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A better analogy: Nazi Germany and Armenia

24 May 2010 [17:00] - TODAY.AZ
The 65th anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazi regime is a significant date, and was celebrated a couple of weeks ago.
Six and a half decades have passed... But "war,” "refugees,” and "occupation" are frequent terms in the daily news both globally and in Azerbaijan. 20% of our territory has been occupied by aggressive forces, leaving us with 1 million refugees.

The western half of Kurfyustendamm Street in Berlin was once called "a showcase of the Western world." At a time before the city was divided by infamous Berlin Wall, many traveled to this part of the city to enjoy the neon lights, the store windows, the cafes and the restaurants...

A destroyed church stands in front of Berlin's most luxurious department store and is an eternal reminder of the war began in Berlin. It ended in Berlin, too. The city was nearly destroyed after bombings and street fights. The city no longer resembles the dandy capital of early-1940s Germany.

By May 1945, almost all of Europe was ravaged by war. The world was celebrating a victory, while Germany was still bitter about its defeat. The German authorities took fatal decisions and were confident that they could continue fighting for "living space," to erase Czechoslovakia, Poland and France from the world map, to declare neighboring peoples "subhuman," and to declare the lands of the "Untermensch" as lands of the "Reich.”

Buoyed by the success of the “Anschluss,” Sudetenland's annexation and an attack on Poland, they made plans for a further offensive. They planned to attack France by crushing Belgium.

Today, the world has made sure that any disaster, whether political or technological, is always the result of a chain of wrong errors. This was the case in Chernobyl, where they undertook a risky experiment in running a reactor, then disconnected it from a security system and later stubbornly concealed the extent of the accident.

Germany's first target was Austria, and later Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The last country Hitler attacked was the Soviet Union, which brought him nothing but failure. Historians say Nazi Arms Minister Todt said that "the war was militarily and economically lost" at Hitler's headquarters in the autumn of 1941. Howeveer, Hitler did not believe Todt and ordered an advance further into Russia, taking yet another fateful decision for Germany.

Later many such fateful decisions followed. Finally, in 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy and the war now on two fronts spelled a defeat for Germany. But Berlin still hoped to split the anti-Nazi coalition and hoped for "miracle weapons," ordering the continuation of the war, a bloody meat grinder that ended millions of lives every day. But in the end, fights broke out in Berlin.

Probably, it would be hard to find someone in the former Soviet Union who has no knowledge of the WWII. Those who studied in Soviet schools know its history better than anybody. Then why have Armenian politicians repeated the mistakes that had once led to a national catastrophe in a much more powerful and influential nation, like Germany?

In fact, it is impossible not to notice the analogies. Hitler had the "German Reich” and Armenian nationalists have "Great Armenia.” Hitler and his henchmen declared neighboring peoples "barbarians and subhuman," and Armenian newspapers are full of allegations that neighboring peoples, especially the Azerbaijanis and Turks, are "barbarian nomads,” who have no culture, and consequently, their land should belong to Armenians. Armenians took the first fateful decision in the early 1990s by starting their fight for Karabakh's annexation just as Hitler had decided in 1938.

This fateful decision cost Azerbaijan 20% of its territory and the death of 30,000 of its citizens. Armenia paid a much lower price. It faced no occupation and no mass flows of refugees. Armenians are well aware what “cargo 200" means. In other words, zinc coffins from the front. Otherwise, Armenian students would not have protested on Yerevan streets demanding changes to the admission rules for master’s degree programs, so it would be easier to dodge the army.  

The important thing is that Armenia has reached the second "decision point.” At a time when the region enjoys more international attention than ever, mediators are suggesting a new version of a political settlement. Yerevan, just like Berlin in 1944, is too buoyed by previous victories, and refuses to sign anything and withdraw its troops. They are already making plans for an attack on Javakheti and also refuse to recognize their country’s border with Turkey.

Armenia seems to have forgotten that any seizure of foreign lands, any occupation, would inevitably create the effect of a "compressed spring,” which sooner or later has to straighten. Because no matter how hard diplomats assure that a peaceful solution is better than war, the right of states to self-defense still exists. Azerbaijan also has the right to restore its territorial integrity and expel aggressor forces from its lands.

It is clear that Baku’s patience is running thin as the situation becomes even more critical. Armenia rejects its rare chance to avoid war by pulling troops out of the occupied lands. The outcome of the war cannot be the same as in 1993 because Armenia has remained the same, but Azerbaijan has not. The military potential of the two states is not identical and it is too risky to trust external support. Most importantly, any war means new coffins from the front line and the death of tens of thousands of soldiers – someone's child, someone's parents and someone's beloved…

Today, they, like Hitler's youth forces, can still be saved if the leaders of Armenia, who assure that they love the Armenian people, adopt the necessary decisions in the interests of the people and break the chain that will lead to an Armenian national catastrophe, just as once happened in Germany...


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