Stalin has died. The real cause is unknown, but the limited official proclamation given out is that “he got sick, fought the dreadful illness valiantly, but in the end gracefully died knowing that Mother Russia is in good hands”. From the unusually quick ensuing power struggle Molotov has emerged as the new leader of Russia. Stalin in his death has been glorified a fair amount for political reasons (though not as much as he would have liked) but now Molotov firmly (as well as can be expected) holds the reins. He is still brutal when necessary, but brutal for practical reasons rather than ones of personal politics or paranoia (unless it is absolutely necessary ). Instead he is focusing his policies on making sure that commanders understand that the new priority is winning the war, not purging. Obviously, occasionally such things need to happen, but in general the potential of the individuals and leaders is being allowed to work a little better (e.g., no mad rushes of mostly unarmed complete greenies into the enemy’s fire. Or not as often anyway). Things are not a whole lot better, but they are improving now that people no longer have to compromise quite as much effectiveness out of fear. The system is still woefully backwards, but it is improving.
General orders stand: Hold back the Germans as much as possible. If the opportunity arises, push them back, but only if it will gain long-term advantage. Meanwhile, Russia’s industrial facilities are struggling to produce as much arms, vehicles, planes, tanks, equipment, etc. as possible. Any people that can be spared from the immediate front are being trained in the use of this equipment, nothing fancy but better than being entirely green and getting thrown into battle. Any forces and personnel that can be spared are being reserved, training for what will hopefully be a reasonably prepared offensive sometime in the future. Emphasis on airplanes. But in keeping with general Soviet policy, if there ever is a need for troops, just throw whatever we’ve got in there.
USSR to Britain, U.S., other allies:
Let us share all technological data and construction expertise that we possess. Only by working together can we beat the German menace.
USSR to U.S.:
Please, help us. We are dangerously close to the edge of defeat, while we are currently holding on, it wouldn’t take much for the Germans to push us over the precipice. If we fall, the Germans may well become unstoppable, as the British would soon follow and things would just generally go downhill from there. Any aid you can give us will be appreciated, but we would most like help in setting up factories and generally increasing our output of weapons and armor and planes.