The Second World War brought untold sorrow to humankind. Its scope and the loss of human life and property were unprecedented. Today is a special day to pay tribute to those who fought for peace, freedom and human dignity, to commemorate the many millions of victims of the Second World War, and to remember its terrifying atrocities and destruction. The war touched all continents and peoples, sparing no one from pain and suffering.
There is not a single family in Azerbaijan that was not affected one way or another by the Second World War. Even though the hostilities took place beyond the territory of Azerbaijan, our people underwent and overcame a severe ordeal and made their contribution to the victory. Azerbaijan mobilized for the army more than 700,000 of its sons and daughters, half of whom sacrificed their lives. Their graves are spread all over Europe, from the Volga River to Berlin. Many Azerbaijanis also fought as members of the resistance in France, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and Yugoslavia. 128 citizens of Azerbaijan were conferred on title of Hero of the Soviet Union for their valor and feats shown during the war.
The victory was achieved not only on the battlefield but also at home. In a very short time frame, Azerbaijan set up works for the production of ammunition and armaments and hosted industrial enterprises relocated from the war theatre. The true heroism was the selfless service and dedication of the people of Azerbaijan, who worked day and night in oil production. During the Second World War, Baku secured almost 80% of all the oil extracted in the entire Soviet Union, 90% of its naphtha and 96% of its lubricants. Four out of five Soviet aircrafts, tanks and trucks used in the course of the Second World War ran on fuel produced in Baku.
In his article entitled “Glory to the Azerbaijani nation”, dated 28 April 1945, Fyodor Tolbukhin, Marshal of the Soviet Union, wrote: “The Red Army owes the Azerbaijani nation and the courageous Baku oilmen for many victories, for on-time delivery of high-quality fuel to attacking units. Soldiers of our front under Stalingrad, in Don and Donbas, on the banks of Dnepr and Dniester, in Belgrade, under Budapest and Vienna remember the Azerbaijani oilmen with gratitude and greet the brave workers of oily Baku.”