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The Researchers' Corner Research; the mysterious process which slowly sweeps away the passage of time to reveal the unique history within every award and unit.

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Old 10-26-2003, 12:42 PM   #1
matteti
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Soviet Hero Cities

Hi all dear knowledgeable friends!
I have a question that is bothered me for some time. It's about "Hero Cities". On the main site, under the header for the medal For Defence of Odessa, we can read "Odessa was awarded the Title of "Hero City" on 1 May 1945, and is one of only four "Hero Cities" in the USSR (the others being Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Sevastopol.)

What does that mean? Are there only 4 Hero cities? Or only four of them were declared Hero Cities on May, 1 1945?

Because, if I remember correctly from when I visited the Memorial Museum of War in Kiev, there are many big monuments (around 15) to the Hero Cities which shows a giant HSU order on them and the name of the cities under. There was Kiev, Moscow, Minsk, Odessa, Sevastopol, Leningrad, Brest, Stalingrad, and some others that I just don't remember at the moment.

Also, on Internet, I often saw a list of Soviet Hero Cities that was lot more extensive.

So, can someone explain to me what I should understand?

Thank you very much in advance.

P.S. I don't write often, but it's always a great pleasure to read you on a daily basis and learn from your interesting posts.

Last edited by CtahhR; 09-21-2012 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 10-26-2003, 01:43 PM   #2
DougD
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Hero Cities

Yes, there are quite afew hero cities now; the soviet government would award the title well after the war, so you had such cities as Kiev added later. I am not sure when each was added, but it started to get a bit crazy in the Brezhnev era.

Cities could apply for Hero status, and Brezhnev would often give it.

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Old 10-26-2003, 02:39 PM   #3
Christophe
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13 Soviet Hero Cities

Is it correct to say there are 13 Soviet Hero Cities of World War II ? :
* Moscow
* Leningrad
* Stalingrad
* Murmansk
* Smolensk
* Tula
* Kiev
* Sevastopol
* Kerch
* Odessa
* Novorossisk
* Minsk
* Brest Fortress.
I don't have for all of them the dates the titles have been awarded.

Ch.
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Old 10-26-2003, 03:15 PM   #4
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Marshal Stalin's May Day Order of the Day

To complete both Doug's and mine answers, the following document from Stalin, dated May 1, 1945, shows very clearly in the 18th paragraph that in May 1945, there were only 4 Hero Cities : Leningrad, stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa.

Logically, we can suppose the 9 other cities have been awarded later.

I wish you an interesting reading.

" MARSHAL STALIN'S MAY DAY ORDER OF THE DAY
May 1, 1945

Information Bulletin, Embassy of the U.S.S.R.

Comrades Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants and petty officers, officers of the Army and Navy, generals and admirals! Working people of the Soviet Union!

Today our country is celebrating May First-the international holiday of the working people. This year the peoples of our Motherland are celebrating May Day in the conditions of the victorious termination of the Great Patriotic War.

The hard times, when the Red Army fought back the enemy troops at Moscow and Leningrad, at Grozny and Stalingrad, are gone, never to return. Now our victorious troops are battering the enemy's armed forces in the center of Germany, far beyond Berlin, on the Elbe River.

Within a short time Poland, Hungary, the greater part of Czechoslovakia, a considerable part of Austria and her capital, Vienna, have been liberated. At the same time the Red Army has captured East Prussia-spearhead of German imperialism-Pomerania, the greater part of Brandenburg, and the main districts of Germany's capital, Berlin, having hoisted the banner of victory over Berlin.

As a result of these offensive battles fought by the Red Army, within three or four months the Germans lost over 800,000 officers and men in prisoners and about one million killed. During the same period, Red Army troops captured or destroyed up to 6,000 enemy airplanes, up to 12,000 tanks and self-propelled guns, over 23,000 field guns, and enormous quantities of other armaments and equipment.

It should be noted that in these battles, Polish, Yugoslav, Czechoslovak, Bulgarian and Rumanian divisions successfully advanced against the common enemy side by side with the Red Army.

As a result of the Red Army's shattering blows, the German command was compelled to transfer dozens of divisions to the Soviet-German front, baring whole sectors on the other fronts. This circumstance helped the forces of our Allies to develop a successful offensive in the West.

Thus by simultaneous blows at the German troops from East and West, the troops of the Allies and the Red Army were able to split the German forces into two isolated parts and to effect a junction of ours and the Allied troops in a united front. There can be no doubt that this circumstance means the end of Hitlerite Germany.

The days of Hitlerite Germany are numbered. More than half her territory is occupied by the Red Army and by the troops of our Allies. Germany has lost her most important vital districts. The industry remaining in the Hitlerites' hands cannot supply the German army with sufficient quantities of armaments, ammunition and fuel. The manpower reserves of the German army are depleted. Germany is completely isolated and stands alone, if one does not count her ally-Japan.

In search of a way out of their hopeless plight, the Hitlerite adventurers resort to all kinds of tricks, down to flirting with the Allies in an effort to cause dissension in the Allied camp. These fresh knavish tricks of the Hitlerites are doomed to utter failure. They can only accelerate the disintegration of the German troops.

The mendacious fascist propaganda intimidates the German population by absurd tales alleging that the Armies of the United Nations wish to exterminate the German people. The United Nations do not set themselves the task of destroying the German people. The United Nations will destroy fascism and German militarism, will severely punish the war criminals, and will compel the Germans to compensate the damage they caused to other countries. But the United Nations do not molest and will not molest Germany's peaceful population if it modestly fulfills the demands of the Allied military authorities.

The brilliant victories won by Soviet troops in the Great Patriotic War have demonstrated the heroic might of the Red Army and its high military skill. In the progress of the war our Motherland has acquired a first-rate regular army, capable of upholding the great socialist achievements of our people and of securing the State interests of the Soviet Union. Despite the fact that the Soviet Union for four years has been waging a war on an unparalleled scale demanding colossal expenditures, our socialist economic system is gaining strength and developing, while the economy of the liberated regions, plundered and ruined by the German invaders, is successfully and swiftly reviving. This is the result of the heroic efforts of the workers and collective farmers, of the Soviet intellectuals, of the women and youth of our country, inspired and guided by the great Bolshevik Party.

The World War unleashed by the German imperialists is drawing to a close. The collapse of Hitlerite Germany is a matter of the nearest future. The Hitlerite ringleaders who imagined themselves the rulers of the world have found themselves ruined. The mortally wounded fascist beast is breathing his last. One thing is now required-to deal the death blow to the fascist beast.

Soldiers of the Red Army and Navy! The last storming of the Hitlerite den is on. Set new examples of military skill and gallantry in the concluding battles. Smite the enemy more heavily, skillfully break up his defense, pursue and surround the German invaders, give them no respite until they cease resistance. When beyond the border of your native land, be especially vigilant! Uphold the honor and dignity of the Soviet soldier as heretofore!

Working people of the Soviet Union! By persistent and indefatigable work, increase the all-round assistance to the front. Swiftly heal the wounds inflicted on the country by the war, raise still higher the might of our Soviet State!

Comrades Red Army men and Red Navy men, sergeants and petty officers, officers of the Army and Navy, generals and admirals! Working people of the Soviet Union! On behalf of the Soviet Government and of our Bolshevik Party I greet and congratulate you on May First!

In honor of the historic victories of the Red Army at the front and of the great achievements of the workers, collective farmers and intellectuals in the rear, to mark the international holiday of working people, I hereby order:

Today, on May First, a salute of twenty artillery salvos shall be fired in the capitals of the Union Republics: Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Baku, Tbilisi, Erevan, Ashkhabad, Tashkent, Stalinabad, Alma-Ata, Frunze, Petrozavodsk, Kishinev, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, as well as in the hero cities of Leningrad, Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa.

Long live our mighty Soviet Motherland!

Long live the great Soviet people-the victor people!

Long live the victorious Red Army and Navy!

Eternal glory to the heroes who fell in the battles for the freedom and independence of our Motherland!

Forward to the final rout of Hitlerite Germany!

(Signed) Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
Marshal of the Soviet Union,
JOSEPH STALIN "

Cheers.

Ch.
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Old 10-27-2003, 12:36 PM   #5
Kim
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The excellent Hero book that gives number and dates of issue of HSU have this to say about Hero cities.

city - HSU number - Date

Moskva -10 691 -8.5.1965
Leningrad -10 692 -8.5.1965
Volgograd (Stalingrad) -10 693 -8.5.1965
Kiev -10 694 -8.5.1965
Sevastopol -10 695 -8.5.1965
Odessa -10 696 -8.5.1965
Brest [hero fortress] -10 697 -8.5.1965
Novorosijsk -10 739 -14.9.1973
Kertj -10 740 -14.9.1973
Tula -11 422 -7.12.1976
Minsk -11 424 ?

[Have I missed any?]

A total of 11 hero cities. Was the hero titel given during the war a titel in name only? The dates of awarding the star/title are all post war...

Sorry about the Swedish translation of Russian names, I just made a cut/paste.

/Kim
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Old 10-27-2003, 12:52 PM   #6
Christophe
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Kim,

Did you check about Murmansk and Smolensk ?

Ch.
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Old 10-27-2003, 03:51 PM   #7
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About Murmansk...

From Pravda Online, dated 2002-05-08 :

"Meeting hero cities representatives opens in Murmansk

A traditional meeting of the Hero Cities representatives from the former USSR opened on Wednesday on the occasion of the Day of Victory over the fascist Germany, that Russia celebrates on May 9th. The Hero City title was awarded to 13 Soviet cities that distinguished themselves during the Great Patriotic War, as World War II is called in Russia.
The meeting of veterans from these cities is held for the 10th time after the Soviet Union break-up. This time it will take place in the Hero City of Murmansk on the Barents Sea. About 40 veterans have come here. (...)".

Ch.
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Old 10-27-2003, 03:55 PM   #8
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Precision

During the World War II Murmansk was not occupied by the Nazis and it received a title " Gorod Geroi " meaning Hero City ( 1985 ). Together with cities like Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad...

1985 : That could be the reason why it is not mentioned in the "Hero Book" (when published ?).

Ch.
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Old 10-27-2003, 04:04 PM   #9
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About Smolensk...

Have a look to this stamp, celebrating the City-Hero Smolensk.
Date of issue: 9th May 1987.
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File Type: jpg su164st.jpg (8.2 KB, 114 views)
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Old 10-27-2003, 04:06 PM   #10
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The corresponding document...

The drawing shows Smolensk's fortress, medal "Gold Star"...
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