Azerbaijan marks 77th anniversary of World War II victory
Today Azerbaijan marks the 77th anniversary of World War II victory and commemorates those who fought and sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom over fascism during the Second World War.
The country entered World War II alongside the Soviet Union, after the German declaration of war on June 22, 1941.
Despite being a small country, Azerbaijan undoubtedly played an undeniably great role in the war of freedom and liberty over fascism and tyranny in military, economic and strategic areas.
How Azerbaijan economically secured the victory
Prior to World War II, Soviet Azerbaijan was one of the world's largest producers of oil, oil products, and petroleum equipment, hugely contributing to the Soviet Union to be ranked next to the United States and Canada in oil production.
Azerbaijan supplied 90 percent of engine oil, 80 percent of gasoline and 70 percent of oil for the Soviet army during the WWII.
Four out of the five Soviet aircrafts, tanks and trucks used in the war ran on Azerbaijani fuel. Therefore, invasion of Baku and its oil fields was a top priority for Nazi Germany.
Despite ongoing military actions, Baku could remain the main supplier of fuels and lubricants, sending 23.5 million tons of oil in the first year of the war alone. A total of 75 million tons of oil were transported for military needs throughout World War II. The former ambassador of Russia to Azerbaijan Vasiliy Istratov said: "There wouldn’t be any victory in World War II without natural resources of Azerbaijan."
On April 28, 1945, marshal of the Soviet Union Fyodor Tolbukhin wrote about Azerbaijan's irreplaceable contribution in his article under a subtitle of "Glory to Azerbaijani nation": "The Red Army owes Azerbaijani nation and courageous Baku oilmen for many victories, for on-time delivery of qualitative fuel to attacking units. Soldiers of our front under Stalingrad, in Don and Donbass, on the shores of the Dnepr and Dniester, in Belgrade, under Budapest and Vienna remember Azerbaijani oilmen with gratitude and greet brave workers of oily Baku."
Azerbaijan's military contribution in World War II
Over 600,000 Azerbaijanis were conscripted to the army during World War II from 1941 to 1945. Out of them, about 300,000 Azerbaijani troops were killed. Some 15,000 medical workers were deployed on the Eastern Front, along with 3,750 operators of motorized vehicles. Divisions from Azerbaijan marched from the Caucasus to Berlin.
Not only Azerbaijani men and women fought in the regular Red Army against Germany, but also a number of Azerbaijanis combated against Italian and German forces as partisan groups in the Balkans, France, Italy and Eastern Europe. Azerbaijani women also participated in the fight against the Axis. Some notable women include partisan Aliya Rustambayova, sniper Ziba Ganiyeva, anti-craft gunner Almaz Ibrahimova, and captain Shovkat Salimova.
In addition, Azerbaijani troops played a significant role in several battles that changed the historical course and save the victory over fascism, including: the Defence of Brest Fortress, the Siege of Leningrad, the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of Berlin. These troops were stationed in the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine, as well as Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
Azerbaijani civilians also played a major role in the Battle of the Caucasus, providing resistance to the German advance toward Baku and Grozny, which were main oil supplying cities of the Soviet Union.
Azerbaijani heroes who saved Europe from fascism
During the WW II, 130 Azerbaijani citizens were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for their heroic fight against fascism. As many as 170,000 Azerbaijani soldiers and officers were awarded various USSR orders and medals.
Lieutenant Israfil Mammadov was the first Azerbaijani awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, and Major-General Hazi Aslanov received the title twice. Huseynrza Mammadov and Javad Hakimli were commanders of Azerbaijani Partisan Detachment in France and Italy respectively, while Mammad Aliyev was the commander of Azerbaijani Partisan Detachment in Belarus and Crimea.
Aslan Vazirov, Adil Guliyev, Ziya Bunyatov, Geray Asadov, Malik Maharramov and Mehdi Huseynzadeh, generals Mahmud Abilov, Akim Abbasov, Tarlan Aliyarbeyov, Hajibala Zeynalov and many others brought honor to the history of the Azerbaijani people.
Among Azerbaijani partisans, Lieutenant Mehdi Husenyzade (Mikhailo) and Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov (Kharko), who fought for the liberation of Yugoslavia, Italy, and France from Germany respectively, left an important mark in the fight against fascism. Particularly, Ahmadiyya Jabrayilov was awarded with the most important medals of France due to his roles in liberation of Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Paris and other cities.