Why didn't Germany invade Turkey?

Correct Norman, I forgot that Persia became Iran in 1935. I just read about it thanks to your reminder. Apparently the name change was because Iran references the nation being Aryan, and this was done to curry favor with the Nazis and remind them who the real Aryans were.


Interestingly, during the war, Churchill (around the time of the Tehran Conference) requested the Iranian government to keep the name “Persia” to avoid confusion with Iraq. However, we Americans still called it Iran (as the United States had little involvement in Middle Eastern affairs of the day unlike the British).

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Not too sure about the Nazi connection, tho. The locals have referred to it as Iran, Arya, etc., for the longest time (as far back as the time of Zoroaster). And the official name change was directed at all foreign governments.

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There are a number of reasons, no doubt, but the name changes in 1935. The Nazis are already in power at this time. Their diplomats are already in Iran. In 1936, the newly minted Iranians are declared to be pure Aryans by the Nazis, and ties are steadily strengthened, as Iran fears the British and the Soviets. Rezah Shah went to a lot of trouble to build ties with Nazi Germany, and for good political reasons, as his state was threatened. In terms of the name Iran being tied to Zoroaster, I must disagree, as the name Persia has far stronger ties to Zoroaster, such as Parsee, and Pharisee. Now tell me, why would a country trying to develop ties with Nazi Germany possibly change their country’s name to one that means “Land of the Aryans”?

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I didn’t say it was tied to Zoroaster. I said that the local people referred to their land as “Iran” or “Arya” as far back as Zoroaster, maybe even earlier. The locals never called it “Persia” – the rest of the world did, starting with the Ancient Greeks. The term “Persian” is an exonym.

Yes, the Nazis did declare the Iranians to be pure Aryans, but do you have any sources that claimed that the name change was because of the German government in 1935? I couldn’t find a document backing that up. If you do, please share it.

The locals have always called it that. Not an excuse, just an explanation. From the British archives:



Got those pictures from Quora.

If there’s any new information with proper sources to back it up, I’ll gladly make changes with this answer.


Hi Formless, Sorry I have been busy for the pas month and unable to spend time here.

You understand my points and then you ignore the logical conclusions that result for these points. I don’t have much time so I will have to be short.

  1. How is capturing turkey going to allow Hitler to get to any oil fields? Thanks to our fellow we know that there was no bridge over the Bosporus. So how is Hitler going to move supplies and forces into Anatolia? They were already not able to support their African campaign due to lack of fuel for ships and impossibility to have true naval and air dominance in the mediteranean sea.

  2. If Hitler invaded turkey, how would that result in Persia thinking they will protect their freedom? And Nazi Germany would not hide their extreme racism toward them. For Persia, that is just another threatening neighbor to keep in check.

  3. I already mentioned that Stalin ignore the warning of the invasion due to his paranoia and the fact that at the time a war with Germany would be terrible for his nation. So he was finding excuses to believe it would not happen yet. But he never doubted the war would eventually come, he just fantasized that he would be the one deciding when and where. An invasion of Turkey with all the problems it would cause Germany would be a great when and where.

  4. Germany conquered 80% of Europe because their enemies at the time failed to understand and implement modern warfare correctly. France’s army were stronger on paper but failed on a strategic level, same for the USSR until 1943-1944 came around. And same for the British empire. Hitler succeeded because he had insane luck on his timing at the beginning. Why do you think all these conquests happened at the very start of the war only? And by the time the mid war came around the writing was already on the wall that Germany was loosing and it was only a matter of time.

  5. German logistics were also bad due to the fact they terminated the free market economy. That had central state planners diciding how much of each resources needed to be made but without a market that freely regulates itself those central planners were only doing guesswork leading to massive wastes.

  6. One more time, your question is a massive what if and you are thinking about it in a vacuum. You are not considering so many different facts that would impact that decision. First of all, the fact that it would have never ever been made by nazi germany. This is just wishful thinking.

In answer to your points liessem_tobjorn, in order…

  1. Turkey serves as a gateway to the Middle East. You don’t need a bridge over the Bosphorus, there is a technology known as pipelines, and they work quite well when submerged, even in the 1940s. As to providing supplies, the Bosphorus is far less of an obstacle to supply than the Central Mediterranean, which Rommel’s North African supplies had to cross, and generally didn’t make it. Also, the Bosphorus chokepoint is an area where smaller resources could be applied to guard duty with greater effect.

  2. On the contrary, there was very real chance that Iran might have been enticed to go pro-Axis as a means of protecting its sovereignty and increasing its power in the region. Consider how Romania and Bulgaria reacted during WW2.

  3. That is pure conjecture. The fact that Stalin had a mental shutdown for a fortnight during Barbarossa suggests that he didn’t think that Hitler would go East. Stalin was happily supplying Germany its oil, and the relationship was relatively cozy.

  4. The success comes early in the war, because there was nothing else in Europe that Germany really wanted to take militarily. The USSR doesn’t really win against Germany either, so much as it drowns the enemy in its own blood. The USSR was so profligate with the lives of its citizens, it beggars the imagination. On the Western front, it isn’t so much that the Allies are winning, as that the Germans are neck deep in the USSR and can’t devote the resources to stopping them. Had the Western allies ever faced even 50% of the Wehrmacht, in supply, the results would have been equivalent. Consider Montecasino, and the German defense at Dunkirk 1944-45.

  5. The only country that half managed to get logistics under control during WW2 were the USA imo. USSR logistics and British logistics were similarly awful to German logistics for the reasons you have outlined. So I put it to you, if everyone is similarly awful, nobody has an advantage in this area. In terms of the Nazi conquest of Turkey hypothesis, it is a far shorter distance from the Turkish border to Baku than it is from the Polish border, when you launch Barbarossa in 1943 instead of 1941, having devoted the previous years to defeating Britain, and consolidating in Europe. If the Nazis spent the intervening time controlling the Middle East’s oil after breaking out of Turkey, and taking the Suez Canal, they would have had more time to get their supply situation under control too.

  6. I disagree. It is entirely plausible. Using the Africa Corps on one side and an assault on Turkey, followed by an assault on the Middle East to pincer into the Suez canal would have grossly damaged Britain’s supply lines, opened oil supplies from sources outside the USSR, and provided the means to cut the USSR off from its oil supplies as an opening move of a future 1943 Barbarossa with an attack on the Azeri oilfields. The extra intervening time could also be used to force Britain to capitulate, even if it meant relatively token terms.

In order as well:

  1. Fun fact, the first underwater pipeline was constructed in 1944 during operation Pluto by the British Empire and they had lots of issues doing it. Expecting Nazi Germany to manage to pull that off 4 years early without experience in Pipeline construction is ludicrous. And you forget that it also need to be build over the Anatolian mountains in areas with almost 0 infrastructures for thousands of miles. In areas brimming with guerrilla units from Turkey. And building the pipeline would probably take years anyway. And you conveniently forgot again despite pointing it out that food was a more urgent issue for Germany at the start of Barbarossa.

  2. Romania and Bulgaria had an European culture and were surrounded by Axis powers. Iran was surrounded by allied powers. Your opinion is too much of a stretch for me to give it credence. Plus Yugoslavia actually did refuse and resist. Convenient to leave this country out of your conclusion since it doesn’t fit in it.

  3. And I think expecting that Stalin would not react to a German invasion of Turkey a huge conjecture. Especially since I proved to you that he did act multiple times on the Bosporus straits.

  4. Defense is stronger than offense. Of course Germany will be able to pull off some good defenses here and there. While you can argue that USSR victory was costly in human life, it was still a complete victory. And as I mentioned, Germany was on a conquest roll vs the USSR until their enemies figured out how to use mixed combat arms efficiently like them. In a way this is very reminiscent of Napoleon’s experience. And he too never was mature enough to admit the obvious and blamed everyone else.

  5. Yes, Germany’s logistics was a nightmare and 100% relied on trains. So tell me, how would Germany go through the mountains of Anatolia? A place with 0 infrastructure recently ravaged by 2 genocides and total war? and through the strait that does not have a single bridge? In order to mount an attack with their full force in Egypt and Syria. All in the goal of capturing oil fields that will be inoperable for years without any way to bring it back to Germany for refining and distribution. Sounds very very far fetched

  6. I 100% disagree with you. That is impossible to pull of for Nazi Germany.