Joseph Stalin’s 60th Birthday (1939)


Author’s Note: By December 1939, the UK was already at war with Nazi Germany, but not with the US. Furthermore, Hitler had not yet successfully invaded Western Europe. In the years leading up to this time, the UK (and other Western powers) has indugled Hitler and his Nazi regime, giving away territory and entire countries as virtual gifts! Britain’s Winston Churchill was ironically particularly admiring of Hitler, with the British and American governments hinting a ‘clear hand in the East’ should Hitler turn his armies toward the USSR and destroy its Marxist-Leninist regime. At this time the USSR was not ready to confront Hitler and the Soviet Government cleverly turned the tide on the likes of Churchil (and the anti-Soviet French) by generating the conditions for a ‘free hand in the West’ should Hitler decide to attack the Western (capitalist) democracies. This policies bought nearly two extra crucial years for the Red Army to modernise and mobilise. In effect this Soviet policy guaranteed the Allied vistory over Fascism – led as it was by the USSR! ACW (6.2.2019)

‘December 21, 1939 was Stalin’s 60th birthday which,needless to say, was marked by an orgy of laudatory articles (“Stalin Continues the Work of Lenin” by Molotov, “Stalin and the build-Up of the Red Army” by Voroshilov, “Stalin, the Great Engine-Driver of History”, by Kaganovich, “Stalin is Lenin to-day”, by Mikoyan, etc), poems and musical compositions, among them Prokofiev’s, musically admirable, Ode to Stalin.

Two days later the press began to publish the birthday greetings Stalin had received from abroad. The place of honour was given to the telegram from Hitler, followed by that from Ribbentrop.

In his birthday greeting to Stalin on December 21, Hitler said:

“…Please accept my most sincere congratulations. I send at the same time my very best wishes for your personal good health and for a happy future for the peoples of a friendly Soviet Union.”

Adolf Hitler

Ribbentrop was even more gushing:

“Remembering the historic hours at the Kremlin which marked the beginning of a decisive change in the relations of our countries and which thus laid the foundations for long years of friendship between our two peoples, please accept my most cordial congratulations on your 60th birthday.”

Joachim von Ribbentrop

Stalin sent Hitler a rather conventional telegram of thanks, but in his telegram to Ribbentrop he said: “The friendship between the peoples of the Soviet Union and Germany, cemented by blood, has every reason to be solid and lasting.”

The impression persisted among the Soviet hierarchy that Ribbentrop was more wholehearted about the Soviet-German Pact than Hitler was. No doubt they would have preferred if the other way round.

Third on the list was the telegram from Kuusinen, followed by birthday greetings from Chiang Kai-Shek, Mgr Tiso, the President of Slovakia, Mr Sarajoglu of Turkey, and the particularly obsequious messages from the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. There were no birthday greetings from any Western leaders, who were busy at the time expelling the Soviet Union from the League of Nations.’

English Language Reference:

Alexander Werth: Russia at War 1941-1945, Barrie & Rockliff, (1964) Pages 71-22


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