The 75th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War is a good occasion to recall and pay tribute to the sacrifices and unity of all the people who prevailed in the fight against the world’s evil. The contribution of the Armenian people to the victory of the Allied Powers in World War II has been significant. As many as 600,000 Armenians participated in the war fighting in the Red Army and its national divisions, in the armies of Allied Powers or in the ranks of the Resistance movement. Additionally, more than 1,000 women from Armenia were recruited to the Soviet Armed Forces.
During the Great Patriotic War, three Armenians were part of the high command of Red Army and later became Marshalls: Hovhannes Baghramyan, Hamazasp Babajanyan and Sergei Khudyakov (Armenak Khanperiants). Furthermore, an Armenian called Ivan Isakov (Hovhannes Ter-Isahakyan) became an admiral.
Armenian soldiers served in many military branches of the Red Army: the infantry, armoured troops, aircraft, and artillery, at the Navy, logistics and health units. Armenians were soldiers and commanders at all levels, up to the commanders of divisions, corps and armies.
Voroshilov (established in September 1922), 408th, 409th, 89th, 390th and 261st. Many Armenians fought in the ranks of the 31st, 61st and 320th infantry divisions and in the 28th and 38th reserve brigades and divisions. The Armenian leadership staffed and supplied these military units with all that was necessary.
The 89th Tamanyan Division was composed primarily of ethnic Armenians and fought in numerous battles during the war. It gained fame for participating in the battle for Berlin in April 1945, occupying the Berlin suburb of Rosenthal at war’s end. Together with their legendary general Nver Safaryan, Tamanyan division was also one of the first units to fight and enter the German Reichstag.
The division advanced more than 7500 kilometres of the military way from the Caucasus to Berlin, and in the final account, more than 9,000 were killed and 11,000 taken prisoner Nazis.
Outside of Armenia and the Soviet Union, Missak Manouchian was one of the leaders of the French Resistance. He was captured and executed by the Nazis in 1944, together with over 20 members of FTP-MOI Paris region led by Manouchian, and remains a much respected figure in modern French history. Decorated soldiers who fought in the United States Army include Ernest H. Dervishian (recipient of the Medal of Honour), Harry Kizirian (most decorated serviceman from Rhode Island and one of the most decorated marines of the war), and Victor Maghakian (one of the most decorated American soldiers of the war).
According to statistics the population of the Soviet Armenia was 1,320,000 in 1939. Military Deaths during the WW2 150,000 and civilian deaths were 30,000. The general losses of Armenians during WWII were 300 000.Brothers Noel Agazarian and Jack Agazarian both served in the British Royal Air Force, Noel was promoted to Flying Officer and participated in the Battle of Britain before being killed in the line of duty in 1941, while Jack also became a field agent for the Secret Intelligence Service and was subsequently captured in 1945. Their sister, Monique Agazarian, became one of only 10 young women accepted into the Air Transport Auxiliary for ab initio pilot-training.