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Russian archive: Great Patriotic War. Orders of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR.Read and /or Download
1941 - 1942 - 1943 - 1944 - 1945
Russian archive: Great Patriotic War. Orders of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR. 1941 -1945
This volume of a series of collections of documents on the history of the Great Patriotic War includes orders of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, signed from January 1, 1943, to October 12, 1945 - the date of issue of the order with the announcement of the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the establishment of the medal "For the victory over Japan". This act drew a kind of line under the wartime period in the history of our country in the first half of the 1940s.
In their totality, the documents selected and included in the collection reflect in all significant aspects the most critical areas of military construction, the content of the activities of the People's Commissariat of Defense in the corresponding periods of the war.
These years were marked by major, fundamental changes during the war - the completion of a radical turning point in the war, the final transfer of the strategic initiative into the hands of the Soviet command, the liberation of our country from the invaders and the transfer of the Red Army's hostilities to the territories of Eastern Europe and Germany itself, the victorious conclusion of the Great Patriotic and World War II. All this, as can be seen from the documents, not only increased the scale and complexity of the traditional tasks of the People's Commissariat of Defense, but also gave rise to many new, specific questions and problems requiring adequate and prompt solutions.
As before, the People's Commissariat of Defense paid great attention to the development of the Armed Forces and to increasing their combat capability. Measures were taken to strengthen the army and front-line formations with artillery, to increase the firepower of anti-aircraft artillery divisions, tank and mechanized units and formations (Doc. No. 12, 92, 208, 213). New formations were created in aviation, special combat units in the Ground Forces. At the same time, the types of troops that lost their perspective were reduced, for example, cavalry (doc. No. 145). Aviation, artillery units and formations were equipped with more modern weapons and military equipment.
In accordance with the needs and experience of the troops, the process of improving the system of military command and control bodies continued. New structures were created in the People's Commissariat of Defense, the General Staff, the headquarters of the troops (Doc. No. 125, 139, 251, 272), the powers of the chiefs and commanders of the armed forces were specified (Doc. No. 110, 123). As the territory of the country was liberated from the invaders, the boundaries of military districts were determined, and immediately after the end of the war, new military districts were formed, and the boundaries of existing military districts were changed (Doc. No. 277, 310).
An important direction in the construction and strengthening of the Red Army in these years remained the issues of increasing the role, combat skills, and authority of military personnel. To this end, measures were taken to retrain and transfer political workers to command positions (Doc. No. 81, 143), build up reserves of commanding officers (Doc. No. 154), improve the procedure for conferring military ranks on military personnel (Doc. No. 9, 155, 263). Additional military ranks of marshals and chief marshals of the military branches were established (doc. No. 20, 174), changes were made to the uniform, new insignia of military personnel were introduced (doc. No. 13, 18, 28).
New orders and medals (Doc. No. 56, 178, 180, 299, 323) were established to reward generals, officers, Red Army soldiers, as well as partisans and civilians who especially distinguished themselves in the war, and the procedure for awarding servicemen for long service was established (Doc. No. 256), the circle of commanders,  commanders and chiefs, who are entitled to award orders and medals to their subordinates, has been expanded (Doc. No. 57, 64, 69, 109, 166, 167, 168, 196, 235).
Despite the limited economic opportunities caused by the war, the political leadership of the country, the People's Commissariat of Defense identified and implemented multifaceted measures to significantly improve the material, medical, pension, housing provision for generals and officers, both in active military service and enlisted in the reserve or resignation (Doc. No. 54, 234, 306). Benefits, allowances, and pensions were also established for the families of the fallen and deceased servicemen (Doc. No. 114, 129, 138). All this, undoubtedly, increased the authority of military personnel, the prestige of military service, was an effective incentive for the conscientious performance by officers and generals of their military duty.
A prominent place in the work of the People's Commissariat of Defense was occupied by the study, generalization, and use of the experience of the war, materials on its history, as evidenced by the reorganization of the corresponding department of the General Staff into the department for the use of war experience (doc. No. 202), special orders on the collection and preservation of relics, military-historical and archival documents of the war (doc. No. 78, 182, 248), Everything valuable and useful from this experience was consolidated in new combat regulations, which were put into effect by the relevant orders of the People's Commissar of Defense (doc. No. 197, 198, 222, 223, 257).
The content of a considerable number of orders testifies to the increased attention of the People's Commissariat of Defense to issues of combat support for the troops, primarily to military intelligence, air defense, and communications. For example, during the period of preparation for the Battle of Kursk, I. Stalin personally signed orders on the reorganization of the military intelligence department of the General Staff, on the state of the military intelligence agencies and measures to improve the combat training of military intelligence officers, on improving the intelligence work of partisan detachments, on the norms of food allowances for military intelligence (Doc. No. 103, 104, 105, 147), and immediately after the end of the war, strategic intelligence agencies were strengthened (Doc. No. 308. 309).
On the other hand, measures were taken to preserve military secrets in combat orders, the press (Doc. No. 120, 179, 199, 249), sharply tighten military censorship (Doc. No. 169, 187), and strengthen agencies to combat spies (Doc. No. 246). Quite understandable and justified in wartime, these norms and rules were essentially preserved in the postwar years.
In these years of the war, the People's Commissariat of Defense had to solve complex tasks on a new scale to improve the system of bodies for the reception, life support and evacuation of a sizable number of enemy prisoners of war from military areas to the rear of the country. The solution of these problems was hampered by the harsh conditions of the Russian climate, the congestion of transport routes with transportation for the needs of the front, the lack of rolling stock, material, primarily food, resources, and many other factors.
Nevertheless, as can be seen from the documents, the military leadership, together with the NKVD, made certain efforts to solve the problems of prisoners of war within the framework of the principles and norms in force (Doc. No. 1, 211, 283, 297, 315, 322).
As the successful offensive operations of the Red Army unfolded in 1943-1945, the volume of captured property, military equipment, weapons, and vehicles increased. For their collection, accounting, evacuation, a system of trophy organs was created, their staffs, tasks, powers were determined (doc. No. 4, 5, 41, 62, 284, 288).
Along with the above, the People's Commissariat of Defense also focused on strengthening the wartime regime, discipline and law and order at the front and in the rear, replenishing the army with personnel and providing it with all types of allowances, monitoring the implementation of decisions made, and many others.
Of interest are the documents of the collection, revealing the changes in the strategic leadership of the Armed Forces, the People's Commissariat of Defense, in these years. At the end of 1944 and at the beginning of 1945, changes were made in the Headquarters and the General Staff, functions in the central apparatus of the People's Commissariat of Defense were partially redistributed, a clear procedure was established for issuing and signing orders of the Headquarters, the People's Commissariat of Defense, and the General Staff (Doc. No. 266, 268, 279) .  The circle of persons entitled to sign orders of the People's Commissariat of Defense was even more limited. Moreover, each order, if it was not signed by Stalin himself, should have been stamped: "Approved by the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR."
A number of documents that complete the collection reflect the process of transferring the life of the country, the Armed Forces to peacetime - on the demobilization of older ages, on the introduction of a single daily routine in the apparatus of the People's Commissariat of Defense, on amnesty in connection with the victory, on vacations for workers and employees, military personnel, on the abolition of overtime and martial law (Doc. No. 305, 307, 312, 313, 314, 316, 321).
Of more than 1900 orders of the People's Commissar of Defense issued in 1943-1945, 323 documents were selected for publication. The orders included in the collection are published in an exceptional majority from original copies stored in the Russian State Military Archive; only 8 documents (No. 55, 164, 191, 283, 292, 293, 294, 297) are published as certified copies. Most of the documents are placed completely. In cases of incomplete publication of applications, instructions, instructions, their omitted parts are commented on in the notes.
Of the 323 documents included in the collection, 168 were classified as "secret" and 44 were "top secret." The secrecy stamp of each document is not indicated, since the accepted order of numbering orders testifies to it: those starting with "O" - "secret", and with "00" - top secret.
The text retains all the stylistic features, abbreviated names and symbols of positions, institutions, military units and formations, terms inherent in the military documentation of that time. Text errors that have a semantic meaning are specified in the footnotes. The collection widely uses cross-references, revealing the sequence, the meaningful relationship of several documents on a certain range of issues.
The scientific and reference apparatus of the collection includes a preface, a list of documents, notes on the text (placed under the line) and the content of documents (located at the end of the collection), a subject-thematic index of orders of the People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, a list of abbreviations, information about officials whose signatures stand under the orders included in the collection, the name index.
A key component of the book is the subject-thematic index of the orders of the NPO of the USSR from January 1, 1943, to December 31, 1945. Orders are grouped according to the most common subject-thematic features and arranged in chronological order. The numbers of documents, the texts of which are published in the collection, are in bold type, and those used in comments and notes are in italics.
The editorial board and the team of compilers express their gratitude to Barukhov V.I., Vlasova I.V., Emelin A.S., Kryukova Yu.L., Mizonov S.P., Shabardin P.M. for their scientific and organizational assistance in preparing editions.
Major General V. A. Zolotarev, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, full member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.