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On one hand, the Bulgarians "signed on," with Nazi Germany when the latter was looking for Balkan allies against Russia. So did Hungary and Romania.

Hungary had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, and also had an alliance with Italy (against Yugoslavia). Romania had been pro-Allied during World War I, but sided with Germany for roughly the same reasons as Finland; the Soviet Union had annexed parts of Romania (Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina) in 1940. Bulgaria had aided the Central Powers against the Serbs during World War I, and did somewhat the same for the Axis against Yugoslavia in 1941 when that country (originally an Axis signatory) "backed out."

But unlike the other two Balkan states, Bulgaria did not willingly send troops to Russia to assist Germany. Also, Bulgarians resisted Nazi efforts to round up the country's Jews, unlike the others. Finally, the Bulgarians were (south) Slavs, whom Hitler, at least, disliked.

In this regard, they might have been considered similar to the treacherous (Yugo)slavs. Or were they seen as a Turkic people that some scholars consider them to be? (Turkey had also been a German ally in World War I.)

Did the Nazis have similar views of the Bulgarians as the other (non-Slavic) Axis signatories after 1941? Or were they considered a "necessary evil" to be dealt with after the war more harshly than the others?

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Simple cannon fodder. –  Pieter Geerkens Apr 9 at 22:23
    
@PieterGeerkens: Interesting. Sources? –  Tom Au Apr 9 at 22:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The Nazis did not spend that much time regarding Bulgaria. The country was important for access to Greece and, eventually maybe, Turkey and the Middle East. Its tobacco kept German soldiers in cigarettes. As long as it was docile, it wasn't worth Germany's attention. That was just the way Bulgaria liked it, since in return they got territory from Yugoslovia, Romania, and Greece that they believed was Bulgarian.

In German eyes, Bulgarians tended to be regarded as an industrious, if primitive, peasant people. The country does have an advantage in being beautiful, with good food, tobacco, meat, etc. There was much for Germans to enjoy in going there during the war. Also to get there, they tended to go through Romania, which although allied to Germany and actually fighting in the war with troops, Germans tended to despise. Serbians, on the other hand, were perceived as "too big for their britches" - after all they had dared to resist in March 1941. The Bulgarians by contrast were quaint and "knew their place." I'm only talking about perceptions here, mainly those gathered from reading letters sent home by German soldiers, memoirs, and periodicals such as Das Reich.

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+1 for the answer. –  Felix Goldberg Apr 11 at 5:57

Unfortunately the answers here expressed earlier are wrong.

  1. Hitler hated the slavs.
  2. Hitler did NOT consider bulgarians to be slavic. "The idea that bulgarians are slavs is nonsense, bulgarians are turkomen" - A. Hitler.
  3. Hitler considered the "turkomen" to be aryans -> Hitler liked Bulgaria.

It really is as simple as that.

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Can you provide any research to back up these assertions? Places where others could learn more? A citation for the quote you provide? –  Mark C. Wallace Sep 4 at 17:38

Less known fact is that Hitler considered slavic people as simply non-aryans, non-aryan category didn't automatically mean that the race should be exterminated, just take a note, they set up alliance with Japan too, and Hitler gave many Japanese citizens the "honorary aryan" status. The fact they aren't aryans was used to justify invasion of the territory of Poland, Russia and the area between them. Many TV shows and movies interpreting this as hatred against slavs but in reality he wanted to expand Germany to east and take their land.

Read the following wikipedia link on relation how they treated people who fit in category as "non-aryans". This fits to hungarians, slovaks and croatians too, not sure about romanians.

Nazis used anti-Slavic propaganda to justify the invasion of Poland and the Soviet Union and in according with their ideology of Lebensraum ("living space") for the Germans in Eastern Europe, although a very small percentage of people who the Nazis deemed in Eastern Europe to be descendants of ethnic German settlers and who were willing to be Germanised were accepted as part of the Aryan master race (Herrenvolk).

So the entire non-aryan policy can be summarized by following statement: those non-aryans who are harmless, can be integrated to future Germany if they don't take too much space from future German Reich. The thinking behind is, Hitler certainly didn't want slavic majority in the 1000 years Reich.

To answer straightly your question: Bulgaria (as Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Finland) wasn't in the way of plan of greater Germany.

The first world war's role of Hitler's allies weren't important. Just think about it: Italy, Romania, Bulgaria: they were all on the Antant side. Hitler had different idea than licking wounds, he sincerely believed he can make an agreement with UK for a long time, but it didn't happen. Hitler did politics to his own favour, he showed enough flexibility when it was neccessary to reach his goals. He even created alliance with soviets to divide Poland, gave back territories to Hungary, created puppet states where it was neccessary.

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-1 very low quality answer –  Anixx Oct 31 '13 at 16:11
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Actually, Bulgaria was on the side of the Central Powers in WW1... –  Evil Washing Machine Nov 1 '13 at 5:20

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