75 years ago, on November 29, 1943, in Tehran, where the meeting of the “Big Three” (Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill) was held, the Soviet delegation was presented the “sword of Stalingrad”, forged by special decree of King of England George VI of (father of the current Queen of England) . The king presented this sword of honor as a gift to the defenders of Stalingrad as a sign of admiration for their courage and boldness. The length of the sword is 122 centimeters, the blade 91 centimeters.
The blade has an inscription in Russian and English:
“Citizens of Stalingrad, strong as steel, from King George VI as a sign of deep admiration for the British people.”
The sword is considered one of the masterpieces of blacksmith’s weapon art. Its production took three months, while using silver, gold wire, rubies, steel of the highest quality, the work was watched by nine experts on the weapons industry, and at the end their work was approved by the king personally.
The British Ally edition, published in Russian for Soviet readers during the war, wrote: “The sword is embedded in a beautiful sheath trimmed with a red Persian merushka. On the sheath in enamel and gold – royal emblems and Red Army stars … “I would like,” said the king, “that this gift in coming, more joyous times might remind of the unshakable courage with which the city of soldiers reflected the powerful and persistent attacks of those who attacked hordes. So that it could be an expression of admiration not only of the British people, but of the entire civilized world. ”
November 29, the head of the English government, Churchill, solemnly presented this sword to the head of the Soviet government, Stalin. Taking the sword, Stalin kissed his scabbard. And American President Roosevelt took the sword in his hands and said about the defenders of the city: “Verily, they had hearts of steel.”
However, not all of this sword caused such sublime feelings. The American writer John Steinbeck in 1947 visited Stalingrad, still destroyed by the war, and noted in his Russian Diary that the sword and other foreign gifts to Stalingrad citizens in the museum caused him a “feeling of deep sadness.”
“The absurdity of the medieval sword and golden shield only emphasized the paucity of imagination of those who presented them. The world rewarded Stalingrad with fake medals, and he needed several bulldozers. ”
Now the sword is in the Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Now there are streets in honor of the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad in Brussels, Paris, Nice, Milan and other cities of Western Europe … But, of course, after the victory of “euromaidan” in Ukraine, this did not prevent the authorities of Dnepropetrovsk in 2015 from renaming Heroes of Stalingrad Street into Bohdan Khmelnitsky Avenue. However, opponents of the renaming appealed to the court and against the background of public outrage, renaming managed to win the case a year ago. A similar situation arose in Kharkov, where they also tried to rename the Heroes of Stalingrad Avenue into the avenue named after the serviceman Miroslav Mysly. But it did not work …
This shows that even in the most unfavorable conditions for anti-fascists (it’s difficult to call Ukraine’s conditions after the victory of Maidan difficult), you can resist the advance of the ultra-right and even defeat small victories over them …