German-Soviet cooperation

Autor: Karl Schlange / Schlange 🕔︎︎ 👁︎ 14.929

The foundations for a subsequent agreement were laid by Colonel General Hans von Seeckt, who, through Turkish contacts, began to examine the Soviets' willingness for possible military cooperation that would help Germany circumvent the restrictions imposed on it by the Treaty of Versailles. At that time, Germany was recovering from the turmoil of the internal civil war, the new borders with Poland were turbulent, and some of the Freikorps were engaged in the Baltics. The victorious agreement pushed for demilitarization and the payment of reparations, and the German military command, in the spirit of the traditions of the Prussian General Staff, sought ways to lay the foundations for the future renewal of military forces. On the other hand, he was an active teammate of People's Commissar Lev Trotsky. The official cover for the secret negotiations was the repatriation of the remaining prisoners of war.


The Rappal Treaty between Germany and Soviet Russia, signed on April 16, 1922, enabled both countries to emerge from international isolation and establish advantageous cooperation, especially economic but also military. The agreement was originally supposed to come to the northern Italian city by Lenin himself, but was eventually replaced by People's Foreign Commissioner Georgy Chicherin, and Germany's Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau. The agreement resumed Soviet-German diplomatic and consular relations, the two sides renounced compensation for the damage caused by World War II, and the principles of the highest benefits were to be applied in mutual trade and economic relations. It was a symbolic first step for both parties - the first international treaty signed since the end of the war. Formally, the treaty was terminated by the declaration of war by Germany to Soviet Russia on June 22, 1941. The actual signing of the contract was preceded by Soviet orders of German technology.

The signing of the treaty, however, did not deter the Bolsheviks from further attempts to start a revolution in Germany. According to Boris Bažanov in the Memoirs of the former Secretary of State, at the end of September 1923, a new date for the coup in Germany was set at an extraordinary meeting of the Politburo. It was scheduled for November 9, 1923. The plan was simple, November 7 is the anniversary of the Communist seizure of power in Russia, that German workers come out to demonstrate solidarity. To this end, groups of provocateurs led by IS Unchlicht will provoke conflicts with the police in order to cause bloody clashes and repression, which will provoke a demonstration action. 7.11. was planned as a day of demonstrations and clashes, 8.11. the precipitation should have escalated into street fighting and at night on 9.11. an attack on state institutions was to follow as the masses responded to police atrocities. Basically a repetition of a tried-and-tested scenario from 1917. So much for Stalin's secretary, just in context, recall that on November 8, 1923, a certain Hitler arrested the Bavarian government with a group of armed supporters in Munich and declared that the revolution had begun because the Bavarian government and with it the imperial government are overthrown. A new government was formed immediately, and on the night of November 8-9, a group led by Ernst Röhm occupied the headquarters of the local military administration. Perhaps this is enough to explain the level of mutual trust between the partners signing the contract.

The secret part of the agreement dealt with cooperation between the general staffs of the German and Soviet armies, building military-industrial plants and the establishment of air bases near the town of Lipetsk not far from Voronezh , where the artillery training ground finally operated, where cooperation with the air force was practiced.At the same time, higher military education was given an impetus, when selected German officers took on the role of professors at military schools, especially in Moscow, and on the contrary, Soviet students set out for Germany. German officers were usually in the role of observers at exercises and war games of the Red Army, poor quality gradually improved. The Soviets took criticism seriously and were inspired by the Germans and adapted the lessons to their own conditions. The German army thus had a considerable influence on the development of Soviet doctrine and tactics of the Red Army. In 1933, a German military attaché commented on the widespread use of German manuals in the Red Army. Many have established close personal relationships, such as Mikhail Tukhachevsky , Kliment Voroshilov , Vladimir Triandafillov , Yakov Alksnis and others. The exchanges also included excursions and internships at Junkers, Heinkel, Siemens, Hirt, BMW and others where the Soviets " gathered inspiration ".

Just to complement the parallel events, I recall the crisis of 1923, when the Ruhr was occupied by France and Belgium, so there is no doubt about the motivation of the German military leadership not to lose knowledge of modern trends and military technology.

A special group at the Ministry of War Sondergruppe R ( "R" from Russia / Russia ) was formed in 1921 and in the spring the first delegation with representatives of the German companies Krupp, Blohm und Voss, Albastrosswerke and others went to Russia. The main content of the negotiations was the possibility to move to Russian territory the development and production of armaments, which was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. Krupp helped restore and modernize ammunition production. Junkers signed the first contract from the aircraft factory and moved 1,300 employees to a factory near Moscow in Fili, Russia. He later took over the factory under his design office Tupolev and Junkers production technology was used on TB-1 and TB-3 bombers. In the years 1924-25, Junkers delivered to the Soviet Air Force half of all aircraft from domestic production. At the end of 1926, some information leaked to the public ( scandal with the import of banned ammunition of Soviet production ) and there was a vote in the German parliament. It seemed to end the cooperation, but in reality it revived mutual military cooperation.


The cooperation was supplemented in 1926 by the tank school " Kama " in Kazan ( Panzerschule Kama ). In 1929, a third of Soviet tank production went to school. Heinz Guderian was a visitor to the school as an inspector. Among other things, prototypes of heavy tanks ( so-called Grosstraktor ) from Krupp, Daimler-Benz and Rheinmettal were tested at the base. These were subsequently used as an ideological model for the Soviet T 28 and T 35 . The Soviet MS-1 , the First World War Medium Mk A Whippet , Mark V and Renault FT 17 and Carden-Loyd tanks served as training means. The prototype Grotte tank was a joint Soviet-German design. The new Soviet T-26 , T-28 , T-35 tanks also underwent joint tests here.Walter Model and Werner von Blomberg underwent training here. Hermann Hoth , Friedrich Paulus , Gotthard Heinrici , Hans Krebs and Erich von Manstein , Wilhelm von Thoma , Ernst Volckheim , Theodor Kretschmer , Josef Harpe , Georg-Hans Reinhardt also took part in joint German-Soviet maneuvers at company and battalion level in the early 1930s. , Wilhelm Keitel . After the end of its activities on September 3, 1933, the center continued under Soviet direction as the Kazan Tank Academy.

Another base was the chemical " Tomka " ( Gas-Testgelände Tomka ) in the city of Volsk in the Saratov region . Its construction cost a million marks, and since 1928 the latest toxic substances and protection against them have been tested here. Combat substances were tested at the polygon near Orenburg, later the tests moved to Šichany, where the airport was part of it. The chemical laboratories were operated by the Germans, while the Soviets took care of the background. As early as the end of 1928, General Blomberg reported that the Soviets were pushing for test results, and People's Commissar Kliment J. Voroshilov wanted to extend testing to winter conditions. Tomka functioned until 1933. For the Soviet side he was the commander of the NS Gubatov polygon. He then became the head of the faculty of the Military Academy of Chemical Troops and made it to the Major General. The Tomka Center was rebuilt into the Central Scientific Research and Testing Institute of Chemical Weapons of the Ministry of Defense and expanded its activities to include biological weapons. A critical evaluation of the test results led the Reischwehr to conclude that chemical weapons would not work well with their developed doctrine of mobility and combined weapons.

In Lipetsk ( Wissenschaftliche Versuchs- und Prüfanstalt für Luftfahrzeuge ) two new hangars and workshops were established until the summer of 1925 and from 15.7. the operation of the air base was officially launched. Major Walter Schtaar was appointed commander of the base, and remained in office for 5 years. In the Red Air Force, the school formally functioned as the 4th Division of the 38th Squadron ( later the 40th ). The testing office was ordered by E. Borian. In 1930, testing activities outweighed training activities. The instructors were selected from experienced WWI war veterans. The officers and their families rented houses in Lipetsk. They were all monitored by the Soviet secret police for possible espionage. In 1929, 19 Soviet citizens involved in working with the Germans were arrested. It started with 50 Fokker D.XIII aircraft, purchased in the Netherlands from the " Russian Fund ", by the end of June, the aircraft arrived aboard the EHStinnes in Leningrad, from where they traveled to Lipetsk. They were later supplemented by Heinkel HD 17, HD 21, HD 40 and Albatros L.68 training machines. Lipetsk achieved full functionality in 1927, where it had 62 aircraft, 213 machine guns, 19 cars and two radios. Here was the first German application of photo machine guns in training fights.Among the aircraft tested in Fecke-Wulf S 39 and A 40, Heinkel HD 5, HD 38 , He 45 , He 46 , He 51 , He 59 , Arado Ar 64 , Ar 65 , Junkers F 13 , A 20 , J 35 and K 47 and Dornier Do 11 , Do F, Do P and Mercury . The Junkers G 24 and Rorbach Ro VIII transport machines were converted into bombers on a test basis. The Soviets contributed to the tests with Degtjarev DA air machine guns. The Germans became acquainted with the reconnaissance R-5 . From the tests of the HD 37 and HD 43 aircraft, a decision was made to purchase licensed production from Heinkel in 1930 - the subsequent production was based on the HD 37c and was included in the Soviet Air Force as I-7 since 1931. The flight course in Lipetsk lasted approximately 5-6 months in the summer season, while the operation was provided by about 140 German and 60 Russian ground personnel. In winter, the number dropped to 40 Germans. In winter, the machines were equipped with skis. Accidents, especially during landings, were frequent but without losses. In 1930, a fighter collided with a reconnaissance machine, the pilot escaped by parachute, but the observer Amlinger died. At the end of the summer of 1930 there was another collision, this time of two fighters, a pilot named Paul died. The last loss was test pilot Emil Thuy, who did not survive the Albatross L.76 crash.

As part of the secrecy, German pilots and mechanics wore, in addition to civilians, exclusively Soviet uniforms without rank insignia. The content of the courses in Lipetsk was the practice of exciting fights, combat tactics, bombing, flying by instruments, testing aircraft and equipment. According to Hans Speidel , 450 German pilots underwent training in various qualifications. They later became famous pilots Hans Jeschonnek , Johannes Trautloft , Günther Lützow , Wolfgang Falk , Günter Radurch, Hugo Sperrle , Hans Speidel , Kurt Student , Wilhelm Wimmer , Douglas Pitcairn, Bernd von Brauchitsch, Alexander Holle , Hermann Plocher , Martin Fiebig , Wolfgang Schellman , Hans Seideman and others.

The number of Soviet students is unknown. Tactical and aviation training was directed by Soviet instructors, including Valery Chkalov .The Soviet Navy's 1926 offer to build submarines was rejected by the Kriegsmarine and its plans were implemented in the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland.

After 1930, disarmament treaty commissions began to withdraw from Germany, and in 1932 the German command decided to move operations from Russia to home soil to save costs. During the negotiations of the General Staffs, the Soviets presented various proposals to extend cooperation, but the Germans rejected them all. However, 13 years of intensive cooperation laid the foundations on which intensive armaments could be based, without which the development of the newly formed Wehrmacht units would not have been possible. Subsequent treaties of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939 did not begin a new cooperation, but built on previous mutual experience. Only 15 pilots finished the last year of 1933. The base was officially handed over to the Red Air Force on August 18, 1933, followed by the withdrawal of material and troops to Germany, and the last Germans left the base on September 14, 1933.

In conclusion, I will only mention the paradox of that time. A few years later, some of the classmates of the time clashed on opposite sides of the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish Civil War. Then there were joint parades and mutual visits to the territory by the joint forces of divided Poland. But the ranks of Soviet curators have already thinned through political purges. In June 1941, a mutual death match ended in May 1945.


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