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Azerbaijan celebrates Victory Day

9 May 2018 08:00 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan celebrates Victory Day

By Rashid Shirinov

Today Azerbaijan celebrates the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazism in the World War II, the most terrible war in the history of mankind.

The great victory on May 9, 1945, put an end to the six-year long war that killed about 65 million people all over the world. The people of Azerbaijan played a crucial role in this victory.

For the Soviet Union, which included Azerbaijan at that time, the war started in June 1941. The capture of Baku with its rich oil reserves was among the main goals of the leader of the Nazi forces Adolf Hitler. He was going to turn Baku into a German military colony. There is even a video capturing Hitler’s birthday where he is eating a cake with Baku and its oil wells on it.

However, Hitler could not fulfill his dream. Thousands of Azerbaijanis headed to the front to fight against the aggressor. In four years, over 600,000 Azerbaijanis, including more than 10,000 women, joined the Soviet troops. This was a huge number for Azerbaijan, which had a total population of 3.4 million people at that time. Over half of them never came back from the war.

The first Azerbaijani Hero of the Soviet Union was Sergeant Israfil Mammadov, assistant to platoon commander of the 42nd Rifle Regiment. In December 1941, his group of soldiers fought near Novgorod and repulsed four attacks by the superior enemy forces.

The twice Hero of the Soviet Union Hazi Aslanov was another fearless Azerbaijani who made his invaluable contribution to the victory in the war. He showed bravery in many battles, including the battle of Stalingrad, the largest land battle in history. Aslanov was promoted to the rank of the Major General of tank troops in March 1944.

Another Azerbaijani, the legendary partisan Mehdi Huseynzade fought against the Nazis in the Yugoslav-Italian partisans guerilla corps after suffering serious wounds in the battle of Stalingrad and being in the German captivity.

The 416th Division formed of Azerbaijani soldiers deserves special attention. They went through a valiant combat route from the Caucasus to Berlin. The prominent Azerbaijani scientist Ziya Bunyadov, who also bravely fought in the war, and 20 other soldiers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for the liberation of Poland and Czechoslovakia from the Nazis.

In general, about 170,000 Azerbaijanis fighting against the Nazis were awarded various orders and medals, 34 soldiers became Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory, while 123 were named Heroes of the Soviet Union.

While a part of Azerbaijanis were engaged in fighting the enemy on the front, another part of the population were working day and night to provide the Soviet Army with oil that it needed to power its heavy artillery against the Nazis. During the war, the entire economy of Azerbaijan was adapted to the needs of the army and almost all industrial spheres were working for the front.

Estimates showed that Baku supplied as many as 70-75 percent of oil and 85-90 percent of gasoline for the USSR Army during the war. A total of 75 million tons of oil and 22 million tons of gas were delivered from Baku to the front in 1941-1945.

Azerbaijani scientists also poured all their efforts into the fight against fascism. A group of chemical scientists, led by the famous academician Yusif Mammadaliyev, organized the production of 38 types of fuel, gasoline for 9 types of aircraft, and 8 types of diesel fuel.

The fact that Baku was the ‘fuel heart’ of the Soviet Union was badly irritating Hitler. Without the Baku oil, the Soviet tanks could not have withstood the Nazis and the enemy knew this. Therefore, Hitler ordered to draw up a map of industrial and military facilities of Baku. The Nazis had a plan entitled “Edelweiss,” which assumed the capture of the Caucasus and the oil fields of Baku.

The Nazi troops were approaching Azerbaijan in 1942, and the exact time of the occupation of Baku was set – September 25. However, the enemy forces were defeated before they could reach Baku.

Decades have passed since May 9, 1945, but the courage and heroism of millions of people fighting against Nazism never fades. The Azerbaijanis will always remember that hundreds of thousands of their ancestors sacrificed their lives for the sake of independent and prosperous motherland.


Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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