Victory Day

1945-05-09 - Josip Broz Tito


Peoples of Yugoslavia!

Soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers! Workers, peasants, and citizens!

Today, May 9th, exactly forty-nine months and three days after the fascist attack on Yugoslavia, the greatest aggressive power in Europe, Germany, capitulated. On May 8th, at 23,01 hours, the German High Command signed the act of capitulation in Berlin.

Forty-nine months of superhuman exertion and shedding of blood by our peoples have ended with the complete victory of our peoples in concert with the United Nations, first and foremost with the Soviet Union, Britain and America. The once terrible and seemingly invincible power is smashed. The just cause of the United Nations has triumphed over the destructive forces which tried to impose the so-called new order upon mankind, the order of slavery and suffering. This, the most terrible, war in the history of mankind has cost Europe tens of millions of human victims. German fascism in its frenzy, Italian fascism, and their bloody henchmen, who appeared in all European countries, exterminated peaceful civilians, exterminated all those who refused to come to terms with Hitler's "new order" in Europe. Hundred of camps of the Jasenovac and Majdanek type, camps of horror and death, will remain for all time as a ghastly reminder to all nations that never again must they allow such a tragedy to happen, that they must do everything they can to see that the author of the tragedy, fascism, is destroyed at the root.

Soldiers, NCOs, and officers of the Yugoslav Army, Partisans — men and women!

Your heroism and self-sacrifice since the beginning of the war in 1941 until today, under the most appalling conditions, in battle against the incomparably superior forces of the enemy, were an example to all the enslaved peoples of Europe. Fired with determination to defend your homeland to your last drop of blood, inspired with deep faith in the victory of your just cause, from 1941 onward you delivered fierce and merciless blows against the common enemy of the United Nations. You have discharged your debt to your country with honour. Your immortal deeds will live forever in the hearts of our peoples and their future generations. The arena of the glorious battles of the Sutjeska, of Zelengora, Kozara, and the Neretva, etc, will remain eternal monuments to your heroism and that of your fallen comrades. They will inspire future generations of our peoples and will teach them how to love their country and how to die for it. They will be monuments of our national pride in the struggle for freedom and independence.

The new Yugoslav Army, an Army forged in the fires of the fiercest battles, an Army which is composed of yourselves, a true people's army which has won such glorious victories, must remain, and will remain, the unshakable defender of the achievements of our superhuman struggle. Peoples of Yugoslavia! Our liberated brothers in Istria, in the Slovene Littoral, and in Carinthia, fix their eyes upon you in full confidence that you will know how to preserve the freedom they have won.

Peoples of Yugoslavia!

Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Moslems!

The long-desired day has dawned which you have been waiting for with such yearning. The day of rejoicing has come to us here, too. Finally the greatest fascist power in Europe is vanquished, Germany, which inflicted so much suffering upon our people and took so many victims. The powers that tried to enslave you have been vanquished. You were offered enticements by the German and Italian fascists in order to lead you to exterminate each other. But your best sons and daughters, inspired with love for their homeland and for you, her peoples, thwarted this diabolical enemy plan. Instead of mutual dissension and hostility, you are today united in a new and happier Yugoslavia. Instead of the old Yugoslavia, rotten with corruption and injustice, today we have the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia of equal peoples. This is the result of the victory of our glorious Yugoslav Army, it is the result of your endurance, your self-sacrifice and faith in your just cause.

The great day of peace and freedom bursts forth in splendour. The new days are at hand when we shall build up our devastated land in peace. Now we have a new great victory to win, we must build up our devastated country and make our truly national government strong. We must make our brotherhood and unity even stronger, so that never again can any force destroy it. To achieve this will require tremendous efforts on the part of all elements in the country. And this means they will have to display all their zeal and capacity for self-sacrifice, as was done on the battlefield by your sons and brothers and sisters. Only by a maximum effort can the time needed for the reconstruction of the country be cut short.

On this great Victory Day of the United Nations over the common enemy the thoughts of all the Yugoslav peoples go out with gratitude to the glorious and invincible Red Army. They go out with gratitude to the heroic peoples of the Soviet Union, who have made the greatest sacrifices in this superhuman struggle. They go out to our great Allies, Britain and America, and their armies, which have made great sacrifies for the victory of the just cause of the United Nations. Our thoughts go out to all those nations who fought and suffered under the fascist yoke. On this great Victory Day our thoughts go out to our brothers-in-arms and blood brothers in the Balkans who have also endured great sufferings from the same enemy and have contributed their share to this magnificent victory.

May 9th, 1945 is a day of common victory, it is a festival shared by all the United Nations. We want this great day to be a day of inspiration, a day of earnest longing by all the United Nations for a lasting peace and mutual understanding. I am convinced that I am expressing the desire of our peoples when I say that the Yugoslav peoples would be overjoyed if the same harmony and understanding were to prevail among the United Nations after this great victory on the battlefield as existed during the war.

I send an appeal to all who have been misled and have been under arms in the service of the occupier, whether with the Chetniks, the Ustashi, the Domobran, or other units, to lay down their arms immediately and surrender to the nearest authorities. At the same time I wish to make it known that our peoples, builders of a new and happier Yugoslavia, will never allow anyone to hamper them in their efforts to build up the country. All those who would continue to hamper them in this work will be dealt with mercilessly by our people and Army.

I issue an order to all military units to disarm immediately all armed formations which until now have been in the service of the occupier or which would attempt to organise themselves outside the framework of the Yugoslav Army. I issue an order that all war material, heavy and light equipment, arms dumps and food dumps, military and other commodities, be immediately surrendered to the Yugoslav Army.

Long live our great Allies the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and America!

Long live the greatest joint victory of the United Nations over the common enemy!

Long live the invincible Red Army!

Long live the armies of our Allies Britain and America and all the United Nations!

Long live the glorious Yugoslav Army, the pride of the Yugoslav peoples!

Long live the brotherhood and unity of the Yugoslav peoples!

Glory to the memory of those who fell for the liberation of our fatherland!

Death to fascism — Freedom to the people!