On May 9 at 01:01 Moscow time, the surrender of Nazi Germany and all of its armed forces took effect. Literally a week later, on May 15, after the cannon volleys died down in Europe, JV Stalin decided to hold a parade of winners in Moscow on Red Square. The parade was supposed to mark the victory over Nazi Germany, it would be the triumph of the victorious people. The parade, which eventually took place on June 24, 1945, forever went down in the history of our country, putting a symbolic end to the war, which lasted 1418 long days.
The proposals for holding the Victory Parade, formulated by representatives of the General Staff, were presented to Stalin on May 24, 1945. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief accepted all the arguments and proposals, but did not agree with the date of the parade. The General Staff hoped that preparations for the parade would last two months, but Stalin insisted that the Victory Parade be held in a month.
Soldiers from 10 fronts took part in the Victory Parade
The Victory Parade, which took place in the Soviet capital on June 24, 1945, was attended by consolidated regiments from 10 fronts, as well as a consolidated regiment from the navy. In addition, students of military academies, cadets of military schools (Suvorovites) and the troops of the Moscow garrison were involved in the parade. Various military equipment was presented at the parade quite massively, and an air parade was also supposed to take place. However, 216 aircraft remained at the airfields, as it was cloudy in Moscow on June 24, it rained during the parade.
Each of the 10 fronts: Karelian, Leningrad, 1st Baltic, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Belorussian and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Ukrainian, composition. The formation of these regiments was completed at the end of May 1945, and they began to arrive in the capital starting from June 10. In the original directive adopted by the General Staff of the Red Army, the strength of the consolidated regiment was estimated at 1059 people with 10 spare, but already during the recruitment of the consolidated regiments, the number was brought to 1465 people, keeping the same number of spare.
The most worthy candidates were looked for to staff the consolidated regiments. The personnel of the parade participants was formed very carefully. The preference was given to military personnel who showed themselves excellently in battles, demonstrating courage, bravery, personal heroism and military prowess. The growth of the fighters was also of great importance. For example, in the order on the 1st Belorussian Front of May 24, 1945, it was especially stipulated that the growth of candidates for participation in the Victory Parade must be at least 176 cm, and the age of the participants must not be older than 30 years.
We managed to sew 15 thousand sets of uniforms specially for the parade
A big problem for the organization of the parade was the provision of all participants with a full dress. For example, if the cadets of military schools, servicemen of the Moscow garrison and students of military academies already had ceremonial uniforms and were regularly engaged in drill training, then for the 15 thousand front-line soldiers who were recalled to Moscow, everything was different. All these people had to be received, accommodated, provided with food, rehearsals organized and uniforms given in size. It was the task of sewing a huge amount of ceremonial uniforms that seemed the most difficult.
Fortunately, the situation was resolved positively, despite the tight deadline. Garment factories operating in Moscow and in the territory of the Moscow region started sewing ceremonial uniforms at the end of May and managed to cope with the task. The Moscow factory “Bolshevichka” played an important role in the sewing of ceremonial uniforms. By June 20, 1945, all the participants in the Victory Parade managed to receive the ceremonial uniforms of the new model. In total, more than 15 thousand sets of forms were manufactured. It was at the Victory Parade that the new aqua uniforms were first presented. In the future, this color will become traditional for the dress uniform of Soviet officers.
Throwing German banners at the mausoleum
The culminating and most symbolic part of the Victory Parade, which is familiar to many from photo and newsreels, was the throwing of the banners of defeated Nazi Germany to the mausoleum on Red Square. Who exactly proposed to include this element in the parade is not known for certain. According to one version, this idea was proposed to Stalin by the Russian and Soviet historian, academician Yevgeny Viktorovich Tarle, who noted that at one time the Roman soldiers did this.
Before the parade, at the direction of the General Staff, about 900 trophy banners and standards, which were captured in Germany, were delivered to the capital from parts of the 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian fronts (from Berlin and Dresden, respectively). All delivered banners were originally placed in the building of the Lefortovo barracks. Subsequently, 200 units were selected from the delivered banners and standards by members of the special commission, which were placed in a special room under the protection of the Moscow commandant’s office. On June 24, 1945, the selected banners and standards of the defeated Third Reich were delivered to Red Square and handed over to the personnel of a specially selected parade company of “porters”, consisting of 200 people (10 ranks of 20 people each).
After the passage of the combined regiments of 10 fronts and the combined regiment of the Navy, a gigantic orchestra of 1400 people, which accompanied almost without pauses the entire movement of the troops, suddenly stopped playing. In the silence that settled on the square, the beat of 80 drums was heard. To this drumbeat, a special company appeared, which carried 200 enemy banners, the panels of which practically dragged along the pavement wet from the rain. Having reached the platform near the mausoleum, the soldiers of the company made a turn to the right and with force threw the banners of the defeated enemy to the ground.
There were some curiosities. Now we can say that among the banners thrown to the mausoleum were about two dozen of the Kaiser’s, mainly cavalry ones. In the first rank there were three Prussian military standards dating back to the 19th century. It is believed that these banners and standards could have been selected due to an oversight, but, most likely, a special commission selected them from 900 banners and standards delivered to Moscow due to their good preservation, beauty and impressive appearance. Historians have no other explanations for this fact.
The Victory Parade was attended by about 35 thousand people
The Victory Parade turned out to be a large-scale and grandiose event in every sense of the word. The total duration of the parade was two hours and two minutes. The parade took place in heavy rain, which thousands of Muscovites gathered on Red Square simply did not notice. True, the weather has made its own adjustments to the approved program. Because of the rain, the air part of the parade and the demonstration of the workers of the city of Moscow were canceled. But even without this, the military parade on June 24, 1945, forever entered the history of our country, personifying the triumph of our armed forces, the victorious people and commanders.
The Victory Parade in Moscow was attended by 24 marshals of the Soviet Union, 249 generals, 2536 officers and 31,116 sergeants and privates. Separately, a combined military band was allocated to participate in the parade, numbering about 1400 musicians, the youngest of whom was 13 years old. The two main persons of the parade were the marshals of the Victory: K. K. Rokossovsky, who commanded the parade, and G. K. Zhukov, who hosted the Victory Parade. The horses for the marshals were prepared in advance. For Zhukov, they picked up a horse named Kumir of a white, light gray color of the Terek breed, for Rokossovsky – a black, karak (black-brown) color named Pole.
In addition to the infantry, cavalry took part in the parade, and military equipment was also widely represented. In just 50 minutes, 1,850 units of various military equipment proceeded along Red Square. The display of military equipment was opened by artillery. At the same time, artillery systems of various calibers were presented, including ZiS-3, BS-3, M-30 howitzers, launchers of M-31 Andryusha rocket artillery, as well as large-caliber artillery, up to 305 mm … Armored vehicles also took part in the parade: medium tanks T-34-85 and heavy tanks IS, self-propelled guns SU-76, SU-100 and ISU-152, as well as motorcyclists and paratroopers on various wheeled vehicles. Representatives of the American automobile industry also passed through Red Square: Dodge and Studebaker trucks, as well as Willis jeeps.
After the passage of military equipment, a combined orchestra entered the square, which ended the Victory Parade on June 24, 1945 at about noon. A unique musical group that played throughout the parade was assembled from 38 orchestras of military schools in Moscow, as well as military units of the Red Army and the NKVD. The combined orchestra concluded the Victory Parade with the march of the military conductor and composer Semyon Aleksandrovich Chernetsky “Glory to the Motherland”.