Question:

How were the Bulgarians regarded by the Nazis during World War II?

Emily: 3 days ago

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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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?

Answer:
Josiah: 3 days ago

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.