Soviet Armenia and the Armenian Issue in the Soviet Military Preparations and the Soviet-Turkish Confrontation in World War II
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Soviet Armenia and the Armenian Issue in the Soviet Military Preparations and the Soviet-Turkish Confrontation in World War II
Annotation
PII
S207987840000174-0-2
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Abstract
During the Second World War, also known as the Great Patriotic War, Armenia was a border territory of the USSR. In the context of geopolitical international situation of post-war years and the “cold war,” Soviet Armenia occupied a vital place in the “military preparations of the USSR.” The Soviet-Turkish relationship, and in the broader sense the standoff between the Soviets and the West was also complicated by the Armenian question. In this context was the question of the return of the Armenian territories from Turkey to Soviet Armenia, annexed earlier by Turkey according to the treaty of Moscow as well as the identical treaty of Kars. On the eve of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet Union considered Turkey as a potential enemy and had specific plans. The militarization of Turkey, with heavy support from England and France deeply concerned the Soviet leadership. In response to this treat, the Soviets began a military build-up in the South Caucasus from the 1940’s onward. The Soviet leadership decided to relocated a large number of fighters and bombers, as well as artillery and tank parts from other military districts to the newly formed Transcaucasian military district. These forces were mainly transported to Soviet Azerbaijan, but also to Armenia and Georgia. At the onset of the Great Patriotic War, many industrial enterprises of the Soviet Armenia were promptly converted into military-goods producing enterprises. These goods ranged from military uniforms to fighter planes, rockets, tank and other military equipment repairmen facilities. Continuous build-up of Turkish troops along the Turkish-Caucasian border, and anti-Soviet statements by Turkish officials at the height of the Battle of Stalingrad continued to rankle the Soviet leadership. It is worth mentioning that official Ankara's position during the war continued to be anti-Soviet, anti-Slavic, to be even more precise, racist. Statements and actions of the Soviet leadership towards Turkey, and the successes of the Red and allied armies in the war strengthened hopes and expectations of the Armenian people, especially in the Diaspora for a fair and final solution to the Armenian question. Although under the Stalin's totalitarian regime, during the 1930's, citizens of the Soviet Armenia were forced to remain silent, the struggle for the just solution to the Armenian question never seized to exist: it was effectively headed by the Armenian Diaspora. As one of the consequences of the genocide, and the bearer of the historical memory, the Armenian Diaspora has become a driving force behind the struggle for the restoration of historical justice and return of their historical homeland: Western Armenia. The return of Western Armenian territories was closely linked to the question of repatriations raised by the Diasporan Armenians. The idea of reparations was supported by the Government of Soviet Armenia, which in turn, raised the question before the Soviet Union’s government. At the Potsdam Conference, the Soviet delegation raised the question of the return of the former Armenian territories of Kars, Ardagan, Ardvina and Surmalu to the Soviet Union, however, faced with fierce resistance from the United States and Great Britain, the Soviet delegation did not insist on the inclusion of the question in the agenda of the Conference. It should be noted that by linking the territorial claims with the Black Sea Straits and presence of the Soviet military bases in the region, the Soviet leadership substantially weakened its position on the first point, thus allowing Turkey and its allies to accuse the Soviets of the policy of expansionism. However, the territorial demands of the Soviet Government towards Turkey cannot only be explained by “Stalin’s expansionist ideology” or by the “expansion of communism in the Middle East.” It is appropriate to say that the Soviet leadership was also concerned with restoring historical justice and return of the Armenian lands. At the outset of the cold war, Turkey mainly played a role of obstacle “to the expansion of Soviet influence in the Middle East.” The Western diplomatic pressure in regards to Turkish and Iranian Affairs as well as the White House’s nuclear blackmail soon produced some favorable for Turkey results. The United States openly demonstrated and talked about their interest in the Middle East. The escalation of tension in international relations, newly formed politico-military alliances, and Turkey's accession to the NATO eventually forced the Soviet leadership to openly declare on May 30, 1953 that “the Soviet Union had no territorial claims to Turkey.” Thus, in considering territorial claims to Turkey through the prism of the “deployment of communism,” the United States and the Western European powers ignored the fair policies of the Soviet Union toward Turkey in regards to the Armenian question. Regrettably, the Armenian question at this particular historical moment was shadowed by the confrontation between East and West, communism and anti-communism, and eventually became the victim of the strategic, political and ideological contradictions of the initial stage of the cold war.
Keywords
World War I, World War II, the Soviet Union, Germany, Turkey, Armenia, United States, Britain, Middle East, Transcaucasia, politics, military district, military equipment, orders in manufacturing, the Armenian issue, genocide, diaspora, repatriation, conference, the Black Sea straits, the cold war
Received
22.08.2011
Publication date
30.09.2011
Number of characters
37660
Number of purchasers
16
Views
6681
Readers community rating
3.0 (2 votes)
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