niemcy v Prielbrussie









World War II:

Axis Plans for Azerbaijan and the rest of the Caucasus



By  Andrew Andersen and Georg Egge

Photos: Carlos caballero Jurado





The issue of Karabakh in particular and South-Caucasian borders in general, was raised again during the Second World War while thousands of Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian and other Caucasian soldiers wearing uniforms of various armies were dying on the battlefields of Europe and Russia.



Soon after the beginning of Russian Campaign (1941-46), following the Axis plans for the dismemberment of the USSR and creation of new satellite-states on its territory, the “Liberation Committees” of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia were formed in Berlin. Those Committees regarded by the Nazi leadership as embryonic governments of the future satellite-states of Germany, since April 15, 1942, were granted the status of “full-right allies” of the Third Reich[1]. During the “Battle for the Caucasus” also known as the “Operation Edelweiss”(1942-43) when the Axis occupation of the South Caucasus became a real possibility, the ”Liberation Committees” of the three nations of the South Caucasus and the North Caucasia received a directive from Adolf Hitler to resolve their territorial disputes. As a result of quite heated talks, the leaders of the Caucasus collaborators agreed on the following terms:


  • Armenia was supposed to gain Nakhichevan and all of the Mountainous Karabakh (including North Artsakh) and a small part of Javakh (Akhalkalaki county of Georgia)
  • Georgia was to receive the former counties if Sochi  and Zakatala, lost in 1919-1921 to Russia and Azerbaijan
  • For all territorial concessions to Armenia and Georgia, Azerbaijan was to be compensated by the most of Daghestan where Azeri-Turkish language was lingua franca (later it was replaced in that capacity by Russian)[2]


Armenian and Georgian “Liberation Committees” (AONK and GNK) were also given promises by Alfred Rosenberg that in case of Axis invasion of Turkey, Armenia would be granted Western Armenia and Cilicia while Georgia was supposed to receive parts of the historical Paryadria (Lazistan)[3].






Figure 4.1



image008              image006


Above: Azerbaijani volunteers (officer and soldier) of the Wehrmacht

Below: Azerbaijani volunteers with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem





The defeat of the Axis powers in 1945 put an end to the above virtual projects. However, at the same time, starting from 1945 when tens thousands of Armenian repatriates started arriving the Soviet Armenia from various countries of Europe and Middle East facing more than limited space for settlement and much more were planning to come, the Communist leadership of Armenia raised the question of Mountainous Karabakh and Nakhichevan in the Central Committee of CPSU[4]  and even personally addressed Joseph Stalin for help[5]. Despite some understanding and limited support demonstrated by the Soviet dictator and a few Politbureau[6] members, the Karabakh-Nakhichevan question was not resolved and died away in the head offices of the CPSU in Moscow by the end of the 40-ies.
















[1] J. Hoffmann, Kaukasien 1942/43: Das deutsche Heer und die Orientvoelker der Sowietunion (Freiburg, 1991), p. 356


[2] E. Abramian, Zabytyj Legion (Yerevan, 2005), p. 37


[3] Ibid., p. 38


[4] CPSU is an abbreviation widelu used to denote the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Auth.)


[5] A. Melik-Shakhnazarov, p. 43, and

    J. Hasanly, “Neobosnoovannyje pretenzii armian na KArabakh v sovietskoe vremia”,

    IRS Nasledije/Heritage, No. 24 - 1, 2006 (Baku, 2006), p.24


[6] Politbureau was the top decision–making body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that enjoyed practically unlimited authority all over the USSR (Auth.)