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Stalin pp 264-290 | Cite as

Generalissimus

  • Robert H. McNeal
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Part of the St Antony’s book series

Abstract

Victory over Germany and Japan brought Stalin various personal rewards, apart from the vast increase in the power of the Soviet Union. There was a triumphal parade on Red Square, the planning of which he personally initiated, instructing Zhukov to appear on horseback in the interests of tradition. There were more medals to add to his substantial collection: the Order of Victory, another Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin and a Gold Star. Although he was to be embalmed wearing numerous medals, Stalin while alive customarily displayed only a single Hero of the Soviet Union award. The most elevated of all his new honours was a specially created military rank, ‘generalissimus’ — ‘the superlative general’. This dignity was proposed by his commanders at a banquet following the victory parade, with what inspiration one cannot say. At least he exercised some restraint in the design of the uniform of the new rank. Marshal Shtemenko relates that he once called on Stalin’s office and found in the waiting-room the commander of the intendancy of the Red Army, wearing an archaic costume in the style of Kutuzov, with a high collar and gold stripes on the trousers. This was somebody’s proposed design for Generalissimus Stalin, who, on seeing it, asked, ‘Who got you dressed up like that?’ On learning what was going on, he sensibly decided to stick to the existing uniform of a marshal, simply adding a new shoulder insignia.1

Keywords

Communist Party Central Committee Foreign Minister Communist State Party Congress 
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Notes

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Copyright information

© Robert H. McNeal 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. McNeal
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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