By Nigar Orujova
Baku, the daydream of Nazis Germany, will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazism today. Notwithstanding the fact that Azerbaijan’s capital did not get the title of hero city, Baku was one of the main characters in the World War II.
The great victory of May 9, 1945, put an end to the six-year long war, one of the scariest in the history of mankind that killed about 65 million people all over the world.
For the Soviet Union, which Azerbaijan was part of, the war started in June 1941. Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party, planned to turn abundant Baku into a German military colony.
There is even a video capturing Hitler’s birthday where the Nazi’s head is eating the cake with Baku and its oil wells. This was the golden dream of the dictator, but the people of Azerbaijan did not want these dreams to come true.
To stand against the Nazi plans, thousands of Azerbaijanis headed to fight the aggressor. In four years, 681,000 Azerbaijani nationals, including 11,000 women enrolled in the Soviet troops. With a total population of 3.4 million people, this was a dramatic quantity for Azerbaijan. Over half of the contingent never made it back home.
Azerbaijan’s heroes fought until the last ditch in both the Soviet Union and Europe. More than 400,000 Azerbaijanis were awarded with orders and medals, 14 soldiers became Full Cavalier of the Order of Glory, 123 were made Heroes of the Soviet Union.
The first Azerbaijani Hero of the Union was Sergeant Israfil Mammadov, assistant to platoon commander of the 42nd Rifle Regiment. In December 1941, his group of fighters fought near Novgorod and repulsed four attacks by superior enemy forces. They entered the melee and hold the position.
Another prominent person was twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Hazi Aslanov. This legendary hero of World War II was promoted to the rank of the major general of tank troops in March 1944. He showed valor and bravery in many battles, including the battle of Stalingrad, the largest land battle in history.
Legendary partisan Mehdi Huseynzade fought against the Nazis in the Yugoslav-Italian partisans guerrilla corps after suffering severe wounds in the battle of Stalingrad and a spell in German captivity.
Many more other heroes from Azerbaijan showed their bravery.
As soldiers went on to fight the war, civilians committed all their energy to the war efforts, working over 12-hours of day to provide the military with the oil it needed to power its heavy artillery against Nazi Germany.
The people of Baku worked relentlessly to produce the 75 million tons of oil needed for the war - a third of the whole oil production of the Soviet Union.
Without Baku, the Soviet tanks could not have withstood the Nazis and the enemy knew it. The German troops were approaching Baku in 1942.
September 25 was the day Baku history was decided, as Hitler named it the day of the city's capture.
Rather than capitulate, Baku committed itself to its oil production. When the traditional routes of supply were cut off, Baku oil workers and the Caspian seamen moved the supply through the sea, tugging railway cisterns on the sea. This was the lifeline route for the whole army.
The enemy lost the battle of the Caucasus, where Baku was the final target. The city redoubled its efforts, producing 22 million tons of gasoline, which accounted for 80 percent of all-union gasoline, as well as 100 new petrochemical products.
There would be no Soviet Army’s aviation without Baku’s aviation gasoline.
When mentioning all these figures, one should bear in mind that in this regime, Azerbaijan's oil-engineering plants switched to the production of weapons and ammunition, which resulted in a significant reduction in drilling operations…
This year, 1,291 veteran of the Great Patriotic War who battled on the front line will celebrate the date and honor the memory of their comrade-in-arms in Azerbaijan.
To solemnize the 70th anniversary of the Victory, ‘Objective Baku. Hitler's war on oil’ documentary was recently filmed with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
The plot of the documentary reveals the role of the Azerbaijani people in defeating Nazism and the strategic importance of the Azerbaijani oil during the war. Along with the Azerbaijani version, the Russian, English, French, German and Italian versions of the documentary are available to show the world the real importance of Azerbaijan in the Victory.
On May 9, cadets and students of military educational institutions of the Defense Ministry will march on Azadliq Square and Baku central streets, to commemorate the heroes of the war.
The Victory will be celebrated around the post Soviet countries, with a main parade in Moscow to be attended by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as well.
Azerbaijan is remembering all those who fought to defend their country, all the lessons learned in this terrible epoch-making event.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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