- May 2014
Since you appear to be an expert in regards to this, Professor, I was hoping to ask you a question: What do you think the odds are that a non-Nazi Germany would have still eventually engaged in a revanchist war against Poland together with the Soviet Union?Another aspect how pragmatic and cynical Soviet communists were from the very beginning. Communists did not just come to power in Russia with support from imperial Germany in 1917 but this collaboration continued. Germany helped to build Soviet war industry and the other way around.
Since the late nineteenth century, Germany, which has few natural resources, had relied heavily upon Russian imports of raw materials. Before World War I, Germany imported 1.5 billion German Reichmarks of raw materials and other goods per year from Russia.This fell after World War I, but after trade agreements signed between the two countries in the mid-1920s, trade had increased to 433 million Reichsmarks per year by 1927. In the late 1920s, Germany helped Soviet industry begin to modernize, and to assist in the establishment of tank production facilities at the Leningrad Bolshevik Factory and the Kharkov Locomotive Factory.
Germany's fear of the international isolation due to a possible Soviet rapprochement with France, the main German adversary, was a key factor in the acceleration of economic negotiations. On October 12, 1925, a commercial agreement between the two nations was concluded.
General Kurt von Schleicher played and important role in this collaboration. Later he was for a short time even chancelor in 1932 just before Hitler. He tried to established a governament which would increase Soviet German cooperation but on the other hand made western influence in Germany smaller. He also believed that improving Berlin-Paris relations would lead the French to abrogate the Franco-Polish alliance of 1921, which would allow Germany to partition Poland with the Soviet Union without having to go to war with France. The problem was that in this time Stalin was thinking that because of economic crisis of capitalism the communist revolution will soon happen in Germany anyway and was not so much interested. He ordered that communists in Germany must not vote together with social democrats. The conflict between the Communist Party of Germany and the Social democratic party of Germany fundamentally contributed to the demise of the Weimar Republic. Communist propaganda was very inflamatory just before the burning of the Reichstag by a bid demented Dutch communist van der Lubbe. Calling publicly for actions to disarm SA and SS. Just before Reichstag fire communist newspaper Red sailor was calling: Workers to the baricades! Forward to victory! Fresh bullets in your guns! Draw the pins of the hand granades! We know that the strategy of Stalin failed in this part and Hitler came to full power.
In the early 1920s Schleicher emerged as a leading protégé of General Hans von Seeckt, who often gave Schleicher sensitive assignments. In the spring of 1921 Seeckt created a secret group within the Reichswehr known as Sondergruppe R, whose task was to work with the Red army in their common struggle against the international system established by the Treaty of Versailles. Schleicher worked out the arrangements with Leonid Krasin for German aid to the Soviet arms industry. German financial and technological aid for building the Soviet arms industry were exchanged for Soviet support in helping Germany circumvent the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. Schleicher created several dummy corporations, most notably the GEFU (Gesellschaft zur Förderung gewerblicher Unternehmungen-Company for the Promotion of Industrial Enterprise) that funnelled 75 million Reichmarks into the Soviet arms industry by the end of 1923.
Plans to divide Poland again as old Russia and Prussia did. At this Soviet union was even more aggressive.
Alongside the Soviet Union's military and economic assistance, there was also political backing for Germany's aspirations. On July 19, 1920, Victor Kopp ( Soviet diplomat ) told the German Foreign Office that Soviet Russia wanted "a common frontier with Germany, south of Lithuania, approximately on a line with Białystok". In other words, Poland was to be partitioned once again. These promptings were repeated over the years, with the Soviets always anxious to stress that ideological differences between the two governments were of no account; all that mattered was that the two countries were pursuing the same foreign policy objectives.
On December 4, 1924, Victor Kopp, worried that the expected admission of Germany to the League of Nations (Germany was finally admitted to the League in 1926) was an anti-Soviet move, offered German Ambassador Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau to cooperate against the Second Polish Republic, and secret negotiations were sanctioned. However, the Weimar republic rejected any venture into war.
So from all of this we can see that collaboration between Stalin and Hitler in 1939-41 has a long roots.
Hitler beyond Evil and Tyranny, page 282