10 June, 2012

10 June 1945

No letter today. Just this:

Leipzig - "To Zoo" - June 1945

Wreckage in Leipzig - June 1945

More Wreckage in Leipzig - June 1945

Three-Wheeled Transport in Leipzig - June 1945


about Eisenhower Toasts Zhukov

During a toast on 10 June 1945, as Zhukov awards
Montgomery with the Soviet Order of Victory,
Eisenhower (2nd from left) whispers in Zhukov's ear

On 10 June 1945 Zhukov presented Eisenhower with the Soviet Order of Victory, a red star medal with rubies and diamonds estimated at over $100,000. In its history, it has been awarded twenty times to twelve Soviet leaders (some more than once) and five foreign leaders, with one revocation (Leonid Brezhnev).

Soviet Order of Victory

Below is Eisenhower's acceptance speech. From the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission's web site comes this:

I raised my glass primarily to speak a word of admiration on behalf of the Allied Forces for Marshal Zhukov, but I am going to wander a bit a field before I arrive at my final toast. Marshal Zhukov has praised me in extravagant terms, my job and my performance of my job in this war. It seems a fitting occasion to me to point out that I have had the advice of the most skillful soldiers and skillful diplomats that the two great countries could produce. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and diplomats, realizing that only in unity is there strength, have subordinated themselves to my commands with perfect loyalty regardless of the claims made upon them from within their own countries. To those men I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude. Those people have worked at my side in adversity and in prosperity and have never once deviated by one inch from the instructions laid down.

I cannot name names today for the simple reason there have been so many who have performed so loyally that it would be an injustice to some if I named a single soldier; but I know those men intimately and I know what they want. They want peace. They want the opportunity for our farmers to raise a little more corn next year; they want the opportunity for our miners to live a little better next year. All of us who are right thinking want the common man of all United Nations to have the opportunities that we fought to preserve for him. They want the opportunities that will let all nations that have been engaged in this war go forward together to greater prosperity - not for us, sitting around this table, but for the masses that we represent. That means peace. Speaking for the Allied forces, we are going to have peace if we have to fight for it.

On two occasions now I have had the great honor of meeting high officials of the Soviet Union. It is my feeling that in this basic desire of all of us, they are one with us. Regardless of the methods by which we arrive at that goal, that is what we are struggling for. I cannot speak for any other individual; in fact, while I am expressing here what is in my heart and mind, I am speaking for no one except Ike Eisenhower, but I believe that there is not a single man around this table that would not give back all the honors, all the publicity, and everything else that this war has brought to him if he could have avoided the misery and suffering and debt that have been brought to the populations by reason of this war.

Yet this war was a holy war, more than any other in history this war has been an array of the forces of evil against those of righteousness. It had to have its leaders, and it had to be won - no matter what the sacrifices, no matter what the suffering to populations, to materials, to our wealth - oil, steel, industry - no matter what the cost was, the war had to be won. In Europe it has been won. To no one man do the United Nations owe a greater debt than to Marshal Zhukov. As our honored guest today he has come down and very courteously conferred certain honors of the Soviet Union upon members of the Allied forces. But Marshal Zhukov, a modest man, probably underrates the standing that he holds in our hearts and minds. One day, when all of us here at this board are gathered by our Fathers, there is certain to be another order of the Soviet Union. It will be the Order of Zhukov, and that Order will be prized by every man who admires courage, vision, fortitude, and determination in a soldier.

Gentlemen, I deem it a very great honor to ask you to rise and drink to Marshal Zhukov.

Zhukov and Eisenhower


  1. I was very interested to read the letters that were posted from Leipzig. I am publishing a novel set in Leipzig in 1947 that will come out this fall (2013). Would you consider allowing me to use the two photos on this page that show the ruins in Leipzig? I sometimes talk to students and find that pictures help focus their attention on what I'm telling them. If you are willing, you can email me through my website.

    Thank you for sharing these letters.

    1. Send me your email or website as a comment. Will not publish the comment but have no other way to reach you...

    2. Not pertinent to this topic in specific, but this was the most recent post & I figured therefore possibly the best way to contact you. :)

      I was doing some digging for a piece of elusive info on Deke Parsons & did a literal mental stumble when I discovered your blog. My dad was a dentist in France during/immediately after the war (though in the south, not Nancy). I've never seen correspondence between Pop & my mother, so although I felt a bit like a voyeur reading your dad's letters, I also got a feeling for what must have been similar interchanges between the two of them.

      I don't normally gush, but I look at the beyond-enormous product you created & soak in the *indescribable* amount of work that went into making it, & the magnum opus completely overwhelms. It takes a lot to put me at a loss for words, but you accomplished that & more. A better & more personal tribute to two people I can't imagine. Thank you, & thank you again. You made my entire month. :)

      Regards & Happy Thursday!