What did Hitler want from Central Asia?
Culture and History, Politics and Society, Uzbekistan4 Comments
The World War II missed the republics of Central Asia with its battles, but affected the economical and human resources. On the wave of demolition of common Soviet past, you can hear here and there more and more opinions stating “that was not our war”. What were Hitler’s true plans in Central Asia?
There is a strong opinion about the thought that the Third Reich planned on creating a puppet country called “The Great Turkestan”.
In the autumn of 1941 to lead the Turkestan Legion which was filled with volunteers out of Soviet captives the Third Reich invited Mustafa Shokay, the ex-leader of the Kokand autonomous region who at that moment was an immigrant in Germany. Shokay quickly understood that the Germans were interested in the Turkestan Legion only as in cannon fodder and refused to cooperate. He was right.
Hash mark of the “Turkestan Legion”
On the 22nd of December, 1941, Hitler signed a decree which says about the creation of Turkestan Legion and on the 27th of December, 1941, Shokay mystically dies in a hospital in Berlin. Another Uzbek immigrant called Vali Kayum was invited by the Germans to lead the Legion. On the 14th of November, 1942, the Turkistan National Committee was formed under his guidance – a puppet organization with a goal to create an ideological base for the legionnaires.
Turkomans-soldiers from Turkestan Legion. Photo belongs to the German state archive.
According to the words of historian Gilyazov (1), Germany promised the legionnaires to create an entity called “The Great Turkistan” under protectorate of Germany itself. Aside from Central Asia, it would include Bashkiria, Volga region, Azerbaijan, Northern Kavkaz and Xinjiang.
One of the soldiers of the Legion, a Kazakh who surrendered to the Soviet army told during interrogation that Vali Kayum visited their unit and spoke to them:
“The Germans are our friends; they will help us to free the Turkistani people from Russian pressure. The German troops are already near Stalingrad and when they take it, they will continue to pursue the liberation of Turkistan. I will be a khan and you will be my soldiers.” (2)
In reality, Hitler had others plans concerning Central Asia, not like the propaganda said.
On the 2nd of April of 1941, seven months before Turkistan Legion was even created, Hitler appointed Rosenberg responsible for event planning on the East. On the same day, Rosenberg presented Hitler a memorandum #1, which aside from others, contained the following suggestions: (3)
G) Russian Central Asia or Russian Turkistan.
We can assume that after the Soviets will lose the war in Europe we can eliminate the Moscow tyranny in Central Asia as well. These lands are populated by various people, mostly Turan or Mongol type which are committed to Magomed. For long years they are in a national-confessional opposition to Soviets and for a long time oppose the Russian tyranny, but couldn’t end it up until now. Doing so now with the help of Germans and thanks to the Soviet recklessness is not such a hard task. These lands are the cotton storage for Russia with yearly yield of 400-500 thousand tons of cottons, according to Bolshevik statistics. Establishment of the Germans in Central Asia would mean a great moral support for Iran and Afghanistan.
After reading memorandum #1, Hitler remarked Rosenberg that he is not willing to garrison the German army into the Central Asian republics of USSR and thus considers the creation of “The Great Turkistan” meaningless. This conversation was logged by State Secretary Kerner.
After that, Rosenberg presented memorandum #2 in which not a single reference Turkistan’s fate was mentioned. This memorandum was approved by Hitler as a plan of USSR territory breakdown; it was later attached to The Nuremberg Trials’ accusatory documents’ list as proof of aggression planning.
Most likely, Hitler wanted to postpone the decision about the fate of Central Asia up until that moment when the victory over USSR would be obvious. Fortunately, it didn’t happen at all.
(1) Gilyazov I.A. Panturkism, panturanism and Germany // Ethnographical review. 1996. #2. p.98
(2) Sockov L.F. Unknown separatism: on the service of SD and Abwehr – Ripol classic, 2003
(3) Archive IfZ München. Nürnberger Dokumente 1018-PS