What was the Generalissimus of the Soviet Union?

Introduction

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union (Russian: Генералиссимус Советского Союза; Generalissimus Sovyétskogo Soyuza) was a military rank created on 27 June 1945 styled after a similar Imperial Russian Army rank held by Aleksei Shein, Prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov, (reportedly) Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick, and Count Alexander Suvorov.

It was proposed for but rejected by Joseph Stalin following World War II. It was the highest military rank in the Soviet Union.

Overview

According to Stalin biographer Robert Service, Stalin regretted allowing himself the ostentatious military title and asked Winston Churchill to continue to refer to him as a marshal instead. Stalin rejected any kind of distinctions between his military rank and the other Soviet marshals and kept using the original Marshal of the Soviet Union insignia and uniform.

The possibility of the Generalissimus of the Soviet Union rank was mentioned again in 1947 when a draft of a decree about Soviet military ranks was presented to Stalin. General Andrey Khrulyov, director of the General Department of Logistics, was tasked with designing a Soviet Generalissimus uniform for Stalin to use in the victory parade on 09 May 1947. The uniform was finished and presented to Stalin one week before the parade. After examining it, Stalin again expressed dissatisfaction. He declared: “I will never sign this decree. The Soviet Red Army only has Marshal as its highest rank.” The subject of new rank was not raised again. Fabricated samples were rejected by Stalin, who considered them to be too luxurious and old-fashioned. Currently they are stored in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War located in Moscow at Poklonnaya Gora.

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