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?

  • Simple cannon fodder. Apr 9, 2014 at 22:23
  • 6
    @PieterGeerkens: Interesting. Sources?
    – Tom Au
    Apr 9, 2014 at 22:25
  • I am not sure WWI alliances has much to do with this question. Most of these countries were not that willing allies as you imply: they were often explicitly ordered to send troops. It depended on the political skills of the country leaders how much they could evade. Bulgaria had very good connections to Hitler, the king was even able to save Dimitrov after the Reichstag incident. Among others, Boris was rather good at arguing that Bulgaria was busy with protecting the Turkish border.
    – Greg
    Jan 29, 2016 at 4:18

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 1. Bulgarians had high mobilization capabilities (of about 500.000 people out of 4.000.000 population), experienced and with military tradition from the two Balkan Wars, WWI and long guerrilla wars for the mixed population neighbouring areas. 2. "Serbians, on the other hand, were perceived as "too big for their britches" . In Serbo-Bulgarian War 1885, Serbia suffered terrible loss. 3. "if primitive, peasant people". Bulgaria had aviation since 1892, Google it. I'm sorry but most of your answer is wrong.
    – Ziezi
    Jan 26, 2016 at 19:49
  • In addition to that see the casualties ratios in this battle: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Doiran_(1917) and please edit the "primitive, peasant people",. Bulgarians fought the Roman Empire (around 500 AD) to expand and establish Bulgaria in Europe and subsequently successfully defended Constantinople against the Arab invasion: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tervel_of_Bulgaria .
    – Ziezi
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:00
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    @simplicisveritatis, your evidence shows that Bulgarians have achieved many things. It does nothing to contradict the claim that the Nazis considered them to be "primitive peasant people". Debate with the answer given, not with the dead (and near-universally reviled) Nazis.
    – Joe
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:35
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    @simplicisveritatis - since the question was about how the Germans considered them, the testimony of German soldiers seems extermely relevant.
    – Oldcat
    Feb 1, 2016 at 22:43
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    Of course. But the accuracy of their views isn't what was being asked, just what their views were.
    – Oldcat
    Feb 1, 2016 at 23:49

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.

  • Can you provide any research to back up these assertions? Places where others could learn more? A citation for the quote you provide?
    – MCW
    Sep 4, 2014 at 17:38
  • 3
    @Mark Wallace: Sorry...the reference: "Hitler also deemed the Bulgarians to be "Turkoman" in origin.[16]". This is from wikipedia. the refernece is: " Hitler, Adolf; Gerhard, Weinberg (2007). Hitler's table talk, 1941-1944: his private conversations, p. 356. Enigma Books. Quoting Hitler: "For example to label the Bulgarians as Slavs is pure nonsense; originally they were Turkomans."" Dec 16, 2014 at 10:21
  • 1
    In addition: Hitler said in his speeches: "the west has never been fair to austria, hungary and bulgaria". Also called bulgaria "loyal ally to the german reich". Source: "worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Hitler%20Speeches/…" Dec 16, 2014 at 10:24
  • 5
    It's never as simple as that. Hitler needed to justify alliances with Slavic client states such as Slovakia, Croatia, and Bulgaria. Clearly these weren't "real" Slavs but Slavic populations that had been "enriched" by Aryan blood. The Nazis were far more interested in scouring the Danube for "lost" German colonists who could be brought "home to the Reich." (It is also worth noting that "the Slavs" as a unitary concept quickly breaks down in Nazi, or even Hitler's, thought.) Jul 23, 2015 at 17:53

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.

  • 3
    -1 very low quality answer
    – Anixx
    Oct 31, 2013 at 16:11
  • 6
    Actually, Bulgaria was on the side of the Central Powers in WW1... Nov 1, 2013 at 5:20
  • it is good you pointed out Nazi ideology about aryans and non-aryans were rather random and purpose driven.
    – Greg
    Jan 29, 2016 at 4:21

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