“The Fascist sword was forged in the USSR” - this is the name of the book by Y. Dyakov and T. Bushueva, dedicated to military cooperation between Soviet Russia and the Weimar Republic. Was it really so? How were relations between the countries on the eve of Hitler's coming to power? Vitaly Dymarsky and Dmitry Zakharov answer these and many other questions in the Price of Victory program of the Echo of Moscow radio station.
Fully read and listen to the original interview can be on the link: //echo.msk.ru/programs/victory/38821/.
The results of Versailles were unhappy with many. Russia was in the position of a non-commissioned officer widow, who whipped herself out: when we signed the Brest-Litovsk peace, we practically excluded ourselves from the club of winners, and thus punished ourselves. It turned out that Germany and the Soviet Union were not among the rabbits admitted to the table. And it was necessary to somehow get out of this situation. As a matter of fact, after the conclusion of the Versailles Treaty, Russia and Germany began to do with surprising intensity. On May 5, 1921, Leonid Krasin and Karl Radek entered into negotiations with generals von Sektem, Kurt von Schleicher and Johann Hass. The theme of the negotiations: "The creation of the military industry in Russia."
However, there was another factor that pushed Russia and Germany into the arms of each other - Poland. It was quite clear that in both Germany and Soviet Russia she was a bone in the throat. The result is an absolutely mediocre war with Poland on the part of Soviet Russia. And it should be noted that this was an undeclared war. About her little is written. And the story is there. First, the Poles came almost to Kiev, then the victorious Red Army threw them back to Warsaw. The revolutionary masses hoped that the Polish proletariat would support their ideas, but nothing happened. The Poles went, so to speak, in the opposite direction. The result is Russia's loss of significant territories in the west.
Poland pushed Russia and Germany into each other's arms
An interesting fact: at the Nuremberg process, the list of issues, which, it must be said, was created at the initiative of the United States and Great Britain, but each winning country contributed its own points, was a list that was not subject to discussion. And here it featured two questions related to the topic we were discussing, “The USSR’s Relationship to the Versailles Treaty” and “Polish-Soviet Relationships”, because both could cause objections or some bright speeches from lawyers of those war criminals, defendants who sat in Nuremberg.
During this Soviet-Polish war of the 20s, the name of a man like Pilsudski comes up. And I must say that on the side of the Polish troops was a French military adviser, whose name was Charles de Gaulle. Incidentally, it was after this war that de Gaulle reconsidered radically his attitude towards Russia.
Interestingly, relations developed between Russia and Germany after the Brest-Litovsk peace. Although it would seem that we suffered such losses in terms of territories and subsequent reparations, but, nevertheless, cooperation between the countries did not stop even for a day. Many historians attribute this to the special attitude of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to Germany, who at one time declared that the Russian Tsar was worse than the Kaiser.
Signatories of the Versailles Peace. J. Clemenceau, W. Wilson, D. Lloyd George. Paris, 1919
But back to Poland, now from the position of the Germans. When Germany was unable to pay reparations under the Treaty of Versailles of France (meaning the supply of coal and wood), the French, as is known, sent their troops into the Rhineland. And, interestingly, at the same time began to stir from the newly formed Poland and Czechoslovakia. And only the statements of the Soviet leadership of a categorical protest regarding the possible invasion of Poland into the German territories somehow resolved this situation. Therefore, if Churchill compared the relations between Soviet politicians and the fuss of the bulldogs under the carpet, in this case, not only Soviet politicians, but also German politicians were busy under the carpet. That is, everything that was concluded during this period was in absolute contradiction with the Versailles agreements. Soviet Russia did not participate in the Versailles Conference and therefore believed that she was free to do whatever she wanted. But Germany consistently violated article by article. And we helped her a lot in this.
Incidentally, at the end of the 21st year, after the failure of the entire Polish campaign, the famous Bolshevik leader Karl Radek proposed to the Commander of the Reichswehr (although this is loudly said, since the German army did not exist as such under the terms of the Versailles Treaty, she existed under all sorts of other cover-ups) to General von Sect to conduct a joint military operation against Poland. Such an operation was not carried out, but the sect in a note to Virt, the German chancellor, wrote: “The existence of Poland is intolerable. Poland should disappear and disappear because of its weakness and as a result of the actions of Russia, which we will help. Poland is even more unbearable for Russia than for us. No Russian government can accept the existence of Poland. ” It was on such anti-Polish sentiments that this emerged “friendship of the outcast” was mixed up.
But in fact, as paradoxical as it may seem, Poland at that time was a real military threat for both Russia and Germany. She really strengthened after Versailles. To this should be added the support of France, which considered it a time bomb between Russia and Germany, and the attitude of England until a certain period. That is, the position of Poland was quite strong. Properly speaking, from this period a rather logical process of rapprochement between Russia and Germany began, no longer at the level of individual meetings of Radek and Krasin with German generals. Everything began to take shape in a very specific relationship.
The question arises: why did Europe, which consisted not only of Germany, Poland and Soviet Russia, but also of France, England, even the United States, which although not in Europe, but watched the situation very carefully, allowed Soviet Russia to come closer to Germany ? The fact is that the French could not curb their appetites, did not go for any easing of the provisions of the Versailles Treaty on reparations, and Germany was simply choking on the need to pay these absolutely insane amounts. She was not able to do that.
England had its own interests. In particular, to some extent she was even interested in strengthening Germany then, not so much in the military as in the economic, since she lost a very significant sales market for her goods. And, finally, the United States, which in general was going to play its game, considering that the whole world can be won with a dollar. They counted on it.
Representatives of the Soviet and German sides in Rapallo, 1922
On April 16, 1922, in the small town of Rapallo, the German and Soviet delegations signed an agreement on the restoration of diplomatic relations and the beginning of military cooperation. Actually the Rapall Treaty itself did not contain any military articles, but, nevertheless, the foundations of mutually beneficial cooperation were laid, as the Germans needed landfills where they could ride tanks and fly planes — do it in Germany under the supervision of former allies it was impossible. We also needed the creation of the military industry, modern types of weapons, as well as training the army. In Soviet Russia, they galloped well and waved sabers, shot from a three-line rifle, but in the context of preparation for the world revolution and for a potential war in general, this was clearly not enough.
Note that the Rapall Treaty was not an open diplomatic demarche. It was a secret meeting and a secret agreement. Of course, we should not forget about the work of Western intelligence, but, nevertheless, everything was arranged as a secret, secret meeting and signing, in general, a secret contract. Recall, although it is a well-known fact that Rapallo happened in parallel with the Genoa Conference, at which Soviet Russia negotiated with the Entente countries for the restoration of diplomatic relations and, in general, was opened to the West. And under these conditions, of course, to conduct separate negotiations with Germany, which has not yet restored relations with the countries of the Entente, the victor countries, was, in general, a political cunning.
So, Rapallo became such a starting point of not only military-technical, but also economic cooperation between Soviet Russia and Germany. It is worth adding here that from the West, when this Soviet-German alliance began to emerge, attempts were made to drag Germany into its camp. Back in the 19th year of Germany, a proposal was made to join the number of interventionist countries against Soviet Russia, but then the Soviet leadership in the person of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin made a very sharp statement. And, in general, this plan of overtightening did not work. This fact once again proves the existence of some such special relations between Russia and Germany. They manifested themselves differently, but nonetheless existed.
And what is interesting, in parallel with the signing of the Treaty of Rapall, Soviet Russia continued to pursue a course towards the world revolution: on November 9, 23rd, the Soviet republic was almost created in Germany. And there is one very interesting historical episode. On October 10, 23rd, the German Communist Party's organ, the Berlin newspaper Rote Fahne, came out with a very strange text. It was printed not in German, but in Russian, and it was not typed in typographic font, but written by hand. Under this text there was a signature, a surname, which did not say anything to the Germans at that time. Nevertheless, it was said that “the coming revolution in Germany is the most important world event of our day. The victory of the revolution in Germany will be more essential than the victory of the Russian revolution six years ago. And the victory of the German proletariat will undoubtedly move the center of the world revolution from Moscow to Berlin. ” Well, and so on and so forth, and the signature is Joseph Stalin. It is interesting that later Stalin did not include this telegram in his collected works.
But back in 1922. So, Rapallo. Russia and Germany agree on cooperation in the military-economic field. In December of the 23rd, the Moscow Center was established under the leadership of Colonel von Litz-Thomsen. Negotiations began on the reconstruction in Nikolaev of a plant for the construction of submarines by the Blom and Foss company, the creation of the Yunkers and Fokker firms in Russia (although Junkers and Henkel were created), and the direction to the Soviet Union of a large number of German designers, engineers and military specialists. Thus, all the prerequisites for close and fruitful cooperation were laid.
Despite all the differences and contradictions in the western camp, the Treaty of Rapallia could not help but excite and concern the West. Germany had to be returned, and Soviet Russia, which also refused to pay the tsar's loans, to isolate as much as possible. It must be said that at the same time, the United States actively lobbied for the Dawes Plan, under which German reparation obligations were to be fulfilled with a large international loan. It should clarify who this Charles Dawes. It was the director of the largest bank in Chicago, who led a delegation of American experts. And the negotiations with him from the German side were conducted by none other than the then director of the imperial bank, Mr. Schacht.
On the basis of the Dawes Plan, on the basis of the negotiations that were conducted by experts of the 24th year in London, a conference of representatives of the United States, France, Italy and Belgium began to work on the examination and approval of reports of expert committees. And in August of the 24th year, Germany was invited to participate in this conference. That is, Germany was offered a plan to mitigate the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles and return to the “European family” through joining the League of Nations.
G. Stresemann, O. Chamberlain and A. Briand during the negotiations in Locarno, 1925
This project was named the Locarno Agreement because it was developed in Locarno (the Locarno Conference began in October 1925), although it was concluded on December 1, 1925 in London. By this time, all the documents had been prepared, which provided for mutual guarantees of compliance with the western borders of Germany that existed at that time. It was Germany’s voluntary recognition of the territorial part of the Treaty of Versailles, that is, of the territories that it had separated. But on the eastern frontier, which is interesting, the Locarno Agreement did not extend - there Germany was given complete freedom of action.
For all that, in Locarno, Germany did not undertake any obligations regarding participation in a demonstration against Soviet Russia. Perhaps this was done with intent, with calculation, since Germany already then saw the revival of its military power in the east, far from the eyes of Western observers, in the silence of Russian fields.
So, in fact, it turned out that the German future aviation, the German tank forces, and, what is most terrible, chemical weapons became the subject of Russian-German cooperation. For this purpose, three training centers were established at three points in Soviet Russia. For the sake of objectivity, I must say that not only German, but also Soviet.
The most famous point is Lipetsk. According to the Luftwaffe development program, that is, the air force, 60 people were annually selected and sent to Lipetsk for 18-month pilots courses. The agreement on the Lipetsk school was signed in Moscow on April 15, the 25th year. And after that a school was opened for flight personnel. But it was necessary to fly on something else ... Then the aircraft factory in Fili received an order for the production of Junkers aircraft. And about 100 million German marks were invested in this enterprise. And then Germany secretly bought 50 fighters from Fokker and transported them to Lipetsk. Interestingly, according to the documents, these Fokker D-13 planes were supposed to go to Argentina for the Argentine Air Forces, but in some mysterious way the Argentine planes arrived from Leningrad from Stettin in June 25th, and from there they were sent in boxes to Lipetsk.
I must say that the Fokker fighters at the end of the First World War, in particular the Fokker D-7, were among the most productive, and for the period when the Fokker D-13 arrived in Lipetsk, it was a decent categories of the time: with a fairly powerful engine, with good weapons, that is, it was possible to learn from it.
And since May 25, the flight school in Lipetsk began its work. In it, by the way, many well-known German pilots were trained, who later became assists and took part in the Second World War. According to one version, Mr. Hermann Goering himself was in incomplete training in Lipetsk.
At the end of the 29th year in the Lipetsk school there were: 43 "Fokker D-13", 2 "Fokker D-7", 6 "Henkeley ND 17", 6 "Albatrosov L-76", 6 "Albatrosov L-78", Henkel ND 21, Junkers A-20 and Junkers R-13. That is to fly was on what.
A total of 220 German pilots completed training courses in Lipetsk, approximately 750 ground-based personnel were trained there. This, so to speak, is our contribution to the construction of the German air force.
In parallel, the Germans taught ours. Aviation in Russia at the end of the First World War was not very developed. In Lipetsk, a sufficiently large number of famous Soviet pilots were trained. The bombing technique, new weapons, sights, etc., etc., were also being worked out there, which we simply did not have.
The next center, established in those years in Soviet Russia for military cooperation with Germany, was called “Tomka” and was located near the city of Volsk. And this is the most unpleasant, the darkest point of this cooperation, since there was the development of chemical weapons and methods of protection against them. I must say that in addition to "Tomka", the first chemical base, which was built by the Germans, was in Podosinki near Moscow. There was bombing. Bombs were tested with poisonous chemicals on animals. In addition to training, the task of Soviet specialists was also to provide German chemists with a constant supply of animals. We were responsible for the vivarium.
In the 27th year, the plant Bersol, a Russian-German joint venture, was built in the Kuibyshev region. This plant produced no less than 6 tons of toxic substances per day. It seemed to complement those experiments and joint exercises that went on in Tomka.
It should be noted that Voroshilov showed tremendous perseverance in this matter. During a meeting with Blomberg, he sought additional firing of chemical shells from artillery shells in the winter time in order to better investigate the effects of the use of chemical weapons. Помимо снарядов и прочих способов были еще наливные танки для разливания химических отравляющих веществ с самолетов.
So on May 1, 31st, there were 7600 8-kilogram poison bombs. Until the end of the year, it was planned to put into service 50 and 100 kg remote-acting bombs with mustard gas, smoking and drums, of short-term action, with phosgene. There were 75 VAP-4 aircraft outflow complexes, and by the end of the year it was planned to produce another thousand sets of similar filling devices. A total of 2 filling stations were able to produce up to 5 million projectiles and bombs per year.
Teachings at the Kama tank school
The third center of military cooperation was "Kama" - an abbreviated name, which consists of two syllables: "ka" - from the city of Kazan, near which, strictly speaking, this tank school was organized, and "ma" - the first syllable of the surname of the first head of school - German Colonel Malbrandt. So, it was a tank school, where hundreds of German military were trained. Again, whether it is a legend or not, there is an opinion that Guderian and Erich Hepner were among those German soldiers who were trained in Kama.
Let us pay attention to another important thing - the hierarchy in these schools, on these military bases. The fact is that the chiefs of these military schools were Germans. Administrative and organizational issues were on our side. Payment for the use of bases, for the supply of all equipment, for depreciation also lay on the Germans. That is, the German side invested millions and millions of marks in these military facilities.
In the 26th year, not without the participation of the German Social Democrats, the press became aware of the existence of these training centers. There are relevant articles. Moreover, the German Social Democrats made statements in the Reichstag that Soviet Russia supplied shells to the German army. That, in general, was true ...