Berlin's Treptow Park is a formidable warning to the aggressor, a symbol of triumph over the defeated Nazi fascism.


No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.


The paths to these immortal monuments of courage, valor, glory of our Motherland will never be overgrown. Here, young soldiers and sailors take the oath, young men and women are handed Komsomol tickets, and Octobrists are accepted as pioneers. On the days of national holidays, military and labor anniversaries, veterans and youth come here to bow to the immortal heroes, the soldiers march solemnly under the Battle Banner, take an oath to increase the glory of the heroes with new deeds in the name of the Motherland. For forty years our people have been living in peace and they will not allow a new disaster. The Soviet Union is doing everything to reduce the military threat and strengthen world peace and international security.


Moscow -- Hero City #1


The Battle of Moscow was a triumph for the Soviet Armed Forces. They dispelled the myth of the invincibility of the Nazi army, and finally buried the fascist plan of the “lightning war”. The victory of the Soviet Army on the fields of the Moscow region was the beginning of a radical turning point in the course of the war and had a decisive influence on the development of the national liberation struggle in the countries occupied by Nazi Germany.


The feat of Moscow during the Great Patriotic War will forever go down in the history of our Motherland as a symbol of unparalleled courage, steadfastness and heroism. From here, the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Soviet government, the State Defense Committee and the Supreme High Command carried out the management of military operations on the fronts and the work of the rear, mobilizing the Soviet people to fight against the enemy.


September 30, 1941 began a great battle near Moscow. The whole country stood up to protect the capital. From all the republics, territories, regions, echelons with troops and weapons went to Moscow. In a short time, Muscovites built an outer defensive belt and erected fortifications inside the city. Thousands of workers, employees, scientists, artists voluntarily went to the communist battalions. Back in July 1941, 12 divisions of the people's militia numbering about 120 thousand people and 25 extermination battalions - 18 thousand people were formed in Moscow. In factories and factories, hard work was in full swing.


The Soviet Army in fierce battles thwarted the attempt of the fascist troops to capture Moscow, and then (December 5-6, 1941) launched a decisive counteroffensive and defeated the enemy. In the battle near Moscow, the Nazi troops lost more than 500,000 soldiers and officers, 1,300 tanks, over 1,300 aircraft, 2,500 guns, 15,000 vehicles and other military equipment. For courage and heroism shown in the battle near Moscow, 36,000 soldiers and commanders were awarded orders and medals. 110 soldiers and partisans were awarded the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union. More than 1 million people have been awarded the medal "For the Defense of Moscow". In the battles near Moscow, the Soviet guard was born, 46 units and formations became guards.


During the war years, the capital was one of the largest arsenals of the front: it continuously replenished weapons, ammunition, military equipment and much more. The homeland highly appreciated the contribution of Muscovites to the defeat of the enemy.


On May 8, 1965, Moscow was awarded the honorary title of Hero City with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal.



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