If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

In Rememberance of the World War II

In Rememberance of the World War II - e-history.kz
The reign of fascists in Germany and especially their aggressive activities in Europe made it obvious that the Soviet Union would not be able to avoid a war with Hitler’s Germany.

On June 22, 1941, fascist Germany violated the Soviet-German pact (non-aggression pact) by invading the territory of the USSR without declaring war. The heaviest and cruellest of all the wars on earth had begun.
Germany's plans for Kazakhstan were unambiguous. After the victory over the USSR, the fascists planned to create a unified German ethnoterritorial space in the territory of Central Asia and Southern Kazakhstan. The task was set: to clear this space from all other nationalities, as "not subject to humanity.
The liquidation of the Turkic-Mongolian peoples at the end of 1941 was also planned. The German Higher Intelligence School prepared a draft map of the future colonies and planned in early 1942 to create the state structures "Volga-Ural" and "Big Turkistan". The colony of Greater Turkestan included Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Azerbaijan, the North Caucasus, Crimea, Xinjiang, northern Afghanistan.
The establishment of the puppet state by the Hitler was pursued by economic and political goals: to receive a powerfully raw and additional food base for the Great German Empire and to turn the Land of Soviets into a colony, and its peoples into slaves. In addition, the central, northern and north-eastern regions of Kazakhstan were to become part of the "industrial regions" of Karaganda, Novosibirsk and Kuznetsk, where Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Poles, Hungarians and other peoples of Eastern Europe were planned to be resettled to serve fascist Germany. Later, in connection with the collapse of the concept of a lightning war, the fascists had to reconsider their plans and promise self-government to the non-Russian peoples of the USSR to use them in the struggle against Moscow. The Stalingrad Front was the closest to the territory of Kazakhstan.

As the World War II began, more than a sixth of the population - over 1.3 million people - left the Kazakh soil for the War. As a result of the tragic events, 410 thousand soldiers from Kazakhstan, constituting one-third of the departed did not make it back home. How well do we all know about this war and its victims? In the history of Soviet Kazakhstan, there were many gloomy pages with the World War II bringing calamities and sorrow, which is called the Great Patriotic War by Kazakh people.

Kazakhstan participated in those events as part of the Soviet empire - successor to the tsarist colonial empire. Therefore, the authorities of modern independent Kazakhstan consider this war to be part of their national history and are proud of those who fought for our freedom.

Just before the war started, there were just over six million people living in Kazakhstan. During those years, more than a sixth of the population from Kazakhstan was called to the war, according to various sources: from 1 million 196 thousand to 1 million 366 thousand and Kazakhstan had lost 410 thousand of them. An electronic textbook on the history of Kazakhstan provides other data. According to the data, the number of fallen in the battle and those who suffered from illnesses, and were missing made up over 630 thousand people. It should be noted that these do not include those Kazakhstanis who were drafted into the army outside of the country, as well as those who did not return from the labour army.

In Kazakhstan, 12 infantry divisions, four national cavalry divisions, seven rifle brigades, including two national rifle brigades, were formed and sent to the war. In addition, about 50 regiments and battalions of various combat arms were formed here.

Moreover, the Stalinist regime paved the way to the so-called labour armies, which were formed from the indigenous people of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan. Based on the textbook on the history of Kazakhstan, 700,000 adults were sent to the labour forces from Kazakhstan alone. Another 670,000 people were mobilized in order to work in the industry. That suggests that every fourth inhabitant of Kazakhstan was called up for war.

According to some reports, the level of mobilization in Kazakhstan was two times higher than that of in Germany, which waged war on two fronts. Whilst the Germans mobilized 12 % of the population, in Kazakhstan, it was more than 24 %. In a number of regions of Kazakhstan, the share of ethnic Kazakhs was mobilized for the war, which constituted around 50-60% back then.

As a result of the massive involvement of the adult population in military operations, by the end of 1943, the human resources reserve experienced exhaustion. Due to these factors, it was extremely difficult to find people who would be sent to the war. On the secret instructions of the leading bodies, party and Soviet apparatus were engaged in the search for, selection and direction of people to the front.

As it is widely known, between 1941 and 1943,  the Soviet army suffered a crushing defeat and retreated. It was during these years that about a million people from Kazakhstan were mobilized only for the war. All of them basically became victims of the policy of Stalinism - the policy through which there were attempts to compensate the lack of weapons, military equipment at the expense of human resources.

One example of this includes the tragic fate of the 106th Akmola Kazakh cavalry division, which, in spite of the acute shortage of firearms, not to mention automatic weapons, was thrown with sabres at German tanks near Kharkov, which is better known as the "Kharkov Kettle". This Kazakh division was destroyed, and the memory of it was etched. The tragic fate of the Akmola Cavalry Division became known only 68 years later. And thanks to the efforts of Ukrainian journalists and enthusiasts such as Maka Karazhanova.

As Maka Karazhanova, the head of the Kazakh community of Kharkov, says, there were only such "boilers" in the first years of the war with Germany. For example, in the Kiev Kettle, surrounded by Germans, 600,000 Soviet soldiers and officers were killed or taken prisoner.

During the first years of the war, the military units and formations that were formed in Kazakhstan and the Central Asian republics often rushed to the heaviest areas of battles. An example is the 106th Cavalry Division and the more famous 8th Panfilov Infantry Division.

Military units which formed in Kazakhstan participated in the defence of Leningrad, in the Battle of Stalingrad, on the Kursk Bulge, in the crossing of the Dnieper and the liberation from the German troops of Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. From the first days of the war, military formations and units were forming everywhere. In Kazakhstan, 12 rifle and 4 cavalry divisions, 7 rifle brigades, and about 50 separate regiments were formed.

Soviet soldiers, in the ranks of which thousands of Kazakhs fought, from the very first days of the Patriotic War fierce battles with fascist invaders fought on all fronts. One of the first Kazakhstani formations that entered into battle with the enemy was the 312th Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel (later Major-General) Naumov.
Almost simultaneously with the 312nd, the other division, formed in Alma-Ata, and in Kazakhstan with the 316th Division, which was commanded by Major-General Panfilov, received the baptism of fire on the same northwestern direction. Having honourably fulfilled the task assigned to them, the Panfilovs, on the orders of the Supreme High Command, occupied the 30-kilometre section assigned to them in the defence of Moscow. In an unequal battle with fifty enemy tanks, they emerged victoriously. 28 participants of this historic battle were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In these battles in the Volokolamsk area, the brave, fearless warrior died, the talented commander, Major-General IV. Panfilov. He was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and the 8th Guards Rifle Division (the former 316th) began to bear his name.
In the battles near Moscow, many sons of the Kazakh people fought heroically. Among them are Heroes of the Soviet Union Malik Gabdullin, Baurzhan Momyshuly, Tulegen Tokhtarov (died near Moscow), Tleugali Elebekov. The warriors-Kazakhstanis, who fought in the 238th Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel G.P., were covering themselves with unfading battle glory in battles for Moscow. Korotkov. The division was awarded the Order of the Red Banner: for the fortitude, courage and heroism of personnel, it was transformed into the 30th Guards. In the vicinity of the town of Aleksin, the 843rd Infantry Regiment of the division held the defence, in which Amangeldy Imanov, the son of the legendary batyr of the Kazakh people, served as an ordinary submachine gunner Ramazan Amangeldiev.
In 1941 Alma-Ata cadets from cadets of military schools of Alma-Ata, Tashkent, Frunze and other cities formed the 39th separate rifle brigade, which, like the 8th Guards Panfilov division, thundered the enemy near Moscow, liberated the occupied German- fascist invaders of the city. For combat feats, high discipline, the 39th Infantry Brigade was transformed into the 73rd Guards Division, and it was given the name Stalingrad. In the battle for this city on the Volga, along with many soldiers, Kazakh artillerymen of the 22nd Artillery Regiment became famous. Personnel displayed unprecedented heroism in the destruction of Hitler's tanks.
From the Ural region in 1943 went to the front 24 girls, Kazakhs. After finishing a sniper school in Podolsk, they then arrived at the Stalingrad Front. The glory of the brave Kazakh girls, among those, included Toktamysheva, Muminova, Beketova, Nesterenko, Semenyuk, and others, went along the whole front.
The battle for Leningrad, which lasted more than three years, covered the whole northwestern part of the country. Together with soldiers of all nationalities, Kazakh soldiers defended Leningrad. In the town besieged by the enemy, numerous echelons with food, ammunition and military equipment came from Kazakhstan. In the first battles for the Ladoga lakes, the 310th and 314th rifle divisions took an active part. Kazakhstani soldiers participated in the liberation of 22 settlements of the Leningrad Region, took part in providing communication between the blocked city and the "Big Land", and in laying the "road of life". In the battles for the liberation of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and the cleansing from the German troops in the northwestern part of the USSR, many Kazakhstani soldiers showed heroism and steadfastness. Among them, the machine-gunner Manshuk Mametov, who was struck by a fascist bullet behind a machine gun to the north of Nevel, the Pskov region, in October 1943. Sniper Aliya Moldagulova died in hand-to-hand fighting in January 1944 near the village of Kaza-chih of the Novosokolnichesky District of the Leningrad Region. Forever remained the glorious name of Aliya Moldagulova in the annals of the struggle for Leningrad. The brave Komsomol sniper was awarded the Order of Glory III degree, and posthumously in July 1944, she was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. And Moldagulova was also suited. He was Garbaeva, who served in the 24th Infantry Brigade. Mametova was honoured with the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Many Kazakhs participated in the guerrilla movement not only on the territory of the USSR, captured by the Germans but also in European countries such as Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Italy and France. Among them are a Hero of the Soviet Union Ziyamat Kusanov, partisans Boshay Kanapianov and Yusupov and so on. 

According to some reports, the number of Kazakhs who participated in the guerrilla war reached 3.5 thousand. Some of them led partisan detachments and formations: Kasym Kaisenov, Adiy Sharipov, Toktagali Zhankeldin, Galym Omarov, Nurim Sydykov, Satimbek Toleshev, Galim Akhmediyarov. Along with these heroes, there were female guerrillas including Nurga Bayseitova, Turgash Zhumabayeva and Zhamal Akadilova.

500 soldiers and officers from Kazakhstan became Heroes of the Soviet Union, and 97 of them were Kazakhs. More than a hundred received full cavaliers of the Order of Glory, which equals the title of the hero. Four soldiers received the hero status twice, and one of those was a Kazakh pilot Talgat Bigeldinov.

Seven Kazakhs who became the heroes of the Soviet Union, due to many factors, lived outside of Kazakhstan. One of them, the ethnic Kazakh Sabir Rakhimov, was revered in Uzbekistan as the first Uzbek general. 

Until January 2011, the memory of the military commander in Uzbekistan was revered at the state level: his name was in the prestigious district of Tashkent, the metro station, next to which a four-meter monument was erected on a two-meter pedestal in 1981. However, on January 7, 2011, the monument was dismantled and moved to a small park named after Gafur Gulyam in Tashkent.

Recently, other symbols of the military glory of the Soviet Union were dismantled in Uzbekistan. The rewriting of history in Uzbekistan affected the ways the war is perceived and Soviet memory is neglected. In Kazakhstan, on the contrary, Soviet symbols of the World War II are stored and even multiplied.

For example, there is a granite monument dedicated to Colonel Bauyrzhan Momyshuly in Almaty. Bauyrzhan Momyshuly is the second, after Major-General Sabir Kasymov, a Kazakh military leader, who was awarded the most honourable honours during the Soviet era. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously, during the days of the collapse of the USSR, after several decades of petitions.