We will conclude with dry figures and incontrovertible facts, without emotion or artistic presentation. We will use these facts and figures to draw up our own model of Victory and to encourage the reader to draw up their own model, taking into account the importance of Baku and its workers to World War II, and to consider how events might have developed if Baku had fallen in 1942.
In the pre-war years, there was no integral military doctrine in the USSR; the populist principle dominated of "the immediate transfer of war into the aggressor's territory". The likelihood of crises at the beginning of the war was ignored. The principles for deep defensive operations were not determined and the possibility of an enemy penetrating deep into the country was ignored. When the possibility was tried in one strategic war game, Stalin noted acidly, "Why cultivate retrograde sentiments? You are not planning to retreat, are you?"
Soviet western border districts had 2,680,000 troops, 37,500 guns and mortar guns (without 50-mm ones), 1,475 new KV and Т-34 tanks, 1,540 new type battle aircraft and also a large number of light tanks and older battle aircraft. In a competent defensive operation, this volume of troops and firepower could have held a defensive position in a fortified area for a few months until the full might of the USSR was mobilized, but they were defeated in a few days.
In 1947, right after the war, N. Voznesensky's book The Military Economy of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War Period appeared. Assessing the damage inflicted by the "treacherous attack" and ascertaining with fervor how fast and resolutely, under the direction of the Communist Party, much of what was lost in the first year of the war was restored in other regions of the USSR, he gives the figures for losses, involuntarily showing all the bankruptcy of Stalin's regime and of the military strategy of his commanders. From August to November 1941, the German troops, virtually without fighting, captured 303 Soviet munitions factories with an annual output of 101 million shells, 32 million artillery cases, 24 million aviation bomb cases, 61 million shell cases, 30 million hand-grenades, 93,600 tonnes of gunpowder, 3,600 tonnes of trotyl and other items. This was 85% of the total capacity of the People's Commissariat of Ammunition. By that time, supplies of strategic raw material to the USSR - antimony, nickel and rubber - had been halted, and copper and sulphur supplies were coming to an end.
According to Western experts, since Soviet industrial capacity was the west of the Don and therefore fell into German hands, in the first months of the war, Russia lost the production capacity of 31,000 large and small industrial enterprises, 250,000 electric motors, 175,000 machine-tools, almost 30 blast and Martin furnaces and power-stations with a capacity of 5 million kilowatts.
Suvorov wrote that by the end of November 1942 German troops had occupied almost 1.8 million sq. km of Soviet territory, on which 80 million people lived before the war (42% of the whole USSR population). The country lost considerable production capacities: 71% of iron smelting, 57% of steelmaking, 63% of coal mining, 42% of power production and 47% of crop areas. The grain crop decreased from 95.5 million tonnes in 1940 to 30 million tonnes in 1942. Cattle stock was halved in 1942, as compared to 1942. Conscription reduced the working population in the USSR from 31.2 million to 18.3 million in 1942. The proportion of women working in industry rose from 38.9% in 1940 to 53% in 1942.
By summer 1941, five plants in the USSR produced tanks; four of them were within range of enemy aircraft and even land troops. In Leningrad, the Kirov plant produced heavy KV tanks. Plant N174, named after K.Y. Voroshilov, was preparing to produce new light Т-50 tanks and complete the manufacture of T-26 light tanks. In Moscow, Plant N37 produced light Т-40 tanks. Т-34 tanks were produced by KhPZ and STZ. The country's transport system was in a difficult position. In 1941, Kiev, the country's second largest transport hub serving the entire south of the European part of the USSR, was seized by the Germans.
Historian B.V. Sokolov in his 1991 work The Cost of Victory,calculated that on 1 December, 1941, 2,830 German aircraft were opposed by only 2,238 Soviet ones. The USSR's losses were almost seven times greater than those of the Germans. The fight for domination in the air was lost for a long time. The effects of the losses of the Red Army Air Force in the first days of the war could be felt for years not months!
According to foreign data, as of 1 December, 1942, 3,806,865 Soviet servicemen had been taken prisoner and 21,391 tanks, 32,541 guns and 17,332 aircraft had been destroyed or seized.
The State Defence Committee's notorious order N270 laid the blame for the failure on those, who were taken prisoner.
The hunger and malnutrition in the USSR in the 1930s was bound to affect the state of servicemen during battle.
At the end of the 1920s, a food and commodity rationing card system was introduced among the urban population. Approximately 40 million people received bread, 6.5 million received meat and 3.2 million people butter. The countryside had to be self-sufficient.
This nutrition affected the health of future Red Army soldiers. Wartime photographs show the obvious physical superiority of German soldiers over Soviet ones. My remarks can be countered that Soviet soldiers had a higher morale than German ones, but this is flag-waving!
Today, when much more is known about war than it was in the Soviet time, it is possible to assert that German soldiers had just as good morale as Red Army soldiers, which gives all the more weight to the Red Army's Victory.
An example. At the beginning of the war, in a desperate situation, Soviet soldiers heroically defended the Brest fortress to the bitter end. At the end of the war, in early 1945, Luftwaffe pilots in a desperate situation swore to fight the Allied bombers to the end and virtually all of them perished in the skies above Germany.
Many questions remain even about the decisive victory of the Soviet troops near Moscow. According to the Soviet data, the enemy lost over half a million soldiers and officers, 1,300 tanks, 2,500 guns and mortar guns and over 900 aircraft in the battle for Moscow. Red Army losses in the battle are not reported by Soviet sources. Western sources say that they were probably even heavier than the enemy's in terms of the killed, wounded and prisoners of war.
In spring 1942, the Red Army suffered a few shattering defeats in a row: in fighting for Rzhev, the 39th Army was surrounded and wiped out; in the encirclement near Vyazma, the 33rd Army of Lt-Gen M.G. Yefremov was crushed; 2nd strike army of Lt-Gen A.A. Vlasov was cut off and defeated; the Crimea Front was defeated, the 44th, 47th and 51st Armies were crushed there; and in the battle for Kharkov the 6th, 9th, 28th and 57th Armies, seven separate tank and cavalry corps, a considerable number of divisions, brigades and regiments of reinforcement were crushed, thousands of tanks and guns and abundant strategic supplies were lost and millions of officers and soldiers were killed or taken prisoner.
Soviet soldiers were killed not only by the Germans but also by friends. Dmitriy Volkogonov writes, "In 1941-42 alone (it is dreadful even to say it!) 157,593 people were sentenced to death by firing squad by military tribunals at the fronts and in the armies 'for alarmism, cowardice and unauthorized desertion of the battle-field…'"
Before the war, Stalin suppressed almost half of the Red Army officer corps; three out of five marshals, 13 of 15 army commanders, 57 of 85 corps commanders, 110 of 195 division commanders, 220 of 406 brigade commanders and also all commanders of military districts were executed or served terms of imprisonment in prisons or camps. This was bound to affect the combat capability of the Red Army, while the preparation of new staff in the difficult circumstances was problematic.
Soviet military historian Lt-Gen N. Pavlenko wrote, "Hundreds of high-ranking military specialists were awaiting death in torture-chambers, while lieutenants were in command of regiments at the fronts."
The central control system collapsed. The control centre was in Moscow in the Kremlin, devoid of dynamism, and reminiscent more of a royal palace than a combat headquarters; it took too much time for orders from there to reach their destination and so they no longer suited the situation on the ground.
The control system proved ineffective, particularly in the first months of the war. Neither Stalin nor the General Staff was on top of issues. Stalin could not find the commander of the South-West Front, Pavlov. When strategically important bridges in Smolensk were blown up, they could not find out for a long time who gave the order for this to be done. And when it was found out, it turned out that this general had made the right decision but not coordinated it with anyone.
Moving weapons from central storage required the permission of Moscow, but the permission did not reach its destination. Only Rokossovskiy, risking imprisononment again, opened the storage depots without Moscow's permission.
There are many such examples.
Western sources assert that 70% of the discussions of Soviet military leaders were monitored by the Germans. This shows the na?vety of the frequently shown World War II shots of the Soviet military negotiating among themselves, calling each other Pine-tree, First, Hurricane etc. It was a problem for the USSR not only in World War II. According to Western sources, the Echelon American system monitored the discussions of members of the Politburo in their service vehicles.
The management situation was different in Germany.
As early as 36 hours after the fascist invasion of the Soviet Union, the German supreme command moved from Berlin to East Prussia, to the region of Rastenburg, where bunkers and barracks had been equipped in the forest.
Before decisive battles, Hitler always tried to be as close to the place of military operations as possible.
Striving to nail down the success of the summer offensive, Hitler moved his headquarters closer to the front, to Ukraine, in the forests near Vinnitsa. The Fuehrer called his HQ Werewolf.
The German propaganda machine worked throughout Europe. Before the start of military operations, Germany had the most powerful international broadcasting system in Europe - 47 stations. That greatly facilitated the establishment of "fifth columns" in many countries of Europe. German propaganda also played a part in some regions of the USSR.
Now that many World War II archives have been opened, it has emerged that Bagramyan bears a share of the responsibility for the defeat of the Soviet Army in the early days of the war, together with the others. There has been silence over this for a long time. Suvorov wrote, taking incontrovertible facts as his basis, "…However, Zhukov did not prepare the operation on Khalkhin-Gol himself, and therefore could not talk clearly about its preparation and conduct without assistance." Zhukov gets Col Bagramyan, who had no experience of conducting modern warfare at that time, to write a treatise about the offensive operation. He had not smelled gunpowder at that time at all. In World War I, Bagramyan served in reserve units. During the Civil War, he was the commander of a cavalry squadron. However, not in the Red Army. He fought against it. Not that successfully, though. There were no noteworthy battles or operations in Armenia, where Bagramyan served. After the Civil War, in December 1920, Bagramyan deserted to the side of the winners. That was the person whom Zhukov charged with thinking of the forthcoming war instead of doing it himself and with preparing recipes for grandiose victories.
Zhukov submitted everything that Col Bagramyan wrote to Stalin, to members of the Politburo and the generals of thte Red Army. His proposals were accepted and carried out. Watch German newsreels and German magazines of 1941 and you will see everything that Zhukov was talking about, "plenty of tanks, motor transport and other facilities". It was all gathered on the border and everything was burnt out. There was no need for German pilots even to look for their target. The target could not go unnoticed. There was no need even to aim. No one could miss there...
If 200,000 soldiers, 1,500 or 2,000 guns, "plenty of tanks, motor transport and other facilities" are put on the defensive, it is possible to set up a several hundred kilometre long impenetrable barrier at the front. If not one army but all 26 Soviet armies are put on the defensive, the front will be impenetrable from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea. Nevertheless, none of the 26 Soviet armies in Europe was on the defensive, not a single corps, not a single division, not a single regiment. All of them were gathered in attack groups in the narrowest areas. Just like the great strategist recommended.
You see now, Zhukov is also thinking of saving his aircraft. To be more precise, Bagramyan is thinking about it instead of Zhukov. However, the recipe to save the aircraft is the same: we will suddenly strike the German airfields and thereby spare ourselves a sudden blow. Other options to defend our airfields were not provided.
Those recommendations were accepted, too. But then, in spring 1941, Zhukov insisted that the airfields should move even closer to the border, 20-30 kilometres for the fighter aircraft and 50-70 kilometres for the bombers.
There is no need to be either a great strategist or clairvoyant to understand the danger of this location for aircraft. Let us imagine an ASAC (air surveillance, alert, communication) post and a soldier sitting at this post on a Sunday morning in early June. Suddenly an armada of German bombers begins thundering over his head. Our soldier picks up the phone and reports to HQ, "I can hear the sound of many engines, they are coming, the altitude is, the direction is…"
Let us estimate how much time it will take to weigh up the information in the relevant place, where messages come in from many observers, to make a decision and give the appropriate orders. Let us assume that it will take one minute. Now, let us imagine ourselves in the role of the duty officer in a wing or aviation division. The telephone rings: battle alarm! He is to wake the commanders, pilots, engineers, technicians and mechanics, to bring them all from the barracks to the airfield. They do not normally sleep under the plane wings, do they? Then it is necessary to remove the aircrafts' camouflage cover, remove the other covers, start and warm up the engines, take the aircraft out of the hangars, line up, take off and gain height…
Now, some elementary maths for third form pupils. If the speed of the slowest German Ju-87 bomber is 350 km per hour, how many minutes will it take it to fly 20-30 kilometres to the state border and to drop bombs on the takeoff strip at a Soviet border airfield?
Another sum for the schoolchildren: all the Soviet commanders, pilots and engineers never sleep. All the aircraft are constantly ready to fly and their engines work constantly. All decisions are made instantly and instanly passed to those who have to execue them. If a Soviet air commander gets an alert and begins immediately to launch aircraft at 30 second intervals, how much time will it take to launch and save from destruction 120 bombers from one takeoff strip?
And if there are not 120 but 150-170 combat aircraft in the airfield, how much time will it take then?
In Ternopol, where the General Staff of the South-West Front was located, on 22 June, 1941, in the presence of the chief of Staff, Lt-Gen Purkayev, the commander of the South-West Front, Col-Gen Kirponos, after getting a fantastic order from Stalin to begin a counteroffensive immediately and to occupy Poznan, said to the face of the chief of the operations department, Col Bagramyan, "Here is the result of your cheap report to Moscow. You deliberately reported nothing to Moscow about the penetration by two tank divisions!" After Stalin's senseless counteroffensive, initiated by Bagramyan, hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed. Bagramyan was rescued from military tribunal by Zhukov.
Bagramyan's post-war career is described by the Encyclopedia of Warcraft, Commanders of World War II (Literature Publishing House, Minsk, 1997). "After the war, Bagramyan was in charge of the troops of the Baltic Military District until 1954. In 1954-55, he held the position of main inspector of the USSR Ministry of Defence, which was quite strange for a commander of his rank and experience.
"The next rise in his career began in 1955 when he obtained the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union and was appointed a deputy at the USSR Ministry of Defence. In 1958-68, Bagramyan was deputy minister of defence of the USSR with responsibility for the rear. In 1968 he retired and became a general inspector of the USSR Ministry of Defence group of general inspectors.
"However, Bagramyan's career did not end here. When in retirement, the unexpected marshal, always capable of finding a common language with the mighty of this world, managed to become twice Hero of the Soviet Union in 1977. Taking into account his age, lack of combat action in this period and other circumstances, it is very hard to say what he received this high title for."
The following example shows how Bagramyan managed to develop his career in a manner unusual for military generals. Feliks Chuyev writes, "As a result of the offensive operation, the Soviet troops reached the Baltic Sea, and Gen Bagramyan decided to make Stalin 'happy' by sending him a bottle of Baltic water. However, while this bottle was on its way to the Kremlin, the Germans managed to reconquer the bridgehead and force our troops back from the coast. Stalin had already learned about that and when the bottle was handed to him he said, 'Return it to Comrade Bagramyan, and let him pour it back into the Baltic Sea!'"
Babadzhanyan was not much different from Bagramyan, except in the scope of his action. In April 1942, Babadzhanyan was summoned to the personnel department of the People's Commissariat of Defence, where he was told that he had been appointed commander of a mechanized brigade. Thus, the infantryman Babadzhanyan became a tankman, the commander of the 3rd mechanized brigade of the 3rd mechanized corps of Gen M.Y. Katukov and his favourite; he arranged all his banquets. The first thing he did on arriving in the brigade was to call the chief technical assistant and ask the latter to help him every day for five hours to study tanks, which he had little idea about. Leading a mechanized brigade and at the same time studying tanks is something difficult to understand. During fighting Zhukov sent an order to Babdazhanya, according to Aleksandr Melenberg: "Operational instruction for the commander of the 11th guard tank corps, Col Babadzhanyan, 18 April, 1945, 24.00 I strictly warn you about incomplete official competence and demand more daring and organized action.". Aleksandr Melenberg, Novaya Gazeta.Ru, writes in his article ZEELOV HEIGHT: THE VICTORY WE SUFFERED. "In the last days of the war in the battle for Berlin, the Soviet military command sent to their death 361,367 soldiers and officers. Army Commander Katukov and his corps commanders Yuschuk, Dremov and Babadzhanyan do not watch the progress of the battle and the actions of their troops, sitting way back in the rear (10-12 km). These generals are not aware of the situation and grasp the tail of events." Army commander Katukov was reputed to go fishing at the slightest opportunity, even if he passed a small water reservoir while on the march, while the convivial Babadzhanyan would organize a banquet. In the post-war years, Babadzhanyan was appointed commander of the Odessa Military District, was famous for setting up the SKA Odessa soccer team and spent all his time at the team's base. Armenian propaganda still presents Bagramyan and Babadzhanyan as outstanding commanders of World War II, and, together with some international terrorists, as the pride of the Armenian warrior-host. For the sake of objectivity, we should point that Russian military historians studying World War II do not think share this view.
Even at a dreadful time for our country, Armenia was campaigning on Karabakh. Babadzhanyan, who received a minor shrapnel wound, on an urgent request from Yerevan, went there for treatment, although his Motherland was Azerbaijan, Karabakh. At once, a report appeared in Yerevan that the hero from Karabakh was receiving treatment in Armenia!
That was a small but important digression on the Karabakh problem, as the names of Bagramyan and Babadzhanyan have become symbols in thte aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan.
Now something about the "treachery" that was considered one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Soviet troops in the early days of the war. Berezhkov writes that in mid-February 1941, a German printer appeared at the Soviet consulate in Berlin. He brought with him a copy of a Russian-German phrase-book, published for mass circulation. The table of contents of the phrase-book left no doubt about its purpose. There were phrases in Russian but printed in Latin script, such as "Where is the chairman of the collective farm?", "Are you a Communist?", "What is the name of the secretary of the regional committee?", "Hands up!", "I will shoot!", "Surrender!" and the like.
"The following episode is also remarkable," continues Berezhkov. "Not far away from the embassy, in Unter den Linden, there was a luxurious photographic studio, Hofmann's, Hitler's court photographer. In this studio, Eva Braun, who later became Hitler's lover, once worked as a model. Since the beginning of the war, a big map had usually hung in one of the studio windows above the portrait of Hitler. We got used to the map showing the part of Europe where military operations were under way or were planned. In early spring 1940 it was Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, then a map France hung for quite a long time. In the beginning of 1941, passers-by already stopped before the map of Yugoslavia and Greece. And suddenly, at the end of May, passing Hofmann's studio, I saw a large map of Eastern Europe. It included the Baltic, Belorussia, Ukraine, the whole vast area of the Soviet Union from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. This stunned me. Without scruple, Hofmann let us know where events would develop next. It was as though he were saying: now it's the Soviet Union's turn!"
By the beginning of June 1941, three million soldiers were concentrated on the western border with the USSR; this was more than 80% of the German army - 148 divisions of which 19 were tank divisions and 14 motorized. In addition, there were 14 Romanian divisions at the front, and 20 Finnish divisions joined the occupation forces on 25 June. There were 6,000 heavy guns and 3,000 aircraft massed at the border. The military machine was working at full steam, and it was already impossible to stop it. Germany's attack on the USSR was not treachery but the continuation of a longstanding policy. Did Hitler give a warning that he would attack Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Belgium and other countries? Did Japan warn the USA that it would attack Pear Harbour? Stalin needed the "treachery" propaganda to cover his errors. The German ambassador to Moscow, Schulenburg, gave the same reason for the attack on the USSR that Molotov had given for the earlier USSR attack on Finland. Molotov summoned the Finnish ambassador to the USSR and told him that Finnish border guards had fired seven artillery volleys at a Soviet village, although as it was known that the Finns had not opened fire. The ambassador gave a firm promise to clear everything up. To the ambassador's astonishment, Molotov summoned him again and told him that Finnish border guards "had taunted the population of the attacked village (?!)". On 30 November, 1939, the USSR attacked Finland and immediately began to bomb Helsinki and other Finnish cities. Before Molotov's warning to the Finnish ambassador, Stalin commented philosophically, "Leningrad is 30 km from the border with Finland. We cannot move Leningrad which means that the border must be moved."
Signals that of Germany would attack the USSR came from different countries and sources.
In the official reference book British Intelligence in the Second World War, (1979), F. Harry Hinsley and his coauthors say, "On 3 April, the prime minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, sent the first and the only warning to the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. Referring to a 'reliable source', Churchill reported the transfer of German troops and finished the telegram with the following words, 'Your Excellency will certainly appraise all the significance of this information...'
"The Swedes analysed their data andcorrectly guessed Germany's intentions. On 24 March, they gave this information to the US ambassador in Moscow. On 1 April as far as is known, Yugoslavia's military attach? in Berlin learned about Germany's plans. His government passed information to Moscow through London. Some sources assert that since the beginning of 1941, the Vichy government in France had been keeping the Soviet embassy advised on information about the redeployment of German divisions to the east. Finally, from 20 March, the American government warned the Soviet ambassador to Washington about the danger several times, reporting that one intercepted and decoded Japanese diplomatic telegram said that Germany would attack Russia in the next two months."
On 15 June, 1941, Churchill told US President Roosevelt that "in the near future, the Germans will presumably make a strong attack on Russia".
Soviet, British, and American secret services warned the relevant Soviet authorities about Germany's planned attack on the USSR more than 30 times in all. In mid-February another "Sophocles" report came to the Centre: the Germans were keeping 127 divisions in eastern Europe. On 10 March, even more alarming information came in: Hitler had abandoned plans to capture England, his immediate objective was the capture of Ukraine and Baku; the date of the assault was April or May 1941; the allies were Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria; German troops were being transferred to Romania.
On the eve of the attack, more than two dozen German ships had gathered in Riga port. Some had just begun unloading, others were not yet fully laden, but on 21 June all of them suddenly began to raise anchor. The superintendent of Riga port felt that something was wrong, detained the German ships at his own risk and immediately contacted Moscow by phone. He reported about the suspicious situation to the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade and asked for further instructions. This was at once reported to Stalin. But fearing lest Hitler made use of the detention of German ships as a military provocation, Stalin immediately ordered the lifting of the prohibition on them going to sea.
Stalin appended the following resolution on one of the documents on Germany's attack on the USSR, "Fuck them!"
Five hours before the German attack, the German defector Alfred Liskov also warned about what would happen.
At that time, everyone was content with "treachery", both Stalin and his comrades-in-arms, both military leaders and Soviet propaganda. Official Russian propaganda in many instances adheres to the principle of "treachery" to the present day.
One of the founders of cybernetics, W. Ross Ashby, used to say that the "noises" made by any system were important information.
Skillful mechanics perfectly diagnose the state of an engine by the sound it makes. Before the invention of the cardiograph, the sound of the heart provided most information about its condition. There had always been "noises" over the entente cordiale between Stalin and Hitler, but from May 1941 those "noises" grew into a continuous hum and began to come from different sources too. It was impossible to organize something like that artificially. I am convinced that major military leaders realized perfectly well that war was about to begin but, being afraid of Stalin, they did not say so clearly. For fear of looking fainthearted, they do not write about it clearly in their memoirs afterwards.
A vast stretch of the Soviet strategic front line in the south was penetrated and German troops stormed the huge gap simultaneously in two areas, heading for the Caucasus and Stalingrad, and met no resistance.
After the initial defeat when the USSR suffered heavy losses, Stalin still had an abundance of human potential and plenty of the Earth's potential too - oil! On 1 June, 1941, there were 5.5 million people in the Red Army. In the 10 days after the beginning of the war, more than eight million people were conscripted. In addition, there were units of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs that had tanks and artillery and the border troops and others.
At the beginning of the war, everyone who could hold a weapon in their hands and move independently was conscripted. An endless stream of volunteers went to the front, their main military worth was their selfless love for the Motherland which they were ready to give their lives for. After one or two months of express preparation, mainly along the lines of "hit them with your rifle butt or bayonet", they would be sent into the thick of battle. They had known war before in quite a different way, only from naive pre-war Soviet films. Volunteers - a violinist or a museum worker - had little chance of surviving against professional German soldiers who had fought across half of Europe.
Prisoners were also conscripted. Prof V. Nekrasov reports that by the beginning of the war, there were 2.3 million prisoners in the NKVD camps and colonies and in 1941-44, 900,000 of those prisoners were sent to the army.
In August 1941, German generals suggested to Hitler that they inflict the main blow on Moscow. The Fuehrer refused. "The most essential thing before the start of winter is not the taking of Moscow," his guideline of 21 August said, "but the capture of Crimea and the industrial coal-mining region on the River Donets and also cutting off oil supplies to the Russian army from the Caucasus region - the Wehrmacht must take Baku." He responded to the argument of the generals with a phrase that became his favourite aphorism, "My generals know nothing of the economic aspects of war."
Later, under the influence of the generals, Hitler changed his mind and decided to strike at Moscow, which, according to many military historians, was a mistake. The German generals' project was simple - to crush all the military units of the USSR. Not to occupy the territory, but to surround and crush the Red Army as a battleworthy force and not to allow it to retreat to the Russian plains.
So they did, they successfully surrounded and crushed the Red Army in all areas, BUT WERE NOT ABLE TO DESTROY IT AS A MILITARY UNIT! Soviet units suffered the heaviest strikes and heavy losses in manpower and materiel, but new people came to replace the killed and it all began again - new armies were formed, old ones were reinforced. By the middle of 1942, the Germans had crushed completely 200 Soviet divisions and Stalin threw another 160 into the battle! This strategy of Stalin and Zhukov (and there could be no other after the tragedy of the first days of the war) required rivers of human blood - and it was flowing on all fronts! German generals could not have foreseen such a development of events when they proposed the plan to eliminate the Soviet Army. They did not know Russia and Stalin well. Apparently, Bismarck in his day, foresaw such a development, warning "Never be at war with Russia!"
The fascists advanced but they were drowing in the sea of Soviet blood, they had never seen the like in Europe. In 1943, German newspaper Schwartzekor wrote, "It seems a miracle to us that new masses of people and equipment rise from the boundless Soviet steppes again and again, as though some great magician were moulding any number of people and materiel from Urals clay!" No, there was neither magic nor magician, there was much blood and superhuman efforts deep in the rear! There was the courage of Soviet man and his deep faith in Victory!
The other commodity, besides human blood, that Stalin had in abundance in those years was Baku oil - the "blood" of the Earth! In 1941, Azerbaijan produced a record amount of oil - 24 million tonnes, and 31 million tonnes of oil were produced in the USSR in total. For comparison, during the entire war, Germany, according to official data, consumed a little more than 50 million tonnes of petroleum products. It was this oil that allowed Stalin to keep the rest of the USSR working, and facilitated the establishment of new industry on the Volga, across the Urals and in Siberia. It was this oil that moved the armada of people and equipment to the front and kept them going at the front.
IF THE GERMANS HAD TAKEN BAKU, THE USSR WOULD HAVE LOST MORE THAN 90% OF ITS OIL AND MORE THAN 80% OF ITS OIL-REFINING CAPACITY.
IN 1942, BAKU WAS THE LAST BULWARK OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE USSR!
The United Kingdom, the second most important place in terms of resisting fascism, was also in a difficult situation at that time.
Many military historians state that Britain was close to defeat at that time, and with the loss of oil sources, the question would have been finally resolved. Suvorov describes the situation in as follows, "Britain entered the war on 3 September, 1939. In 1939, Hitler's submarines sank 222 British merchant ships. These are the official statistics. On average, the Germans sank two British merchant ships a day, without weekends or holidays. Britain… could not subsist at the time by itself. Neither bananas nor pineapples grow there. The British cannot last long without bananas, as a matter of fact. It is not Russia for you. People here are not used to eating bark and are they have not learnt to eat frog soup. A British gentleman will not survive without Brazilian coffee…
"The next year, 1940, Britain lost 1,056 merchant ships. That is three merchant ships a day. The British Merchant Navy was catastrophically shrinking, while the German submarine force was growing rapidly."
"In the first six months of 1941 we lost 760 merchant ships, sinking only 12 submarines." These are official statistics quoted by Captain M. Caswell, naval attach? at the British embassy in the USSR. In six months 760 merchant ships makes four ships a day. In 1939, it was two a day, in 1940 three and in 1941 four. The official conclusion of the naval attach? was, "In 1941 Great Britain was on the verge of defeat."
This was a military diplomat speaking. His public remarks can be considered private opinion only if the state immediately denies them and recalls the diplomat. This did not happen. Therefore, the official point of view was that in 1941, Britain was on the verge of defeat.
Butler and Gwyer in their book Grand Strategy write, "The most serious threat for the Allies came from the sea in summer 1941. At the end of February and beginning of March the new, and this time yet more dangerous, phase of tense conflict began, named by Churchill the battle for the Atlantic. Hitler had planned it as a joint operation of the German Surface and Submarine Fleet and Air Forces with the purpose of completely blockading and starving Great Britain into surrender. 'In spring', he declared in January, 'our submarine forces will begin war in the sea, the Luftwaffe will also play their part, and whipping the devil around the stump, the whole Wehrmacht will decide the outcome of the fight.
"By June 1941, the crisis reached its apogee. By the beginning of 1941, the Allies freight tonnage had fallen by 1.5-2.58 million, as compared to the early days of the war. These difficulties immediately affected our imports. The calculations made in June indicated that to satisfy the needs of the population and reduce the level of military production, Great Britain was to import 36-38.5 million tonnes of dry cargo in 1941. In addition, from May to December 720 tankers of oil were needed. Britain could actually count only on 28.5 million tonnes of dry cargo and 660 tankers of oil. Thus, by the end of the year, the import deficit would have been 7 million tonnes of raw material and unfinished goods and 2 million tonnes of foodstuffs. Oil supplies, which were critically small already, would have fallen by 318,000 tonnes; the import of ready-made products, mainly American weapons, would have fallen as well. In 1941, these shortages could still be met at the expense of available reserves but the future prospects seemed gloomy indeed."
According to foreign data, as of 1 December, 1942, the Germans had shot down 2,192 British aircraft and their Navy had sunk 4,170,611 gross registered tonnes and their air force had destroyed 2,346,180 tonnes, 6,516,791 in total.
German submariners conducted a skilful submarine war. For instance, the German U-100 submarine, in two nights in September 1940 sank seven and damaged one transport vessel in one convoy, and the next month sank six vessels in six days.
Three German submarines, the U-47, U-99 and U-100, had a record battle tally; since the beginning of war they had sunk 81 ships (over 517,500 tonnes).
The Germans conducted the submarine war chivalrously, as British and American researchers assert! Most of the ships bearing a red cross that were sunk turned out to be German ships.
Below are excerpts from a letter from Hitler to Mussolini, dated 21 June, 1941
Ministry of Foreign Affairs chancellery
The letter of the Fuehrer to Il Duce dated 21 June, 1941 was delivered by a special courier (Herr von Kleist) to Rome and handed to Il Duce. Three copies were made and sent to the secretariat of the minister of foreign affairs, the chancellery of the minister of foreign affairs and the reception office of the minister of foreign affairs.
Berlin, 23 June, 1941
"... The situation. England has lost this war. With the despair of a drowning man, it is clutching at every straw that seems like a sheet anchor to it. Though some of its hopes are not devoid of a certain logic. Up to the present time England has conducted the war with the constant assistance of continental countries. After the elimination of France, after the liquidation of all the West European positions, the British warmongers are looking to the place where they tried to begin war, the Soviet Union.
"...The situation in England itself is bad, the food and raw material supply is worsening all the time. The will to fight is actually fed only with hope. These hopes are based entirely on two factors, Russia and America."
Germany's success in putting England in such a hopeless position was largely because at that time Germany had considerable petroleum reserves. Germany's submarine forces sustained a protracted marine blockade of the British Isles and operated intensively not only in the Baltic and the North Sea but also in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Indian and Arctic oceans, i.e. set up a global blockade of England. During the war, according to military experts, about 800 German submarines left German shipyards. A submarine consumes far more fuel than a tank or aeroplane.
Britain would not be able to hold out for long without links with the outer world, and these links were on the verge of paralysis.
Britain was producing less every month. Strict rations were introduced on the purchase of fuel by civilians in Great Britain, 1,800 litres a year, i.e. five litres a day, taking into consideration that before the war gentlemen used about 20 litres of fuel in a day.
Except for coal, Great Britain suffered deficit in everything. While there was the possibility of sea transport, most of these commodities could be received from the countries of the British Empire. As for nickel, 90% of world supplies came from Canada, and the other 10% from the French colony of New Caledonia. There was a lack of antimony, mercury and sulphur and a sharp need for oil which the UK had imported from Iran. Britain's position at that time was critical; its fate virtually depended on the situation in the USSR and, therefore, on Baku. The USA, Britain's main supplier of strategic resources, suffered because of the German submarines which were maintaining the continental blockade of Britain.
Pikul writes in Requiem for Convoy PQ-17, "The recent catastrophe of Pearl Harbour stunned the American people so that against the background of the loss of a whole squadron , another disaster suffered by America near its coast in early 1942 obviously faded into insignificance. .Within the briefest timespan, German submariners - with impunity! - sank 150 ships at once. Operating almost in training conditions terms, risking little, Doenitz's "wolves" chose any victim they could reach. They launched most of their torpedoes at tankers. This created panic among the tanker crews bringing crude oil from Venezuela and sailors abandoned their ships in horror. Sitting in the bars of Curacao harbour, they drank strong Trinidad rum idly looking at the tankers stuck at the piers. "To burn alive for only 200 measly dollars, who would like that?" they reasoned. "If you say that even glass becomes as soft as wheat dough in an explosion, no-one will believe you... Doenitz's submarines fired from the sea on oil refineries and soon the USA (the richest country!) introduced rationing of petrol, coffee and sugar." Presumably this was the first case in international practice, when problems that started with oil, even if they were minor, immediately influenced other primary commodities.
When Hitler attacked the USSR, Churchill is known to have exclaimed, "Britain is saved!" Had the USSR fallen, Churchill would presumably have exclaimed, "Britain is doomed!"
An understanding of the state of affairs in the USSR and warring Europe in 1942 leads to a better appreciation of the value of Baku oil for the almost defeated USSR and Europe!
Lend-lease should also be remembered. This was a timely and efficient scheme; it satisfied, first of all, the interests of the USSR and Britain and maybe to a lesser degree the USA.
The theoretical basis of Lend-lease was clearly summed up by US President Roosevelt, "Your neighbour's house is burning and threatening all the neighbourhood. What would I do in this critical situation?" Roosevelt asked a meeting. "I won't tell my neighbour before handing him my garden hose to fight the fire, 'Neighbour, my hose cost 15 dollars, you must pay me 15 dollars for it...' I do not need these 15 dollars, I need him to return my garden hose once the fire has been put out.". Neatly put in the American way!
Former US State Secretary Edward Stettinius wrote in his book Lend-lease: Weapon for Victory, which he published in 1944, "The Russians have already paid a price for all this which cannot be measured in dollars or tonnes. It is millions of Nazi soldiers killed or captured by the Russians.
"The Russians paid a high price for the victories they won, protecting the Motherland against Germany. Instead, they inflicted irreparable damage on the Nazi military machine. This will make the war much shorter."
Nothing of the kind! In 1990, 45 years after the Victory over Germany, during the visit of USSR President Gorbachev to the USA, the issue of the USSR's debt was raised again and agreement was reached on resuming payments of Soviet military debts, which were $674 million in June 1990. The USA realized perfectly well that the USSR had fully compensated for supplies under the Lend-lease scheme, but Americans would not be Americans, if they betrayed their principle of "heroism is one thing, dollars another!"
The USA did not forget to "hook" its closest ally, Britain, either. Britain owed the USA 57 billion dollars for oil and weapons supplies. "Trust but check," US President Reagan was to tell Gorbachev in Russian. Long before Reagan and allies in the struggle against fascism, the Americans told the British the same thing, or almost. The Americans took British gold to the USA on an American warship as a guarantee of the military debt, and began discussing the possibility of taking British territory in the East Indies, first of all oil, from Britain, in payment for the assistance.
S. Nimits and E. Potter write in the book War on the Sea in 1939-45 (Rusich Publishing House Smolensk, 1999), "At the end of July 1940, the British ambassador to the USA, Lord Lothian, finished negotiations on the delivery of 50 out-of-date destroyers from the United States to Britain in exchange for which Britain was to lease of a number of bases in the West Indies and Bermuda for 99 years. The final agreement on this exchange was signed in September. By the middle of April 1941, 50 out-of-date American destroyers and 10 coast guard motorboats, well equipped for fighting submarines, joined the war under the British flag.".
In the post-war years, Britain did not forget about this debt, nor was it allowed to! Let us regard this diversion from the main subject as a lyrical digression!
Being in a difficult situation itself, Britain tried to do its best to help the USSR. After the defeat of Soviet air forces, Churchill decided to send the Red Army 200 Hurricane fighters. At that time, they were considered one of the best British fighters after the Spitfire. The promised fighters were supplied in good time and used by Soviet pilots. That was by no means a solitary instance.
The assistance was mutual. It is clear that, unassisted by the USSR and USA, Britain would not have hold out against Germany. Churchill recalled later that in Tehran he realized for the first time Britain's real, small size: "On one side sat a huge Russian bear, straddling his paws, on the other a no less enormous American buffalo, and an unhappy little British donkey snuggled between them."
Churchill is too self-critical, for he was by no means a "donkey", he was a political brick! By the way, the British did not treat one of the main figures in World War II in a gentlemanly fashion; hardly had the Victory over fascism been celebrated, than Churchill lost his seat in parliament; the Churchill museum was not opened until 40 years after his death.
One very important question remains for the apologists of the invincibility of the USSR at that time and for the present-day Russians of Russia who have not noticed the role of Baku in the common Victory over fascism. We would like them to show, without using words such as "the leading role of the party", "heroic labour", "indestructible friendship of peoples", "spirit of the people", "allied duty" etc., but by means of concrete calculations, using the above-mentioned information, how the USSR would have continued resistance to the strongest fascist army in human history, in such a broken state, if Baku had been lost? My own opinion is that such a truncated state, moreover without energy sources, would not have been capable either of resisting the strongest army in the world or of existing as a state in peacetime!
In this connection, let us remember Lenin. In the circular letter from the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) to party organizations, Fight the fuel crisis, dated November 1919, when oil did not play as important a role as in the 1940s, Lenin stressed, "...the fuel crisis threatens to ruin all Soviet work; workers and employees scatter from cold and hunger, trains carrying bread stop; a real catastrophe is coming because of the fuel shortage." Isn't Ilyich like Hitchcock!
History is said to have no conditional mood, but in our computer age, it has become possible to calculate different variants of much more remote and less popular events in history than World War II.
All the technology for such research is available today. We need only put the information cited above into a model of the situation if Baku were lost and by statistical tests (Monte-Carlo method), conduct hundreds of thousands of tests, which I have done. A clear result is guaranteed!
A number of researchers have reached a definite conclusion even without computer research. "Let us imagine once again that the USSR fell in 1942 and was divided between Germany and Japan. A frightful hour comes for England that falls defeated. The remaining Western world loses with it its unique base for bombing raids on the Reich, for they cannot reach the Hitlerites from the territory of the USA. Together with Britain, the base for the fight against German submarine forces disappears as well and passes already to the Hitlerites. Germany carves out North Africa and the Middle East (oil), Japan occupies Australia and India (raw material and manpower)," Kalashnikov writes.
He draws a convincing picture of the world after the fall of the USSR. But, surely, the talented researcher is being cunning and deliberately keeping quiet about the main thing; the primary cause of this apocalypse would be the fall of Baku and everything else would be consequential! However, these remarks show that one of the key figures in World War II, the ardent anticommunist Churchill, and the supporter of Great Russian sovereignty, Kalashnikov, who lived at different times and were far apart in terms of political importance, thought the same thing. Kalashnikov certainly did not love Baku - it was Kalashnikov who used the robber's words, "But Russia has the full right to say to the whole world, 'The Caspian is mine! And if derricks appear there without my knowledge, if most of the oil is not given to me, I will burn and bomb these oilfields. Remember: according to the agreement of 1940, even the small town Oily Rocks, not far from Baku, is in our territory!'"
Konstantin Fedchenko writes, "Meanwhile, hundreds of enterprises producing 40% of Russia's military output complete with metallurgy, including non-ferrous metals, fuel, coal and human resources are evacuated to the Urals and beyond the Urals in 1941. This is where the air-bridge with the USA comes to an end, so does the railway from the ports of the Far East which are being fierecely fought over with Japan. What fierce fighting for ports are we talking about? There was no Baykal-Amur railway then. And it's not that difficult to cut off the only railway to the Far East. Lend-lease cargos are negligibly small in this scenario (there is no Arkhangelsk, or deliveries through Iranian or Far Fastern ports).
"The only route is the air-bridge across Alaska. AND NO OIL! More than 90% of the USSR's oil was produced in the Baku-Maykop-Groznyy-Astrakhan region in 1941 (and 80% of this came from Baku. - Author). And after this you may talk seriously about advances in industry and technology and the Soviet atomic bomb? Do not make me laugh! THE ADVANCE OF THE WEHRMACHT TO THE ARKHANGELSK-GORKIY-ASTRAKHAN LINE DEPRIVED RUSSIA OF CHANCES OF REVIVAL EVEN AS A REGIONAL POWER.". Mr Fedchenko's language may not be academic but it is undeniable!
This would have been the fate of the USSR and Europe if Baku had been captured by the Germans! In this terrible case, even the mighty USA would have had problems.
AFTER CONQUERING EUROPE AND GETTING ACCESS TO BIG OIL THOUGH A PINCER MOVEMENT, HITLER WAS GOING TO FIGHT THE USA.
Hitler and Ribbentrop revealed their plans to Italian visitors, "After a detailed exposition of the general situation, typical of the Germans, Ribbentrop and Hitler assured their Italian guests that all was fine in Russia, North Africa, the west and at sea. The forthcoming offensive on the east, they said in confidence, will be directed against the oil-bearing regions of the Caucasus.
"'When the Russia's sources of oil are exhausted," Ribbentrop added, "Russia will be driven to its knees. Then England... will bend to us to save the remnants of the tormented empire. America is a big bluff...'"
Alan Bullock's Hitler and Stalin gives Hitler's definite economic calculations, "Using the benefits of continental hegemony is my purpose... The owner of Europe has the dominating position in the world. The population of the Reich is 130 million people; 90 million will live in Ukraine. Add the population of other states of new Europe and we will be 400 million people compared to 130 million Americans." Preparations for war against the USA were proceeding at full speed in Germany.
In 1943, the Werner von Braun design bureau had a new project, the A 9/10 missile, dubbed the "American rocket" in everyday language. Its range, as Dornberger remembers in his memoirs, was intended to be "thousands of kilometers". The first prototype of the A 9/10 was a two-stage missile with a range of 4,000 kilometres. A stratosphere balloon was also developed, which was to reach the United States in just 40 minutes. Finally, as early as June 1942, in its first tests the missile was carried was launched from a submarine (a predecessor of Polaris and Trident).
One of Germany's military projects against the USA is described by Kalashnikov, "The Third Reich gained enormous wealth in 1938 by annexing Austria; it gained rocket engineer Eugen Saenger (1905-64). By 1942, together with mathematician I. Bredt he has developed a super high-speed intercontinental bomber, really a spaceship.
"The supersonic jet 'triangular' aircraft, with a weight of 100 tonnes and 28 metres long, was started by a powerful accelerator. Gathering a speed of 6 kilometres per second (Gagarin went into orbit at 7.9 kilometres per second), Saenger's bomber raced into space at a height of 160 versts (3,500 feet) and passed to unpowered flight on the flat trajectory. It 'ricocheted' off the dense atmosphere, making giant jumps, like a stone jumping on the surface of water. At the fifth 'jump' the rocket would be 12,300 km from the launch point and at the ninth 15,800 km."
"These machines were to bomb the United States and make non-stop round-the-world flights. Planning the defeat of the Soviet Union in 1941, Hitler thought he would wage war against the USA till 1960. And if we had fallen, Saenger's machines would have managed to make raids on America with a payload of atomic bombs which were also being successfully developed by Germany."
Taking into account the pace of success in creating the atomic bomb, this was not impossible.
If in one way or another Hitler had seized Europe, he would not have been any weaker than the USA either in economic or military terms. To illustrate, by the end of summer 1942, German submarines in the Atlantic were inflicting serious damage on the Allies, sinking British and American ships with a general displacement of 700,000 tonnes every day - this was more thn the number of vessels launched in shipyards of the USA, Canada and UK!
If Europe had been captured by the Germans, a large-scale American landing in Europe would have been out of the question, as it would have meant hundreds of thousands of Americans dying on the battlefields and this is not the USA's type of war. In addition, it would have been madness to fight the 10-million-strong German army in Europe with landing troops.
As for the atomic bomb, it is not known who would have got it first, the Germans or the Americans. When the Americans captured German atomic scientists and their developments during Operation Alsos, they were astounded at how far German scientists had advanced in developing the atomic bomb.
Hitler sympathizers were in quite strong positions in the USA and if the whole of Europe had fallen to the Nazis, then they would not have remained idle. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union, the numerous pro-fascist organizations did not hide their joy and delight. The organ of the nationalistic America First committee, the Herald newspaper, wrote with delight, "The people of Europe are fighting Russian communists. Seventeen states have joined the German empire in the crusade against the USSR."
The idea that there were serious forces in the USA calling on the president to find a common language with Hitler can be heard clearly,in the analytical message of Supreme Court member W. Douglas to President Roosevelt. The White House decided that it could serve as "guidance" for the president's side in the struggle against the anti-Roosevelt opposition at the Democratic Party convention in Chicago; they were planning to build their tactics round the question of a third term.
Douglas wrote, "I consider the situation to be the following. If Hitler copes with England (and his chances are at least favourable), he will offer 'peace' to our country. Actually, propaganda is being spread about this already. He will make a number of gestures, demonstrating his desire to make a bargain with us. He will present the matter as though he wants to draw us into the reconstruction of Europe. He will use all possible tricks to draw business circles in our country to his side, promising them high incomes etc. Many people in our country are already saying that we 'can do business with Hitler', if only we are allowed to.
"It would have been fatal at this critical time to have in the White House a president who prized business interests above all else. 'Why should we interfere in this unnecessary war? Why not establish a business relationship with Hitler, open our markets and thereby increase employment?' This is what will be talked about and on which subject pressure will be brought to bear. Even Hoover, presumably, supposes that we can sit down with Hitler at one table and strike a deal with him. That is why you ought to talk carefully so as not to enrage Adolf's admirers."
It should be remembered that a number of Latin American countries explicitly sympathized with the Germans (the future president of Argentina, Juan Peron, had photographs taken with Hitler and it's no coincidence that after the war leading Nazi criminals went into hiding in Latin America). Probably, the pragmatic Americans would have found a common language with the already "united" Europe!
Stettenius, an outstanding US politician, wrote after the war in 1949, "The American people should not forget that they were close to catastrophe. If the Soviet Union had not been able to hold the front, the Germans would have got the opportunity to capture Great Britain. They would have been able to take Africa too, and in this case, they would have managed to establish a bridgehead in Latin America."
It is difficult to say how opposition between Germany and the USA might have developed: "prehistory is not enough", as the Americans like to say, but it is indisputable that difficult days would have been ahead for the Americans if events had taken this course.
THIS IS FACT, PURE FACT.
The writer Katharine Susanna Prichard (Australia) said in the post-war years, "The Soviet people showed the world not only how people themselves can build a magnificent socialist state, but also what great heroism and unity they protect it with... Your fight rescued the world from fascist domination. Humanity is in irredeemable debt to the USSR." Much of this "irredeemable debt" is owed to Baku!
Goethe said, "The truth needs to be repeated constantly, because illusions are constantly preached around us."
WITHOUT BAKU OIL IN 1942, WITHOUT ITS OIL REFINERIES, WITHOUT ITS HEROIC OIL WORKERS AND REFINERS, THE USSR AND THEN EUROPE WOULD NOT HAVE HELD OUT IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE GERMAN MILITARY MACHINE THAT RAN LIKE CLOCKWORK.
Under my direction my students submitted the main works of Soviet military historians and the memoirs of commanders to computer processing, applying content analysis. The analysis identified most classes of information by recognizing patterns, such as the names of political and military leaders of the opposing sides, geographical names, descriptions of battles, statistics, descriptions of combat and the technical characteristics of equipment and armaments, the political and economic situation in the countries in the orbit of the war, the state of communist parties and movements, the partisan movement, different types of weapons, the situation in the rear of the enemy, supplies to the fronts etc.
It is astonishing or perhaps to be expected, that Azerbaijan that played a decisive part among the aforementioned factors, was not included in this classification, that is, Azerbaijani oil went virtually unnoticed in those fundamental Soviet publications. It made up only several hundredths of a percentage point (!) and in quantitative terms could not enter the model of war as described by the authors of those publications.
This can be seen in the substantial work by Army General S.K. Kurkotkin The Rear of the Soviet Armed Forces in the Great Patriotic War. This voluminous work on supply to the fronts dedicated a separate, lengthy chapter to the veterinary care of horses and only a small section to fuel and petroleum products! According to Kurkotkin, geese saved Rome, and horses saved the USSR! The situation did not change in recent history either, when interpretations of many events in World War II have been revised.
On the 50th anniversary of the Victory, democratic Russia remembered V. Grave, a hereditary nobleman who was one of the inventors of the "katyusha", and said that the USSR would hardly have won the war without katyushas. Flyarkovskiy (a former Bakuvian) said on Russia TV's Vesti news programme that "the war was won by all peoples of the USSR, the Shpagin submachine gun and the domestic truck". This was Leninist clarity from the mouth of the former Bakuvian! A silver-haired tank general and war veteran said that he "could not imagine victory over fascism without the Т-34".
Do these gentlemen-comrades and former compatriots not realize that without Baku oil the katyushas, Т-34s and trucks would have stayed right where they were produced (had they even been produced), while Shpagin submachine guns would have been used only to return fire in the Bryansk forests?
Gen George Patton was precise on fuel, saying on 31 August, 1944, when the 3rd Army under his command had reached the River Metz border. They were not able to go farther as the fuel tanks were empty. "My soldiers can eat their belts," Patton said to the commander-in-chief of the Allied troops, Eisenhower, "but my tanks need gasoline."
A. Lyubimov, on Russia's First Channel, taking up his father's mantle, simultaneously showed two military parades on the First Channel in his programme on 9 May, 1995, one in Moscow in Red Square in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Victory over fascism, the other from Khankendi (Stepanakert, according to the Armenians) in honour of the "victory" of the Armenians over the Azerbaijanis (that was exactly what he said). This is how Communist ideologists in the recent past democratic Russia in the present assess the contribution of Azerbaijani oil workers and refiners to the Victory! It is people like Lyubimov who run information programmes in Russia today.
Ilya Erenburg is reported to have said once, commenting on the American Lend-lease wartime deliveries, that human blood should not be placed in one scale and powdered egg in the other. We can say equally that human blood must not be placed in one scale and oil, the "blood" of the Earth, in the other. This is right, according to common moral criteria. But when the very existence of the state and entire peoples are at issue, and not the ownership of the Falkland Islands or the demarcation line between some countries, a severe law comes into effect: everything that facilitates the victory and, therefore, survival takes precedence. Moral and other criteria recede into the background. Both human blood and the "blood" of the Earth helped the victory over fascism in equal degree, complementing each other. And each of them, individually, would not have managed to tip the scale in this frightful fight against fascism.
The war is over, so what next?
The natural outcome for Baku after the end of the war would have been to use the priceless experience gained in different industries in Azerbaijan during the the war. A host of rehabilitation centres of importance for the whole country could have been set up on the Caspian coast on the basis of the numerous hospitals, in which tens of thousands of wounded servicemen were rehabilitated. The climate was good and highly-qualified personnel were available. A large aviation plant with a wide range of production could have been constructed on the basis of the wartime aircraft factories. Everything necessary was available, from raw material to personnel. Munitions plants that had operated in wartime were actually ready, they just needed the appropriate status. The list goes on and on.
But this did not happen. Hardly had Soviet cities been liberated, than production capacities from Baku were immediately transferred there. Skillful specialists in various industries were transferred there, too. Moreover, there oilfields were abandoned, the oil refineries of Baku that had carried the basic burden during the war were not reconstructed; all efforts were directed at developing new oil and gas deposits in the USSR and reconstructing Russian oil refineries. Any request from Baku to Moscow for help was answered only with, "Your plants and oilfields were not damaged during military operations!" The oil refineries of Baku continued to work on equipment purchased abroad in the 1930s.
The policy intensifying oil production was taken up again. New wells were drilled and offshore fields explored and developed; life in Baku continued on familiar path - "Let's give the country more oil!"
If the processes under way in Baku in wartime had continued naturally in the post-war years, Baku would have turned into the "southern capital of the USSR", and would have been unrivalled in intellectual and economic power in a vast region, including a number of foreign countries. Of course, Stalin realized this and could not allow it, for reasons well known.
"The war is over, forget it!" - this was Moscow's policy towards the Trans-Caucasus, which fully met the interests of Georgia and Armenia. Thanks to this policy, Tbilisi and Yerevan began to develop rapidly in the post-war years. There is no mystery about Tbilisi, as Vladimir Vysotskiy sang, "It is warm in Tbilisi but I don't need to go there..!" Despite Stalin's equally merciless attitude towards all peoples of the USSR, he never forgot Tbilisi, in a good sense of the word! A special resolution was adopted by the Central Committee of the CPSU in the post-war years, according to which Yerevan had to be an exemplary city in the USSR, because Armenians from all over the world came there and they had to see clearly the achievements of the Armenian people within the composition of the USSR. Baku and its enormous problems which arose in the war years were soon forgotten; it became a USSR stepchild again.
Gas was produced in Azerbaijan, the Friendship gas pipeline to Georgia and Armenia was under construction, all the gas industry specialists were in Baku, but Moscow established five gas institutes in Yerevan, one after the other. Only when S. Orudjev was appointed the USSR Minister of the Gas Industry, was the only institute of gas economy established in Baku. The all-union complex on thermal methods to boost the recovery of oil was to have been built in Baku. On the personal initiative of the former Bakuvian, N. Baybakov, it was built in Krasnodar where neither qualified personnel nor reserves on which to apply this method were available.
The priceless experience accumulated in Azerbaijan during the war was being systematically annihilated!
It has to be said that Azerbaijan's post-war government did not work properly in the real interests of the republic to preserve the military, scientific and economic potential accumulated in the war years. The leaders of the republic, the plant breeder and people's writer, people who were not involved in deep analysis, told the USSR leadership that the introduction of the Azerbaijani language in all branches of industry was the main problem, without having thought through their statement. The oil workers who followed them into power were mainly concerned with the exploration and development of new oil and gas deposits and winning Stalin and Lenin prizes as a result.
Unfortunately, populism has always been in use in Azerbaijan and has caused serious troubles for the country. Technocrats who calculated the benefits for the republic of various solutions to problems were always oppressed by the authorities, as their proposals contradicted the resolutions of the party and the government, while the wider audience did not understand them properly.
It is understandable that this should happen in the USSR. What is the attitude of the West towards the contribution of Baku to World War II?
Surprisingly enough, Western propaganda sticks to the same Soviet principles in assessing the basic factors that influenced the outcome of World War II. The West is well aware of the significance attached to Baku in wartime by Roosevelt, Churchill, de Gaulle, Eisenhower and others. They knew perfectly well that Western military commanders had always taken into consideration the Baku factor in all their strategic plans. However, both the USSR and West forgot all this and preferred to speak of anything but the contribution of Baku to the common Victory - direct evidence of double standards! The previous chapters have shown how deep the concern of Roosevelt and Churchill about Baku was, how they stressed its importance in the struggle against fascism, whereas the post-war presidents of the USA and British prime ministers never mention Baku in relation to World War II.
The USA has recently shot stunning blockbusters about the war, trying to prove that the main thing was the appearance of the Allies in Europe with all their technology.
The creators of the feature film Enemy at the Gates argue that the Red Army defended Stalingrad heroically because the city was connected with the name of Stalin. And there is not a single word about the main component of that battle, oil, in this film!
Probably since they are remaining faithful to their "Allied duty", the USSR, USA, Britain and France do not speak of the contribution of Baku to the common Victory even after the war. The single French aviation squadron, Normandy - Neman, is difficult to examine even through a magnifying glass within the scope of the whole war, yet hundreds of books have been written about it and it is mentioned in almost every publication on World War II. A small question to the advocates of this approach - what would have happened in World War II if there had been no Baku oil or the Normandy-Neman squadron had not been formed in exile? The Allies have not spoken about Baku's contribution for many years, as every side puts forward its own version, polite and unobtrusive as they may be, these are their own versions. The "battle" for the Victory has been going on between the Allies for many years!
Even 60 years after the Victory, just like it was in the past, double standards in assessing the contribution of different countries to the common Victory over fascism could be felt both in Russia and the West, and the assessment criteria are vague.
Some European countries that fought on the Axis side during its triumphant phase, were neutral at some point. When the Soviet troops crushed the fascist hordes and the Allies landed in Normandy, those countries declared war on Germany, which, according to the high and mighty, entitles the heads of those countries to attend celebrations on Victory anniversaries and be in the first row of the winners, while many leaders of those countries should have been in the dock, together with the prominent Nazis in Nuremberg.
Some countries surrendered to Germany before all their citizens found out about the beginning of the war. For example, Holland held out for five days!
Other European countries declared that they had been occupied twice, once by the Germans and once by Soviet troops, i.e. they had been hurt twice, and also found their places among the winners and among the defeated fascists who raise their heads in Europe now and then!
The citizens of the Baltic countries believe that they were occupied twice, first by the fascists, then by the Soviet troops, and judging by the tone of statements from politicians in those countries, we can guess that they regard the Soviet occupation as more cruel.
Curiously enough, the Balts demand that Russia should apologize for the "occupation of their countries" but do not demand that from Germany!
May I suggest that the Baltic gentlemen correlate the number of Baltic SS agents, police officers, Gestapo and camp employees and the population size of their countries in those years. In this respect, they occupy a leading place in Europe, behind probably only Germany. Though it is also relevant to remember the Latvian shooters who practically saved Soviet power.
We can often hear an appeal for virtue in politics from the mouths of Western politicians. It is hard to imagine greater immorality than the policy of the Baltic countries. Their behaviour was also immoral when they supported Armenia in its aggression against Azerbaijan.
There is no place of honour for Azerbaijan among the victors in the European celebrations, though its contribution to the Victory over fascism is incomparably greater than that of several of the honoured guests.
All this has a reason. If you question at random tens of thousands of Europeans of all ages in different countries of Europe about Baku and tell them that the whole of Europe would have been enslaved by the fascists if Azerbaijani oil had been lost, they will take you for a madman.
Such is Europe! It has its own view of historic events and objectivity is not indispensable in many cases, especially when it does not fit into Christian values.
Such an attitude towards Baku is painfully familiar, for Baku also faced it in recent history when the Armenian aggression was condemned neither by the USSR, nor democratic Russia, nor the West, the cradle of democracy!
Finally, Azerbaijan did not sign the document on the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascist Germany within the framework of the CIS. This was certainly the right decision, for this commonwealth did not, will not understand and does not want to understand the role of Azerbaijan in this war, if it is indifferent to the fact that Armenia, one of the signatory states, celebrates 9 May as the day of the capture of Shusha. With the implicit consent of the CIS countries, THEY COMBINE THE SACRED HOLIDAY FOR ALL CITIZENS OF THE CIS WITH THE PREDATORY CAPTURE OF SHUSHA BY ARMENIAN TERRORISTS. On the sacred day of the victory over fascism, to which Azerbaijan made an incomparably greater contribution than Armenia, it is immoral to stand in line with Armenia which makes no distinction Victory Day and terrorist actions against Azerbaijan, alongside whom it fought against, fascism.
This does not means that Baku should not celebrate this day, which nationalist leaders proposed in the recent past. No IT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED EVERY YEAR AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL, AND NOT ONLY ON ANNIVERSARIES. High-ranking guests from all around the world should be invited to those celebrations. Volumes have been written about everything that contributed to the victory over fascism. And this is right, for "no-one and nothing should be forgotten!" The enormous contribution of Baku and its workers to the common Victory over fascism should not have been forgotten by the civilized world either!
Azerbaijan has the full moral right to celebrate the victory over fascism every year, independent of other states, as Russia, the USA, UK, France, Holland, Austria and others do. Its immense contribution to the Victory allows that. During these celebrations Azerbaijan should show to its high-ranking guests the incontrovertible role of AZERBAIJAN AND BAKU oil in World War II, about which the Soviet, international and Russian press have long been silent, and tell everyone who can see and hear what Baku got in recent history in return from the USSR and enlightened Europe for this invaluable service to, let us not hesitate to say it, humanity.