Table of contents:
- Marshal's baton and generalissimo of the Russian Empire
- The fate of the first Soviet marshals
- 8 variants of the insignia and the choice of Stalin
- New time and extinct marshal stars
In 1940, 8 models of the future special award - the Marshal's Star - were put on Comrade Stalin's table. Despite the fact that the Generalissimo was not fond of luxury, the version he chose looked like a work of art. The five-pointed star with two-sided rays on the obverse was made of platinum, gold and inlaid with diamonds. The insignia of senior officers was inherited by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation until the star was abolished in 1997, following the marshal's rank.
Marshal's baton and generalissimo of the Russian Empire
In the era of the Russian Empire, the highest military rank sounded like "generalissimo". In the entire pre-revolutionary history, five people were honored with it. Much more generals rose to the rank of field marshals general. The first field marshals of the Teutonic Order have been known since the 13th century. In Russia, this title took root with the light hand of Peter the Great. For the first time, boyar Golovin, a close associate of the tsar, became a Russian field marshal. In total, the first Russian emperor made five associates general-field marshals. At the end of the 18th century, the Russian Empire already knew 37 such high officials. Catherine II was especially zealous in this matter, distributing titles to prominent commanders. During the short reign of Paul, 8 more field marshals appeared.
With the sunset of the palace coups, the indiscriminate assignment of titles also ceased. Subsequent rulers were less generous to the military. Under the last emperor, Russia recognized only a couple of new field marshals - Gurko and Milyutin. The latter completed the field marshal's history of Russia, and with the onset of the Bolshevik triumph, the title fell into oblivion.
The fate of the first Soviet marshals
For two decades, the country of workers and peasants, which thundered all over the world, managed to do without personal military ranks in the army system. But by 1935, the inconvenience became apparent and the traditional ranks returned to the Red Army. At the same time, the highest military rank was restored, which now sounded like Marshal of the Soviet Union. The first Soviet marshals were five: Blucher, Budyonny, Voroshilov, Egorov, Tukhachevsky. At that time, of all the insignia, they were content only with embroidered stars on the sleeves and buttonholes of uniforms. True, Tukhachevsky was soon sentenced for conspiracy to be shot and deprived of the confidence shown. Subsequently reinstated in the rank of marshal posthumously after rehabilitation. Marshals Blucher and Yegorov also fell under repression. The first died in prison, the second was carried out with capital punishment. At the same time, no one officially deprived them of their titles.
8 variants of the insignia and the choice of Stalin
On September 2, 1940, a supreme decree appeared on the establishment of the insignia called "Marshal's Star". The main participation in the creation of the special award was taken by Joseph Stalin himself. Not only did he own the idea, he personally supervised the development of the sketches. For approval, the commander-in-chief was offered eight versions of the Marshal's Star, which were planned to be made of precious metals, decorated with diamonds and precious stones. The "Father of Nations" did not recognize excessive luxury, therefore he approved the most modest model of the sign. The rest of the samples that did not pass the test were placed as exhibits in the Diamond Fund. The option chosen by the leader was perfectly combined with the Soviet marshal's uniforms.
There were two types of stars - "large" and "small". The honorary special sign was made of the purest gold and platinum, followed by inlaid with diamonds. The weight of the stars was 37 and 35 grams, respectively. The diameter of the reduced mark was 2 mm smaller, the “small star” was decorated with fewer diamonds. The "big" star was intended to reward the marshal and admiral of the fleet. "Small" was received by marshals from military branches: artillery, aviation, armored, engineering troops, etc.
At first, the Marshall Star was supposed to be worn under the collar of the uniform around the neck, and from 1955 the sign migrated to a tie. A special award was always presented solemnly. In most cases, the Marshal's Star was attached personally by the Supreme Chairman of the USSR Presidium.
A special letter was attached to the sign itself. At the time of establishment, it was planned that Marshall Stars would not be associated with orders or medals. Nevertheless, their owners had the absolute right to be considered gentlemen and received such a high award only for outstanding service. All owners of the Marshall Stars had only one such sign. Interestingly, not a single marshal was a full-fledged owner of the precious award. After the death of the commander or in case of his demotion, the relatives returned the Star to the state.
New time and extinct marshal stars
Since the establishment of the award and until the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, nine servicemen received the title of "Marshal of the Soviet Union". And each of them was awarded a Marshall Star of the "big" type. The generals deserved a little more "small" analogs. Fifteen outstanding military leaders were awarded the rank of marshal according to the branches of the army, and three more became chief marshals. Much more "small" stars have found their heroes in the post-war period. More than fifty people became Marshals of the Country of Soviets and chief marshals for the arms of the troops. In parallel, 27 "large" insignia were awarded. Moreover, 3 of these stars were received by naval commanders who rose to the admiral's rank, which was newly introduced in 1955. Since November 1974, the "Marshall Stars" could also be earned by the generals of the army. There are also a number of so-called "political marshals" who were awarded the precious Star.
After the collapse of the Union, the marshal rank itself was first abolished, and soon the highest diamond insignia was also canceled. In total, about six hundred marshal stars were released in the Soviet Union. But the "black market" also offered underground copies of the hands of enterprising jewelers. The Marshal's star can still be purchased today, its cost is estimated at tens of thousands of dollars.
Well, in the past, a special profession was the craft of an executioner. They lived not quite like ordinary people, and earned not only on executions.