On this day in 1941, the 24th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Joseph Stalin, premier and dictator of the USSR, delivers a speech to a rally of Moscow Party workers.
The rally was held underground, in the marbled halls of the Mayakovsky train station. There, Stalin encouraged the assembled Communist Party workers with the promise that if the Germans “want a war of extermination, they shall have one.” The very next day, standing atop Lenin’s Mausoleum in Red Square, Stalin took the salute of his troops and encouraged them to defend “holy Russia”—even as German tanks, previously mired in mud, began to roll over now—frozen ground in their advance toward the Soviet capital.
But Stalin would have more than just his military to rely on. As the Red Army marched down Gorky Street, President Franklin Roosevelt officially extended the scope of the Lend-Lease Act to include the Soviet Union. The USSR would now be eligible for an influx of American arms-including British weaponry manufactured in the United States. What had begun as a military aid program for Great Britain was growing to include other allies in their fight against fascism-even fascism’s left-wing mirror image, Bolshevik Russia.