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Hitler's policy towards the Soviet Union, January 1933-June 1941 Dyck, Harvey Leonard 1958

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HITLER'S POLICY TOWARDS THE SOVIET UNION JANUARY 1933 - JUNE I 9 4 I by HARVEY LEONARD DYCK B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 195?< A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n I n t e r n a t i o n a l Studies We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the re q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 195>8 ABSTRACT With i n a year of h i s accession to power, H i t l e r , by concluding a non-aggression pact w i t h Poland and by b r i n g i n g r e l a t i o n s w i t h Russia to an impasse, had r e v o l u t -i o n i z e d German f o r e i g n p o l i c y . This p o l i c y r e v e r s a l was chosen, p r i m a r i l y , f o r t a c t i c a l reasons and only second-a r i l y f o r i d e o l o g i c a l reasons. Prom the outset, i t i s t r u e , r e l a t i o n s w i t h Russia were made d i f f i c u l t by H i t l e r ' s per-secution of the German Communist Party and by h i s own hatred f o r Bolshevism. But i t was only a f t e r Poland had twice threatened a preventative war against Germany and a f t e r Germany had become d i p l o m a t i c a l l y i s o l a t e d through her d e s e r t i o n of the League of Nations, that H i t l e r decided upon a rapprochement w i t h Poland and a break w i t h Russia. This p o l i c y was f i n a l i z e d by the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact of January, 1934• The p o l i t i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n of German f o r e i g n p o l i c y , e s t a b l i s h e d by t h i s pact, remained f i x e d i n i t s o u t l i n e s f o r the f o l l o w i n g f i v e years. During these years, H i t l e r used the anti-Communist bogey.to j u s t i f y h i s f o r e i g n p o l i c y coups and t o ease h i s r e l a t i o n s w i t h Poland. Russia h e r s e l f , he ignored as a power f a c t o r i n o p p o s i t i o n . Nor d i d he consider a p o l i t i c a l understanding w i t h her. However, he d i d toy w i t h the i d e a of her as an object of aggression. I n the s p r i n g and summer of 1939, H i t l e r ' s Soviet p o l i c y was changed by h i s d e c i s i o n , i n e a r l y s p r i n g , to s e t t l e with Poland. Even a f t e r making t h i s d e c i s i o n , he continued to ignore Russia. I n m i d - A p r i l , however, s t i f f e n i n g B r i t i s h r e s i s t a n c e and the threat of an Anglo-Russian understanding, on the one hand, and coy h i n t s by the Soviet Government that i t might be prepared f o r a detente with Germany on the other hand, persuaded H i t l e r that the only way of i n t i m i d a t i n g the West i n t o n e u t r a l i t y and Poland i n t o submission and of preventing a R u s s o - B r i t i s h a l l i a n c e , was.f-.to r a i s e the t h r e a t of a Russo-German under-standing. During the f o l l o w i n g months t h i s t a c t i c proved to be unsuccessful and by mid-July, H i t l e r , however u n w i l l -i n g l y , became convinced that only the r e a l i t y of a Russo-German a l l i a n c e would s u f f i c e to d r i v e the Western demo-cr a c i e s i n t o n e u t r a l i t y . I t was mainly f o r t h i s reason, that H i t l e r sought the pact w i t h Russia. When war came and Western r e s i s t a n c e was not paralyzed, the o r i g i n a l reason f o r the Moscow Pact d i s -appeared. However, the consequent Western b e l l i g e r e n c y made a continued p o l i c y of f r i e n d s h i p w i t h Russia necessary throughout the winter of 1939 to I94.O. The idea of. an eventual attack on Russia had never been completely absent from H i t l e r ' s mind, but before the defeat of Prance i n June, 194.0, i t had never been more than a vague n o t i o n . With the defeat of Prance, H i t l e r , assuming that B r i t a i n , too, would c a p i t u l a t e , b r i e f l y considered the idea of an attack on Russia as a s t r a t e g i c goal. When B r i t a i n con-t i n u e d to r e s i s t , H i t l e r , f r u s t r a t e d t h a t he could not end the war and confident that he could vanquish Russia, convinced himself that B r i t a i n ' s a t t i t u d e was based on hopes placed i n R u s s i a . Thus to destroy B r i t a i n ' s l a s t remaining hopes on the continent, H i t l e r , i n l a t e J u l y , decided upon an a t t a c k on Russia. During the f o l l o w i n g months the d i p l o m a t i c , m i l i t a r y , and economic preparations f o r the attack were completed, and w i t h the attack on June 2 2 , 1 9 i f l , an era of Rus so -German r e l a t i o n s was ended. In presenting t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver Canada; Date § o ^ L W A W „ i i CONTENTS Page Acknowledgements i i i Abbreviations i v CHAPTER I . Prom Weimar to the T h i r d Reich--A Diplomatic Revolution 1 I I . Anti-Bolshevism as T a c t i c and as Strategy, January 1934 - March 1939 . . . . . . . 39 I I I . The Russo-German Rapprochement as Threat and as R e a l i t y , A p r i l - August 1939 • . 61). IV. H i t l e r ' s P o l i c y , August 1939 - June 19l|l: F r i e n d s h i p , I n d e c i s i o n , Attack . . . . 9i+ BIBLIOGRAPHY l i + 2 i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I t was i n a seminar under the d i r e c t i o n of Professor Egmont Z e c h l i n , at the U n i v e r s i t y of Hamburg, that I was f i r s t introduced to the problem of H i t l e r ' s eastern p o l i c y and that I became i n t e r e s t e d i n i t as a t h e s i s subject. I am much indebted to my adviser, Dr. John Conway, who, during the past year, has given f r e e l y of h i s time and of h i s extensive knowledge of German H i s t o r y i n d i r e c t i n g my research. I t was he who, i n numerous c o n s u l t a t i o n s , taught me the a n a l y t i c approach to a problem i n f o r e i g n p o l i c y and c l a r i f i e d numerous h i s t o r i o g r a p h i c a l problems i n Nazi f o r e i g n p o l i c y . I would also acknowledge the help given me by my wife Anne, without which t h i s t h e s i s would not have been completed—on time. i v ABBREVIATIONS Germany, Archives of the German Foreign M i n i s t r y , Documents -on .German For e i g n P o l i c y 1Q1R-1QJ|^: S e r i e s C (1933-1937), v o l I ; S e r i e s D (1937-191+5), v o l s . I-X, Washington, United States Government P r i n t i n g O f f i c e , 191+9-1957. I n t e r n a t i o n a l M i l i t a r y T r i b u n a l , N a z i Conspiracy  and Aggression. Opinion and Judgement. O f f i c e of United States Chief of Counsel f o r Prose.cut i o n of A x i s C r i m i n a l i t y , Washington, United States Government P r i n t i n g O f f i c e , 1947, v o l . 1-23. I n t e r n a t i o n a l M i l i t a r y T r i b u n a l : T r i a l of the Major War C r i m i n a l s Before t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l M i l i t a r y T r i b u n a l . Nuremberg, ll|_ November 194-5-1 October 1946, Nuremberg, 191+7, v o l . 1-1+2. United States of America, Department of S t a t e , Sontag, R.J. and Beddie, J.S., ed.-, Nazi-Soviet  R e l a t i o n s . 1939-194.1: Documents from the Archives  of the German F o r e i g n O f f i c e . Washington, Government P r i n t e r s , 191+8. Poland, M i n i s t r y f o r F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , The P o l i s h  White Book: O f f i c i a l Documents Concerning P o l i s h - German and P o l i s h - S o v i e t R e l a t i o n s 1933-1939. London, Melbourne, Hutchinson, 1940• CHAPTER I FROM WEIMAR TO THE THIRD REICH - A DIPLOMATIC REVOLUTION Re l a t i o n s between Germany-Prussia and Russia have been f o r the past 200 years c h a r a c t e r i z e d by sharp o s c i l l a t i o n s . They have swung from periods of warm f r i e n d s h i p to periods of b i t t e r acrimony separated by t w i l i g h t i n t e r l u d e s of s u s p i c i o n and ambiguity. The Conference of V e r s a i l l e s i n 1919 ended one such period of enmity and i n i t i a t e d another of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . I t d i d t h i s by s t i g m a t i z i n g both Russia and Germany as the pariahs of the European community; the former because of i t s i n f e c t i o n w i t h r e v o l u t i o n , the l a t t e r because of i t s i n f e c t i o n w i t h war. In t h i s way the two powers were given a common i n t e r e s t i n overthrowing the V e r s a i l l e s system. On March 25> 1919 the B r i t i s h Prime M i n i s t e r , Lloyd George, r e a l i z i n g the l a t e n t dangers i n t h i s course, drew them to the a t t e n t i o n of the French Premier Clemenceau: The greatest danger that I see i n the present s i t u a t i o n i s that Germany may throw i n her l o t w i t h Bolshevism and place her resources, her b r a i n s , her vast organizing power at the d i s p o s a l of the r e v o l u t i o n a r y f a n a t i c s whose dream i t i s to conquer the world f o r Bolshevism by forc e of arms. This danger i s no mere chimera.1 Nor were these f e a r s groundless. On May 6, 1921 Germany signed a trade agreement w i t h the Soviet Union. This lead to a 1 Louis F i s c h e r , The Soviets i n World A f f a i r s ; A H i s t o r y of the  Re l a t i o n s Between the Soviet Union and the Rest of the World 1917-1929, P r i n c e t o n , U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1951~Tfirst published i n 1930), v o l . 1 , p. 323. 1 2 f r i e n d s h i p which slowly matured i n t o an a l l i a n c e . The f o l l o w i n g year, on A p r i l 15, 1922 at R a p a l l o , Germany signed a pact w i t h Russia which, e s s e n t i a l l y , provided f o r the l i q u i d a t i o n of c o n f l i c t s between them. Germany was g r a d u a l l y emerging from her status as an object of i n t e r n a t i o n a l p o l i t i c s and becoming as i n i t i a t o r of i n t e r n a t i o n a l a c t i o n . The new partners were probably not immediately aware of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h e i r a c t i o n i n s i g n i n g the Rapallo Treaty. But i t was soon made c l e a r that Germany intended to use t h i s Treaty as an o f f e n s i v e weapon against the V e r s a i l l e s Powers; i f necessary, she was determined to b l a s t her way i n t o the world community. This was to be done not through a f u l l o r i e n t a t i o n of Germany's p o l i c y eastwards but through the i m p l i c i t warning (fed the West th a t i f they pressed Germany-too p hard, she could and would t u r n to Russia. The immediate object of the Rapallo partners was to prevent Poland from t a k i n g a c t i o n e i t h e r eastward or westward. Thus, during the 1923 occupation of the Ruhr, the s i t u a t i o n was saved f o r Germany by the t h r e a t of Russian a c t i o n against Poland.^ This t h r e a t underlined the p o t e n t i a l uses of the r e l a t i o n s h i p . L a t e r , when Germany and Russia were strengthened, t h i s defensive p o l i c y v i s - a - v i s Poland might give way to an o f f e n s i v e p o l i c y and, from the German point of giew, lead to the o L. Kochan, Russia and the Weimar Repub l i c , Cambridge, Bowes, 1954, p. 42. 3 F i s c h e r , op. c i t . , p. 452. 3 restoration of her eastern frontier — the principal aim of German foreign policy. On the other hand Germany would prefer an eastern policy with, rather than against the Western Powers. This indeed was the essence of Stresemann, Germany's sometime chancellor and foreign minister's, fulfillment policy. The high points of this policy were the ending of the Ruhr occupation in September 1923» the Dawes plan in 1924 and fi n a l l y the Locarno Pact in 1926. Each step in this path of rapprochement with the west was accompanied by a corresponding weakening of the Rapallo front. Russia L'feared that Britain was drawing Germany into an anti-Soviet alliance and robbing the Rapallo partnership of i t s chief function, namely the assurance of the disunity of the 4 capitalist world. For the moment Stresemann's eastern policy had indeed been "... tactically subordinated to his western 5 policy...." But the elimination of the Polish Corridor remained the strategic goal of German foreign policy. This being so, Stresemann had no desire to forego the eventual use of Russia as a second pincer against Poland. He therefore set about to redress the balance between his eastern and his western policies. In the f i r s t place he tried to con-vince the Soviet government that Locarno did not represent a unilateral return of Germany to a western policy. The community ^ Kochan, op. c i t . , p. 59. J Henry L. Bretton, Stresemann and the Revision of Versailles, Stanford, University Press, 1953> p. 118. 4 of i n t e r e s t s based on common h o s t i l i t y to Poland, he s t r e s s e d , had thereby, i n f a c t , been strengthened. Germany's western f l a n k was now secure and the question of Germany's eastern f r o n t i e r had been l e f t open. Secondly, Stresemann underlined German f r i e n d s h i p by r e a f f i r m i n g the p r i n c i p l e s of the Rapallo t r e a t y i n the form of a f u r t h e r pact signed i n B e r l i n i n A p r i l , 1 9 2 6 . 6 The B e r l i n Treaty s t a b i l i z e d German-Soviet r e l a t i o n s on a l e v e l on which they were to remain f o r the f o l l o w i n g three years. During these years, which marked the "heyday" of the Rapallo p a r t n e r s h i p , Russo-German r e l a t i o n s were underpinned by extensive cooperation i n economic, m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l 7 matters.' However i n the autumn of 1929 r e l a t i o n s began to o d e t e r i o r a t e as Germany swung westward f o r the second time. This d e t e r i o r a t i o n which culminated i n the complete breakdown i n e a r l y 1934 thus predated H i t l e r ' s accession to power by some three years. I t s beginnings cannot be e x a c t l y dated or i t s causes p r e c i s e l y defined. As e a r l y as the winter of 1929-1930 the Rapallo f r i e n d s h i p was beginning to show wear^ from the d a i l y ^ F i s c h e r , The S o v i e t s , v o l . 2 , p. 609. 7 Gustav H i l g e r , Wir und der Kremlt Erinnerungen eines  Deutschen Diplomaten, B e r l i n , F r a n k f u r t , A l f r e d Metzner, 1956. o Kochan, op. c i t . , pp. 140-149. 9 Hetbert von Dirksen, Moscow, Tokyo, London: Twenty Years  of German F o r e i g n P o l i c y , London, Hutchinson, 1951 > P« 97. 5 f r i c t i o n of minor incidents. This in i t s e l f was not sufficient reason for the relations to become uncertain for they had acquired a routine character based upon solid p o l i t i c a l , economic and military agreements.1^ It was only with the beginning of BBniining's chancellorship in March 1930 that an element of doubt crept into the p o l i t i c a l basis of the Rapallo relationship. It was then that the Soviets began looking for reinsurance against a possible German defection from the Rapallo front. The attitude of the German Government leaders during the Bruning era was largely responsible for Soviet doubts. Bruning himself acted as his own Foreign Minister during much of his chancellorship. He had l i t t l e time to devote to foreign affairs and consequently the i n i t i a t i v e in foreign policy often f e l l to the State Secretary, von Biilow. Neither Bruning nor von Biilow was enthusiastic about the close Soviet tie and both were determined to stabilize Russo-German relations on a lower l e v e l . 1 1 Biilow, in fact, found everything".. .connected with Soviet affairs... almost physically repugnant...." 1 2 Even in the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office supporters of an eastern orientation such as Dirksen, Trautmann and Moltke had given place to mercurial personalities like Richard Meyer. In short, foreign policy decisions in Germany in 1931 were no longer in the hands of ardent advocates of Russo-German cooperation. 1 U Hilger, Wir und der Kreml, pp.216, 217. 1 1 Ibid., p. 241. 12 Dirksen, op. c i t . , p. 112. In June 1 9 3 2 Moscow's suspicions were heightened when von Papen replaced Briining as chancellor. The Soviets were anxious about his Francophile sentiments and expressed concern when rumors were heard that von Papen had proposed an anti-Russian military alliance to the French in exchange for 13 French concessions to Germany. In Geneva the Soviet repre-sentative, Boris Stein, warned the German representative that German-Russian friendship was now at an end.^ In the summer of 1932 o f f i c i a l s in the Russian Foreign Ministry almost panicked when rumors that Hitler had become Chancellor reached Moscow. Expressions of r e l i e f quickly followed when instead of Hitler, Schleicher, a man of pro-Rapallo sympathies, headed the new government.^ But despite previous expectations none of this increasing tension in the p o l i t i c a l sphere-found any reflection in either economic or military relations. In fact after 1929 trade actually increased. Dirksen's i n i t i a t i v e in promoting trade resulted in the granting of long term German credits to Russia and in March 1931 of a tour of Russia by leading German industrialists. The upshot of this was that in the period of 1931 to 1933 Germany's share of both Russia's imports and exports amounted to f i f t y percent of the total sum.'^ In the military sphere as well, l i t t l e had changed. Kochan, op. c i t . , pp. 162, I63. 14 Ernst von Weizsacker, Erinnerungen, Munchen, Paul List Verlag, 1950, p. 91. 15 Dirksen, Twenty Years of German Foreign Policy, p. 115. 1 6 Ibid., p. 1 0 6 . 7 The Reichswehr was determined that military cooperation with the Soviet Union should not suffer as the consequence of hastily conceived policies of a "Saison Regierung." Thus while von Papen was feeling out the French on a joint anti-Russian military front, a large delegation of Soviet Army officers headed by Marshall Tuchatschevsky attended German military maneuvres.^ This activity, however, could not succeed in glossing over the fact that, p o l i t i c a l l y , the ways of the Rapallo partners were diverging. As early as 1931 the Soviets apprised^- themselves of these worsening p o l i t i c a l relations with Germany and decided to find re-insurance elsewhere. In so doing Russia entered a "twilight" zone between Germany and the West which lasted almost three years, until January 1934. During this period, with the greatest reluctance, Russia was forced to align herself with the western powers. But before the break in 1934, the alignment merely meant "...a bridge...by which the Russians could withdraw to another combination should they be constrained to sever the i ft bonds which linked them with Germany."-1-0 That the Soviets later walked this bridge was not their design, but Hitler's. Hitler's accession to power on January 30, 1933 burst like a bomb into the charged atmosphere of international relations. There was apprehension abroad as to the future of Germany's foreign policy. To alter this the German foreign 17 Hilger, Wir und der Kreml, p. 241. 18 Dirksen, op. c i t . , p. 116. 8 office issued a circular letter to a l l German diplomatic missions; in i t von Billow tried to quiet foreign misgivings by pointing to the composition of the new cabinet. It con-tained former cabinet ministers such as Neurath, Blomberg, and Schwerin-Krosigkv.iwho would guarantee the continuance of foreign military and economic policies on the same lines. German policies, the circular read, were not dependent upon the party which happened to be in power but were determined solely by "...German necessities and conditions. This assurance did l i t t l e to quiet Soviet fears. On January 31» Dirksen, the German ambassador in Moscow, reported that the dismissal of Schleicher "... in whom they had much confidence here respecting his attitude toward Russia...." and the creation of the Hitler Government had 20 caused "... great uneasiness." Earlier Russian doubts about the new Vice Chancellor, von Papen, were resurrected and justifiable misgivings were f e l t as to the future of the Communist Party (K.P.D.) in Germany. Even more serious were the fears over Hitler himself, who in Mein Kampf had advocated the policy of Brest-Litovsk. Dirksen f e l t , surprisingly, that the greatest immediate cause for alarm in Moscow was the inclusion of the German Nationalist Hugenberg in the cabinet. But the above suspicions were not shared by a l l Soviet o f f i c i a l s . On the day after Hitler's accession Isvestiia commented that the rise to power of the Nazis was merely a 1 9 G.D.,C,I,1. 20 G.D.,C,I,6. 9 prelude to the class war which would usher in a Soviet-type state. Even as late as March 1933 Radek, the Soviet publicist, wrote reassuringly that the Nazi victory was only a "Pyrrhic ?1 victory". A Others in Russia, so-called p o l i t i c a l realists, held the view that the responsibilities of office would force the National Socialists to revise their anti-Soviet views to coincide with manifest German interests as expressed in the Rapallo Pact. 2 2 This latter view was also held almost unanimously by of f i c i a l s in the German Foreign ministry and in the German Embassy in Moscow. Dirksen's own views were mixed. On the one hand he recognized the danger which an extension of Nazi enmity from domestic communism to relations with the Soviet Union would denote for German-Soviet relations. He even con-sidered the threat urgent enough to ask for leave to come to Berlin to apprasee himself of the new s i t u a t i o n . 2 3 At the same time, he hoped that Hitler would pursue a "Zweigleisigkeit" policy, opting for good relations with the Soviet Union at the 24 same time that he was suppressing the Communist Party at home. Hilger, the German CommeriSial Counsellor in Moscow, likewise labored under this i l l u s i o n . In Berlin, the State Secretary, wrote to Dirksen on February 6 that the effects on foreign policy of the change of government were being much exaggerated 2 1 Hilger, Wir und der Kreml, p. 242-3. 2 2 Ibid., p. 243-4. 2'3 G.D.,C,I,6. 2 4 Dirksen, Twenty Years of German Foreign Policy, p. 119. 10 by the S o v i e t s ; that r e s p o n s i b i l i t y would temper Nazi p o l i c i e s -" I t was always l i k e t h i s and i t i s the same w i t h a l l p a r t i e s -"; and suggested that Dirksen should remain i n Moscow f o r the time per being to avoid the appearance of a change i n German p o l i c y . J H i t l e r ' s own thoughts during these f i r s t heady days of power were concerned not so much wit h Germany's Soviet r e l a t i o n s as w i t h the reestablishment of Germany's freedom of 26 a c t i o n i n f o r e i g n a f f a i r s through r a p i d rearmament. Never-t h e l e s s h i s mind turned i n s t i n c t i v e l y to the east when i t came to a c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the use to which Germany's power should be put once i t had been a t t a i n e d . On February 3 H i t l e r spoke at a dinner attended by o f f i c e r s of the Reichswehr; here he i s reported to have stated those ideas of Lebensraum and German eastern c o l o n i z a t i o n already known from "Mein Kampf." "How i s p o l i t i c a l power to be used a f t e r i t has been won?" he asked. There was an element of u n c e r t a i n t y i n h i s answer, but the subject of h i s "daydreams" was obvious. "Not yet p o s s i b l e to t e l l . Perhaps conquest of new export p o s s i b i l i t i e s , perhaps -and indeed p r e f e r a b l y - conquest of new l i v i n g space i n the 27 east and r u t h l e s s Germanization of the l a t t e r . . . . " H i t l e r was here not speaking to "Parteigenossen" i n the heightened atmosphere of the Braun Haus i n Munich, but before r e s p o n s i b l e members of h i s armed forces who would be charged w i t h c a r r y i n g out h i s m i l i t a r y plans. More weight may t h e r e f o r e be attached. 2 5 G.D.,C,I,11. 2 6 G.D.,C,I,16. 2 ? G.D.,C,I,16. 11 to these words, as an expression of his plans in January 1933 > than would be assigned to similar statements expressed in Hitler's more intimate c i r c l e . However that may be, for the moment at least, Hitler had l i t t l e time to indulge in his dreams of Empire for there were more immediately pressing'problems in foreign policy to be faced. Amongst these was the problem of Poland; it s solution may have more decisively influenced his Soviet policy than a l l of his reputed eastern plans. 1 In the interwar years Poland's independence and power were dependent upon the relative strengths of both Russia and Germany and upon the temperature of the Russo-German relationship. In this context Polish-Russian and Polish-German relations were of considerable interest to both Germany and Russia. It is in this light that an examination of Poland's relations with Germany and Russia during the f i r s t year of the Third Reich can give insight into the breakdown of Russo-German friendship which was completed by the" signing of the Polish-German non-aggression Pact in January, 1934. The creation of the Polish state at the end of World War I was only made possible by the prostration of both Germany 28 and Russia. Thereafter the maintenance of Polish independence assumed either continuing Russian and German weakness, or f a i l i n g that, constant Russo-German enmity. In terms of the balance of power this meant that Poland could preserve her freedom of action so long as the combined strengths of Germany and Russia did not Kochan, Russia and the Weimar Republic, p. 154. 12 threaten her m i l i t a r i l y . If they did, she could only escape partition once again by allying herself with either of her two great neighbours and so, decisively affect the balance between them. The former condition prevailed during the f i r s t years after the Rapallo Treaty from 1922 t i l l about mid 1930. The Rapallo Treaty of 1922, as previously mentioned, was largely a reaction of Russia and Germany against the isolation into which they had been placed after World War I by the victorious powers. It was thus the product of a community of interest whose foundations were transitory. In the same propor-tion that the international quarantine against Germany and Russia was gradually l i f t e d and they were able to associate with other states, so did the relationship lose i t s urgency. However, the Rapallo Pact had another more permanent base - mutual enmity against Poland, the country created out of German and Russian 29 territory. ' By 1931 even this community of interest was beginning to dissolve. The solvent was composed of two interdependent developments. On the one hand heightened German nationalism induced Russia to slide gradually from the revisionist into the anti-revisionist camp. In so doing she overtly renounced claims to any Polish territory, thereby removing the main obstacle to friendly relations between Poland and Russia. Simultaneously other combinations were being opened to Soviet diplomacy; Russia 29 :ly Royal institute of International Affairs (RIIA), Survey of International Affairs, ed., Arnold Tc/nbee and others, London, Oxford University Press, 1933> P» l83« 13 showed her readiness to exploit these even If this meant im-perilling the concept of Rapallo. 3 0 These developments resulted in Russia's signature of two non-aggression pacts, with France in August, 19315 and with Poland in January, 1932. In Germany both of these pacts were considered breaches 31 in the Rapallo front. The foreign office in particular was alarmed over the Polish pact. In Moscow Dirksen remained calm throughout the developments. He recognized that "...Russo-German 32 relations were undoubtedly beginning to totter.'^' At the same time, he was convinced that future relations would depend upon Germany's good intentions; that the Soviet Union was seeking nothing more than reinsurance for the future. Hitler could choose whether the Soviet non-aggression pacts would become a "...bowl...filled with the milk of peaceful intention or with the virulent brew of 33 menace." Stalin for his part had no desire to drop Germany for an unsure relationship but he wanted to be in a position to enter another defense orbit i f the Rapallo pact should, by Germany's 34 choice, become dead. Thus on the eve of Hitler's advent to power, Russia's relations with Poland had gradually improved while German-Polish relations had reached their nadir. Moreover, the Polish-Russian 30 Kochan, op. c i t . , p. 154. 3 1 Ibid., p. 155. 32 Dirksen, op:cit., p. 115. 3 3 Ibid., p. 116-117. 3 4 Kochan, op. c i t . , p. 157* 14 rapprochement had introduced an element of doubt into the Rapallo combination and largely robbed i t of its u t i l i t y as an instrument in support of Germany's revisionist claims. While German nationalist clamourings reached a frenzy, Russia quietly with-drew from the revisionist front; while Poland signed the non-aggression pact with Russia, her relations with Germany almost reached the breaking point as a result of a long standing trade war, minority conflicts, revisionist propaganda, German armament-equality demands and the danger of unilateral German rearmament. By January 1933 the situation on Germany's eastern frontier was beginning to fester. Either German-Polish relations would have to be redefined or the cold war might erupt into an armed conflict. At f i r s t sight i t seemed that Hitler intended to exaggerate this tension. On February 2, in an interview with a British journalist, Hitler is reported to have said: "the situation on Germany's eastern frontier was intolerable and would soon have to be remedied."3° But when on March 6, the day following the Reichstag elections, Polish troops arrived at the Westerplatte, a peninsula commanding the Danzig harbour, a maneuver which con-stituted a provocative action against Germany, no retaliatory measures were taken. Despite his bluster, Hitler knew well that he was not ready to take any drastic action. Fortunately on March 16 the Westerplatte c r i s i s ended with the promised withdrawal 35 Richard Breyer, Das Deutsche Reich und Polen, 1932-1937: Aussenpolitik und Volksgruppenfragen, Wurzburg, Holzner, 1955 > p.67« J In an interview with Etherton of Sunday Express; cited in Breyer p. 69« 15 of the P o l i s h troops. H i t l e r ' s c h i e f concern during h i s f i r s t year as ch a n c e l l o r was to maintain complete freedom of a c t i o n u n t i l he had f e l t out the f o r e i g n s i t u a t i o n and discovered i n which diplo m a t i c areas he could best achieve h i s purposes. He faced the same problem as h i s predecessors: whether to t u r n east or west or whether to balance between the two. U n t i l t h i s was decided he found i t u s e f u l to reassure Russia that Germany's a t t i t u d e toward her had not changed. 3^ In f a c t , p r i v a t e l y , von Neurath assured Dirksen that German p o l i c y had not changed, and, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , that H i t l e r had decided to draw a sharp l i n e between h i s domestic a n t i -communist p o l i c y and r e l a t i o n s w i t h the Soviet Union. 3^ But no o f f i c i a l statement on Germany's Russian p o l i c y was issued because H i t l e r d i d not want to be t i e d down by any such commitments. Hov/ever, despite these reassurances the Soviet govern-ment remained unconvinced, f o r simultaneously the burst of energy released by the Nazi r e v o l u t i o n caused grave doubts as to German go o d w i l l . The Reichstag f i r e of February 27 was the c u r t a i n r a i s e r of a weird drama which was to see the t o t a l d e s t r u c t i o n of the K.P.D. and the imprisonment and death of i t s members. The t e r r o r thus unleashed was d i r e c t e d p r i m a r i l y against the German Communist 37 KiKochan, op. c i t . , p. 167. 3 8 G.D.,C,I,33. 16 Party but in the heat of anti-bolshevism the Comintern was verbally attacked and Soviet institutions and nationals in Germany made to suffer physical abuse. Soviet leaders were clearly agitated, but as the suppression of German communism was a German domestic matter the Soviet ambassador in Berlin, Khinchuk limited his protests to a repetition of generalities about the breakdown of cooperation and a l i s t i n g of incidents 39 perpetrated against Soviet nationals in Germany. On March 2, Hitler made his f i r s t anti-Soviet outburst-in a public speech in Berlin; i t drew a sharp reaction from the 40 Soviet government. These protests, coinciding as they did with the Polish action on the Westerplatte, underlined Germany's increasing isolation and caused Hitler to reverse his propoganda approach. Henceforth he was careful to distinguish sharply between the necessity for the destruction of the K.P.D. and the purposes of his foreign policy. 4 1 He realized the need not to antagonize foreign powers while Germany was s t i l l weak. He 39 J G.D.,C,I,43« Litvinov in Geneva asked his German opposite number at the disarmament conference what the German charges meant. Edward Hallet Carr, German-Soviet Relations Between the Two  World Wars, 1919-1939. Baltimore, John Hopkins, 195.1 > p. HO. 4 0 In Moscow Litvinov lodged a violent protest: "The National Socialist Party had from the beginning blazoned in i t s banner the fight on communism without making any distinction between communism at home and the relations with the Soviet Union." G.D.,C,I,73» 41 This "two track" (Eweigleisigkeit) policy was now widely pro-pagandized. Goring, in a press interview in March, explained that "...our own campaign for the extirpation of Communism in Germany has nothing to do with Russo-German relations," and affirmed that Germany would "remain as friendly as in former years." G.D.,C,I,104. 17 t h e r e f o r e chose to reverse h i s h o s t i l e a t t i t u d e towards Poland, as was c l e a r when on March 23 he made h i s long-awaited f o r e i g n p o l i c y speech to the Reichstag, one of the l a s t to which the f o r e i g n o f f i c e c o n t r i b u t e d anything. In i t were passages d i r e c t e d both to Y/arsaw and to Moscow, the former i m p l i c i t l y and the l a t t e r e x p l i c i t l y . Without d i r e c t l y naming Poland — but the i n t e n t was obvious — H i t l e r declared himself ready to reach an under-standing w i t h any n a t i o n which was w i l l i n g to f o r g e t the past and 42 to make a new s t a r t . His reference to Russia was even more 43 p o s i t i v e . H i t l e r ' s obvious i n t e n t i o n was to quieten the European s i t u a t i o n long enough f o r him to break out of the d i p l o m a t i c i s o l a t i o n i n which Germany found h e r s e l f . The speech was followed by f u r t h e r measures designed to f a c i l i t a t e a detente i n Russo-German t e n s i o n . During the months of March and A p r i l , Soviet trade o f f i c i a l s had d i f f i c u l t y i n meeting t h e i r payments on the long term German c r e d i t agreement negotiated i n 1931. H i t l e r l e n t them va l u a b l e a i d by prolonging f o r a few 44 months the d r a f t s due. A f t e r the t u r m o i l of the previous weeks H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n came as a s u r p r i s e to the German o f f i c i a l s i n Breyer, op. c i t . , p. 82. A 3 "Toward the Soviet Union the Reich Government intends to c u l t i v a t e f r i e n d l y r e l a t i o n s advantageous to both p a r t i e s . I t i s above a l l the Government of the n a t i o n a l r e v o l u t i o n who f e e l s them-selves i n a p o s i t i o n to pursue such a p o s i t i v e p o l i c y toward Soviet Russia. The f i g h t on communism i n Germany i s an i n t e r n a l a f f a i r , i n which we w i l l never t o l e r a t e i n t e r f e r e n c e from outside. P o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s w i t h other powers w i t h which we are l i n k e d by important i n t e r e s t s i n common are not a f f e c t e d thereby." Norman H. Baynes, ed., The Speeches of Adolf H i t l e r , 1922-1939, RIIA, London, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1942, v o l . 2 , p. 1019. 4 4 Dirksen, op. c i t . , p. 120; G.D.,C,I,33. 18 Moscow and angered well for future relations. None of the above concessions, however, laid Russian misgivings which daily fed on a long series of incidents.^ Russo-German relations were to be subjected to further strain by the suggestion of a Four Power Pact put forward to the German Government by Mussolini in mid-March, 1933'. The pact envisaged the four western powers, Britain, France, Italy and Germany, as the dominant influences in European policy. It might be considered by Germany as an instrument for the revision of her eastern frontiers through the use of Article 19 of the League 46 Charter. The German foreign office, aware of the tension in Russo-German relations and the apprehensions evoked in Moscow earlier by the Locarno Pact, decided to tread warily lest the Soviets interpret the Four Power Pact likewise as a i.,ronilateral 45 The German documents of the period following the Reichstag f i r e brim with Soviet protests against Nazi lawlessness which in Moscow was interpreted as being' inspired by Hitler or at least condoned by him. The Russians could not understand why a dictator like Hitler did not put a stop with an o f f i c i a l word to the excesses, i f his intentions towards the U.S.S.R. were genuinely friendly. As early as March 1 the Russian ambassador in an o f f i c i a l note deprecated the actions of the police in arresting persons who frequented the Soviet hotel in Berlin: (G.D.,C,1,43). The German Government decision at the end of March to withhold entry cards from Soviet journalists for the opening of the Reich stag also drew a "...violent attack on the Government" from Izvestia for the implied discrimination against the Soviet Union: CG.D.,C,I,104). By the end of the month such incidents had become almost routine and began affecting trade relations. The Soviet commercial missions in Hamburg and Leipzig were repeatedly looted and communist baiting led to frequent searches by Nazi hoodlums of Derop, the organization for marketing Soviet petroleum products in Germany:(G.D.,C,I,134). From Moscow, on April 4, G.D.,C,I,83. reorientation of German foreign policy westward. Dirksen was therefore instructed to inform the Russians that the proposed pact was wholly an Italian idea designed primarily to weaken France's alliance system. It would not receive Germany's support unless German-Russian relations were "...in no way... 47 impaired...." The Soviet reaction was portrayed as one of "...great reservation and a certain caution."^ The Soviets feared that they were again to be isolated from a forum in which Soviet interests could be adversely affected and demanded an observer's role for themselv.es. Even though the pact i t s e l f Dirksen, convinced that a c r i s i s had been reached, sent a telegram to the Foreign Minister classified "Most Urgent": (G.D.,C.I.134; Dirksen, p. 120). In i t he cautioned that in spite or the statements made by Hitler, Neurath and himself, Soviet fears were rising that the "...trends in Germany that are opposed to good German-Soviet relations are gaining the upper-hand over the positive attitude in o f f i c i a l c i rcles." Unless immediate steps were taken to halt the incidents, the Soviet Government would draw broad conclusions and reverse i t s foreign, military and economic policies. Particularly in the trade f i e l d this would mean a grievous loss to the German economy. In a private letter to Bulow of the same date Dirksen struck similar note; (G.D.,C,I,134). Hitler's speech of March 23 had tempor-ari l y relaxed tensions but new incidents had " . . . f i l l e d the cup to overflowing". Dirksen was frankly confused. He could not fathom why no redress was made i f Hitler's March 23 statement was to form the base on which further Russo-German relations were to be conducted. He began to suspect that the c r i s i s connoted a shift in German policy and for the second time requested per-mission to come to Berlin to report and confer* 4 7 G.D.,C,I,121. 48 G.D.,C,I,136, was never r a t i f i e d i t was not soon f o r g o t t e n by the .Soviets. 7 Meanwhile no one i n the f o r e i g n o f f i c e questioned the assumption that the f i r s t task of German f o r e i g n p o l i c y was to b r i n g about a r e v i s i o n of the eastern border, f o r the purpose of strengthening Germany's s e c u r i t y . There might be d i f f e r e n c e s as to methods but the end was unanimously agreed upon. On A p r i l 7? Neurath, i n a review of the f o r e i g n p o l i c y s i t u a t i o n at a Conference of M i n i s t e r s , at which H i t l e r was present, r e i t e r a t e d t h i s t h e s i s . A f t e r the preceding month of i n c i d e n t s and rumors of war, Poland loomed up as the prime source of danger, and defence against her was considered p o s s i b l e only w i t h the support of Russia. Of t h i s support Neurath was dubious. He saw no hope of an understanding w i t h Poland which he termed "neither p o s s i b l e nor d e s i r a b l e " and repeated the Weimar p r o p o s i t i o n that "Our main o b j e c t i v e remains r e v i s i o n of the eastern Border." In Neurath's view the way out of t h i s dilemma of a threatening P o l i s h preventive war and an unsure Russian a l l y was to be found n e i t h e r i n a coup nor i n a change of partners but i n a r e t u r n to the p o l i c y of Rapallo. The motives f o r t h i s move were to be both p o l i t i c a l and economic; p o l i t i c a l l y , the need f o r a p r o t e c t i v e "...cover f o r our rear w i t h respect to Poland", and economically the need to maintain strong trade bonds w i t h Germany's best customer f o r i n d u s t r i a l products. Neurath documented t h i s hope by c i t i n g the I t a l i a n 49 y Dirksen's own views on the Four Power Pact d i d not i n any measure overlap with- those of the f o r e i g n o f f i c e . He f e l t t hat i f the main f u n c t i o n of the pact was to be r e v i s i o n then Germany was exchanging a bronco f o r a proven work horse. Germany would be vfeying h e r s e l f to the unpredictable gyrations of three other powers and so s a c r i f i c e her freedom i n de a l i n g w i t h the Soviet Union, "...the indispensable second jaw of the pincers against Poland." G.D.,C,1,136. 21 example where the domestic fight against Communism had not pre-vented the development of cordial relations with Russia.^ The conference broke off without any debate but Hitler's silence must not be equated with acquiescence. Hitler agreed that Germany's chief security problem was in the east but he rejected Neurath's conclusion that the only solution lay in a rejuvenation of the Rapallo front. For the moment however, Hitler was veiling to maintain the fi c t i o n of "business as usual" so long as the Polish question was unresolved. But he did so only half-heartedly for he feared cooperation with Russia, not only for idealogical reasons but because Germany was weak. It was at this point that Neurath's and Hitler's views diverged. While Neurath spoke of continued enmity against Poland and renewed friendship with Russia, Hitler had probably already decided to dispense with the need for Russian support through a Polish rapprochement.^ Hitler in a l l probability did not know yet how he would achieve this aim but there is a body of evidence to show that the decision in principle had already been made. On April 8 Hitler broached the topic of border revision to the French Ambassador Francois-Poncet but denied categorically that Germany would change her eastern frontiers by force.5 2 The Polish problem was also 50 G.D.,C,1,142. ^ Breyer, op. c i t . , p. 83. 52 y Andre Francois-Poncet, The Fateful Years, transl. J. LeClercq, New York, Harcourt Brace, 1949? p. 96. 22 touched on when during t h i s same time Dirksen was f i n a l l y summoned to B e r l i n f o r an i n t e r v i e w w i t h H i t l e r . The Fuhrer seemed bored w i t h h i s Ambassador's report and confined h i s own remarks to a statement r e a f f i r m i n g h i s March 23 speech. His a t t i t u d e to Soviet r e l a t i o n s was obviously only lukewarm. Then an i n c i d e n t occurred whose s i g n i f i c a n c e d i d not escape d i r k s e n . He describes i t i n these-words* " H i t l e r rose, went across to the window and, gazing i n t o the park of the R e i c h s k a n z l e i , remarked dreamily: ' I f only we could come to an agreement w i t h Poland.' But P i l s u d s k i i s the only man w i t h whom that would be p o s s i b l e . " 5 3 Dirksen i n t e r j e c t e d that that would mean the r e v e r s a l of Germany's r e v i s i o n p o l i c y . H i t l e r refused to pursue the t o p i c . Simultaneously, the Warsaw Government, encouraged by H i t l e r ' s March 23 speech, put out i t s own f i r s t cautious f e e l e r s f o r a detente. On A p r i l 19, F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r Beck re c e i v e d Moltke i n Warsaw. The German M i n i s t e r came away from the conversa-t i o n w i t h the d i s t i n c t impression that Beck's remarks should be i n t e r p r e t e d "...as a v e i l e d proposal f o r d i r e c t contact w i t h 54 Germany."y At the same time i n B e r l i n Wysoki was pressing the German Foreign M i n i s t r y to set a date f o r an i n t e r v i e w w i t h H i t l e r . However the P o l i s h Government, unsure of H i t l e r ' s r e a l i n t e n t i o n s regarding Poland, decided to give greater urgency to German-P o l i s h r e l a t i o n s by demonstrating to Germany the a l t e r n a t i v e to 53 Dirksen, op. c i t . , p. 121 5 4 G.D.,C,I,167. 55 Breyer, op. c i t . , p. 84. an understanding. Them Hitler could decide what he wanted — peace or war. To this end Pilsudski resurrected the spectre of a Polish preventive war.5° It is apparent that this second power demonstration by Poland within two months was a bluff designed to force Hitler to negotiate. Poland had no serious intentions of forcing a 57 showdown with Germany. The Westerplatte incident had shown the impossibility of that. To Hitler Polish intentions in the f i r s t weeks of April must have seemed thoroughly ambiguous. They could mean one of three, things. Either the Poles had already decided on a forcible settlement with Germany, or they were seeking to force a rapprochement upon Germany, or Polish leadership was do divided that divergent aims were being followed simultaneously. These possibilities demanded two different responses. If Poland had 56 G.D.,C,I,184. From April 22 t i l l April 29 the Foreign Ministry in Berlin was flooded with reports from various missions abroad that the Poles and Czechs were planning military action against Germany. From Rome the German Ambassador wired of rumors circulating in the diplomatic corps of an imminent Polish march: (G.D.,C,I,177). From Warsaw Moltke sent threatening tidings that at the moment "...arguments for and against (a preventive war) approximately balance each other," and even more ominously that rumors of a "...Soviet Government...binding statement that in case of a Polish-German conflict i t would remain absolutely neutral": (G.D. ,C,Irjil80). Reports of troop movements multiplied and there was extreme agitation in foreign p o l i t i c a l circles: (Breyer, p. 84). Within a few days the storm died down and Moltke revised his earlier estimate with a re-, assuring note that "...there are no positive signs of a systematic preparation of a preventive war": (G.D.,C,I,183)• A query in Moscow by Dirksen also revealed that no o f f i c i a l Polish approach for a preventive war had in fact been made to the Soviets; only private individuals had sounded out the Russian Minister in Warsaw. G.D.,C,I,199. 57 Breyer, op. c i t . , pp. 84, 85. already decided on war then the rapprochement feeler was merely a ruse. In that event Germany's security lay in a continued close relationship with Russia. However i f Polish policy really were one of rapprochement, then the rumors of war were merely meant as an inducement for Germany to choose Polish friendship* Hitler could then drop Russia in favour of Poland. Finally i f Polish leadership were divided and its aims confused then Hitler would perforce be obliged to strengthen a l l existing security ties. In this event the Soviet t i e would be of determining influence. Of the three possibilities Hitler of course preferred the second. He proceeded to plumb Polish intentions regarding a settlement by negotiations. At the same time, until a c l a r i f i -cation was reached, other precautions would have to be taken. For this reason Hitler decided not to bring relations with the Soviet Union to a breaking point. The Russians were to be reassured of German good faith and the line to Moscow kept open. Then i f Hitler's worst fears were realized and Germany was faced with a war against Poland and possibly France too, the Rapallo Pact could be reactivated to redress the power balance. On the other hand i f a Polish-German understanding were actually reached, then the Russian tie could be cut. At any rate keeping the Russians in play could do no harm for the present. To inaugurate this policy of "keep the line to Moscow open" Hitler's March 23 Reichstag speech contained the earlier quoted favourable reference to German-Soviet relations. The speech was Hitler's reply to the oft expressed Soviet request for an o f f i c i a l public policy statement. Hitler then moved to rob the 25 Russo-German relationship of other uncertainties as well. Two of them had stuck out in the minds of Soviet o f f i c i a l s as bad omens; f i r s t , Hitler had never received Khinchuk, the Soviet ambassador in Berlin, and secondly, no German Government had ever r a t i f i e d the Protocol for the extension of the Berlin Treaty which had been signed in 1931.5^ On April 28, 1933 Hitler summoned Khinchuk to an o f f i c i a l interview. Hitler confined himself to generalities, none of which had not been said before.59 However, the impor-tance which was attached to this conversation by both sides did not derive from i t s content but from the fact that i t had even taken place. The second step in the projected "insurance detente" took place in Moscow on May 5 with tne ra t i f i c a t i o n of the Protocol for the extension of the Berlin Treaty.0*-1 Dirksen 5 8 G.D.,C,I,29; G.D.,C,I,104. 59 G.D.,C,I,194. a 0 The Protocol had been dogged by bad luck ever since the day of i t s signing on June 24,i1931» (Hilger, p. 241; Dirksen; p.113, 114). On that occasion Briining had. tried to withhold knowledge of the signing from the press for fear of i t s effect on German-French relations. Thereafter successive German Governments had failed to get i t through a Reichstag made impotent by p o l i t i c a l stalemate. Since Hitler's accession Dirksen had repeatedly urged swift r a t i -fication to serve as proof positive to the Soviets that Germany's orientation towards her had not changed. As late as April 8 Dirksen s t i l l had hopes of using the ra t i f i c a t i o n to exercise Russia's deep-seated distrust of Germany: (G.D.,C,1,197, 212). His hopes were buoyed up by the atmosphere he thought to have divined on his ten day trip to Berlin at the end of May. His warnings that continued police and S.A. outrages against Soviet citizens would make continued good relations with the Soviet Union impossible had elicited favourable responses from Goring, Goebbels and Frick: (Dirksen, op. cit.,p.-12D-2). Even Hitler's attitude, though 26 used this occasion, in a dispatch to Berlin, to make an energetic plea for a return to the Rapallo policy." The collaboration and friendship of two states with so certain a p o l i t i c a l future necessarily represented for the world an important positive factor. Even today nothing has changed in regard to this basic fact. Even today, therefore for Germany the same reasons which in 1922 led to the conclusion of the Rapallo Treaty, and in 1926 *6l to the conclusion of the Berlin Treaty, are alive and operative. Hitler however, neither accepted the assumptions upon which the Rapallo edifice had been raised nor did he trust the advice of his ambassadors in favour of i t s rejuvenation. Limited border revision was no longer the aim of German foreign policy. Dirksen, along with his colleagues in the foreign service, had not yet realized that the problem of German foreign policy was no mingled with hopes for a Polish rapprochement, seemed positive. The Foreign Office was after a l l convinced that Germany's deepest interests and Polish friendship were incompatible. Dirksen used the occasion of the exchange of documents to dispatch to Berlin a lengthy report: (G.D.,C,I,212). In i t he stressed the p o l i t i c a l significance of the exchange but warned against the self deception of expecting more from the pact than i t was capable of delivering. Its effects, would be closely hedged about by Soviet distrust, by the feeling of injured pride and by the magnetism of the Polish-French orbit. Unless these factors were obviated by proven German good-will, then the current Soviet attitude toward Germany, which, was characterized as un-relieved anxiety, mistrust and uncertainty, vuould remain. The corollary in Soviet policy of this attitude, was the acceptance of the maxium that "revision means war": j|G.D. ,C,I,212; G.D.,C,I, 232). The argument that Russia was the "second necessary power against Poland" was implicit in a l l that Dirksen wrote. The counter argument that Russia was too weak to be of practical benefit to Germany was curtly dismissed by him with the reminder that the Russo-German alliance had never been effective in terms of actual power but only as a potential force. To the men of the Foreign Office Dirksen's peroration must have been a castle of logic. 6 1 G.D.,C,I,212. 27 longer how to r e s t o r e but how to expand. In the l a t e summer and f a l l of 1 9 3 3 H i t l e r ' s Soviet p o l i c y was g r a d u a l l y c l a r i f i e d by events. This ^ c l a r i f i c a t i o n however, was not immediately t r a n s l a t e d i n t o a n u o f f i c i a l p o l i c y statement and the impression of ambiguity i n German f o r e i g n p o l i c y p e r s i s t e d . The discrepancy thus created between F o r e i g n O f f i c e a t t i t u d e and Government a c t i o n caused uneasiness and 6? consternation abroad but served H i t l e r ' s purposes. The d i v i s i o n of o p i n i o n among the German hi e r a r c h y regarding German-Soviet r e l a t i o n s can be c l e a r l y seen from the record of a cabinet meeting on September 26 given over almost e x c l u s i v e l y to the Russian question. Even von Bu'low, State Secretary, broached the problem w i t h an energetic plea f o r a detente w i t h Russia; and emphasized the losses i n the d i p l o m a t i c , economic and m i l i t a r y spheres which Germany would s u f f e r from a break w i t h h e r . ° 3 H i t l e r , i n r e p l y , s t r e s s e d the i d e o l o g i c a l i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y of Nazism and Communism, implying thereby that a permanent antagonism between Russia and Germany could be expected f o r the f u t u r e . The d e t e r i o r a t i o n i n r e l a t i o n s was Russia's f a u l t f o r the Soviet Government would "...never f o r g i v e Germany 62 In Moscow, Dirksen, confident that H i t l e r ' s speech of March 23 s t i l l denoted Government p o l i c y took every opportunity to urge upon B e r l i n the need f o r a German i n i t i a t i v e i n the Soviet c a p i t a l . E a r l y i n August he d i v i n e d a r e l a x a t i o n i n the immediate tensions of German-Soviet r e l a t i o n s and reported the d e s i r e i n the Soviet side f o r a German i n i t i a t i v e : (G.D.,0,1,389,404). While he awaited a c t i o n from B e r l i n he t r i e d to patch up german-Soviet r e l a t i o n s as best he could w i t h honeyed words. At the end of August Dirksen returned to B e r l i n and although he s t i l l hoped f o r the best he.was enough of a p o l i t i c a l r e a l i s t to cl o s e h i s f i n a l d i s p a t c h w i t h the words, "The Rapallo Chapter i s concluded": ( H i l g e r , o p . c i t . p . 3 4 9 ) • A f t e r Dirksen's departure the German, Charge i n Moscow, Twardowski, continued to work along the same l i n e s as Dirksen had. L i t v i n o v i n an exchange w i t h Twardowski summed up what every 6 3 G.D.,C,I,456. 28 f o r our having smashed Communism i n Germany". H i t l e r ' s r e j o i n d e r to von Bulow's argument that good Russo-German r e l a t i o n s had proved a d i p l o m a t i c , m i l i t a r y and economic asset was a c u r t , "...the l i a b i l i t i e s have always been.greater than the a s s e t s . " The most that H i t l e r was w i l l i n g to do was to grant the S o v i e t s apparent concessions. R e l u c t a n t l y he agreed to give the Sov i e t s r e a s s u r i n g statements regarding German i n t e n t i o n s and to r e c e i v e 64 K r e s t i n s k i on h i s journey through B e r l i n . This a c t i o n was to be purely t a c t i c a l i n order not to f u r n i s h the Russians w i t h a pretext f o r a break w i t h Germany. H i t l e r was convinced that "...a r e s t o r a t i o n of the German-Russian r e l a t i o n s h i p would be i m p o s s i b l e . T h e reason f o r such d e f i n i t e statements was undoubtedly H i t l e r ' s hopes f o r a rapprochement w i t h Poland. SF'ficial- i n the German Embassy i n Moscow was d a i l y seeing demonstrated, namely "...the F o r e i g n M i n i s t r y p o s s i b l y wanted good r e l a t i o n s but that other forces i n Germany were more power-f u l . " (G.D.,C,1,438). On September 22 Twardowski warned that unless t h i s Soviet impression was correc t e d the Russians would be induced- to go over completely i n t o the F r a n c o - P o l i s h camp. This argument must have impressed H i t l e r w i t h the f a c t that the sole a l t e r n a t i v e to a Russo-Polish pact was a quick move to put the f i n a l s e a l on a German-Polish understanding. G.D.,C,I,457; H i l g e r , p. 250. K r e s t i n s k i ' s v i s i t d i d not take place. G.D.,C,I,457 29 However, until this was definitely achieved, his real inten-tions towards Russia must he disguised.^ During the summer of 1933 i t became apparent that the loss of confidence in the p o l i t i c a l base of the Russo-German combination had disastrously shaken economic relations. From March until September action was taken by both sides whose effect was the dismantling of the economic structure which had been assiduously built up over the years to the profit of both 67 partners. ' By the end of March frequent searches of the Russian commercial missions in Leipzig and Hamburg had taken place and the systematic destruction of Derop, the giant Soviet enterprise for distributing Russian o i l in Germany had begun. By mid-April the Soviet Ambassador charged that Derop sales had been cut in This attitude of Hitler's was not obvious at f i r s t to Rudolph Nadolny, Dirksen's successor in November 1933 as Ambassador in Moscow. The same dichotomy between Hitler's attitude and Hitler's action in Soviet policy persisted. The new ambassador, a career diplomat of East Prussian background, who spoke Russian well, was a convinced advocate of the eastern orientation in German foreign policy. In Moscow he sought, as his predecessor had done, to bridge the chasm, which had developed between Russia and Germany since Hitler's advent to power. Hitler was to be persuaded of the fact that a dynamic foreign policy with revision-is t aims was possible only with the support of Russia. His i n i t i a l instructions from the Foreign Minister indicated agreement between his views and the ostensible aims of German diplomacy. According to the instructions Nadolny was to further friendly relations between the Reichswehr and the Red Army, even though these had not existed for three months; to maintain the Moscow Embassy as an active post (Vorposten) of German policy; and to create a more beneficial atmosphere by avoiding incidents and by making redress for the past Soviet losses. These instructions were based on Hitler's 6 month old March 23 speech which had since been superseded by Hitler's plans to seek an agreement with Poland. However, for the moment, i t suited Hitler's purpose to keep from his Ambassador as well as from the ^ 7 KKochan, op. c i t . , p. 169. 30 half and that the trade mission.had not been able to close a single sale in Germany since the beginning of the anti-Soviet agitation. 0 8 After September the Soviets adopted "a wait and see" policy in economic relations; no in i t i a t i v e was taken although the German Government was informed that any move from i t s side would receive a generous reply from the Soviet Government. P o l i t i c a l relations remained the leader in Russo-German relations. Similar tactics were adopted with regard to military relations. Russian Foreign Office his true intentions. Nadolny's conscien-tious efforts to keep Russia in play could serve Hitler well until the Polish tie was secure and he was ready to break off relations with Moscow on his own i n i t i a t i v e : (Hilger, op. c i t . , p.252-253). None of Hitler's diplomatic surprises had thus far pro-voked Russia to make a 'final break with Germany; the keynote of Soviet policy throughout 1933 remained "caution" and "firmness". If Germany chose to continue the mutually profitable relation-ship of past years the Soviets wished nothing better. If Germany chose otherwise the Soviet Government would align her policy with that of the Versailles Powers. When Hitler forced Russia to choose this latter course Stalin, Litvinov, Molotov, and Krestinsky were careful in their speeches to emphasize that Russia was reluctantly swinging away from the Rapallo front and would be ready to resume normal relations whenever Germany demonstrated her capacity for friendship by concrete afitions: (Hilger, op.cit., p. 246). If Germany chose the mutually profitable relationship of past years the Soviets wished nothing better. If Germany chose otherwise the Soviet Union would align her policy with that of the Versailles powers. Kochan, op. c i t . , p. 166. G.D.,0,1,198,421. 31 During the f i r s t months of 1933 i t seemed as though Russo-German military relations might weather the storm into which p o l i t i c a l relations had been cast by Hitler's ambiguous attitude. High ranking officers of the Reichswehr as well as members of the Foreign Ministry were agreed that sound military cooperation guaranteed the security of the p o l i t i c a l structure rather than being dependent upon i t . A l l were determined to maintain i t . ° 9 In May and June this hope proved false when on the init i a t i v e of the Soviet Government military relations were put -in jeopardy.? 0 The German High Command, sensing that this devel-opment might lead to a complete break, despatched General von Bockelberg, the Chief of the Army Ordnance Office, on a good-w i l l mission to Russia. Between von Bockelberg's departure from Moscow and his return to Berlin the Soviet Government preemptorily 69 The Reichswehr attitude was attested by an incident which took place in March 1933* After the Reichstag f i r e , Reichswehr officers, fearful lest a breach in the Russo-German front should occur, informed Soviet diplomats of the existence of an under-ground corridor linking the Reichstag with the palace of the Reichstag President, Goring. Dirksen, op. c i t . , p. 93; Francois-Poncet, p. 2. 70 ' The Reichswehr maintained three stations in Soviet Russia; Lipetsk (airforce), Tomka (Chemical warfare) and Kazan (armoured vehicles): (G.D.,C,I,197). Red Army o f f i c i a l s announced that the German plants were to be closed. demanded that Germany dissolve a l l of her military plants in Russia. 7 1 By mid-August i t was clear that a l l military ties would have to be broken and the Reichswehr sent a military mission to pay a farewell v i s i t to the Red Army. The atmosphere in which the leave-takings were made was laden with nostalgia. P o l i t i c a l talk was engaged in by neither side but the Red Army attitude left the impression that although "the chapter of co-operation on the basis of mutual confidence must be regarded as closed", they had, " . . . l e f t the door open for themselves for 72 military collaboration...at some later date.'" A month later on September 15 after another round of leave-takings Hartmann the German military attache in Moscow, again reported that basically the Soviet side"...is constantly trying not to let the 73 connections with us break off...." J Concurrently a military rapprochement between France and Russiar.was evident and there were suggestions that military 74 consultations between Russia and Poland had also taken place. The importance of these contacts, coinciding as they did with 71 General von Bockelberg in his comprehensive report of t':,? June 13 supported Hartmann's conclusions: "Cooperation with the Red Army and the Soviet armaments industry i s , in view of the extent of Russian plans and their demonstrated energy in carrying them out, urgently desirable not only for reasons of defence policy but also for technical reasons with respect to amounts." (G.D.,C,I,252). Later the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that this action was prompted by rumours that von Papen had divulged a l l particulars of German-Rnasian military cooperation to the French Ambassador in Berlin, Francois-Poncet. (Hilger, op-, cit/,/ -p. 246, 247. . 7 2 G.D.,C,1,409. 73 G.D.,C,I,439; G.D.,C,I,460. 7 4 G.D.,C,I,439. 33 the l i q u i d a t i o n of German m i l i t a r y i n t e r e s t s i n R u s s i a , were not l o s t on the Germans. H i t l e r must have been impressed w i t h the " r e a l p o l i t i s c h e " c o n s iderations which reputedly guided Soviet p o l i c y . For the moment however he had decided to dispense w i t h the need f o r Soviet f r i e n d s h i p even at the p r i c e of the l o s s of Soviet cooperation i n the m i l i t a r y f i e l d . This cost was not great f o r the d e c i s i o n openly to denounce the m i l i t a r y clauses of the V e r s a i l l e s Treaty had rendered three German armaments plan t s 75 and t e s t i n g s t a t i o n s i n Russia of no consequence to Germany. J H i t l e r thereby gained a freedom of diplom a t i c maneuvre which permitted him to court Poland openly without her f e a r i n g a Russian k n i f e t h r u s t i n her back. Later i f t a c t i c a l consider-ations d i c t a t e d a r e t u r n to the Rapallo path H i t l e r could always take up w i t h Russia again. A f t e r a l l he held i t i n h i s hand to give Russia what she wanted and could thus f o r c e her i n to a p o l i c y of f r i e n d s h i p . Meanwhile the d i p l o m a t i c ground work f o r a German-P o l i s h understanding was being l a i d i n both Warsaw and B e r l i n . On May 2, H i t l e r received the P o l i s h M i n i s t e r Wysocki i n the 76 presence of von Neurath. Wysocki's words were cautious, expressing P o l i s h f ears f o r Danzig, and Poland's determination not to give up the C o r r i d o r . H i t l e r ' s r e p l y was tempered by the imagined dangers of a P o l i s h preventive war. H i t l e r objected to the P o l i s h ?5 John W. Wheeler-Bennett, "From Brest L i t o v s k to Brest L i t o v s k " , Foreign A f f a i r s , V o l . l 8 , January 1940, p. 202. 7 6 G.D.,C,I,201; P.W.B.,1,p.11-13. 34 i n i t i a t i v e on the Westerplatte. He asserted that as a German Nationalist he was sympathetic to Polish nationalist aspirations and recognized Poland as a p o l i t i c a l entity with a right to exist. Suddenly Hitler remarked that he had examined Russian birth stati s t i c s : "The astonishing f e r t i l i t y of that nation caused him to reflect seriously on the dangers to Europe and, therefore 77 to Poland, which might arise from this fact."'' Hitler did not pursue the topic further but he had made his point. The Soviet bogey was to form the basis of any Polish-German understanding. Wysocki's i n i t i a t i v e , a joint communique was issued. It contained the key promise that the "...Chancellor laid stress on the firm intention of the German Government to maintain their attitude r 78 and their actions s t r i c t l y within the limits of existing treaties. ' For Poland the ghost of the Four Power Directorate had hereby been temporarily laid and the basis formed for the new-ordering 79 of the German-Polish relationship in the following years. In the following months Hitler reiterated the anti-Soviet theme. On May 17 he carried the German initiative one 80 step further in a speech to the Reichstag. Here he renounced P.W.B.,L, 13. The Neurath Memorandum concerning this conver-sation although agreeing with Wysocki's report in a l l other essentials makes no mention of this utterance:(G.D.,C,I,206). 7 8 p.W.B.,2. 79 Breyer, p. 84,85; Wysocki termed the interview "...of a nature to bring about a real relaxation of tension in German-Polish relations," and an o f f i c i a l Polish press release noted that the conversation had "...exerted a quieting influence on German-Polish relations." G.D. ,C,1,206!". P.W.B.,3,p.l3-15. 35 the p r i n c i p l e of Germanization and declared f o r the f i r s t time that "Germany i s ready to take part i n any solemn pact of non-aggression, f o r Germany has no thought of a t t a c k , but t h i n k s s o l e l y of her s e c u r i t y . " The i n v i t a t i o n , without saying so, was obviously meant f o r P o l i s h ears. H i t l e r broached the a n t i - R u s s i a n theme again the f o l l o w i n g month i n a t a l k w i t h Wysocki. The P o l i s h M i n i s t e r ' s r e p o r t of J u l y 13 contained these words: "M. H i t l e r a lso exten-s i v e l y discussed the s i t u a t i o n i n R u s s i a , and the n e c e s s i t y f o r a l l European count r i e s to cooperate i n combating the economic O-i c r i s i s and i t s serious consequences i n Germany." But H i t l e r was not yet prepared to commit himself f u l l y to a rapprochement w i t h Poland and to a break w i t h Russia u n t i l Germany's p r e c i p i t a t e d e s e r t i o n of the League of Nations on October 14 completed her d i p l o m a t i c i s o l a t i o n and compelled H i t l e r to look around f o r sympathy wherever he could. From Geneva the German League of Nations delegates warned of the p o s s i b i l i t y of a preventive war against Germany. The Danzig Senate President Rauschning cautioned against any new provocations. H i t l e r f l i p p a n t l y dismissed Rauchning's warning: "The people want war. Let them have i t - but only when i t s u i t s me."82 H i t l e r s t a t e d , " I am w i l l i n g to s i g n anything. I w i l l do anything to f a c i l i t a t e the success of my p o l i c y . I am prepared to guarantee a l l f r o n t i e r s and make non-aggression pacts and f r i e n d l y a l l i a n c e s w i t h anybody. "83 8 1 P.W.B.,4. Op Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of D e s t r u c t i o n , New York, G.P. Putnam's, 1940, p. 104. 8 3 I h i d . , p. 109. 36 On November 15, the P o l i s h r e a c t i o n to Germany's -"withdrawal from the League was transmitted to H i t l e r by L i p s k i . L imski expressed Poland's concern f o r her s e c u r i t y , r e c a l l e d the Westerplatte i n c i d e n t and asked su g g e s t i v e l y "...whether ( H i t l e r ) d i d not see any p o s s i b i l i t y of compensating the l o s s of t h i s element of s e c u r i t y i n d i r e c t German-Polish r e l a t i o n s . 1 , 8 4 H i t l e r ' s gamble had paid o f f . The German F i i h r e r , w i t h a s i g h of r e l i e f , a s s u r e d L i p s k i of h i s w i l l i n g n e s s "...to exclude the very idea of the p o s s i b i l i t y of war from German-Polish r e l a t i o n s . " ^ ^ The idea that a German-Polish community of i n t e r e s t s e x i s t e d i n common enmity towards Russia was i m p l i c i t i n H i t l e r ' s words. He c h a r a c t e r i z e d Poland as an "Outpost (Verposten) against A s i a , whose d e s t r u c t i o n would be a calamity f o r the s t a t e s 86 which would thus become Asia's neighbors." The i s o l a t i o n i n t o which Germany was thr u s t by her w i t h -drawal from the League and Poland's response to i t , a mixture of threat and i n v i t a t i o n , was the d e c i s i v e f a c t o r i n f i n a l l y pur-suading H i t l e r that h i s own t a c t i c a l i n t e r e s t s demanded a s e t t l e -ment w i t h Poland. Less than two weeks l a t e r , on November 28, a German d r a f t of a German-Polish non-aggression pact was placed i n 8 4 P.W.B.,6. 8 5 P.W.B.,6. 8 6 P.W.B.,6; Breyer, op. c i t . , p.100. The shape of things to come was c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e d i n the communique issued a f t e r the conversation. "Discussion of German-Polish r e l a t i o n s revealed the complete agreement of both Governments i n t h e i r i n t e n t i o n to deal w i t h questions a f f e c t i n g both c o u n t r i e s by way of d i r e c t n e g o t i a t i o n , and f u r t h e r to renounce a l l a p p l i c a t i o n of forc e i n t h e i r mutual r e l a t i o n s , w i t h view to strengthening European peace." P.W.B.,7. Pilsudski's hands. Thereafter negotiations were conducted in the spirit of the November 15 Hitler-Lipski conversation and on January 26, 1934>almost exactly one year after Hitler had assumed office as Chancellor of Germany, the formal signing of the non-aggression pact took place in Berlin. 8? Hitler had demonstrated that in foreign policy as in domestic affairs his w i l l , and his alone, prevailed. Contrary to the wishes of the German Foreign Ministry and the leading officers of the Reichswehr the policy of revision, the hall-mark of the Weimar Republic^had been abandoned; the decisive blow against German-Soviet friendship had been struck.,^ Hitler's motives in f i n a l l y seeking this pact were primarily tactical. Circumstances not ideology directed his diplomacy towards conciliation with Poland. The fact that Hitler had declared before his rise to power, that as Chancellor he 89 would be prepared to reach an understanding with Poland does not detract from the fact that Hitler's i n i t i a t i v e in this direction was dictated in i t s timing by the circumstances of the 90 day. The reversal in German foreign policy which the pact symbolized was designed to serve Germany's changed foreign policy aims. The f i r s t aim was rapid rearmament and to achieve this the 8 ? P.W.B.,9, p.20. O Q •Carr, German-Soviet Relations, p. 110. 8 9 Rauschning, Destruction, p. 28. 90 Breyer, Das Deutsche Reich und Polen, p. 113. 38 pact was of s i g n a l u t i l i t y : i t ended tensions on Germany's 9 eastern border; i t tore a gaping hole i n the French pact system; i t rendered Soviet e f f o r t s to r a i s e an eastern c o a l i t i o n against Germany a b o r t i v e and prevented Russia from using Poland as a piv o t from which to leap - f r o g i n t o the western camp. F i n a l l y , i t would fo r c e the Soviet Government to reckon w i t h the possib-92 i l i t y of a j o i n t German-Polish aggression against Russia. I t i s not yet c l e a r from the a v a i l a b l e evidence what H i t l e r ' s ideas on a German-Polish f r o n t were; i t i s probable that he had no f i x e d ideas. However, p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y an aggressive eastern p o l i c y would occupy f i r s t place i n H i t l e r ' s sympathies. I f an opening should lead to the east he would move. H i t l e r was determined to e x p l o i t every favourable opening i n diplomacy f o r expansion. °^ Herman Mau und Helmut Krausnick, Deutsche Geschichte der Jungsten Vergangenheit 1933-1945* Tubingen, Rainer Wunderlich, Hermann Leins und J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1953? p.78; Francois-Poncet, TheJFateful Years, p. 115. 92 Kochan, Russia and the Weimar Re-public, p. 172. 39 CHAPTER I I ANTI-BOLSHEVISM AS TACTIC AND AS STRATEGY, JANUARY 1934 - MARCH 1939 In January 1934 H i t l e r was probably determined to e x p l o i t thoroughly the i n t e r n a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n which had been created by the German-Polish non-aggression pact. F r i e n d s h i p f o r Poland and i t s c o r o l l a r y , enmity towards R u s s i a , were to be used t a c t i c a l l y to secure German dip l o m a t i c freedom of a c t i o n through r a p i d rearmament - the p r i n c i p a l task of German f o r e i g n p o l i c y . Behind the symbol of the dove and the slogan of a n t i -Bolshevism, H i t l e r proposed to rearm step by step. This achieved, the weakness of H i t l e r ' s opponents could be probed and the p o l i t i c a l i n i t i a t i v e grasped. In f a c t , i f the p o l i t i c a l s i t -u a t i o n developed f a v o r a b l y i n the i n t e r v a l , a n t i - S o v i e t i s m might be changed from a t a c t i c to a s t r a t e g y . I t i s remarkable how s l i g h t the a c t i v e o p p o s i t i o n i n Germany to H i t l e r ' s new p o l i c y was. Those i n the Nazi Party who had beat the a n t i - P o l i s h drum were consoled by the hope that the pact was a temporary expedient and would be repudiated the moment Germany was rearmed.''- Some F o r e i g n O f f i c e and Army c i r c l e s , however, were not so e a s i l y r e c o n c i l e d to the new p o l i c y . In Rauschning, Voice of D e s t r u c t i o n , p. 115' 40 June 1934 t h e i r o p p o s i t i o n came to a head. The German Ambassador i n Moscow, Nadolny, refused to acquiesce i n an a n t i - S o v i e t s t r a t e g y . 2 He repeatedly protested against the ending of the Rapallo p o l i c y . When i n May 1934 h i s arguments were r e j e c t e d by h i s government, he returned to B e r l i n . Here he and Billow pressed t h e i r views i n personal conversations w i t h H i t l e r and Neurath. The former dismissed t h e i r arguments w i t h the remark: " I want to have nothing to do w i t h those people. Nadolny refused to r e t u r n to Moscow unless h i s i n s t r u c t i o n s were a l t e r e d and when i n June they were confirmed i n s t e a d , he 4 resigned h i s post. With h i s r e s i g n a t i o n a l l a c t i v e o p p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the F o r e i g n O f f i c e apparently ceased. On the other hand the m i l i t a r y o p p o s i t i o n to H i t l e r ' s eastern p o l i c y was even more f o r c i b l y quashed. During the Rohm purge of June 30, 1934 many recognized proponents i n the Reichswehr of an eastern o r i e n t a t i o n In h i s r e p o r t s to B e r l i n , Nadolny openly c r i t i c i z e d H i t l e r ' s p o l i t i c a l t h e o r i e s . In one despatch he questioned the aim, as o u t l i n e d i n Mein Kampf, of the downfall of the Soviet Union. Why, he asked, should Germany d e s i r e t h i s when she possessed no n a t i o n a l c l a i m to any Russian t e r r i t o r y and when she could b e n e f i t f o r a long time from t r a d i t i o n a l Russian c u l t u r a l and economic cooperation? H i l g e r , Wir und der Kreml, p. 253? T2->5; E r i c h Kordt, Wahn und W i r k l i c h k e i t , S t u t t g a r t , Union Deutsche V e r l a g s g e s e l l s c h a f t , 1948, pp.64-66. 3 H i l g e r , Wjj^und der Kreml, p. 254. 4 Count Werner von der Schulenburg succeeded to the Moscow Ambassadorship i n October, 1934. He was a diplomat admirably s u i t e d i n d i s p o s i t i o n to represent Germany at a time when no diplomatic i n i t i a t i v e i n Moscow was contemplated. Unlike Nadolny he was more a spectator than a player i n fo r m u l a t i n g p o l i c y recommendations. For the f o l l o w i n g three years the Moscow Embassy was reduced to a " l i s t e n i n g post". C a r l Schorske, "Two German Ambassadors: Dirksen and Schulenburg," i n G.A. C r a i g and F. G i l b e r t , ed., The Diplomats, P r i n c e t o n , U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1953? p. 488. were k i l l e d . J The most notable v i c t i m of the purge was the former Chancellor and Reichswehr leader, General S c h l e i c h e r , whose q u a r r e l w i t h H i t l e r over German-Soviet p o l i c y was one of the reasons f o r h i s l i q u i d a t i o n . The bloody purge put an end to a l l f u r t h e r e f f o r t s of the m i l i t a r y to e f f e c t a r e t u r n to the Rapallo P o l i c y . There i s no documentary evidence whatsoever to support the charge that r e l a t i o n s between the Red Army and the Reichswehr continued to e x i s t a f t e r 1934. These events, of June 1934 again proved that H i t l e r would not t o l e r a t e i n t e r f e r e n c e i n h i s f o r e i g n p o l i c y e i t h e r from p r o f e s s i o n a l diplomats or from p r o f e s s i o n a l s o l d i e r s . At any r a t e , the p o l i t i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n e s t a b l i s h e d by the P o l i s h -German Non-Aggression Pact, whether as t a c t i c or as a s t r a t e g y , remained f i x e d i n i t s o u t l i n e s during the f o l l o w i n g f i v e years. During these years German-Soviet r e l a t i o n s were reduced to a "word war" by H i t l e r ' s v e r b a l s a l l i e s and Soviet counter-a s s a u l t s . H i t l e r ' s anti-Communism was designed d o m e s t i c a l l y , to focus the o p p o s i t i o n of the German people on one object and On June 30, 1934 H i t l e r j u s t i f i e d the purge i n the f o l l o w i n g words: " I had gained the impression that by c e r t a i n unscrupulous elements a N a t i o n a l - B o l s h e v i s t r i s i n g was being prepared which could only b r i n g untold s u f f e r i n g upon Germany." Baynes, H i t l e r ' s Speeches, v o l . 1 , p. 315* A f t e r S c h l e i c h e r ' s death a number of h i s Reichswehr f r i e n d s , i n an e f f o r t to r e h a b i l i t a t e him, composed a memorandum to Hindenburg which demanded that a m i l i t a r y d i r e c t o r a t e take charge of the a f f a i r s of s t a t e . The o r i e n t a t i o n of t h i s group was evident i n that they proposed Nadolny as F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r . J . Wheeler-Bennett, The Nemesis of Power: The German Army i n P o l i t i c s 1918-1945. London, Macmillan, 1953, pp.329-330. 6 P.W.B.,13,15,19,29. On May 23, 1935 H i t l e r t o l d L i p s k i that S c h l e i c h e r ' s eastern p o l i c y was "ample j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the end that b e f e l l hmm." P.W.B.,p.19. 42 to make H i t l e r appear as the saviour of Germany from i n t e r n a l d i s s e n s i o n . I t had the added advantage of being i d e o l o g i c a l l y c o n s i s t e n t - a f a c t which had to be weighed i n the balance i n the changed circumstances of 1939. In f a c t H i t l e r even o c c a s i o n a l l y used the Communist bogey to goad h i s own cabinet i n t o p u t t i n g f o r t h greater e f f o r t s i n the rearmament programme. Thus, on September 4, 193° Goring stated to a meeting of the cabinet that the German economy should be put on a war f o o t i n g f o r t h w i t h because H i t l e r b e l i e v e d the 7 showdown w i t h Russia " i s i n e v i t a b l e . " I t was i n the f i e l d of f o r e i g n p o l i c y , however, th a t g the c h i e f use of anti-Bolshevism l a y . I t found an echo i n C e n t r a l and Western Europe; t h i s permitted H i t l e r to pose as the defender of western c i v i l i z a t i o n from the . d i s i n t e g r a t i n g v i r u s from the East and g a i n , i f not support, at l e a s t t o lerance f o r h i s p o l i c i e s . Every German i n i t i a t i v e , every v i o l a t i o n of i n t e r n a t i o n a l o b l i g a t i o n s , every act of aggression was j u s t i f i e d i n part at l e a s t on the grounds of the n e c e s s i t y to h a l t 9 Bolshevism^ 7 N.D.,416-EC; Mau und Krausnick, Deutsche Geschichte, p.91. 8 In t h i s connection i t i s of i n t e r e s t that i n October 1932 H i t l e r i s reported to have t o l d Kurt C. Ludecke that a preven-t i v e war at the beginning of h i s regime would be d i s a s t r o u s . He stated: "Wo, I've got to play b a l l w i t h c a p i t a l i s m and keep the V e r s a i l l e s Powers i n l i n e by holding a l o f t the bogey of Bolshevism - make them b e l i e v e that a Nazi Germany i s the l a s t bulwark against the Red Flood. That's the only way to come through the danger p e r i o d , to get r i d of V e r s a i l l e s and rearm. I can t a l k peace, but mean war." Kurt C.W. Ludecke, I Knew H i t l e r , London, J a r r o l d s , 1938, p. 422. 9 Royal I n s t i t u t e of I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f a i r s , Survey of I n t e r -n a t i o n a l A f f a i r s , Arnold Tuynbee and others, ed., London, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1936, pp.370-372, German anti-communist propaganda during the period under discussion was thus a gigantic bluster puffed up in times of diplomatic stress and deflated in times of diplomatic calm. The year 1 9 3 4 was one of these quiet interludes; German rearma-ment was proceeding secretly. In March 1 9 3 5 the pace quickened with the reintroduction of conscription, necessary in part, Hitler stated, because of the "...creation of a Soviet Russian 10 army of 1 0 1 divisions" The Eastern Pact also was rejected simply on the grounds that Hitler would have nothing to do with 1 1 the Bolshevist Power. A year later on March 7 , 1 9 3 6 Hitler, in announcing the occupation of the Rhineland, lashed out at international communism but adopted a more conciliatory tone 1 2 towards the Soviet regime. This s p i r i t of conciliation was, however, short-lived. In August 1 9 3 6 the strengthening of the Red Army and the development of a Russian submarine f l o t i l l a in the Baltic were announced.^3 Hitler's immediate reaction (August 24) was to lengthen the period of military service from one to two years; he defended this move by stating that Germany must not be "overwhelmed in the Bolshevist chaos. *'^ 4 These ^ Baynes, Hitler's Speeches, vol. 2 , p. 1 1 7 6 . In a v i s i t to Berlin in March 1 9 3 5 , Eden questioned Hitler on his charges of alleged Soviet aggressive intentions against Germany. Hitler's answer was evasive: "In these matters I have had a longer experience than the British." Schmidt, Statist auf Diplomatischer Biihne 1 9 2 3 - 1 9 4 5 , Bo'nh, Athenaum-Verlag, 1 9 4 9 , p. . 2 9 6 . 1 2 Hitler said, "I do not and did not reject cooperation with Russia but v/ith Bolshevism which lays claim to a world rulership, Baynes, op. c i t . , v o l . 2 , p . 1 2 8 1 . 1 3 RIIA, Survey, 1 9 3 6 , p . 3 8 0 . 14 Baynes, op. c i t . , v o l . 2 , p . 1 3 2 7 . 44 developments formed the background to the Nazi Party r a l l y of September 1936 which, in terms of sustained Anti-Soviet vituper-ation, established a record. The speeches by Hitler, Goebbels and Hess were characterized by an extreme aggressiveness. They practically called for a "holy war" against communism and made relations with Russia as bad as they possibly could without 15 actually causing a break in diplomatic relations. The Anti-Comintern Pact, signed with Japan in Berlin on November 2 5 , 1936 was a further application of the anti-communist jingoism. Its propaganda value at any rate far ex-ceeded its p o l i t i c a l content. On January 3 0 , 1937 Hitler defended his anti-Comintern policy in these words: "Our attack on Bolshevism has been not only in defense of our own c i v i l i z a t i o n 16 but in defense of European c i v i l i z a t i o n as a whole." The effect of this semantic trick was either to disarm Hitler's victims before they were attacked or to put them "on the spot" by stigmatizing them as carriers of the communist germ. Hitler, in effect, claimed the inalienable right for himself to intervene 17 anywhere in opposition to international communism. ' This tactic was applied most successfully in the cases 1 5 RIIA, Survey, 1936, p.389. On September 12, 193o Hitler went so far as to speak of German interests in the Ukraine, the Urals and Siberia. Hilger, Wir und der Kreml, p.265. 16 Baynes, qp. c i t . , p. 1336. 1 7 RIIA, Survey, 1937, v o l . 2 , pp.37,38. 4 5 of Spain 1 8 and Czechoslovakia 1 9 in 1937 and 1938. Although Hitler's anti-Communist tirades were sheer bluster, on another level, an anti-Soviet front was of advantage in easing relations with Poland. Friendly relations with Poland helped to secure Germany's eastern frontier but they did not increase good feeling between the two nations. The German-Polish non-aggression pact of January 1934 was merely the product of fear, not the expression of a genuine community of interests. I n i t i a l l y i t represented no more for German-Polish relations than the renunciation by Hitler of the forcible revision of the German-Polish frontier. But, i f the pact were to be used as the beginning of a long term settlement i t would have to be underpinned by common interests, and hints had been dropped to the Poles in 1933 that such interests might be found in a common ho s t i l i t y towards Soviet Russia. In early 1934 Hitler confided some of his thoughts regarding German policy towards Russia and Poland to Rauschning, the Nazi President of the Danzig Senate. t w The record of the conversation reveals the extraordinary f l e x i b i l i t y of mind with 1 8 On September 9? 1937 Goebbels made this point in a speech at Nuremberg: "...a discussion of the Spanish question must include revelations of the international ramifications of the • World Revolution planned by the Bolshevists of which the events in Spain are only a part." Survey, 1937, v o l . 2 , p.188. 1 9 Hitler characterized Czechoslovakia on March 25, 1935 as the "...outstretched arm of Russia." Schmidt, Statist auf Diplomatischer Buhne, p.302. On September 17, 1938 Hitler is reported to have claimed that he created the Luftwaffe because of the "...existence of Czecho-. Slovakia as an ally of Soviet Russia, thrust forward into the very heart of Germany." Baynes, Vol . 2 , p.1501. 20 Rauschning, Voice of Destruction, pp.116-119. . 46 which Hitler approached a strategic problem. Fi r s t things came f i r s t . Uppermost in Hitler's mind was the question of Poland's r e l i a b i l i t y in the event of a war on Germany's western border. He only needed Poland, he said, as long as he was threatened from the west. The question of an eastern policy and Poland's place in i t was for the moment only of secondary importance. He considered a l l eventualities. He would "... prefer an eastern policy of agreement with Poland rather than one directed against her." He was willing to work with the Poles because they were realists but only i f they were "...generous in their views." German cooperation would be forthcoming i f Poland accepted his own terms. Germany might support Polish claims to parts of White Russia i f Poland ceded part of her territory to Germany. He might "perhaps" plan a joint attack with Poland against Russia but there were knotty problems to solve f i r s t . Hitler categorically rejected the idea of a greater Poland extending from Riga to Kiev, from the Baltic to the Black Sea: "I have l i t t l e use for a military might and a new Polish Great Power on my frontiers." Thus, for the time being, Hitler considered Polish friendship indispensable. In the long run, however, he was willing to work with Poland only on a basis of Polish subordination to German interests. If Poland rejected his terms he would crush her: "I could at any time come to an agreement with Soviet Russia." For the moment Hitler had not adopted plans for a long range strategy. Rather, for the following years he set himself the task of organizing the p o l i t i c a l situation in such a way so that when the time came 47 to move, numerous avenues would be open to his exploitation. In the preceding chapter the prominence of the anti-Soviet theme in the utterances of the German leaders during the negotiations leading to the German-Polish Pact has been examined. There is no record of similar statements by Hitler or any other German politician during 1934 but i t can safely be assumed that similar advances were made. The anti-Soviet motif was taken up again by Hitler in 21 a conversation with Lipski on January 24, 1935« Hitler repeated that Germany and Poland might some day have to stand • together against aggression from the East. He then contrasted his own policy with that of General Schleicher with the probable intention of underlining the alternative to a concerted German-22 Polish policy. Goring, charged by Hitler to promote Polish friendship 23 outside o f f i c i a l diplomatic channels, J now continued where Hitler had left off. On January 31 he arrived in Warsaw for conversations with Polish o f f i c i a l s ; these marked one of the high points in German efforts to secure Polish adherence to an anti-Soviet f r o n t . 2 4 Goring stated that Germany desired a strong Poland because she feared a common border with the Soviet Union. He suggested "...an anti-Russian alliance and a joint attack 2 1 P.W.B.,13. 2 2 Breyer, Das Deutsche Reich und Polen, p. 180. 23 P.W.B.,17; Dewitt C. Poole, "Light on Nazi Foreign Policy", Ii.y, :..Foreign I Affairs, vol . 2 5 , October 1946, p. 134. 24 / P.W.B.,16; Stanislaw iViackiewicz, Colonel Beck and His Policy, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1944, pp.25,2o~I 48 on Russia" to the P o l i s h generals. S i m i l a r proposals were made to P i l s u d s k i and i t i s reputed that the M a r s h a l l was o f f e r e d the j o i n t command of the German-Polish f o r c e s i n the event of 25 an attack on Soviet Russia. J Goring hinted that P o l i s h rewards f o r cooperation would c o n s i s t of a Greater Poland extending from the B a l t i c to the Black Sea and i n c l u d i n g the Ukraine. H i t l e r would be s a t i s f i e d w i t h North-Western Russia as a German sphere of i n f l u e n c e . I m p l i c i t i n a l l that Goring s a i d was the p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e f o r German p o l i c y i f Poland refused to cooperate -a r e t u r n to the Schl e i c h e r p o l i c y of p a r t i t i o n . 2 ^ The o l d M a r s h a l l r e j e c t e d Goring 1s proposals w i t h the st r a i g h t f o r w a r d " . . . i t was impossible to stand c o n t i n u a l l y at the ready on such a long l i n e as ^ the/Polish-German f r o n t i e r . " However, the P o l i s h p o s i t i o n was not as c l e a r - c u t as t h i s answer would suggest. Poland d i d not r e j e c t H i t l e r ' s o f f e r because she had no t e r r i t o r i a l a s p i r a t i o n s i n the East, but because she d i d pO not want to embark on an adventure under German l a d e r s h i p . The d e c i s i v e f a c t o r i n both H i t l e r ' s and P i l s u d s k i ' s c a l c u l a t i o n s was the s h i f t i n g power r e l a t i o n s h i p between Poland and Germany and between Germany and R u s s i a . 2 9 25 Mackiewicz, pp.r.£cit., p. 26. 26 Goring repeated t h i s l i n e of argument to L i p s k i on A p r i l 25, 1935, P.W.B., 17. 2 7 P.W.B., 16. 28 Breyer, Das Deutsche Reich und Polen, p. 180. 29 i n March, 1939 Roman K n o l l , noted P o l i s h j o u r n a l i s t and p o l i t i c i a n , wrote: With a d i f f e r e n t power r e l a t i o n s h i p we could gain an advantage from German assistance....But as matters are today, German aggression against R u s s i a would above a l l pose a danger f o r Poland. So long as Soviet Russia e x i s t s and doesn't co-operate w i t h Germany, we should avoid any a c t i o n against her. quoted i n Breyer, p. 181. 49 In 193° and 1937 while the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n matured, a l l u s i o n s to common German-Polish a n t i - S o v i e t i n t e r e s t s remained the keynote of H i t l e r ' s approach to Poland.3° The only j a r r i n g note i n an otherwise serene r e l a t i o n s h i p was H i t l e r ' s mention to L i p s k i on May 23, 1935 of an idea "...premature today, but which might be p o s s i b l e of r e a l i z a t i o n i n some f i f t e e n years time, namely, the b u i l d i n g of a s p e c i a l r a i l w a y l i n e and of a 31 motor road f o r t r a n s i t through Pomorze," The Poles might p r o f i t a b l y have taken t h i s as an i n d i c a t i o n of H i t l e r ' s p r i c e f o r continued c o l l a b o r a t i o n when Germany was f u l l y rearmed. On the other hand, the f a c t that H i t l e r spoke of a f i f t e e n year period and was w i l l i n g to meet P o l i s h wishes on the Danzig question as w e l l as the m i n o r i t i e s problem revealed that he wished,for the moment at l e a s t , to curry P o l i s h good w i l l . I n the meantime, d e s p i t e the prominence of the a n t i -Soviet theme i n H i t l e r ' s p u b l i c statements and i n h i s r e l a t i o n s w i t h Poland, he p r a c t i c a l l y discounted Russia as a f a c t o r i n opp o s i t i o n when he considered Germany's immediate p o l i t i c a l 3° On May 22, 1935 H i t l e r described h i s rapprochement p o l i c y w i t h Poland to L i p s k i as "...more advantageous to Germany than uneasy r e l a t i o n s w i t h Russia. Russia i s Asia'.':;(P.W.B. ,19). German p r o t e s t a t i o n s of a n t i - S o v i e t i s m must have been rendered more b e l i e v a b l e to the Poles because of the i n s i s t e n c e w i t h which they were repeated. H i t l e r t o l d L i p s k i on December 18, 193_5 that ^ European".. . s o l i d a r i t y ended at the P o l i s h - S o v i e t border!':'CBW.B., 21). I :. , . ." ':.. Poland and Germany were described to P o l i s h State Secretary, Szembek, on May 22, 1936 as a "b l o c " which " . . . i t would be d i f f i c u l t to r e s i s t i n Europe....W.B.,220. In 1937 Goring continued to f e e l out the s i t u a t i o n but h i s proposals were not pressed as v i g o r o u s l y as s i m i l a r ones i n 1935 had been. But German-Polish i n t e r e s t s were s t i l l described as "one" and " . . . i t would be d e s i r a b l e to determine how f a r a p o l i c y of c o l l a b o r a t i o n could be worked out." P.W.B.,29. 3 1 P.W.B.,19. objectives. During the f i r s t years of his regime Hitler had carefully weighed up the opposition which his rearmament measures might encounter in Europe and adopted a defensive posture to counteract i t ; This posture, supported by an abundance of good luck, had paid rich dividends by 1937. German rearmament was now sufficiently advanced for Hitler to contemplate using his Wehrmacht to strengthen his hand in foreign policy. If the European situation were now to be systematically exploited, defensive planning would have to give way to offensive prepar-ations. On November 5> 1937 Hitler outlined his ideas on the future course of German foreign policy to the now famous 32 "Hossbach Conference'.'.' Present were: Hitler's Adjutant, Commanders-in-Chief, the War Minister and the Foreign Minister. Hitler stated that the principal goal of German policy remained the forcible acquisition of continental "Lebensraum"At the same time the object of these "Lebensraum" aspirations was not identified. It was, in fact, l e f t vague purposely as nothing more than a long-term goal. Hitler's approach was more flexible: "The question for Germany ran: where could she achieve the greatest gains at the lowest cost." The overthrow of Austria and Czechoslovakia was stated as the f i r s t task of the Wehrmacht in the event of a war. This task was to be accomplished not to open an invasion route into Russia or even Poland but to 3 2 G.D. ,D,Iifil9. For good analyses of this conference see: Allen Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, New York, Harper, 1952, pp.336-339; John Conway, German Foreign Policy 1937-19.39. unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cambridge University, 1955 , pp. 18-20. 51 "...remove the threat to our flank in any possible operation against the West." Hitler reckoned, country by country, those who might obstruct his path. He labelled Britain and France but hot Russia, as might have been expected from his public statements, as his chief antagonists. Hitler envisaged war in one of three contingencies: at the latest in the period from 194-3 to 1945<»when his relative power would be at a peak; earlier, i f France became embroiled in a c i v i l war or thirdly, i f France became involved in a foreign war against Italy in the Mediterr-anean. In a l l cases Russia was discounted as an active opponent. Russia would not move for fear of Japan; i f she did move, the swiftness of German operations would make Soviet intervention too late. Of interest to this study is not the declaration of the foreign policy goal of "Lebensraum" outlined by Hitler, for this had been stated before; nor the contingencies in which war would be possible, for they did not materialize; but rather the manner in which Hitler minimized the Soviet Union as a power factor in planning his foreign policy. What may have been the reasons for this? In the f i r s t place, the great Soviet purges of the previous year had convinced German military and diplomatic 33 o f f i c i a l s of Russia's impotence as a military power. ^ Then, the fact that Germany was isolated from the Soviet Union by a group of states violently hostile to the Soviets made Russian 3 3 G.D.,DVI,C10; RIIA, Survey, 1939-1936, World in March 1939, p. 63. This conviction was amplified in 1935. G.D.,D,I,6227o23; G.D. ,D, 11,82. 52 m i l i t a r y i n t e r v e n t i o n against German t e r r i t o r y d i f f i c u l t i f not impossible. F i n a l l y i n the years a f t e r 1934 H i t l e r came to r e l y more and more upon Japanese power i n the East to 34 dissuade Moscow from pursuing an a c t i v e course i n Europe. H i t l e r ' s tendency to discount Russia as a power f a c t o r became p a r t i c u l a r l y evident during the Czechoslovakia c r i s i s i n 1938. H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n on May 30, 1938 to atta c k Czechoslovakia-^ was made independently of any c o n s i d e r a t i o n of Russia. There i s no evidence to support the b e l i e f that the Czechoslovakia adventure was designed as a prelude to an eastern o f f e n s i v e e i t h e r against Russia or Poland. In the f o l l o w i n g months H i t l e r strove to i s o l a t e Czechoslovakia. In t h i s process Russia had to be considered. The m i l i t a r y planning f o r the operation against Czechoslovakia d e f i n i t e l y s t a r t e d from the assumption t h a t 3 6 Russia would attempt to give Czechoslovakia a i r support. Ground support was considered l e s s l i k e l y because of the expected p a r t i c i p a t i o n of Poland and Hungary i n the dismember-ment of the Czechoslovakian s t a t e . The m i l i t a r y d i r e c t i v e obviously had to provide f o r every e v e n t u a l i t y . On the other hand, the p o l i t i c a l e v a l u a t i o n was more hopeful that Russia would u l t i m a t e l y d i s i n t e r e s t h e r s e l f i n the f a t e of 3 4 G.D.,D,I,19. In the f a l l of 1933, Blpmberg, the German War M i n i s t e r , i s reported to have t o l d D irksen that H i t l e r hoped to f i n d i n Japan a s u b s t i t u t e f o r the l o s s of Russi a , e s p e c i a l l y i n m i l i t a r y matters. Poole, " L i g h t on Nazi P o l i c y " , P. 135. 35 G.D.,D,II, 221. 3 6 G.D.,D,II, 175. 221. Czechoslovakia. Schulenburg 1s dispatches, i n the period preceding Munich i n p a r t i c u l a r , could only have strengthened H i t l e r ' s c o n v i c t i o n that Russia would stand back i n the event 3 7 of war.-" The g i s t of h i s a n a l y s i s was that despite L i t v i n o v ' s b e l l i c o s e statements, Russia would avoid being drawn i n t o a general war because of Soviet i n t e r n a l i n s t a b i l i t y and her f e a r of a two-front war. Russia would f i g h t only i f she were assaulted d i r e c t l y . Otherwise she would keep her a s s i s t a n c e to a minimum u n t i l i t was manifest that Germany would be defeated. 3 8 On J u l y 5? T i p p e l s k i r c h , Counselor of the German Embassy i n Moscow, c h a r a c t e r i z e d the Soviet a t t i t u d e as one of 3 9 "...wait and s e e . I I J / The a t t i t u d e of Germany's f o r e i g n m i n i s t e r , Ribbentrop, was also o p t i m i s t i c . 4 0 This a p p r e c i a t i o n only heartened H i t l e r i n h i s determination to s e t t l e w i t h 37 Schorske, The Diplomats, p. 490 . Schulenburg's e v a l u a t i o n of Russia as a f a c t o r i n o p p o s i t i o n to Germany i n the period between 1936 and 1938 was based on ideas of "Staatsrason." The r e v o l u t i o n a r y f a c t o r was played down. In November 1937 Schulen-burg stated that Soviet f o r e i g n p o l i c y was based on fear of Germany and the l a c k of a modern war i n d u s t r y . I t was therefore a defensive p o l i c y . He agreed w i t h the current view that the purges had shaken the Soviet s t a t e o r g a n i z a t i o n but cautioned that t h i s "...downward development need not be permanent." G . D . , D,Im6lO; Schorske, p. 488 . 38 G . D . , D , I I , 222, 396. 39 G.D.,D,II, 280. 4 0 Documents and M a t e r i a l s R e l a t i n g to the Eve of the Second World War, v o l . 2, The Dirksen Papers, 19J^L_1239_, Moscow,... Foreign Languages P u b l i s h i n g House, 1945, p. 33« On September 27 L i p s k i reported that "...as to Russia Herr von Ribbentrop i s r a t h e r o p t i m i s t i c . " 54 41 Czechoslovakia and, i f necessary, w i t h the West. In the end Russian non-interference depended upon the a t t i t u d e of Poland and Roumania to Soviet requests f o r troop t r a n s i t r i g h t s through t h e i r t e r r i t o r y . Poland was no cause f o r concern to H i t l e r . Her benevolent n e u t r a l i t y on Germany's side was assured by her fe a r of opening her f r o n t i e r s to the Red Army, by Germany's m i l i t a r y s t r e n g t h and by P o l i s h hopes of sharing i n the Czechoslovakia s p o i l s . But the p o s i t i o n of Roumania was l e s s trustworthy. Rumors and dispatches from May u n t i l September warned of n e g o t i a t i o n s between Moscow and Bucharest f o r the r i g h t of t r a n s i t - through Roumania f o r Soviet troops. There were f u r t h e r reports that Soviet planes were 42 being flown to Czechoslovakia through Roumanian airs p a c e . The dispatches of German r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s i n Moscow, Bucharest and Warsaw were cautious. They i n f e r r e d that Roumania would permit the passage of Soviet a i r c r a f t to Czechoslovakia under protest but would oppose the t r a n s i t of Soviet t r o o p s . 4 3 By-r e f u s i n g to deny or confirm these rumors the Soviet Govern-ment kept them a l i v e . This meant t h a t , i n a t t a c k i n g Czechoslovakia, H i t l e r would have to gamble on the Soviet a t t i t u d e . Whatever c o n s i d e r a t i o n s H i t l e r may have had before, i n the period a f t e r Munich H i t l e r ' s aggressive plans were not tempered i n the l e a s t 4 1 G.D.,D,II,396. But t h i s was not Schulenburg's purpose. Rather, by s t r e s s i n g the l i k e l i h o o d of B r i t i s h and French i n t e r -v e n t i o n, he hoped to i n f l u e n c e H i t l e r i n favour of a moderate p o l i c y . Should these c o u n t r i e s intervene, he warned, Russia would be the only one to gai n i n the end. 4 2 G.D.,D,II, 1 2 2 , 1 2 6 , 1 3 1 ,141,146,2 3 6 , 2 5 8 , 2 6 2 . 4 3 G.D.,D,II, 3 0 0 , 3 9 7 , 5 3 8 , 5 4 6 . 5 5 by f e a r s o f a p o t e n t i a l t h r e a t from the S o v i e t U n i o n . H i t l e r was c o n f i d e n t o f h i s m i l i t a r y predominance o v e r the Red Army; he was c e r t a i n t h a t R u s s i a would n o t r e l y on h e r own s t r e n g t h f o r m i l i t a r y and i n t e r n a l r e a s o n s ; 4 4 he knew t h a t the W e s t e r n Powers would r a t h e r n e g o t i a t e w i t h him t h a n w i t h t h e S o v i e t 45 U n i o n y a n d , f i n a l l y , he assumed t h a t h i s p o s i t i o n o f p r e -dominance i n C e n t r a l E u r o p e , w h i c h exposed P o l a n d and Roumania to p o s s i b l e German a g g r e s s i o n , would s t r e n g t h e n t h o s e c o u n t r i e s 46 as a b a r r i e r a g a i n s t R u s s i a . H i t l e r was d e t e r m i n e d to t a k e advantage of the weaknesses of h i s opponents w h i c h had been r e v e a l e d at M u n i c h and to move a g a i n s t t h e rump C z e c h s t a t e at the f i r s t o p p o r t u n e moment. I f F r a n c e and E n g l a n d t r i e d t o o b s t r u c t him he would c r u s h them as w e l l . I f M u n i c h had c o n v i n c e d H i t l e r o f R u s s i a ' s m i l i t a r y weakness, i t had a l s o r e p e a l e d her i s o l a t i o n . The German m i s s i o n s i n London and Moscow c o n f i r m e d t h i s i m p r e s s i o n and suggested t h a t i n t h e a l t e r e d c i r c u m s t a n c e s R u s s i a might be w i l l i n g to n e g o t i a t e a broadened G e r m a n - S o v i e t economic a g r e e -47 ment. ' A t r a d e rapprochement was o b v i o u s l y i n German i n t e r e s t s f o r the a c c e l e r a t i o n o f H i t l e r ' s p o l i t i c a l programme i n the f a l l o f 1938 made t h e c o m p l e t i o n of German m i l i t a r y p r e p a r a t i o n s more u r g e n t . N e g o t i a t i o n s between Moscow and B e r l i n were thus begun and c o n t i n u e d d u r i n g the s i x months f o l l o w i n g M u n i c h . The 4 4 G . D . , D , 1 , 6 2 2 . 4 5 G . D . , D , 1 , 6 2 3 . 4 u Conway, German F o r e i g n P o l i c y , p . 171 . 4 7 G . D . , D , I V , 4 7 6 , 4 7 7 . 56 Germans intended to use the n e g o t i a t i o n s s o l e l y to strengthen t h e i r m i l i t a r y establishment. Neither H i t l e r nor h i s c h i e f advisers considered them as a prelude to a p o l i t i c a l rapproche-ment, although H i t l e r undoubtedly saw i n them the germ of a po s s i b l e p o l i t i c a l a l t e r n a t i v e i f h i s other plans should be obstructed. Moreover, the e r r a t i c course of the economic n e g o t i a t i o n s d i s c l o s e d that H i t l e r was not w i l l i n g to jeopardize h i s r e l a t i o n s w i t h Poland f o r the sake of Russian raw m a t e r i a l s . A p o l i t i c a l rapprochement w i t h Russia was obviously beyond the pale of H i t l e r ' s immediate plans. In e a r l y October the i n i t i a t i v e f o r the resumption of economic t a l k s was taken up by Goring, who, i n h i s c a p a c i t y as Commissioner f o r the Four Year Plan , urged that serious attempts be made to r e a c t i v a t e trade w i t h R u s s i a , p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h reference to the d e l i v e r y of raw m a t e r i a l s . This move was supported by both Ribbentrop and Schulenburg. The Economic P o l i c y Department advised that a trade agreement which would increase raw m a t e r i a l imports over the preceding year by 200 49 percent should be sought from Rus s i a . Consequently, on December 23, 1938 the f i r s t conference was held w i t h the Soviet trade d e l e g a t i o n i n B e r l i n . The f o l l o w -ing month, on January 11, 1939, Merekalov, the Soviet Ambassador to B e r l i n , agreed to the resumption of conversations on the ba s i s of the German proposals of December^ 0 and als o i n s i s t e d that f u r t h e r t a l k s be held i n Moscow. The Soviet 4 0 G.D.,D, IV, 481. 4 9 G.D.,D, IV, 482. 5° G.D.,D, IV, 483. 57 Government m a n i f e s t l y wanted to invest the economic negotia-t i o n s w i t h a p o l i t i c a l importance f o r e i g n to German i n t e n t i o n s . Although H i t l e r d i d not want the t a l k s to have any unforseen repercussions, German o f f i c i a l s considered Russian raw m a t e r i a l s imports to be of such importance that i t was decided to accommodate Soviet wishes i n part at l e a s t . Therefore, on January 2 0 Merekalov was informed that Schnurre would a r r i v e « 51 i n Moscow on January 31 f o r a two-week v i s i t . The s i g -n i f i c a n c e attached to the v i s i t abroad was to be minimized by having Schnurre pay a c a l l i n Warsaw f i r s t . But a week l a t e r the French and B r i t i s h press c a r r i e d accounts of the impending journey^ 2 and abr u p t l y Schnurre's v i s i t was c a n c e l l e d . Y e t i n s p i t e of t h i s i n c i d e n t economic t a l k s were not allowed to break o f f completely. The c h i e f reason f o r t h i s was the i n s i s t e n c e of Germany's economic experts on the need f o r continued raw-materials d e l i v e r i e s . However, economic d i f f i c u l t i e s i n s i d e Germany brought an end to the n e g o t i a t i o n s 54 i n March, 1 9 3 9 . Thus i t i s apparent that economic, not p o l i t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , had been of primary importance both f o r the 51 G.D.,D,IV, 485 . 52 Schorske, The Diplomats, pp. 4 9 8 , 4 9 9 ; G.D.,D,IV, 487 . The s e n s a t i o n a l account stated that Schnurre was expected i n Moscow w i t h a l a r g e economic d e l e g a t i o n of 3 0 persons to develop a comprehensive expansion of German-Soviet trade. Schulenburg blamed the Poles f o r the French press s t o r y . 53>G.D. ,D,IV, 4 8 6 , 3 8 7 . 5 4 Schorske, l o c . c i t . , G.D.,D,IV,488,490,491,493,494,495. 58 resumption and d i s r u p t i o n of n e g o t i a t i o n s . Moreover, the peremptory way i n which the v i s i t of Schnurre to Moscow was c a n c e l l e d showed that f r i e n d l y p o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s w i t h Poland w e r e ' s t i l l of greater importance to Germany than was Soviet economic a s s i s t a n c e . Despite the f a c t t h a t , i n the months f o l l o w i n g the Munich c r i s i s , H i t l e r was not i n t e r e s t e d i n a p o l i t i c a l rapproche-ment wi t h Russia and d i d not consider Russia as a f a c t o r i n o p p o s i t i o n , the question may w e l l be asked: Did he reckon her as an object of aggression? Although the documents regarding t h i s question are i n c o n c l u s i v e , there i s evidence to support the b e l i e f that during t h i s p eriod H i t l e r at l e a s t toyed w i t h the idea of an a n t i - S o v i e t course as an a l t e r n a t i v e f o r German f o r e i g n p o l i c y . This suggestion may be adduced from h i s p o l i c y towards the Carpatho-Ukraine and Poland i n the i n t e r v a l from September 1938 t i l l March 1939. His p o l i c y at t h i s time i s very p a r a d o x i c a l and therefore d i f f i c u l t to i n t e r p r e t . However e r r a t i c , i t does i l l u s t r a t e the numerous avenues open to German diplomacy and again reveals the f l e x i b l e approach which H i t l e r adopted to a s t r a t e g i c problem. By the end of 1938, Germany's p o s i t i o n i n r e l a t i o n to Poland had changed fundamentally. As long as Germany was weak she had needed the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact to secure Germany's eastern f l a n k i n the event of a western i n t e r -vention to h a l t German rearmament. Also she had feared a common f r o n t i e r w i t h Russia and looked w i t h favor on a strong Poland. But now the rearmed Germany no longer needed Poland as a 59 defensive cover nor feared a common border w i t h Russia. H i t l e r might s t i l l be w i l l i n g to use Poland against Russia or as a cover f o r h i s attack on the West, but Poland's c o l l a b o r a t i o n was no longer e s s e n t i a l to h i s f o r e i g n p o l i c y . Nor indeed need H i t l e r of n e c e s s i t y oppose cooperation w i t h Russia f o r " r e a l -p o l i t i s c h e " reasons; he could face her as an equal. For the moment however, H i t l e r continued h i s wooing of Poland. In the winter of 1938 to 1939 o f f e r s f o r an a l l i a n c e against Russia, which had been pressed by Goring i n previous years, were taken up again and i n t e n s i f i e d . The h i s t o r i c a l question a r i s e s : Why were they made? Were they intended to disarm Poland w h i l e her d e s t r u c t i o n was being 55 p l o t t e d ; were they genuine o f f e r s f o r an a l l i a n c e against ^6 R u s s i a ; J were they merely intended to c o n s o l i d a t e the German-P o l i s h r e l a t i o n s h i p so that Poland would act as a defensive b a r r i e r against Russia and an opponent against the western 57 powers i f they decided to intervene on behalf of Czechoslovakia; or were a l l three p o s s i b i l i t i e s considered by H i t l e r at one time or another? The heart of the German o f f e r , as s t a t e d by Goring, Ribbentrop, and H i t l e r i n numerous conversations w i t h P o l i s h statesmen between August 1938 and March 1939, was a b l a t a n t incitement of Poland against R u s s i a . I t promised the Poles g i g a n t i c t e r r i t o r i a l aggrandizement i n the Ukraine. The German 55 y^ John W. Wheeler-Bennett, "Twenty Years of Russo-German Re l a t i o n s 1919-1939." F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , v o l . 2 5 , October 1946 p. 31. 5 6 B u l l o c k , H i t l e r , p. 452. J l Conway, German Foreign P o l i c y , p. 184. 60 leaders for their part were modest in their demands, claiming that their main interest lay merely in an eradication of Bolshevism and in the establishment of German dominance in the 58 B a l t i c . J The conciliatory s p i r i t in which these conversations were held, the concrete nature of the German proposals and the absence of any indication that a decision to attack Poland had been made suggest that these proposals were made with the intention of establishing some type of understanding with Poland. In fact, after the Austrian Anschluss and the des-truction of Czechoslovakia, Hitler may well have believed that Poland would voluntarily accept his terms concerning the Corridor and Danzig i f she were faced with the alternative -destruction. Thus he may have hoped that Poland would buy her-self off and free his hands for action elsewhere. o 0 Alternately his extravagant promises of Russian territory to the Poles may have another explanation. He may have meant what he said and actually looked for Polish assistance in a joint action against the Soviet Union. The implication of this policy would have been obvious to Hitler as well as to the Polish statesmen. In such a concerted crusade against Russia, Poland would obviously have to take a satellite position behind Germany. Hitler may actually have believed that Poland would accept this status in view of the developments during the winter of 1938 to 1939 but 5 8 Documents and Materials Relating to the Outbreak of War, 15; G.D. ,D,V, 112, 120, 126"; P.W.B., 44, 46", 51, T3. 5 9 Conway, p.p.. cit j.p. 184. 60 Loc. c i t . 61 Poland, also realizing this threat to her independence, rejected a l l of Hitler's advances. From Hitler's fluctuating and thoroughly ambiguous attitude to the Carpatho-Ukraine in the winter of 1939 to 1940 i t can also be adduced that he considered an aggressive course against Russia. Following the Munich Conference in September 1938, rumors were spread that Hitler planned to turn to the East and Northeast as an outlet for further aggression.°1 On November 2 these rumors were fed by H i t l e r ' s c r e a t i o n of an autonomous Carpatho-Ukraine, manifestly subject to his w i l l . This action constituted a potential threat that the German Government was sponsoring the Carpatho-Ukraine as the nucleus of a Greater Ukrainian state. As such i t could be used to incite agitation against the Governments of Roumania, Poland and Russia by focussing the irredentist aspirations of their Ukrainian population on a motherland. The project was warmly supported by the German Foreign Office, which had earlier represented i t to him in this light. During the following months the Carpatho-Ukraine was maintained as a potential threat in the heart of central Europe. Repeated Hungarian. and Polish demands that the territory be incorporated into Hungary were repulsed^ 3 and Germany strove to convert the area 64 into a viableseconomic unit. If Hitler even seriously 6 1 RIIA, Survey, 1938, v o l . 3 , p. 310. 6 2 G.D.,D,IV,45, 46. °3 G.D.,D,IV,127,128,167,179. 6 4 G.D.,D,IV,146. 62 considered using the Carpatho-TJkraine as a jumping o f f spot f o r an attack on Russia , he could only have been heartened i n t h i s purpose by re p o r t s from abroad. In e a r l y January Dirksen reported from London that a m i l i t a r y s o l u t i o n of the Ukra i n i a n question would, i n f a c t , be accepted by the B r i t i s h Government and p u b l i c o p i n i o n i f i t were represented as a d r i v e f o r U k r a i n i a n s e l f -determination. ^ 5 But H i t l e r soon r e a l i z e d that the advantages of supporting the Ukrainian National.Movement were f a r outweighed by the disadvantages of t h i s p o l i c y . Hungary had been t r a n s -formed from a w i l l i n g to a s u l l e n s a t e l l i t e because of the Ukrainian p o l i c y . H i t l e r ' s c h i e f f e a r , however, was that Poland and Russia might discover a common i n t e r e s t i n opposing Ukr a i n i a n i r r e d e n t i s m and create an a l l i a n c e d i r e c t e d against 66 him. B r i e f l y , the Carpatho-Ukraine had proved to be too general a t h r e a t i n C e n t r a l Europe to serve Germany's purposes. Therefore, on March 13 H i t l e r acted to l i q u i d a t e i t as a s t a t e . He informed the Hungarian Regent, Horthjs, that Germany agreed to i t s i n c o r p o r a t i o n i n t o Hungary. Two days l a t e r i t was occupied by Hungarian f o r c e s w h i l e , at the same time, German troops were 67 marching i n t o Prague. ' The hopes which H i t l e r no doubt placed i n these a c t i o n s were r e a l i z e d only i n p a r t . Hungary, i t i s t r u e , was placed i n H i t l e r ' s debt and securely t i e d to German p o l i c y as an 6 5 G.D.,D,IV,367; V ,108. 6 6 G.D.,D,IV,367; V ,108. 67 G.D.,D,IV,198,205,210. 63 i n t e r n a t i o n a l o u t c a s t . B u t t h e r e m o v a l o f t h e t h r e a t o f U k r a i n i a n i r r e d e n t i s m d i d n o t i n d u c e P o l a n d t o a c c e p t H i t l e r ' s d e m a n d s . I n d e e d , H i t l e r ' s s i m u l t a n e o u s d e s t r u c t i o n o f C z e c h i a a r o u s e d P o l i s h a n d W e s t e r n s u s p i c i o n s t h a t P o l a n d was t h e n e x t o b j e c t o f G e r m a n t e r r i t o r i a l a s p i r a t i o n s . T h i s s u s p i c i o n p r e -c i p i t a t e d a s e r i e s o f e v e n t s w h i c h p r o v o k e d H i t l e r t o d e c i d e t o s e t t l e w i t h P o l a n d . H i t l e r ' s o c c u p a t i o n o f P r a g u e o n M a r c h 15 was f o l l o w e d o n M a r c h 25 b y t h e a n n e x a t i o n o f M e m e l . T h e s e d e v e l o p m e n t s s o d i s t u r b e d t h e B r i t i s h G o v e r n m e n t t h a t o n M a r c h 31 P r i m e M i n i s t e r C h a m b e r l a i n o f f e r e d P o l a n d a n u n c o n d i t i o n a l p r o m i s e o f a s s i s t a n c e i f s h e w e r e a t t a c k e d . T h i s s u d d e n a p p e a r a n c e o f B r i t a i n a s a p o w e r f a c t o r i n E a s t e r n E u r o p e c o n f r o n t e d H i t l e r w i t h a s i t u a t i o n he h a d n o t a n t i c i p a t e d . I t c o n t a i n e d t h e t h r e a t o f a m a s s i v e c o a l i t i o n e m b r a c i n g P o l a n d , F r a n c e , B r i t a i n a n d p o s s i b l y R u s s i a , w h i c h w o u l d b e a i m e d a t h a l t i n g a n y f u r t h e r G e r m a n e x p a n s i o n i n E a s t e r n E u r o p e . H i t l e r was t h u s f a c e d w i t h f u n d a m e n t a l d e c i s i o n s r e g a r d i n g h i s f u t u r e p o l i c y : h e c o u l d e i t h e r a d m i t d e f e a t a n d w i t h d r a w f r o m h i s p o s i t i o n o f d o m i n a n c e i n C e n t r a l E u r o p e , o r d e t e r m i n e t o s e t t l e w i t h P o l a n d r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e g a m b l e i n v o l v e d . 0 8 I t was u p o n t h e l a t t e r c o u r s e t h a t H i t l e r d e c i d e d . C o n w a y , G e r m a n F o r e i g n P o l i c y , p . 188. 64 CHAPTER III THE RUSSO-GERMAN RAPPROCHEMENT AS THREAT AND AS REALITY, APRIL - AUGUST 1939 It has been conclusively demonstrated elsewhere that Hitler did not decide on a f i n a l settlement with Poland before the end of March.1 Rather, the evidence suggests that this o decision was made in the interval from March 25 to April 2, and probably was a direct response to Chamberlain's unexpected guarantee of Poland on March 3 1 . 3 In any case, on April 3, Hitler issued the f i r s t of two military directives ordering 4 the preparations for an attack on Poland. Preparations were to be made in such a way that an attack could commence at any time after September 1. The f i r s t directive was followed on April 11 by a more detailed one in which the complex of po l i t i c a l problems stemming from the decision to settle with Poland was considered.^ Hitler stressed that a military settle-ment with Poland should be regarded as a limited war; i t was not envisaged as a prelude to a western offensive. Following 1 F.H. Hinsley, Hitler's Strategy, Cambridge, University Press, 1951* pp.11-14; Conway, German Foreign Policy, pp.185-190. 2 Conway, op. c i t . , p.187. Compare G.D.,D,VI,99 and G.D.,D,VI,149. 3 Hinsley, op. cit.,pp.11-12. 4 G.D.,D,VI,149. 5 G.D.,D,VI,185. 65 from t h i s , H i t l e r stated that the p r i n c i p a l task of German diplomacy was to i s o l a t e Poland i n order that she could be elimin a t e d without the r i s k of outside i n t e r v e n t i o n . H i t l e r d i d not say who would in t e r v e n e , but the f a c t that he regarded the western democracies as h i s main antagonists made t h i s f a i r l y obvious. I t i s of i n t e r e s t that i n t h i s a n a l y s i s Russia was p r a c t i c a l l y ignored as a p o s s i b l e opponent. The most that H i t l e r would say was: In t e r v e n t i o n by Russia , i f she were i n a p o s i t i o n to intervene, cannot be expected to be of any use to Poland, because t h i s would mean Poland's d e s t r u c t i o n by Bolshevism.6 H i t l e r ' s p o l i c y towards Russia i n e a r l y A p r i l i s thus f a i r l y c l e a r . I t was determined by h i s d e c i s i o n to s e t t l e w i t h Poland, a d e c i s i o n from which he did not r e t r e a t i n the f o l l o w i n g months. Throughout t h i s period a l l d i p l o m a t i c a c t i v i t y was subordinated to the p r i n c i p a l aim of i s o l a t i n g Poland. In pursuing t h i s aim H i t l e r apparently f e l t q u i t e at ease i n ign o r -ing Russia. His ease of mind was in f l u e n c e d by se v e r a l f a c t o r s . In the f i r s t place H i t l e r s t i l l b e l i e v e d now, on A p r i l 11, 1939? as he had i n September 1938 and i n March 1939? that Russia's m i l i t a r y weakness would stop her from c h a l l e n g i n g Germany s i n g l e -handedly. That Russia would a l l y h e r s e l f w i t h other powers was considered u n l i k e l y . For obvious reasons Russia was not l i k e l y to become Poland's a l l y . The p o s s i b i l i t y of a "Grand A l l i a n c e " embracing R u s s i a , B r i t a i n and France was als o discounted. Further, by dispatches from h i s Embassy i n London, H i t l e r was 6 G.D.,D,VI,185 66 discouraged from attaching great significance to the feelers which the British Government had put out to Russia after March 1 5 . 7 More importantly, Britain's guarantee of Poland on March 31 revealed that Russia, at least temporarily, had Q been dropped as a prospective partner in an anti-German front. ' This impression was reenforced by a diplomatic report from Moscow on April 5 which stated that the Soviet Union was s t i l l distrustful of the policies of Britain and France and was determined to maintain her freedom of action. 9 Presuming the foregoing analysis to be correct, Hitler may well have reasoned in early April that i f Poland, through her fear of Russia, were already isolated in the East and i f the Western Powers could be induced to withdraw their guarantee of Poland, Poland might willingly negotiate with Germany rather than face certain destruction. A rapprochement with Russia was not needed for this. If, on the other hand, the West were to persist in" supporting Poland, then the Russian question might have to be reassessed. There is no evidence to support the view that Hitler's considerations of Russia went beyond this in early April. Although Hitler was not seriously considering a po l i t i c a l rapprochement with Soviet Russia at this time, earlier, in February and March, the approaches of Soviet representatives 7 For an evaluation of the British feelers by the German Embassy in London see G.D. ,D,VI,35j50,58>H2. 8 G.D.,D,VI,121,136,137. 9 G.D.,D,VI,161. 67 had l e d him to b e l i e v e that one would.be p o s s i b l e . 1 0 At that time the German response had been f r i g i d ; H i t l e r was s t i l l hopeful of an agreement w i t h Poland based on a common a n t i -Soviet p o l i c y . H However, when these hopes were f r o z e n by the s t i f f e n e d a t t i t u d e of Poland and B r i t a i n i n l a t e March, Ribbentrop and Goring began urging that guarded moves be made to f i n d out what diplo m a t i c p o s s i b i l i t i e s might e x i s t i n Russia. On A p r i l 7 Ribbentrop i n s t r u c t e d K l e i s t , an "expert" on Soviet a f f a i r s i n the " D i e n s t e l l e Ribbentrop", to improve h i s r e l a t i o n s w i t h the members of the Soviet Embassy i n B e r l i n . Ribbentrop probably di d t h i s on h i s own i n i t i a t i v e . A few days l a t e r when the Soviet Charge, Astakhov, openly hinted to K l e i s t at a German-Soviet understanding, Ribbentrop ordered K l e i s t not to pursue the 12 matter. While Ribbentrop considered a f r i e n d s h i p p o l i c y w i t h Russia simply as a r e t u r n to the Rapallo p o l i c y at Poland's 1 0 In February, 1939 the Soviet M i l i t a r y Attache i n B e r l i n i s reported to have s a i d that the Soviet Government was i n t e r e s t e d i n any change i n the status of Poland which might occur: (A.Rossi, The Russo-German A l l i a n c e : August 1939-June 1941,London, Chapman and H a l l , 1950, p.6). The moderation of S t a l i n ' s speech to the Part y Congress on March 10 was noted by Schulenburg i n a d i s p a t c h to B e r l i n : (G.D.,D,VI,6). On March 20 i t was reported from Moscow that L i t v i n o v had t o l d the wi f e of the Japanese ambassador that "...Germany and I t a l y were about to set t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the Soviet Union i n order." G.D.,D,VI,51. 1 1 On March 21 Ribbentrop was s t i l l eager to buy concessions from Poland by promising to regard the U k r a i n i a n question"... from a purely P o l i s h angle":(G.D.,D,VI,61; G.D.,D,VI,73)• In view of subsequent developments, H i t l e r ' s reputed statement to General B r a u c h i t s c h s h o r t l y a f t e r March 15 that " . . . I w i l l pay a st a t e v i s i t to Moscow." must be regarded as no more than a con-v e r s a t i o n piece. Kordt, Micht aus den &%ten, p. 306; Kordt, Wahn und W i r k l i c h k e i t , p.157. 1 2 J.vonRibbentrop, The Ribbentrop Memoirs, London, Weidenfeld and N i c o l s o n , 1954 ,p.109; B . P . K l e i s t , Zwischen S t a l i n und H i t l e r , I 9 3 9 - I 9 4 5 , Bonn, Athenaum V e r l a g , 1 9 5 0 , p p . 2 ^ 2 7 ~ c i t e d i n Weinberg, op.cit.,pp . 2 2 , 2 3 » 68 expense, Goring's view was very d i f f e r e n t . He detested even the idea of an a l l i a n c e w i t h Soviet R u s s i a , but, on the other hand, was w i l l i n g to use the thr e a t of such an a l l i a n c e to bla c k m a i l the P o l e s . ^ Nevertheless, H i t l e r held back from considering a rapprochement w i t h Russia u n t i l a s e r i e s of events i n the i n t e r v a l between m i d - A p r i l and e a r l y May caused him to reexamine h i s Soviet p o l i c y of neglect and to t u r n a more r e c e p t i v e ear to Ribbentrop's urgings. One of these events was the a c t i o n taken by the B r i t i s h Government on A p r i l 15 i n making i t s f i r s t con-crete proposal f o r an anti-German f r o n t to the Soviet Government. Two days l a t e r t h i s move was followed by a s e r i e s of Soviet c o u n t e r p r o p o s a l s . T h e s e developments i n d i c a t e d a hardening of the B r i t i s h p o s i t i o n and faced H i t l e r w i t h the prospect of an Anglo-French-Russian a l l i a n c e and a two-front war. This impression of an Anglo-Russian f r o n t was, however, o f f s e t by a number of other developments i n l a t e A p r i l and May which d e f i n i t e l y i n d i c a t e d that the Soviets were i n t e r e s t e d i n a detente w i t h Germany. On A p r i l 16 Merekalov, the Soviet Ambassador, i n a s u r p r i s e v i s i t to We'izsacker made t h i s d e c l a r -a t i o n : As f a r as Russia was concerned there was no reason why she should not l i v e on a normal f o o t i n g w i t h ^/Germany/, and out of normal r e l a t i o n s could grow i n c r e a s i n g l y improved r e l a t i o n s . 1 ° 13 This was the g i s t of a conversation between Goring and M u s s o l i n i in. Rome on A p r i l 16. G.D.,D,VI,211. 14 G.D.,D,VI,233-15 G.D.,D,V,239. 1 6 G.D.,D,VI,215. A f o r t n i g h t l a t e r , on May 3> L i t v i n o v was "sacked" as Commissar: f o r Foreign A f f a i r s . ^ His d i s m i s s a l caused a sensation i n B e r l i n 1 - 0 and probably was d e c i s i v e i n overcoming H i t l e r ' s r eluctance to consider an understanding w i t h the Soviet Govern-ment. 19 The immediate upshot was that on May 6 H i t l e r summoned H i l g e r , the economic attache i n Moscow, to Germany to inform h i s government on the s i t u a t i o n i n Russia. H i l g e r discussed the s i g n i f i c a n c e of L i t v i n o v ' s d i s m i s s a l w i t h Ribbentrop on May 9 i n Munich, and wi t h H i t l e r at Berchtesgaden on the f o l l o w i n g d a y . 2 0 H i t l e r was obviously c o n s i d e r i n g h i s own f o r e i g n p o l i c y i n the l i g h t of present Soviet behavior, but as yet reaching no d e f i n i t e c o n c l u s i o n . He continued to v a c i l l a t e . On the one hand, he, presumably at t h i s time, i n s t r u c t e d Schulenburg to maintain "extreme caution i n any conference w i t h 1 7 G.D.,D,VI,325. 18 Raeder described i t i n these words:"Litvinov's r e s i g n a t i o n as Foreign M i n i s t e r struck H i t l e r l i k e a cannon ball":(N.C.A., Supplement,A, p.1012, quoted i n R o s s i , The Russo-German A l l i a n c e , p .151. 19 Conway, op. cit.,p.2 1 0 . H i t l e r expressed himself to t h i s e f f e c t to h i s generals on August 22: (N.D.,798-P5; G.D.,D,III, 192) and to M u s s o l i n i on August 25. G.D.,D,VII,266. 2 0 G.D.,D,VI, 325; H i l g e r , Wir und der Kreml, pp.277-281; Kordt, Wahn und W i r k l i c h k e i t , p . l 5 B . I n i t i a l l y Schulenburg and General K o s t r i n g , the M i l i t a r y attache i n Moscow, were summoned but both were on journeys, the Ambassador i n the Middle East and K o s t r i n g i n the Far East. 70 21 Molotov" but at the same time he ordered a change i n the 22 tone of the German press. From the Soviet side h i n t s at a rapprochement continued to be made.23 on May 17 Astakhov, the Soviet Charge i n B e r l i n , c a l l e d on Schnurre, r e i t e r a t e d that there were no c o n f l i c t s i n f o r e i g n policy'between Germany and R u s s i a , and hinted s p e c i f i c a l l y at a r e t u r n to the Rapallo p a r t n e r s h i p . " 4 As a r e s u l t of these Soviet approaches and of the s t i f f e n i n g of Western o p p o s i t i o n , H i t l e r must have done some serious t h i n k i n g on the f u t u r e of German-Soviet r e l a t i o n s . No longer could Russia be ignored as she had been i n A p r i l J H i t l e r ' s hopes that B r i t a i n would v o l u n t a r i l y renounce her guarantee of Poland had been dashed; however u n w i l l i n g l y , H i t l e r now had to consider how to court Russia. Consequently, Schulenburg was i n s t r u c t e d to r a i s e the question of the 21 G.D.,D,VI, 325, note 2 . H i t l e r ' s c h i e f l i e u t e n a n t s were not plagued by s i m i l a r doubts. As e a r l y as A p r i l 20 Ribbentrop was t r y i n g to f o r c e the Japanese to concessions i n a Three Power Pact by warning that Germany might a r r i v e at an understanding w i t h Russia:(RITA, Survey, The Eve of the War;1939, 1 9 5 8 ,p.3 6 6 ) . On May 6 and 7 Ribbentrop spoke to Ciano of s e i z i n g every favorable occasion to prevent the "...adhesion of Russia to the a n t i - t o t a l i t a r i a n bloc....":(Ciano's Diplomatic Papers,p.2 8 6 ) . In P a r i s on May 6 , Goring's adjutant Bodenschatz, obviously on i n s t r u c t i o n s from h i s c h i e f , warned of a f o u r t h p a r t i t i o n of Poland:(France, M i n i s t e r e des A f f a i r e s Etrangeres, The French Yellow Book: Diplomatic Documents 1938-1939* London, pp.134 ,135). Goring's motives are u n c e r t a i n . E i t h e r he intended to black-m a i l the French and the P o l e s , or he wanted to undermine Ribbentrop's p o l i c y . 22 Weinberg, Germany and The Soviet Union, p.24. 23 G.D.,D,VI,332,351. 2 4 G.D.,D,VI,406. 7 1 25 resumption of economic n e g o t i a t i o n s i n Moscow. ' This d e c i s i o n to resume contacts w i t h the Soviet Government, even i f they were to be merely of an exploratory ?6 nature, was made without enthusiasm. H i t l e r • d e s p i s e d Bolshevism and was r e l u c t a n t to give up the Communist bogey as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r h i s f o r e i g n p o l i c y coups. In a d d i t i o n he had to c a r e f u l l y weigh the e f f e c t on domestic opinion of such an a l l i a n c e w i t h the "Bed Menace". H i t l e r a lso suspected that the Soviets wanted to use the threat of a Russo-German rapprochement to wrest concessions from B r i t a i n and F r a n c e . 2 7 In s p i t e of these m i s g i v i n g s , on May 20, Schulenburg put out a cautious f e e l e r to Molotov. He proposed that the same Herr Schnurre whose e a r l i e r v i s i t had been so abruptly c a n c e l l e d , come to Moscow f o r the resumption of economic n e g o t i a t i o n s . The German proposal was no doubt designed to probe Soviet i n t e n t i o n s but i t had the added p o s s i b i l i t y of p u t t i n g a spoke i n the Anglo-Soviet n e g o t i a t i o n s without having to commit Germany to any d e f i n i t e p o l i c y . Molotov*s answer, however, while f r i e n d l y , posed a r i d d l e : ...the Soviet Government could only agree to a resumption of the n e g o t i a t i o n s i f the necessary ~ ' p o l i t i c a l b a s i s ' f o r them were to be constructed. ° 25 J This d e c i s i o n was preceded by a month of d i s c u s s i o n s i n B e r l i n on whether a p o l i t i c a l approach to the Soviet Union should be made. Schorske, The Diplomats, p .503. ?6 For a good account of H i t l e r ' s r e l u c t a n c e to take up contacts w i t h the Soviet Union see Conway, German For e i g n Policy,pp.208-210. 27 Astakhov's statement of May 17 was represented i n t h i s l i g h t by an o f f i c i a l of the German Fo r e i g n O f f i c e on May 22. G.D.,D,VI,406, note 5. 28 G.D.,D,VI,424. 72 Schulenburg, i n r e p o r t i n g t h i s conversation, charac-t e r i z e d Molotov's a t t i t u d e as " s u s p i c i o u s " but i n t e r p r e t e d h i s statement as an i n v i t a t i o n f o r more "...extensive proposals of a p o l i t i c a l n a t u r e . " 2 9 The ambassador saw the dilemma that the Russians might use a German i n i t i a t i v e to exert pressure i n ne g o t i a t i o n s w i t h B r i t a i n and France, but, nevertheless, suggested that i f German i n t e n t i o n s were s e r i o u s , a l i m i t e d move should be considered. However, Molotov's request f o r the establishment of " p o l i t i c a l bases" apparently went beyond H i t l e r ' s i n t e n t i o n s . H i t l e r had no i n t e r e s t i n strengthening the Soviet hand i n neg o t i a t i o n s w i t h the West. Therefore, on May 21, Schulenburg was i n s t r u c t e d to adopt a "wait and see" a t t i t u d e i n h i s 30 r e l a t i o n s w i t h the So v i e t s . In the c r u c i a l p e r i o d which f o l l o w e d , from May 21 t i l l May 30, H i t l e r considered a l l p o s s i b i l i t i e s again. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident from h i s secret speech to the German m i l i t a r y commanders on May 23- which i l l u s t r a t e d both the uncer-t a i n t y of German diplomacy at t h i s time and the development of H i t l e r ' s ideas on Russia since A p r i l l l . 3 1 The i s o l a t i o n of Poland was sta t e d s t i l l to be the primary task of German diplomacy. However, u n l i k e H i t l e r ' s a n a l y s i s i n e a r l y A p r i l , Russia was now considered a f a c t o r of some importance. Russia 2 8 G.D.,D,VI,424. 29 G.D.,D,VI,424; G.D.,D,VI,414,note 2. 30 N.S.R.,p.7. 3 1 G.D.,D,VI,433,ND 079-L. 73 was envisaged in one of two roles: among Germany's opponents in an alliance with.the west or, an accomplice in the destruc-tion of Poland. On the one hand, i f Russia were to enter the Franco-British alliance, Hitler f e l t sure that she could be neutralized as an attacker through pressure from Japan. 3 2 The interminable negotiations of the preceding months with Japan, had at least disclosed that Germany could at any time secure 33 a pact specifically directed against Russia. On the other hand, concerning a Russo-German Pact, Hitler trenchantly commented: It is not ruled out that Russia might disinterest herself in the destruction of Poland.34 However, the possibilities of reaching an agreement with Russia seemed slight indeed, when on the following day, May 24, the British announced that an agreement with the Kremlin was expected at an early date.35 This threat, following so closely after Molotov's invitation of May 20 for a German init i a t i v e caused a great s t i r in the German Foreign Office and gave rise to a number of conflicting suggestions on how to proceed further with the Russian question. Weizsacker was 32 J Hitler was also aware of the possible repercussions of a Japanese Pact. On May 22 Schulenburg warned that the conclusion of a German-Japanese alliance might destroy the last misgivings which were s t i l l keeping Russia and Britain apart. G.D.,D,11,424. 33 Hitler, of course, desired a Japanese alliance with universal application but the Japanese navy would agree only to a pact directed explicitly and solely against Russia. G.D.,D,VI,70, 254, 275, 298, 326, 344, 363, 282, 410, 457, 467, 487. 34 G.D.,D,VI,433. 35 Quoted in L.B.Namier, Diplomatic Prelude 1938-1939, London, Macmillan, 1948, p. 175. 74 p e s s i m i s t i c . He expected the imminent c o n c l u s i o n of an Anglo-Russian Agreement. Nevertheless, on May 25 5 he suggested that a l i m i t e d i n i t i a t i v e be taken i n an e f f o r t to rob the Russo-B r i t i s h hive of i t s sting.3° Ribbentrop, on the other hand, favored dropping a l l reserve and making a f r o n t a l approach to the Kremlin. On May 26, i n a d r a f t memorandum of s t a r t l i n g candour, he suggested that a sweeping o f f e r be made to the Soviets.37 The core of h i s proposed o f f e r was a suggestion that an agreement on Poland, t a k i n g Russia's i n t e r e s t s i n consider-a t i o n , could be reached. But H i t l e r held back, and, on the same day, i n s t r u c t e d Schulenburg to maintain complete reserve i n r e l a t i o n s w i t h the Soviets.3°* During the f o l l o w i n g days the German government remained undecided on what to do. The Fo r e i g n O f f i c e was impatient; Ribbentrop was not s a t i s f i e d w i t h H i t l e r ' s "wait and see" p o l i c y and looked around f o r some approach, which, while not committing Germany to any course of a c t i o n , would d i s c l o s e 3° G.D.,D,VI,437. Weizsacker suggested that a l i m i t e d i n i t i a t i v e be taken through H i l g e r i n economic dis c u s s i o n s w i t h the Soviet Foreign M i n i s t r y and that a more i n d i r e c t approach be made through Rosso, the I t a l i a n Ambassador i n Moscow, who could make c l e a r to the Russians German readiness f o r contacts. 37 G.D.,D,VI,441. I t i s p o s s i b l e that H i l g e r had a hand i n drawing up t h i s memorandum. 3°" G.D. ,D,VI, 442. This d e c i s i o n was reached a f t e r consul-t a t i o n s w i t h the Japanese and I t a l i a n embassies. H i t l e r ' s r e t i c e n c e was represented to Schulenburg by Weizsacker i n a dis p a t c h on the f o l l o w i n g day, as the r e s u l t of s u s p i c i o n that the Soviets were t r y i n g to use Germany to b l a c k m a i l the Western Powers. G.D.,D,VI,446. Soviet i n t e n t i o n s . On May 26 he considered a concerted German-Japanese i n i t i a t i v e but dismissed t h i s as impossible when an approach to the Japanese embassy i n B e r l i n e l i c i t e d an unfavourable response.39 The p o s s i b i l i t y of an i n d i r e c t approach to the Soviet Government through the I t a l i a n ambassador i n Moscow was weighed next. This p o s s i b i l i t y and other urgent matters were discussed by Weizsacker, Gaus, the head of the Legal Department of the For e i g n O f f i c e , A t t o l i c o , the I t a l i a n ambassador, and Ribbentrop, at an important meeting held on 40 May 29 at Ribbentrop's country home at Sonnenberg. The course of the di s c u s s i o n s revealed that Ribbentrop's v i s i t o r s were dubious over the e f f i c a c y of a f u r t h e r approach to the S o v i e t s . Ribbentrop, however, was not so e a s i l y discouraged and proposed that a l a s t t r y to torpedo the Anglo-Russian n e g o t i a t i o n s be made. He suggested that Weizsacker meet Astakhov the fol l o w i n g day and use the question of the status of Soviet commercial missions i n Prague as the occasion f o r a p o l i t i c a l conversation. 4''" When t h i s proposed course of a c t i o n was submitted to H i t l e r on 4? the same day, he agreed to a l i m i t e d exchange of views. Thus on May 30 Weizsacker c a r r i e d out h i s i n s t r u c t i o n s by summoning Astakhov f o r an i n t e r v i e w . His approach was suggestive; he i n d i c a t e d that Germany's eastern r e l a t i o n s had 39 G.D.,D,VI,446; Weinberg, Germany and the Soviet Union, p.30 4 0 Weizsacker, p. 231; Weinberg, op. c i t . , pp.30-31; Conway,op.cit.,pp.213-214; Kordt, Wahn und W i r k l i c h k e i t , p . 1 5 9 , 4 1 G.D.,D,VI,449,450. 4 2 G.D.,D,VI,446. 76 become f r e e r as a r e s u l t of Poland's i n t r a n s i g e n t mood and that i d e o l o g i c a l b a r r i e r s need not stand i n the way of a Russo-German understanding. 4 3At the same time Weizsacker informed the Moscow Embassy that the d e c i s i o n had been reached 44 "...make a c e r t a i n degree of contact w i t h the S o v i e t s . . . . " As a sig n of German good f a i t h H i l g e r was i n s t r u c t e d to resume 45 trade t a l k s w i t h the Russian Government. The reluctance w i t h which, at the end of May, H i t l e r agreed to t h i s l i m i t e d i n i t i a t i v e towards Russia reveals that he d i d not seek a rapprochement as an end i n i t s e l f , or as a means by which to destroy Poland m i l i t a r i l y , but simply and s o l e l y to f o r e s t a l l an Anglo-Russian a l l i a n c e and the two-front war which that would e n t a i l . This view i s reenforced by the t a c t i c s which H i t l e r employed i n the f o l l o w i n g months of June i n order to sound out the Soviet Government. Despite the f a c t t h a t , as a p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r improved trade r e l a t i o n s , Molotov, on May 20, had demanded a c l a r i f i c a t i o n of " p o l i t i c a l bases", H i t l e r , throughout June, continued h i s soundings mainly through trade t a l k s i n Moscow. There are a 4 3 G.D.,D,VI,451. 44 G.D.,D,VI,452. The inaccurate t r a n s l a t i o n i n t o E n g l i s h of t h i s passage i n Nazi-Soviet R e l a t i o n s ; "...we have now decided to undertake d e f i n i t e n e g o t i a t i o n s w i t h the Soviet Union...." had created the erroneous impression that H i t l e r had made a f i r m d e c i s i o n to reach an agreement w i t h the Soviets by May 30. N.S.R.,p.l5. 4 5 G.D.,D,VI,453. A response from Russia was not slow i n coming. In h i s speech of May 31, Molotov avoided a l l v e r b a l s a l l i e s against Germany and Schulenburg reported that i n di p l o m a t i c c i r c l e s i n Moscow there was greater s c e p t i c i s m of an e a r l y agreement between Russia and B r i t a i n a f t e r the speech than there had been before. G.D.,D,VI,463. 77 number of p o s s i b l e reasons f o r t h i s . On the one hand German raw m a t e r i a l needs argued i n favor of an economic agreement w i t h Russia regardless of the outcome of the p o l i t i c a l n e g o t i a -4-6 t i o n s . D However, H i t l e r remained suspicious of Soviet i n t e n t i o n s and was u n w i l l i n g to r i s k a Soviet double-cross which a s p e c i f i c p o l i t i c a l proposal would open him t o . Moreover, to prevent a R u s s o - B r i t i s h agreement^ i t was e s s e n t i a l that signs of a Russo-German rapprochement be p u b l i c i z e d as soon as p o s s i b l e . H i t l e r knew that R u s s o - B r i t i s h n e g o t i a t i o n s were balanced p r e c a r i o u s l y . Merely the p u b l i c i t y attending a trade agreement, he may have hoped, could b r i n g them crashing down, or a t l l e a s t buy him enough time to work out another t a c t i c . Be that as i t may, during the month of June the i n i t i a t i v e was mainly on the German s i d e . O c c a s i o n a l l y , to be sure, the Soviets would play coy and r a i s e German hopes w i t h a non-committal approach. The Draganov i n c i d e n t of June 14 must be i n t e r p r e t e d as such a move. 4 7 In f a c t , i t so r a i s e d Ribbentrop's hopes that two days l a t e r he warned S h i r a t o r i , the 46 On June 15 Schnurre warned that i n the face of raw m a t e r i a l needs another breakdown i n the economic n e g o t i a t i o n s such as had already occurred i n February could not be r i s k e d . G.D.,D,VI,530. 4 7 On June 14 Astakhov c a l l e d on Draganov, the Bu l g a r i a n M i n i s t e r i n B e r l i n , and i n a two hour conversation o u t l i n e d to him, obviously f o r transmi s s i o n to the German Government, that of the three a l t e r n a t i v e s open to Soviet diplomacy, a pact w i t h the Western Democracies, a spinning out of r e l a t i o n s w i t h the West, or a rapprochement, w i t h Germany, the l a t t e r was p r e f e r r e d by the Soviet Government. He hinted at Soviet i n t e r e s t s i n Bessarabia and a l s o at a d e s i r e f o r a non-aggression pact. G.D.,D,VI,529. 78 Japanese Ambassador i n Rome: "Since Japan had not accepted our proposals Germany would now conclude a non-aggression pact w i t h 48 Russia." Although t h i s was m a n i f e s t l y a bare-faced e f f o r t at b l a c k m a i l , i t probably a l s o was an honest expression of Ribbentrop's views. This impression i s supported by the sudden r e v e r s a l of Germany's p o s i t i o n i n the n e g o t i a t i o n s f o r an a l l i a n c e w i t h Japan. On June 21 Ribbentrop had had the German Embassy i n Tokyo i n s t r u c t e d t h a t , contrary to previous t a c t i c s of urgency, the ne g o t i a t i o n s w i t h the Japanese were now to be continued only i n a d i l a t o r y manner. 4 9 However, despite Ribbentrop's optimism, H i t l e r ' s hopes of t o p p l i n g the R u s s o - B r i t i s h n e g o t i a t i o n s were not founded. H i l g e r ' s e f f o r t s i n Moscow remained f r u i t l e s s . The Foreign Trade Commissar, Mikoyan, e s p e c i a l l y , remained s p h i n x - l i k e i n h i s dealings w i t h H i l g e r . On June 27 Weizsacker commented b i t t e r l y : . . . i t i s doub t f u l i f we s h a l l even get as f a r as nego t i a t i o n s w i t h Moscow i n the economic f i e l d . - 7 ^° G.D.,D,VI,529, note 2. 4 9 G.D.,D,VI,553. 5° G.D.,D,VI,571. H i l g e r ' s economic t a l k s w i t h Mikoyan opened hopefullycon June 2 w i t h a Soviet query on what means Germany proposed i n order to s e t t l e trade matters: (G.D.,D,VI, 465). On June 7 Schnurre suggested that he be sent to Moscow as a p l e n i p o t e n t i a r y to negotiate an economic t r e a t y i f condi-t i o n s were found to be fa v o r a b l e : (G.D.,D,VI,491). The German Government agreed to t h i s proposal and on June 9 Schulenburg reported that the Soviet Government agreed to the dis p a t c h of Schnurre to Moscow but f i r s t demanded that the l a t e s t Soviet proposals of February be accepted as the basis f o r trade n e g o t i a -t i o n s : (G.D.,D,VI,499)• Weizsacker recommended acceptance of the Soviet terms: (G.D.,D,VI,514). But doubts s t i l l p e r s i s t e d i n B e r l i n and H i l g e r was r e c a l l e d f o r c o n s u l t a t i o n s (June 15-17): (G.D.,D,VI,499? note 3) . On h i s r e t u r n to Moscow he was informed 79 The more l i m i t e d e f f o r t s of Schulenburg were l i k e w i s e barren of r e s u l t s . 5 1 By the end of June B e r l i n was becoming d i s t i n c t l y weary of Soviet mulishness. The economic t a l k s were producing n e i t h e r the d e s i r e d p o l i t i c a l advantage nor were they c l a r i f y i n g the economic p o s s i b i l i t i e s v i s - a - v i s the Soviet Union.52 Throughout the month h i n t s at p o s s i b l e areas of mutual i n t e r e s t i n Poland and the B a l t i c s t a t e s or at a r e v i v a l of the B e r l i n Treaty had met w i t h an ambiguous, i f not o u t r i g h t negative, 53 response i n Moscow.^ On June 29 H i t l e r decided that the economic n e g o t i a t i o n s had gone f a r enough; a c c o r d i n g l y , he i n s t r u c t e d the Foreign o f f i c e to inform the Soviet Government that Germany was no longer i n t e r e s t e d i n the resumption of by Mikoyan on June 24 of f u r t h e r Soviet terms. A v i s i t to Moscow by Schnurre was now made dependent upon the p r i o r c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of points of d i f f e r e n c e : (G.D.,D,VI,568). Schulenburg c o r r e c t l y i n t e r p r e t e d t h i s rebuff as i n d i c a t i n g that Russia d i d not want a dramatic development i n Russo-German r e l a t i o n s but nevertheless was not w i l l i n g to l e t the t a l k s break o f f . G.D.,D,VI,570. 51 While i n B e r l i n from June 12-24, Schulenburg c a l l e d on Astakhov on June 17 and t o l d him i n very d e f i n i t e terms that "Russia had to make her choice":(G.D.,D,VI,540). On h i s r e t u r n to Moscow on June 27, Schulenburg again broached the t o p i c of " p o l i t i c a l bases" to Molotov when the Foreign M i n i s t e r confined h i s demands to Mikoyan's economic terms, Schulenburg reported progress: (G.D.,D,VI,579,607). However, he himself was aware that t h i s d i d not mark progress. In f a c t , when the Soviet Govern-ment agreed to a very l i m i t e d exchange of German n a t i o n a l s f o r Soviet p r i s o n e r s of The Spanish C i v i l War, the Ambassador, on J u l y 3, c h a r a c t e r i z e d t h i s gesture as the " . . . f i r s t s i g n of any accommodating d i s p o s i t i o n to speak of f o r a long time." G.D.,D, vi,610. 52 On June 28 Schnurre recommended that the economic d i s c u s s i o n s be postponed f o r both p o l i t i c a l and economic reasons. G.D.,D,VI, 576; G.D.,D,VI,596. Schorske, The Diplomats, p. 504 80 economic n e g o t i a t i o n s . A few days l a t e r - the exact date i s unknown - i n s t r u c t i o n s to t h i s e f f e c t were transmitted to the 54 Moscow Embassy. On June 30 Ribbentrop i n s t r u c t e d Schulenburg 55 that i n the p o l i t i c a l f i e l d as w e l l , enough had been s a i d . This d e c i s i o n to d i s c o n t i n u e n e g o t i a t i o n s , while prompted mainly by Russia's enigmatic behavior, may have had another motive. The d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered by the B r i t i s h i n t h e i r n e g o t i a t i o n s w i t h the Soviet Union may have encouraged H i t l e r to b e l i e v e that Russia "...could be l e f t out of the number of h i s enemies."5° j n a settlement w i t h Poland, H i t l e r , no doubt, would have p r e f e r r e d having Russia as an u n f r i e n d l y but nevertheless dependable n e u t r a l to having her as a partner i n sharing the s p o i l s . During the next three weeks, w h i l e H i t l e r mulled over h i s future course of a c t i o n , Soviet r e l a t i o n s were t r e a t e d l a c k -i d a i s i c a l l y . Opinion i n both the Moscow Embassy and i n the Foreign O f f i c e agreed that nothing hasty be done. Schulenburg suggested that Germany might make a few small gestures i n order to create an atmosphere of confidence i n which serious steps towards a rapprochement could l a t e r be taken.57 In B e r l i n a s i m i l a r mood p r e v a i l e d . Weizsacker b e l i e v e d that any progress could only be made slowly and 7"step by step". A f t e r a v i s i t to B e r l i n , the Counsellor of the Moscow Embassy, on J u l y 12, __ _ J G.D,,D,VI,583. The question l e f t unanswered i n Nazi-Soviet  R e l a t i o n s of whether these i n s t r u c t i o n s were even transmitted to the Moscow Embassy, has since been solved by the given German Document p u b l i c a t i o n . I t i n c l u d e s t h i s marginal note by Weizsacker: "...has meantime been dispatched." 55 G.D.,D,VI,588. 5° Conway, German Foreign P o l i c y , p. 217* 57 G.D. ,D,Vl7o48\ 81 observed that in Berlin the Soviet topic was being probed keenly but that "...the w i l l to take a definite p o l i t i c a l 58 stand has not yet asserted i t s e l f . " y In the meantime, in spite of his instructions of June 29 to discontinue a l l trade talks, Hitler did not yet seem willing to block off this last avenue of contact. On July 7, therefore, a last i n i t i a t i v e in the economic f i e l d was decided upon. Hilger was instructed to agree to Mikoyan's earlier conditions by informing him on the economic differences which the German Government f e l t s t i l l existed between Germany 59 and Russia. These instructions were carried out on July 10. Schulenburg reported that Mikoyan seemed disposed to accept this German in i t i a t i v e as a p o l i t i c a l gesture.^ However, on July 16 Schulenburg reported that the Soviets were now dissatisfied with the information given them by Hilger and proposed that a further c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the points at issue be sought in conversations in Berlin between 6 l Babarin, the Soviet trade representative, and Schnurre. Two days later, Schnurre met Barbarin in Berlin for a conversation which must be regarded as the beginning of a thaw in Russo-German relations which culminated one month later in the Moscow Agreements. Suddenly, after the evasions and postponements of the previous month and a half, Barbarin made the astonishing 5 8 G.D.,D,VI,66l. 5 9 G.D.,D,VI,628. 6 0 G.D.,D,VI,642. 6 1 G.D.,D,VI,677. 82 statement t h a t ; i f agreement could be reached, he was empowered to s i g n an economic t r e a t y . I t was apparent that the Soviets wanted the n e g o t i a t i o n s s t a r t e d but also wanted them to be unobtrusive and away from Moscow. In s p i t e of these r e s e r v a t i o n s , Schnurre suggested to h i s government that the n e g o t i a t i o n s be continued. While from a p o l i t i c a l stand-point the l a c k of p u b l i c i t y was unfortunate, the conclusion of an economic agreement would, nevertheless, have d e s i r a b l e e f f e c t s . On J u l y 22 the Moscow press announced the resumption of Russo-German economic n e g o t i a t i o n s . On that same day Schulenburg was i n s t r u c t e d by the German Foreign O f f i c e to p i c k up the thread of p o l i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h the Soviet Govern-62 ment. The period of w a i t i n g , ordered on June 30, had c l e a r l y come to an end. While the Soviet i n i t i a t i v e of J u l y 18 was the p o s i t i v e f a c t o r which encouraged H i t l e r to b e l i e v e that a p o l i t i c a l agreement w i t h Russia was p o s s i b l e , there was also a negative f a c t o r which caused him to resume the p o l i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n s on J u l y 22. By t h i s time H i t l e r r e a l i z e d that i f he were to s e t t l e w i t h Poland t h i s year, he would have to move q u i c k l y . Poland was not yet i s o l a t e d and each day only brought f o r t h f r e s h signs that the Ytfestern Democracies were determined to stand by t h e i r pledge to Poland.°3 I f the t h r e a t of a Russo-German understanding °"2 G.D. ,D,VI,700. 63 On J u l y 21 the French Charge i n B e r l i n , De Saint-Hardouin, i n a d i s p a t c h to h i s Government, made t h i s acute a n a l y s i s : "...during the past week some change has taken place i n the Chancellor's mind. I t i s reported that the Fiihrer i s now con-vinced t h a t , c o n t r a r y to what he has h i t h e r t o been assured by some of h i s a d v i s o r s , France and England are resolved to f u l f i l l t h e i r pledges to Poland...." The French Yellow Book, p . l 6 9 . 83 had not pursuaded them to give way; then, H i t l e r decided, the 64 r e a l i t y of one should. During the f o l l o w i n g days the German Government was galvanized i n t o a c t i o n . Ribbentrop consulted d a i l y w i t h h i s subordinates and was himself c o n s t a n t l y i n touch w i t h H i t l e r . ^ This a c t i v i t y was given even greater urgency when i t became known on J u l y 25 that B r i t a i n and France were dispatching m i l i t a r y missions to Moscow. Ribbentrop reacted to t h i s by 66 ordering that n e g o t i a t i o n s be pressed at "an unheard of tempo." Measures were taken i n a l l f i e l d s to l a y the groundwork f o r a-Russo-German understanding. For t h i s purpose the German government moved to harmonize r e l a t i o n s between Japan and ;ur£ 68 67 Russia. ' Simultaneously c u l t u r a l contacts between Germany and Russia were r e e s t a b l i s h e d . F i n a l l y H i t l e r decided to l a y h i s cards on the t a b l e . He ordered that h i s views on a settlement of i n t e r e s t s be put before the Soviet Government. On the evening of J u l y 26, ^4 Conway, German Foreign P o l i c y , p. 220. 6 5 G.D.,D,VI,757. 66 K l e i s t , Zwischen S t a l i n und H i t l e r , quoted i n Schorske, The Diplomats, p. 507. 67 On.- J u l y 24 Weizsacker suggested to Astakhov that a "modus v i v e n d i " i n Russo-Japanese r e l a t i o n s be e s t a b l i s h e d f o r a number of years. G.D.,D,VI,115. 68 Also on J u l y 24 the Soviet Embassy sounded out the German Foreign O f f i c e on a Soviet i n v i t a t i o n to two Germans to attend the Russian a g r i c u l t u r a l e x h i b i t i o n i n Moscow: (G.D.,D,VI,714). During the same period Astakhov was present as an o f f i c i a l guest at an opening of the e x h i b i t i o n of German a r t i n Munich, at which H i t l e r , p e r s o n a l l y , presided. G.D.,D,VI,727. 84 Schnurre, on Ribbentrop's i n s t r u c t i o n s w e n t over the whole sweep of Russo-German r e l a t i o n s i n an i n f o r m a l but penetrating p o l i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n w i t h Astakhov and B a b a r i n . 7 0 As p o s s i b l e stages to a p o l i t i c a l rapprochement he suggested: economic c o l l a b o r a t i o n , n o r m a l i z a t i o n of p o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s , and then the r e s t o r a t i o n of good p o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s . The S o v i e t s , w h i l e remaining suspicious of German i n t e n t i o n s , seemed r e c e p t i v e to Schnurre's suggestions. Schnurre thereupon stated the German case i n i t s most blunt form. The time f o r an under-standing was r i p e now. I t would not be so a f t e r the conc l u s i o n of an Anglo-Russian agreement: What could B r i t a i n o f f e r Russia? At best p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a European war and the h o s t i l i t y of Germany, hardly a d e s i r a b l e end f o r R u s s i a . What could we o f f e r as against t h i s ? N e u t r a l i t y and keeping out of a p o s s i b l e European c o n f l i c t and, i f Moscow wished, a German-Russian understanding on mutual i n t e r e s t s , which, j u s t as i n former times would work out to the advantage of both c o u n t r i e s . ' I This conversation undoubtedly marked the beginning of a concerted German e f f o r t to f r i g h t e n , the West i n t o neu-t r a l i t y through a German-Russian pact. I t i s obvious that H i t l e r was now aiming at a d e f i n i t e understanding w i t h R u s s i a ; he was not merely wanting to prevent a R u s s o - B r i t i s h pact. In the f o l l o w i n g days numerous e f f o r t s were madB to win Soviet confidence, even i f . g i g a n t i c concessions had to be made i n the process. On J u l y 29 Weizsacker i n s t r u c t e d Schulenburg to sound 6 9 Kordt, Wahn and W i r k l i c h k e i t , p. l 6 l . 7° G.D.,D,VI,729; H i l g e r , Wir und der Kreml, p. 282. 7 1 G.D.,D,VI,729. 85 out Molotov on h i s response to Schnurre's i n i t i a t i v e of J u l y 2 6 . 7 2 I f Molotov's response were f a v o r a b l e , Schulenburg was to s t a t e more s p e c i f i c a l l y that Germany was prepared to guard Soviet i n t e r e s t s i n Poland and i n the B a l t i c area. A probable m i l i t a r y settlement w i t h Poland was also to be hin t e d at. These seemed to be the German terms f o r a Russo-German agreement. There now followed i n r a p i d succession three p o l i t i c a l conversations between German statesmen and Soviet r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , In the course of these d i s c u s s i o n s Schnurre's suggestions f o r a p o l i t i c a l rapprochement of J u l y 26 were s t a t e d i n a more d e f i n i t e form. On August 2 Ribbentrop summoned the Soviet Charge f o r an 73 i n t e r v i e w . Here the German Fo r e i g n M i n i s t e r proposed a s e t t l e -ment based on non-interference i n the i n t e r n a l a f f a i r s of the other country and the "...abandonment of a p o l i c y d i r e c t e d against our v i t a l i n t e r e s t s . " He stressed that there was no problem between the Black and the B a l t i c Seas which c o u l d not be solved to Russian s a t i s f a c t i o n . Although the note of urgency of Schnurre's e a r l i e r approach was absent from Ribbentrop's manner, the e f f e c t of t h i s conversation was to confirm Schnurre's o f f e r . However, t h i s c o ntrast i n Schnurre's and Ribbentrop's moods trou b l e d Astakhov. Therefore, on 74 August 3 , he saw Schnurre again. The German economic expert reassured him of Germany's seriou s i n t e n t i o n s and added that 7 2 G.D.,D,VI,736. 7 3 G.D.,D,VI,758. 7 4 G.D.,D,VI,761. 86 h i s government would be ready with concrete proposals when i t received word that Moscow was s i m i l a r l y disposed. In the i n t e r e s t s of speed, he suggested that the conversations be continued i n Berlin. 7 5 Qn that same day Schulenburg f i n a l l y saw Molotov. The German proposals f o r a settlement of a l l problems i n Russo-German r e l a t i o n s was again r e s t a t e d . 76 Molotov appeared "unusually open" but remained non-committal. I t would appear from the foregoing a n a l y s i s that H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n to seek an agreement w i t h Russia was made i n the i n t e r v a l from J u l y 16, when the Soviets o f f e r e d to resume economic t a l k s , to J u l y 26, when Schnurre put the question of a p o l i t i c a l settlement squarely before Astakhov and Babarin. I t i s p o s s i b l e that the d e c i s i o n had already f a l l e n by J u l y 22 when Schulenburg was i n s t r u c t e d to p i c k up the threads of the e a r l i e r p o l i t i c a l discussions. 7 7 In any event the German moves from the 26th on, evince a s i m i l a r i t y of approach and a singleness of purpose which suggest that they were the r e s u l t of a d e c i s i o n by H i t l e r to launch a concerted 78 e f f o r t f o r a pact w i t h Russia. 75 Just p r i o r to t h i s conversation Weizsacker had informed Schulenburg that i f the Soviet side was r e c e p t i v e to German soundings, more concrete p o l i t i c a l proposals would be broached to the Soviet Charge i n B e r l i n . G.D.,D,VI,759. 7° G.D.,D,VI,766. 77 Schulenburg was t o l d "...a c o n c l u s i o n , and t h i s at the e a r l i e s t p o s s i b l e date, i s d e s i r e d f o r general reasons." G.D.,D,VI,700. 78 ' For the view, based on hearsay evidence, that H i t l e r made h i s f i n a l d e c i s i o n to seek a pact w i t h Russia on the night of August 4-5 see R o s s i , The Russo-German A l l i a n c e , p.27 and Namier, Diplomatic Prelude, p. 284. This view i s strengthened by the f a c t that i n the f o l l o w i n g days the tempo of the Russo-German rapprochement was held back only by S t a l i n ' s reluctance to commit hi m s e l f . The Germans, f o r t h e i r p a r t , pressed f o r an understanding w i t h i n c r e a s i n g v i g o r ; they were, a f t e r a l l , working against a dead-l i n e - the date f o r the at t a c k on Poland had been set f o r August 262 Thus, when Astakhov, i n a f u r t h e r t a l k w i t h Schnurre on August 5 refused to say more than that h i s govern-ment des i r e d to continue the conversations w i t h Germany, Ribbentrop, three days l a t e r , i n s t r u c t e d Schnurre to shock the Soviets out of t h e i r l e t h a r g y by impressing upon them the imminence of a^German-Polish war and the w i l l i n g n e s s of Germany to s t a t e concrete t e r m s . 7 9 W i t h i n these three days Astakhov a l s o had received new i n s t r u c t i o n s from h i s govern-80 ment. On the ba s i s of these new i n s t r u c t i o n s then, Astakhov and Schnurre met again on August 10. Astakhov stated that he again had re c e i v e d express i n s t r u c t i o n s to "emphasize" that the Soviet Government d e s i r e d an improvement i n i t s r e l a t i o n s w i t h Germany. Thereupon Schnurre became more s p e c i f i c and o u t l i n e d the questions on which the German Government sought c l a r i f i c a t i o n . These were the questions: What was the a t t i t u d e of the Soviets to the P o l i s h question? And, number two, why were m i l i t a r y n e g o t i a t i o n s w i t h the Western Powers being con-tinued i n Moscow? Schnurre asserted that as to the f i r s t question " . . . i t was p o s s i b l e . . . t h a t a s o l u t i o n by forc e of arms ? 9 G.D.,D,VI,772. 8 0 G.D.,D,VII,18. 88 would have to take p l a c e . " S i As to the second problem i t was affirmed that i f the'Soviet Government were f e a r f u l of being threatened i n a German-Polish war, Germany was "... Qp prepared to give the Soviet Union every assurance d e s i r e d . " Schnurre's words were c l e a r l y meant as an i n d i -c a t i o n of the. p r i c e H i t l e r was w i l l i n g to pay f o r Soviet f r i e n d s h i p . They i n d i c a t e d t h a t H i t l e r was prepared to o f f e r the Soviet Government a non-aggression pact, and, even more important, that he had decided, i n p r i n c i p l e , to p a r t i t i o n P o l a n d . 8 3 However, before s p e l l i n g out these terms, H i t l e r awaited Moscow's response to h i s move. This response was not long i n coming. On August 12, while H i t l e r was conversing w i t h Ciano i n Berchtesgaden, fid? Astakhov transmitted the Soviet r e p l y to Schnurre i n B e r l i n . ^ He t o l d Schnurre that the Soviet Government was prepared to discuss a l l of the subjects r a i s e d by the German side i n pre-ceding conversations and proposed that subsequent n e g o t i a t i o n s be c a r r i e d out i n Moscow. To underline the f a c t that Moscow was making extensive concessions to the German viewpoint, Sstakhov stated that the d i s c u s s i o n s were to be "undertaken by degrees". T h i s , of course, was the substance of Schnurre's proposals of J u l y 26. Astakhov was duly informed that H i t l e r agreed to the suggested procedure. 8^ 81 G.D.,D,VII,18. 8 2 G.D.,D,VII,18. 83 Conway, German Foreign P o l i c y , p. 227. 84 G.D.,D,VII,50. 8 5 Kordt, Wahn und W i r k l i c h k e i t , p. 163, 164. 89 Word of Astakhov's b i d reached H i t l e r during a Q / conversation w i t h Ciano. The i n t e r v i e w was b r i e f l y i n t e r -rupted. Then H i t l e r e x u l t a n t l y informed h i s guest that the Soviets were prepared to r e c e i v e a German p o l i t i c a l n e g o t i a t o r i n Moscow. H i t l e r then gave h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Soviet p o l i c y : Russia would not be prepared to p u l l the Western Powers' chestnuts out of the f i r e . S t a l i n ' s p o s i t i o n was j u s t as much i n danger from a v i c t o r i o u s as from a defeated Russian army. Russia was at the most i n t e r e s t e d i n extending .her access to the B a l t i c Sea. Germany had no o b j e c t i o n to t h i s . Besides, Russia would probably never intervene on behalf of Poland whom she thoroughly detested. The sole purpose of sending the Anglo-French M i l i t a r y M i s s i o n to Moscow was to conceal the c a t a s t r o p h i c s t a t e of the p o l i t i c a l n e g o t i a t i o n s . " ' These confident words suggest that H i t l e r had c o r r e c t l y i n t e r p r e t e d the Russian note of August 12 as. s i g n i -f y i n g that a d e c i s i v e step had been taken i n Moscow. Although the Russian o f f e r was a c t u a l l y only a foundation on which concrete n e g o t i a t i o n s were yet to be b u i l t , H i t l e r f i r m l y b e l i e v e d that there would be no d i f f i c u l t y i n a r r i v i n g at terms f o r an agreement. A f t e r a l l , he held i t i n h i s hand to give Russia what she d e s i r e d ; he had already decided to give her g i g a n t i c concessions. Fundamental d e c i s i o n s concerning favourable terms f o r a pact had thus already been made; i t now remained only f o r the n e g o t i a t i o n s to proceed and the pact to be signed. O D G.D.,D,VII,43; Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, p. 3 0 2 . 8 ? G.D.,D,VII,43. Tifith t h i s p o l i c y e s t a b l i s h e d i n H i t l e r ' s mind, the f o l l o w i n g days, although brimming w i t h d i p l o m a t i c proposals and counter proposals between B e r l i n and Moscow, r e v e a l no advance i n the Fuhrer's Soviet p o l i c y . Consequently, we are now i n t e r e s t e d only i n the high-l i g h t s of the diplomatic moves which intervened and l e d , on August 23, to Ribbentrop's dramatic f l i g h t to Moscow. In the period from August 12 to August 23 German dip l o m a t i c maneuvres were c h a r a c t e r i z e d by extreme urgency. By August 14 i t had been decided that as a s i g n of the German d e s i r e f o r immediate ne g o t i a t i o n s w i t h a r a p i d c o n c l u s i o n , Ribbentrop would represent 88 H i t l e r at the Moscow d i s c u s s i o n s . Schulenburg informed Molotov of t h i s arrangement the f o l l o w i n g day and added that h i s government agreed to a l l of Moscow's suggestions contained i n the August 12 Soviet p r o p o s a l . 8 9 Molotov's r e p l y , transmitted to B e r l i n on August 15, w h i l e unusually p o s i t i v e , nevertheless showed that the Soviet Union was s t i l l i n no hurry. The Soviet F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r suggested a s p e c i f i c agenda, but, on the other hand, demanded 90 that "adequate preparations" precede Ribbentrop*s v i s i t . Ribbentrop immediately agreed to Molotov's terms and o f f e r e d to 91 come to Moscow sometime a f t e r August 18. Molotov, However, continued to s t a l l . His answer, which a r r i v e d on August 18, 0 0 E a r l i e r i t had been planned to send Dr. Frank, the D i r e c t o r of the Reichsrechtsamt, and Schnurre to Moscow. G.D.,D,VII,62. 8 9 G.D.,D,VII,70,79. 90 G.D.,D,VII,70,79,88. 9 1 G.D.,D,VII,75. 91 while a f f i r m a t i v e , s t i l l l e f t the exact date of Ribbentrop's 92 v i s i t open.' This answer was not good enough f o r the Germans. I f the Russo-German Treaty were to have i t s d e s i r e d impact upon the B r i t i s h , French and P o l i s h Governments, the n e g o t i a t i o n s would have to be speeded up. Ribbentrop t h e r e f o r e i n s t r u c t e d Schulenburg to propose to Molotov, that he Ribbentrop, be received i n Moscow w i t h i n the next few days. 9^ August 19 was the day of d e c i s i o n i n Moscow. Late that afternoon the Soviet leaders agreed that the Russo-German economic agreement, which, i n the meantime, had been negotiated i n B e r l i n , be signed, and that Ribbentrop be asked to a r r i v e i n Moscow one week l a t e r . 9 4 H i t l e r now was sure of h i s coup. However, to achieve the maximum p o l i t i c a l r e s u l t s from the agreement, H i t l e r knew that n e g o t i a t i o n s had to commence f o r t h -w i t h . Consequently, on August 20, he appealed d i r e c t l y to S t a l i n f o r an e a r l i e r date. On the f o l l o w i n g day, S t a l i n f i n a l l y 95 agreed that Ribbentrop could a r r i v e i n Moscow on August 23. Late that same n i g h t , a communique was issued announcing 96 Ribbentrop's imminent a r r i v a l i n Moscow. This announcement, being both impudent and unexpected, made a tremendous impression i n Germany and abroad. The German people were r e l i e v e d that the nightmare of encirclement had been banished; the German Generals 92 G . D . , D , V I I , 1 0 5 . 9 3 G . D . , D , V I I , 1 1 3 9 4 G . D . , D ,VII, 1 3 2 , 1 3 3 ,144. 9 5 G . D . , D ,VII, 1 5 7 - 1 6 0 . 9 6 G . D . , D , V I I , 1 6 0 . 92 were convinced that they could now f i g h t v i c t o r i o u s l y i n Poland;97 H i t l e r hoped that Poland would be demoralized and, of greatest importance, that the Western Powers would be i n t i m i d a t e d i n t o n e u t r a l i t y . That H i t l e r ' s o r i g i n a l motive i n seeking a pact w i t h Russia was the i n t i m i d a t i o n of the Western Powers i s apparent. As p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d , H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n to s e t t l e w i t h Poland was made independently of the idea of a Russo-German under-98 s t a n d i n g . 7 This d e c i s i o n was made at a time when n e g o t i a t i o n s w i t h Russia had not even begun. Indeed, the Russo-German ne g o t i a t i o n s must be regarded as a consequence, rather than a 99 cause, of t h i s d e c i s i o n . The Russo-German Pact was t h e r e f o r e not the t r i g g e r which rel e a s e d Nazi aggression but was, i n s t e a d , the f a c t o r which l e t H i t l e r hope that he would be able to crush Poland without outside i n t e r f e r e n c e . H i t l e r thought, that as a r e s u l t of h i s diplomatic r e v o l u t i o n , B r i t a i n and France would recognize the hopelessness of the m i l i t a r y s i t u a t i o n and would not i n t e r v e n e . O n August 23, H i t l e r c o n f i d e n t l y assured h i s Generals: The l i k e l i h o o d of an i n t e r v e n t i o n of the Western , 0 , Powers i n a c o n f l i c t i s , i n my o p i n i o n , not great. 97 The Moscow coup was represented i n t h i s l i g h t to the German Generals by H i t l e r i n a conference on August 22, N.D.,798-PS; G.D.,D,VII, Appendix, p. 559. 98 / ' H i n s l e y , H i t l e r ' s Strategy, p. 16. 99 I b i d . , p.20. 100 Conway, German For e i g n P o l i c y , pp.249,250. quoted i n J. Wheeler-Bennett, Munich, Prologue to Tragedy, London, Macmillan, 1948, p. 4 1 5 . 93 The p r i c e which H i t l e r was w i l l i n g to pay f o r the i n t i m i d a t i o n of the Western Powers i s recorded i n the Moscow Agreements negotiated by Ribbentrop on August 23. Through t h i s pact, H i t l e r s a c r i f i c e d h i s i d e o l o g i c a l l e a d e r s h i p of the a n t i -communist world. Moreover, under the terms of these agree-ments, H i t l e r gave to Russia a p o s i t i o n of dominance i n Eastern Europe. In a secret p r o t o c o l Bessarabia, E s t o n i a , L a t v i a , F i n l a n d , and h a l f of Poland were promised to the Russians. The Soviet Union's i n t e r e s t s i n the Balkans were a l s o recognized, but t h i s i n a purposely vague manner. No d i f f i c u l t i e s were encountered i n the n e g o t i a t i o n s . A f t e r a l l , Ribbentrop had not come to Moscow to bargain, but to secure a pact with R u s s i a , and that q u i c k l y . 94 CHAPTER IV HITLER'S POLICY, AUGUST 1939 - JUNE-1941: FRIENDSHIP, INDECISION, AND ATTACK The Moscow Pact, contrary to popular belief, did not immediately create confidence in Nazi-Soviet relations. The new partners, while sparing no effort to demonstrate their own good faith, were suspicious of each other. But Hitler was not satisfied with this situation. The purpose of the Pact was to eliminate the Western Powers from Eastern Europe. Even i f the new partners were not friendly, they must at least appear to be so. Thus rumors on August 27 that the Red Army had withdrawn 250,000 troops from i t s western borders, moved Ribbentrop to direct an appeal to Molotov to cancel the order. 1 Even after 2 Molotov had dismissed the rumor with a "hearty laugh" Ribbentrop continued to insist that i t be o f f i c i a l l y denied and the opposite stated.-' Hitler could take no chances on his Moscow coup f a i l i n g to paralyze the Western and Polish determination to resist. On August 30 the Kremlin acceded to Berlin's wishes with a Tass 4 statement. Soviet accommodation was matched by German good faith and Moscow was kept constantly informed on the diplomatic 1 G.D.,D,VII,360. 2 G.D.,D,VII,383. 3 G.D.,D,VII,387, 424. 4 G.D.,D,VII,446„ 95 5 n e g o t i a t i o n s preceding the outbreak of war. Despite the f a c t that the Moscow Pact had succeeded i n e l i m i n a t i n g Poland m i l i t a r i l y , when the two armies met at B r e s t - L i t o v s k i n September, i t had not shocked the western Powers i n t o remaining n e u t r a l . Thus when war broke out between Germany and Great B r i t a i n on September 3? the main reason f o r the Moscow Pact disappeared. The new s i t u a t i o n however, w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y of a two-front war, d i c t a t e d a p o l i c y of con-tinued f r i e n d s h i p w i t h R u s s i a . H i t l e r ' s S oviet p o l i c y t i l l the summer of 1940 was thus p r e s c r i b e d by the f a c t of continued western o p p o s i t i o n . H i t l e r ' s determination to accommodate the Soviet Government was apparent i n the n e g o t i a t i o n s preceding the Russo-German Boundary and F r i e n d s h i p Treaty of September 28 and 29. P r i o r to the conference both c o u n t r i e s s t a t e d t h e i r bargaining p o s i t i o n s . German demands were of a minor t e r r i t o r i a l n a t u r e 0 but Soviet proposals c o n s t i t u t e d a b a s i c r e v i s i o n of the Moscow agreements. On September 25 S t a l i n , i n a s u r p r i s e move, proposed to Schulenburg, that the Secret P r o t o c o l of August 23 be amended i n order that the i n d i s p u t a b l y P o l i s h areas, comprising 5 G.D.,D,VII,387, 431, 440. On September 20 Ribbentrop i n s t r u c t e d General K B s t r i n g to request Molotov to t r a n s f e r the important Lwow and Drohobyez o i l area to the German sphere. I t had been assigned to the Russian sphere by the secret p r o t o c o l of August 23 but was under German occupation since September 17. The Soviet r e p l y t r a n s -mitted on that same day regarding both the o r i g i n a l request and a subsequent appeal that the area be l e f t under German m i l i t a r y occupation pending a f i n a l settlement, was an unequivocal no. A. R o s s i , The Russo-German A l l i a n c e ; August 1939 - June 1941, London, Chapman and H a l l , 1950, pp.59,60; G.D.,D,VIII,109. the Province of Lublin and the Province of Warsaw West of the Bug River, f a l l to the Germans. In return the Germans should waive their claim to Lithuania. The Soviet Union would then move to settle the Baltic question.7 On September 27 Ribbentrop arrived in Moscow with a large suite. In three conference sessions the division of Poland was sealed and economic problems discussed. The record of the negotiations reveals that the i n i t i a t i v e obviously lay with the Soviets. Ribbentrop had ^ostensibly come to Moscow to define boundaries but Hitler was primarily interested in winning Soviet confidence. To this end he was willing to make 8 broad concessions. Early in the negotiations Ribbentrop had weighed vg On September 19 Molotov suggested that the f i n a l border settlement ignore the idea of a Polish residual state by estab-lishing as f i n a l the four river line. Negotiations should commence at once in Moscow. On September 23 the military de- ' marcation line between the Red Army and the Reichswehr along the four river line was announced in a joint communique: G.D.,D,VIII,104,122. Q ° The agreements arrived at in Moscow between September 27 and 29 were contained in a series of documents dated September 28: (G.D.,D,VIII,157-163). The best accounts of the negotiations are given in Kordt, Wahn and Wirklishkeit, pp.221-228; Nicht aus den Akten, pp. 344-354; Hilger, p. 295-97. There was a German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty. There was a confidential protocol providing for the unhindered migration of Germans to German territory and of Ukrainians and White Russians to Soviet territory. The most significant agreement provided for the cession to Germany of Lublin and Warsaw west of the Bug River and the transfer to the Soviet sphere of influence of Lithuania with the exception of its southwest corner. A further secret protocol affirmed that both parties would suppress any Polish propaganda on their s o i l aimed at the territory of the other. The protocols were supplemented by an exchange of two letters relating to economic matters. In the f i r s t i t was agreed to pro-mote trade relations vigorously through an exchange of Soviet raw materials for German manufactured goods "over an extended 97 the pros and cons relative to the Soviet plan for the exchange of territory and on September 28 he appealed to Hitler for a decision. Ribbentrop's evaluation was concerned solely with military and t e r r i t o r i a l considerations. His memorandum contains no hint of the p o l i t i c a l repercussions which a refusal of the Soviet proposals might entail. Hitler's reply has not been found, although i t was no doubt' positive. It is unlikely that Hitler gave his acquiescence for any reason other than the fact that Stalin had requested i t . For the moment Soviet amity was more v i t a l to Hitler than any specific piece of Polish real estate.^-0 The Moscow pacts of August and September 1939 were signed by Hitler with the intention of using them so long as they served his purposes. Given Hitler's propensity for adventurism, they were based upon rea l i s t i c considerations in the form of momentarily overlapping German and Soviet interests. In an address period." The second provided for the flow of German transit over Soviet tracks to third countries and for the delivery to Germany of additional crude o i l in the amount of the annual production of the area of Drohobyz and Beryslav which Ribbentrop had earlier attempted to secure for Germany. Finally the German and Soviet Governments jointly appealed for peace and hinted darkly at co-ordinated action i f France and Britain would not accept the fact of Russo-German hegemony in Central Europe and sue for peace. 9 G.D.,D,VIII,152. Hitler was not disappointed. The negotiations ended on a friendly note and Ribbentrop later stated to anyone who would listen that during his v i s i t to the Kremlin he had f e l t as though he were among old 'Partei Genossenl' (G.D.,D,VIII,665; G.D.,D,VIII, 501); Kordt, Wahn u. Wirklichkeit, p. 231. ' 98 to his Commanders-in-Chief on November 23, 1939 Hitler asserted that the Soviet Union was as ruthless as he was and would adhere to the pacts "...only so long as she considers them to be to her advantage." He held that Russia harboured far-reaching ambitions in the Baltic and Balkan and Persian Gulf areas which would inevitably clash with his own foreign policy aims. The future struggle was not given an ideological basis for Hitler claimed that Panslavism would pose as great a threat to German interests as Soviet internationalism. At present the Soviet armed forces were weak and "this situation would obtain for the next one or two years." In the interval Hitler assumed that the German-Soviet community of interests 12 would persist. After the British Government on October 12 rejected Hitler's peace appeals of September 28 and October 6, Hitler realized that continuing Soviet friendship would be an essential ingredient of Nazi power for the impending struggle in the West; his back would be free in the east and Soviet raw materials would J"L N.D. 789 - ps 1 2 Goring claimed that Hitler told him in late August 1939, "I am determined to work with Russia for a long time." Co'ewit't- C. Poole, "Light on Nazi Policy", Foreign Affairs, p. 144). On October 2, 1939 Hitler stated to Ciano, "Germany wanted to live in peace with Russia...." (G.D.,D,VIII,176). The following month he affirmed to Mussolini that his resolve to cooperate with Russia was fixed. (Galeazzo Ciano, Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, Stuart Hood, transl., London, Odham's Press, 1948, p. 364.7. Hilger believes that Hitler was resolved for five or six months after the signing of the Moscow pacts that they should last for some years: (Hilger, Kreml, p.290). On November 25, 1939 Raeder informed his senior officers of Hitler's view "...that as.long as Stalin is in power, i t is certain that she w i l l adhere s t r i c t l y to the pact made." (N.D.,170,C,22). be put at his disposal. Hitler's determination during the winter of 1939-1940 to abide s t r i c t l y by the terms of the Moscow pacts was best recorded by his attitude to the Finno-Russian winter war. By the terms of the August 23 Pact Finland had been assigned to the Soviet sphere of interest. An attempt by the Finnish Minister in Berlin on October 2 to seek c l a r i f i c a t i o n on this 13 point was not answered. A week later he was clearly given to understand that Germany would disinterest herself in the fate of Finland in the event of a Finno-Russian war.14" When war broke out on November 30, 1939 Germany declared her neutrality and German missions abroad were instructed to express sympathy for the Russian viewpoint.^ Thereafter by a l l means short of direct intervention Hitler supported the Soviet action. In the naval f i e l d Raeder urged clear-cut support of Soviet interests 1^ and German support was considerable. 1 7 As the war x 3 N.S.R.,p.lll. 1 4 N.S.R.,p.l22. X 5 G.D.,D,VIII,423. 1 6 N.D.170,C,^27. 1 7 As early as October 27 Molotov had objected to the appear-ance of German ships in the Gulf of Finland, which he charged, would be interpreted abroad as "...a power demonstration in favour of Finland...." (G.D.,D,VIII,305). The following day the Foreign Office deferred to Soviet wishes: (G.D.,D,VIII,309). On December 9 the Soviet Chief of Naval Staff inquired whether Germany would aid in the blockade of Finland through the supply-ing with food and fuel to Soviet submarines in the Baltic. Schulenburg advised support; i t would not affect the outcome of the Finnish war and could form the subject of later German naval counterclaims: (G.D.,D,VIII,433). On the following day Hitler gave his approval: (G.D. ,D,VIII, D440_.'J). Hov/ever, German aid in this respect was never used; two days later the Soviets can-celled i t without giving any explanation: (G.L.Weinberg, Germany and the Soviet Union 1939-1941, Leiden, E.J. B r i l l , 1954,p7B9T. 100 continued and prospects of British and French intervention in the Baltic became more likely, Germany became interested in fa c i l i t a t i n g a swift end to the war. There is evidence that in January and February 1940, Germany offered to mediate between 18 Finland and Russia. The war ended on March 12, 1940. From Hitler's point of view the results of the Finno-Russian war were not entirely negative. The Germans were pleased that the Soviets, through their isolation from third countries. as a result of the Polish and Finnish campaigns, had been pushed 19 farther into their camp. Moreover, the military weaknesses of the Soviet forces as revealed in the Finnish struggle, seemed a good omen for Germany's future security in the east. Ribbentrop on March 16, 1940 was certain that Soviet weaknesses would dissuade the Red Army from attacking Roumania and causing unrest 20 in the Balkans. However some voices were raised in caution. From Helsinki on March 13, the Finnophil German Ambassador, Bliicher, warned that the sudden peace had improved Russia's strategic position vis-a-vis the Scandanavian countries and given her a dominating position in the Gulf of Finland and the 21 Central area of the Baltic Sea. Hitler's support of Russia during the winter war was unequivocal to the point of undermining the Rome-Berlin Axis. The Soviet attack on Finland occasioned anti-Russian demonstra-tions in Rome which resulted in the recalling of Italian and 1 8 Weinberg, p. 89. 1 9 G .D. ,D ,VIII,5 7 4 . 2 0 G.D.,D,VIII,665. 2 1 G . D . , D ,VIII,6 7 2 . 101 Russian Ambassadors22 from each other's capitals in December. Italian sympathies were wholly with the Finns; daily, Italian volunteers offered their services to the Finnish Embassy in Rome. Italy was also anxious to ship pursuit planes in transit through Germany but a Soviet protest in Berlin on December 9 23 prevented that. ~* On January 3 Mussolini f i n a l l y directed a strongly worded letter to Hitler in which he urged the Fuhrer to keep faith with their revolutions by returning to an anti-Bolshevist policy. He warned that a "...further step in your relations with Moscow would have catastrophic repercussions in 24 ,. Italy...." Two weeks later Weizsacker cautioned that anti-25 Bolshevism was "trump" in Italy. The sudden end of the winter war on March 12 was thus welcomed with a sigh of rel i e f by Hitler. He could now seriously set about to f a c i l i t a t e a detente in Russo-Italian tension. On the other hand,in the Eastern Mediterranean Hitler's Soviet ties were paying handsome dividends. Following the outbreak of ho s t i l i t i e s on September 2, Molotov informed Schulenburg that "...the Soviet Government was prepared to work 26 for permanent neutrality of Turkey as desired by (Germany)". I n i t i a l Soviet efforts to prevent the conclusion of a mutual assistance pact between the western Allies and Turkey failed 2 2 G.D.,D,VIII,494. 23 G.D.,D,VIII,432. 2 4 G.D.,D,VIII,504. 25 G.D.,D,VIII,548. 2 6 N.S.R.,p.85,86. See also G.D.,D,VIII,6. 102 on October 19. Thereafter Turkey's n e u t r a l i t y was assured by repeated Soviet t h r e a t s . The Germans found t h i s method of n e u t r a l i z i n g Turkey so e f f e c t i v e that when rumors a r r i v e d i n March 1940 that the c o n c l u s i o n of a Russo-Turkish agreement was iminent, uneasiness was caused i n the German Foreign O f f i c e . On March 24, Weizsacker h u r r i e d l y i n s t r u c t e d the German Ambassador i n Turkey to undermine the Russo-Turkish n e g o t i a t i o n s . I t was feared that a d i r e c t rapproachement between the two powers would provide the B r i t i s h w i t h a bridge on which they could cross to the Russians. T u r k i s h n e u t r a l i t y was to be 27 secured by keeping up T u r k i s h f e a r of a Russian attack. To t h i s end the Germans published documents at the beginning of J u l y 1940 which c l e a r l y compromised the p o s i t i o n of the Turks 28 w i t h respect to Russia. German machinations were s u c c e s s f u l and already by the end of A p r i l 1940 Pravda lashed out at the 29 " i n t r i g u e s of the B r i t i s h and French i m p e r i a l i s t s " i n Turkey. 7 Nevertheless, Russia's s h o r t - l i v e d f l i r t a t i o n w i t h Turkey had l e f t a residue of s u s p i c i o n i n Germany. During the winter of 1939-1940 German leaders were plagued by the nightmare of a Russian march i n t o the Balkans, which by the terms of the August 1939 Moscow P r o t o c o l had been assigned to the Soviet sphere of i n t e r e s t . Plans were prepared to d i v e r t Russia from t h i s goal. On January 8, 1940 a m i l i t a r y and m i l i t a r y - p o l i t i c a l study dealing w i t h t h i s problem was 27 G.D.,D,IV,10. 2 8 Max B e l o f f , The F o r e i g n P o l i c y of Soviet Russia, 1929-1941, London, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1949, I I , p.301. 2 9 C i t e d i n R o s s i , The Russo-German A l l i a n c e , p.88. 103 submitted to Ribbentrop by the Chief of the Operations Office of the O.K.W., General Jodl.3° i t assumed that Germany's interest demanded Russia's diversion from the Balkans. It con-sidered the alternatives. Action against Indianand Afghanistan was not practicable because of the distances involved but a Russian drive through the Caucausus, Iraq, Iran and Batum would be desirable; i t would divert Russia from the Balkans and simultaneously threaten British positions. Although dubious of Soviet willingness to divert sufficient forces for such an operation, Jodl f e l t that Germanywould at least be justified in encouraging Russia towards such an objective. The above question has been dealt with in.some detail to i l l u s t r a t e some of the diplomatic and strategic alternatives open to Hitler as he con-sidered his Soviet policy in the winter of 1939-1940. Thus far one of the least understood problems in German-Soviet relations is the effect which economic collabora-tion between Germany and Russia had on Hitler's Soviet policy. The problem is not yet solved. We are not certain of either the extent of the economic cooperation or the degree to which the German war effort before June 1941 was dependent upon i t . The most we can dare is an informed guess. Moreover we face the question that Hitler's consciousness of economics as a factor in foreign policy was limited; Hitler thought mainly in p o l i t i c a l and military terms. However, the writer assumes that Hitler was not entirely oblivious of economic matters. Some consideration of this aspect of the problem is now appropriate. 3° G.D.,D,VIII,514. 104 The Russo-German economic agreement of August 19, 1939 was a p o l i t i c a l r a t h e r than an economic instrument, l i m i t e d i n scope and t h e r e f o r e i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l f o r the German war e f f o r t . Ribbentrop's second v i s i t to Moscow was attended by-f u r t h e r economic d i s c u s s i o n s which on September 28 r e s u l t e d i n an exchange of l e t t e r s regarding economic matters. They pro-vided f o r increased trade based on the exchange of Russian raw m a t e r i a l s f o r German manufactured goods "over an extended p e r i o d " and f o r the t r a n s i t of German t r a f f i c over Soviet t e r r i t o r y to 31 t h i r d countries.-" This agreement was to form the basis of interminable economic n e g o t i a t i o n s which, on February 4, 1940, f i n a l l y r e s u l t e d i n an extensive trade agreement. As e a r l y as September 9 Russia had agreed to the d i s -32 patch to Moscow of a German economic d e l e g a t i o n . This d e l e -gation, headed by R i t t e r and Schnurre,arrived on October 7 and 33 n e g o t i a t i o n s were begun immediately.~ J~ > German proposals, con-tained i n a memorandum which Schnurre had prepared as an o u t l i n e f o r the t a l k s , were f a r - r e a c h i n g . 3 4 The August 19 Treaty was to remain i n f o r c e but was to be supplemented by f u r t h e r agreements designed to o f f s e t the e f f e c t s of the A l l i e d blockade. The heart of the German p l a n c a l l e d f o r massive d e l i v e r i e s of Russian raw m a t e r i a l s w i t h German counter d e l i v e r i e s i n the form of manu-fact u r e d goods and c a p i t a l equipment being made over an extended 31 G.D.,D,VIII,162,163. 32 G.D.,D,VIII,21 33 G.D.,D,VIII, 237. 3 4 G.D.,D,VIII, 208. 105 p e r i o d of up to f i v e years. Schnurre r e a l i z e d that no agree-ment would be p o s s i b l e unless the n e g o t i a t i o n s were t r e a t e d 35 from a p o l i t i c a l , r a ther than an economic point of view. There-fore n o agreement was reached before the p r i n c i p a l s themselves intervened. Two Kremlin conferences, p e r s o n a l l y attended by S t a l i n , were held on January 2 and January 29."^ They c l a r i f i e d the points at i s s u e without s o l v i n g them. Ribbentrop i n t e r -vened i n the n e g o t i a t i o n s w i t h a l e t t e r on February 2. He charged the Soviet Government w i t h reneging on i t s promise to "...support Germany economically during the war which had been forced on her." A t t e n t i o n was drawn to the Russo-German p o l i t i c a l understanding which had nothing i n common w i t h an ordinary trade agreement. F i n a l l y Ribbentrop c i t e d the "advance I n i t i a l l y n e g o t i a t i o n s proceeded smoothly and on October 18 R i t t e r reported that although Soviet methods were wearisome "...the general impression thus f a r i s not unfavourable." (G.D.,D,VIII,272). D i f f i c u l t i e s soon arose and over the next three months were m u l t i p l i e d . Soviet requests were mainly f o r the newest German m i l i t a r y equipment and f o r heavy ships and ship's equipment. On November 10, 1939 H i t l e r ordered that Russian requests should not be granted at the expense of German needs. On November 30 the Soviets f i n a l l y presented a formidable l i s t of requirements which c o n s i s t e d almost e x c l u s i v e l y of i r o n ore and the l a t e s t types of m i l i t a r y equipment: (G.D.,D,VIII,407, 412,413). On December 5 K e i t e l complained that Soviet demands f o r machine t o o l s would cut i n t o German armament production: (G.D., D,VIII,420). Two days l a t e r f e a r s i n B e r l i n rose that the economic n e g o t i a t i o n s were headed f o r a breakdown which would have unforeseeable p o l i t i c a l consequences: (G.D.,D,VIII,430). On December 27 R i t t e r reported that the n e g o t i a t i o n s were bogged down and, without comprehending the i r o n y of h i s words, that the Russians "...are t r y i n g to get a l l they t h i n k they can." (G.D., D,VIII,484,footnote 2). G.D.,D,VIII,584 1 0 6 payment" of Polish territory and Baltic interests which Germany had made, with the obvious hint that further payments in like coin would not be forthcoming i f Stalin did not change his •37 attitude.-" Ribbentrop's diminutive sabre rattling had i t s effect. Hitler's p o l i t i c a l interest in buying Soviet neutrality was probably not as great as Stalin's p o l i t i c a l interest in buying time. 3 8 On February 8 Stalin broke the impasse. 3 9 In addition to offering substantial concessions on the main economic agreement, Stalin suddenly agreed to a number of minor German requests which had been l e f t unanswered for months. In sub-sequent discussions on the details of the agreements Ritter noted that Mikoyan's "previous pettifogging methods" were no 40 longer in evidence. The economic agreement was signed on the basis of 41 Stalin's compromise proposals on February 11. 3 7 G.D.,D,VIII,594. 3 8 RIIA, Survey,:The I n i t i a l Triumph of„the Axis , j 1958fy p.408. 3 9 G.D.,D,VIII,6000. 4 0 G.D.,D,VIII,602. 41 Concessions were made on both sides but Russia's were clearly of greater magnitude. Germany forewent i t s i n i t i a l demand for advance delivery of non-ferrous metals and granted Russia some secret weapons and plans: (Weinberg, p.6 9 ) . However Germany got her way on the demand that her deliveries should lag behind Russia's. This meant in fact that Russia'would grant Germany substantial credits at the expense of her own reserves. Soviet deliveries extending over 18 months were to be compensated by German 0;,_ .,.<:.n compensatory deliveries over 27 months. A balanc-ing according to this schedule was to take place periodically. This last stipulation meant that i f Germany did not make its deliveries promptly Russia could temporarily discontinue her deliveries. This seems to have happened t?jice; in April 1940 and again in September: (G.D.,D,VIII,671; IX,32; RIIA, Survey, I n i t i a l Triumph of Axis, p. 413. 107 The c o m p l i c a t e d s c h e d u l e a r r i v e d a t f o r German and S o v i e t d e l i v e r i e s b e a r s c l o s e r s c r u t i n y . I t r e v e a l s t h a t t h e maximum l a g be tween S o v i e t d e l i v e r i e s and German c o u n t e r -d e l i v e r i e s w o u l d be r e a c h e d on May 1 1 , 1 9 4 1 , e x a c t l y 14 months a f t e r t h e c o n c l u s i o n of t h e a g r e e m e n t . One w r i t e r s u g g e s t s , a l t h o u g h d o c u m e n t a r y e v i d e n c e i s l a c k i n g , t h a t t h i s f a c t must c e r t a i n l y have been i n H i t l e r ' s mind ??hen he i n i t i a l l y s e t t h e 42 d a t e f o r h i s a t t a c k on R u s s i a f o r A p r i l 1 9 4 1 . We must now a t t e m p t an estimate o f the extent o f S o v i e t economic a s s i s t a n c e t o Germany and o f i t s i m p o r t a n c e f o r t h e German war m a c h i n e . S c h n u r r e r e c k o n e d i n F e b r u a r y 1940 t h a t t h e t o t a l S o v i e t d e l i v e r i e s t o Germany d u r i n g t h e 18 months l i f e o f t h e agreement w o u l d a p p r o a c h 1 b i l l i o n R M . 4 3 ' AO R I I A , S u r v e y , I n i t i a l T r i u m p h o f A x i s , p p . 4 0 7 , 4 0 8 . « G.D.,D,VIII ,60O. These were to include large quantities o f o i l , p h o s p h a t e s , s c r a p i r o n , p i g i r o n , c o t t o n , chrome o r e s , l e g u m e s , g r a i n , p l a t i n u m , manganese , o r e and l u m b e r : ( G . D . , D , V I I I , 6 0 0 ) . The agreement a l s o made p r o v i s i o n f o r t h e f l o w o f German t r a f f i c t o and f r o m Roumania and t h e c o u n t r i e s o f t h e N M i d d l e E a s t and f o r t h e p u r c h a s e by R u s s i a i n t h i r d c o u n t r i e s o f o t h e r raw m a t e r i a l s e s s e n t i a l t o G e r m a n y ' s war e f f o r t : ( S u r v e y , The War and t h e N e u t r a l s , 1956, p . 1 6 ) . A s s i s t a n c e i n t h i s r e g a r d was s u b s t a n t i a l . As e a r l y as O c t o b e r 2 9 , 1939 M i k o y a n had a g r e e d t o p u r c h a s e raw m a t e r i a l s f o r Germany a b r o a d and have them s h i p p e d on n e u t r a l b o a t s t o B l a c k Sea h a r b o u r s : ( G . D . , D , V I I I , 3 1 4 ) . On November 1 , 1939 t h e S o v i e t Government f u r t h e r a g r e e d t o i m p o r t raw m a t e r i a l s p u r c h a s e d a b r o a d b y , G e r m a n y and s t o r e d under c a m o u f l a g e : ( G . D . , D , V I I I , 3 2 0 ) . I n a d d i t i o n a s u b s t a n t i a l volume o f s o y a beans and r u b b e r r e a c h e d Germany on t h e T r a n s i b e r i a n R a i l w a y f r o m t h e F a r E a s t : ( W e i n b e r g , p p . 7 2 , 7 3 ) • An o b j e c t i v e e s t i m a t e o f t h e i m p o r t a n c e of a l l t h i s a s s i s t a n c e i s i m p o s s i b l e t h u s f a r ; t h e German Documents c o v e r i n g t h e p e r i o d a f t e r A u g u s t 1940 have n o t been p u b l i s h e d a t t h e t i m e o f t h i s w r i t i n g . One writer presumptuously states that Soviet economic assistance to Germany "...was more significant p o l i t i c a l l y than economically ....; against the British blockade i t was far too weak as a weapon and i t s propaganda value in no way corresponded 44 to actual value of the trade turnover...." Against this argument must be placed the unanimous opinion of the Germans themselves. In October 1939 the Chief of Naval Operations was convinced that Russian offers of assistance were "...so generous 45 that the British blockade w i l l surely f a i l . " J Ribbentrop was reported to be "very pleased" with the economic agreement con-cluded in February 1940 and Schnurre characterized i t as pro-viding "...a wide open door to the east for us v/hich would 46 decisively weaken the effects of the British blockade." In March 1940 an emissary from Ribbentrop informed Gafencu, the Roumanian Foreign Minister, that "the economic assistance which 47 the Soviets could give to Germany ... might well be decisive." Finally one writer even questions whether Hitler's attack on the west would have been as unqualifiedly successful as i t was without Russian o i l and rubber and whether "...the attack on the 48 Soviet Union would have been possible at a l l . " Hitler's attitude to Russia during the winter of 4 4 Dallin, Soviet Russia's Foreign Policy, p. 427, cited in Weinberg, p. 74. 4 ^ N.D. 170-C 15 . 4 6 G.D.,D,VIII,636. 47 Grigore Gafencu, Prelude to the Russian Campaign, London, Fletcher-Allen, trans1 ., London, Frederick Muller, 1945? p.38. Weinberg, Germany and the Soviet Union, p. 7 5 . 109 1939-1940 was dictated by the strategic necessity of keeping his eastern frontier quiet while he attacked in the west. To this end he had given Russia diplomatic support in the Baltic area and had in turn received Stalin's congratulations on his conquest of Norway and Denmark in April 1940. Russia had made gains through German successes to date; through them the eastern reaches of Poland had fallen to her, the Baltic states had been transformed into Soviet dependencies and the Allies had been prevented from aiding Finland. On May 10, 1940,Hitler launched his offensive against the west. Within six weeks the French campaign was ended; Hitler was confident the Brit i s h would sue for peace. If this assumption were proven correct the arguments in favour of the Soviet alliance would notlonger obtain and Hitler would be free to turn against the east. However, i f i t were proven false Hitler would have to review the entire p o l i t i c a l and military situation, for his plans did not extend beyond the defeat of France. Hitler's lightnihgg conquest of France was deeply 49 disturbing to the Soviets. They had expected a war of attrition which would guarantee their security by leaving Germany exhausted. They were now compelled to find other means of gaining the same end. In June and July the Soviets moved quickly to secure a glacis in the north to protect Leningrad and Moscow and one in the south across the entranee to the Ukraine and the Caucusus. 49 Kordt, Wahn u Wirklichkeit. p. 272. On June 16, 1940,Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were completely- occupied by Soviet forces and in a further series of steps in June and July f i n a l l y f u l l y incorporated into the Soviet Union. The German Government was surprised by Russia's incorporation of the south-west corner of Lithuania, which was to have fallen to Germany, and over the massing of Russian troops along the German frontier, but the main operation had 50 been expected for some time. In fact German missions abroad were instructed to avoid anti-Soviet partisanship in discussing i t . ? 1 The reopening of the Balkan problem was also not un-expected. The previous October the Soviet Government had grasped the i n i t i a t i v e in the area by proposing a mutual 52 assistance pact to Bulgaria. The Soviet aim obviously was to cut Roumania off from the Black Sea and secure a passage to the Straits. The outbreak of the Finnish war caused Russia to suspend it s i n i t i a t i v e for six months. However, i t was revived by Molotov in a speech on March 29? in which he hinted at 53 possible Soviet action regarding Bessarabia. Soviet troops were concentrated on the Dniester and in Galicia in May. The Roumanian Government threatened to fight rather than disgorge any territory and hoped the German dependence on Roumanian o i l 5° N.D. 170-C, 58. 5 1 G,.D.-,D., . I X , 465. 5 2 G.D.,©,VIII,247. 53 G.D.,D,IX,35; Beloff, I I , p.313-I l l would encourage Hitler to restrain the Soviets from attacking 54 Roumania. yOn June 2 3 , Molotov informed Schulenburg that the 5 5 Bessarabian question "...brooked no further delay" and that the Soviet Government wished to incorporate Bukovina as well because of its Ukrainian population. The Soviets were deter-mined to use force i f necessary and expected the German Govern-ment to support their action. As the matter was urgent, Molotov 56 requested a German reply by June 2 5 . Hitler's policy in the Balkans since the outbreak of war had been to keep the area quiet. Unrest could only serve Soviet ends, particularly while German forces were diverted by 57 the assault in the west.-" However Soviet revision vis-a-vis Roumania could not be impeded, since Molotov's claims, with the exception of the demand for the Bucovina, were in accord with the Secret Protocol of August 2 3 , 1 9 3 9 . The German reply, con-tained in a note transmitted to Molotov on June 2 5 , was therefore positive but cautious.5 8 The Moscow agreements were to be scrupulously observed. The Soviet claim to Bessarabia was accepted and diplomatic support promised. Soviet designs on the Bucovina were questioned, particularly as the area had never before been 59 a part of Russia. German economic interests in Roumania were stressed and the hope stated that the Balkans might not become a theatre of war. 5 4 G.D.,D,IX,345. 5 7 N.D.,1456-PS. 55 G.D.,D,X,4. 5 8 G.D.,D,X ,13. 5 6 G.D.,D,X,5. 5 9 G..D.,D,X,20. 112 The Soviet d e c i s i o n on Bucovina, as a r e s u l t of German o b j e c t i o n s , was a compromise. Schulenburg ¥/as informed on the f o l l o w i n g day that Soviet claims would be l i m i t e d to the northern Bucovina; German economic i n t e r e s t s would be respected; the i n t e r e s t s of the Yolksdeutsche would be given f u l l c o n s i d e r a t i o n . The Soviet ultimatum was presented i n Bucharest on 61 June 27. The Roumanian Government proposed to r e s i s t ; war seemed imminent.^ 2 That same day the German Government declared i t s d i s i n t e r e s t e d n e s s i n the d i s p u t e ^ 3 and advised the Roumanian 64 Government - to accept the ultimatum. The f o l l o w i n g day Roumania u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y accepted Soviet demands.^ Germany's t e r r i -t o r i a l payment i n the Balkans f o r Soviet n e u t r a l i t y was thereby completed. The Soviet move against Roumania had e f f e c t s which were f a r - r e a c h i n g . The ultimatum, coming at a time when the Wehrmacht was occupied i n the west and v i o l a t i n g the spheres of infl u e n c e agreement i n the case of Bucovina, r a i s e d H i t l e r ' s s u s p i c i o n s . Was S t a l i n , f e a r f u l of German v i c t o r i e s , t r y i n g to c o n s o l i d a t e h i s defensive p o s i t i o n and open an o f f e n s i v e 66 p e n e t r a t i o n against Germany i n t o the Balkans? 6 0 G.D.,D,X,25. 6 1 G.D.,D,X,27. 62 G.D.,D,X,29. 6 3 G.D.,D,X,31. 6 4 G.D.,D,X,33. 6 5 G.D.,D,X,44. 6 6 H i l g e r , Wir und der Kreml, pp.208,299. 113 N e v e r t h e l e s s t h e B a l k a n s , t h r o u g h R u s s i a ' s a c t i o n s , were s e t i n m o t i o n and a s e r i e s o f e v e n t s u n l e a s h e d w h i c h s e r i o u s l y compromised G e r m a n - S o v i e t c o l l a b o r a t i o n . The. c o u r s e o f t h e s e e v e n t s was n o t a c c i d e n t a l b u t d e s i g n e d by H i t l e r . Had H i t l e r d e s i r e d S o v i e t f r i e n d s h i p t h e y c o u l d have been c h a n n e l l e d d i f f e r e n t l y . ^ 7 F i n a l l y B a l k a n n e u t r a l i t y , w h i c h had h i t h e r t o been p r e c a r i o u s l y m a i n t a i n e d , was u p s e t . The B a l k a n s t a t e s were c o m p e l l e d t o c h o o s e w i t h whom t h e y w o u l d c o a l e s c e , 68 R u s s i a o r Germany. H i t l e r ' s manoeuvres a g a i n d e t e r m i n e d t h e outcome o f t h i s c o m p e t i t i o n . I n t h e m e a n w h i l e t h e i d e a o f an a t t a c k on R u s s i a was n e v e r c o m p l e t e l y a b s e n t f r o m H i t l e r ' s m i n d . However, b e f o r e l a t e J u l y 1 9 4 0 , i t was no more t h a n a vague n o t i o n . H i t l e r had t o l d h i s m i l i t a r y commanders i n November o f 1939 t h a t he c o u l d n o t r i d h i m s e l f o f d o u b t s o v e r a p o s s i b l e S o v i e t c o u n t e r a c t i o n t o a German o f f e n s i v e i n t h e w e s t . H i s c o n v i c t i o n t h a t R u s s i a w o u l d r e m a i n n e u t r a l , was, a f t e r , a l l , b a s e d on p r e p o n d e r a n t German armed s t r e n g t h v i s - a - v i s t h e Red f o r c e s ; he was d e t e r m i n e d t o m a i n t a i n , t h i s p o s t u r e and w i t h h o l d f r o m S o v i e t v i e w any symptom o f German m i l i t a r y w e a k n e s s . Thus on O c t o b e r 1 0 , H i t l e r r e j e c t e d f o r " p o l i t i c a l r e a s o n s " a s u g g e s t i o n by R a e d e r t h a t Germany buy 69 U - b o a t s frora t h e S o v i e t s o r have them b u i l t i n R u s s i a n s h i p y a r d s . A s i m i l a r . A d m i r a l t y r e q u e s t o f November 11 was r e j e c t e d by H i t l e r . o n t h e g r o u n d s t h a t S o v i e t b o a t s were o f i n f e r i o r q u a l i t y ^ W e i n b e r g , p. 104 . ^ G a f e n c u , P r e l u d e , p.. 50» 69 N . D . 5IZO-C,95 The F u h r e r C o n f e r e n c e s o n N a v a l A f f a i r s , r e p r i n t e d i n B r a s s e y ^ T ^ a v a l A n n u a l , New Y o r k , M a c m i l l a n , 1948, p<43. and, more significantly,that Russia "...should not be allowed to see any of our weaknesses...."70 Germany could undertake a military settlement with Russia only after she was free in 71 the west. In January 1940, Hitler, confident of a quick victory in France in spring, ordered Raeder to postpone the delivery of naval equipment to Russia as the "favourable devel-opment of the war" might permit Germany to avoid their delivery 72 completely. During the French campaign in June 1940, with victory in sight and the capitulation of Britain assumed, Hitler told Jodl that he was determined to settle with Russia 73 the moment his military position permitted. J- However this statement cannot have been more than a conversation piece, for on June 4, Hitler informed Raeder that after the defeat of 74 France he planned to reduce the size of the Germany Army. Obviously Hitler's plans did not yet extend beyond the defeat of France. The end of the fighting in France, therefore, called for fundamental decisions regarding future war policy. Hitler, however,vacillated while he waited for word from London that his "peace terms" had been accepted. When instead, his offers were defiantly rejected, Hitler was forced to take new strategic decisions involving the invasion of Britain. On July 13 Hitler 7 0 N.D., 17G9C ,21; The Ftihrer Conferences on Naval Affairs, Brassey, p. 47. 7 1 G.D.,D,VIII,384. 7 2 N.D.,17»C,54. 7 3 Weinberg, Germany and the Soviet Union, pp.107,108. 7 4 G.D.,D,X,75; Galeazzo Ciano, The Ciano Diaries: 1939-1943, H.Gibson, ed., New York,Doubleday, 19467pp.272,273. 115 t o l d the Army High Command (OKH) that B r i t a i n would be forced to surrender by a d i r e c t assault. 7 5 On J u l y 16 the f i r s t d i r e c t i v e f o r the "...landing operation against England...." 7 6 was issued. Nevertheless t h i s d i d not represent a f i n a l d e c i s i o n and H i t l e r continued to vvadHl&te. He remained un-. e n t h u s i a s t i c about the operation and dubious whether i t could be accomplished w i t h a v a i l a b l e naval and a i r u n i t s . I t was t h i s f r u s t r a t i o n w i t h B r i t a i h which drove him once more to consider the Russian problem. Only J u l y 21 H i t l e r 7 7 c a l l e d a conference of h i s top m i l i t a r y a d v i s e r s . Three points of i n t e r e s t to t h i s study were made here. F i r s t , the primary task of German p o l i c y remained the defeat of B r i t a i n . A d i r e c t a s s a u l t across the channel,however,was considered hazardous and would be undertaken only " . . . i f no other means i s l e f t to come to terms w i t h B r i t a i n . " H i t l e r was s t i l l hopeful that h i s peace o f f e r would be accepted or that B r i t a i n could be forced to surrender by means of a diplomantic f r o n t com-p r i s i n g Spain, J,apan and Russi a . Secondly, H i t l e r assumed that B r i t a i n ' s continued r e s i s t a n c e was based on hopes of American or Soviet i n t e r v e n t i o n . H i t l e r d i d not fear a Soviet attack but f e l t S t a l i n was " f l i r t i n g " w i t h B r i t a i n to keep her i n the war and prevent a s i t u a t i o n where Russia would face Germany alone. To e l i m i n a t e t h i s f a c t o r , H i t l e r d i r e c t e d the O.K.W. to 75 Haider Diary (13 J u l y , 1940), c i t e d i n Weinberg, p. 109. 7° N.D.,P.S.,442. 77 The Fuhrer Conferences on Naval A f f a i r s , Br as say, p. 119; N.D.,170-0,68; Weinberg, pp.109-111; R.Wheatley, Operation  Sea L i o n , Oxford, Clarendon P r e s s , 1958, p. 42. 116 make p r e l i m i n a r y studies f o r an eastern o f f e n s i v e which he i n d i c a t e d might be p o s s i b l e i n the f a l l of 1940. This i s the f i r s t e x p l i c i t mention of a pro j e c t e d o f f e n s i v e . H i t l e r ' s ideas on the B r i t i s h problem, contrary to h i s own s t r a t e g i c 78 maxims, were obviously beginning to t u r n to a Napoleonic s o l u t i o n . As a r e s u l t of t h i s conference O.K.H. began s t u d i e s of Soviet m i l i t a r y strength and d i s p o s i t i o n s and commenced work 79 on o p e r a t i o n a l plans f o r a p o s s i b l e eastern o f f e n s i v e . During the week from J u l y 21 to 29 H i t l e r consulted f u r t h e r w i t h h i s m i l i t a r y a d v i s e r s and was pursuaded that an attack on Russia i n the f a l l was i m p r a c t i c a b l e . K e i t e l , i n f a c t , i s s a i d to hava 80 contested i n a memorandum the whole idea of an eastern i n i t i a t i v e . 81 On J u l y 29 H i t l e r informed J o d l of h i s i n t e n t i o n to attack. J o d l passed t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n on to h i s Operations S t a f f that same day and i n s t r u c t e d them to prepare a d i r e c t i v e ordering the massing of German troops on the German-Soviet border. This d i r e c t i v e , designated "Aufbau Ost" was issued on August 9, 1940. I t provided f o r the improvement of the t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and supply routes to the east and was designed to overcome those d e f i c i e n -Qp c i e s which made an attack i n the f a l l of 1940 impossible. ? 8 A. H i t l e r , Mein Kampf, New York, Reynal and Hitchcock, 1939, p. 183. 79 80 7 9 Weinberg, op....cit..,~PP. 111,112. N.C.A.,Supplement B., p.1636. 8 1 Dewitt.. C. Poole, "Light on Nazi P o l i c y , " p. 144. 8 2 N.C.A.,Supplement B.,pp.1635,I636. 1 1 7 On July 31 Hitler summoned a conference of a l l of Germany's top army and naval commanders to the Berghof.^ No'dae from the Luftwaffe was present. It was to hear Hitler's fundamental decisions regarding future war policy and must thus be considered one of Hitler's most decisive strategic con-ferences. Two subjects were discussed: the question of an invasion of Britain and the problem of Russia. During the previous week the Naval Staff had made a detailed study of the deficiencies in the naval establishment which made the landing in Britain before the end of September impossible. Even then i t would be hazardous and the Naval 84 Staff suggested postponement of the invasion t i l l May 1941. At the conference of July 31 the problems of an attack on Britain were more clearly defined. However, Hitler refused to be dissuaded by logistic, naval, air or weather problems from his intention to attack Britain in the autumn. If the autumn invasion did not come off then plans should be made for another attempt in May, 1941. Hitler seemed frustrated and pessimistic. Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France had a l l fallen like ripe grain before the Nazi scythe. Hitler's armies were s t i l l intact but his victory was incomplete. The fact of the channel prevented him from.harvesting the British fields. As he surveyed his Empire he must have asked himself 8 3 Haider's Diary (July 31? 1 9 4 0 ) cited in G.D.,D,X,Appendix, pp. 3 7 0 - 3 7 4 ; Weinberg, pp. 115,116. Wheatley, Operation Sea Lion, pp. 44-46. whether he was to he frustrated in this f i n a l achievement. It was in this mood of frustration, rather than in 85 a . .Geisteszustand ... der an Grossenwahn grenzte...." that, Hitler turned to the question of Russia. Hitler stated that i f the invasion of Britain proved more d i f f i c u l t than had been expected or did not take place at a l l , the task then would be to "...eliminate a l l factors that let England hope for a change in the situation." Britain placed her hopes in the United States and Russia. They then would have to be eliminated as power factors. How was this to be accomplished? Here Hitler's argument reached a high degree of.refinement. The solution to a l l of Germany's problems suddenly lay in the defeat of Russia. I f Russia were vanquished, Japan would be relieved on her western flank and she could then move against Britain and thus,by threatening the United States in the Pacific,neutralize her. Abruptly Russia was characterized as 86 the factor on "...which Britain is relying the most." This statement reveals an advance in Hitler's thinking. For only a month earlier Hitler had confided to A l f i e r i that Britain's hopes lay primarily in America and "...perhaps also ... a secret 87 hope as to Russia." America lay beyond reach but Russia was exposed to his Wehrmacht which in land battle had proved invincible. Hitler's monologue rose to a climax: "With Russia smashed, 85 Hilger, Wir und der Kreml, p. 299. 8 6 Haider's Diary, (July 3 1 , 1940) cited in G.D.,D,X,Appendix. 8 7 G.D.,D,X,21. 119 Britain's last hope will, be shattered.... Decision: Russia's destruction must therefore be made a part of this struggle. Spring 1941. The sooner Russia is crushed, the better." A tentative attack schedule was set. It called for the comple-tion of operations in five months with the use of some 120 divisions. Approximately 60 divisions were to hold'the western front. Hinsley has correctly pointed out that two ambivalent elements helped to make Hitler's decision. The f i r s t was frustration that the war could not be ended quickly; the second was overconfidence that he could maintain his position in the 89 west and simultaneously enslave Russia. Hitler was unwilling to look facts in the face and admit that there were factors involved, such as the position of the United States, which he could not directly influence. He had a predilection for land battles and,finally,he was deluded regarding his own a b i l i t i e s as a military strategist. Moreover,it is apparent that the immediate decision had nothing whatsoever to do with ideological considerations 90 or with Lebensraum aspirations. In the crucial month of July no word regarding either of these f e l l from Hitler's l i p s . However, once the decision was made, he justified i t on ideological grounds and presented his plans for the enslavement of the 88 F. H. Hinsley, Hitler's Strategy, Cambridge, University Press, 1951, pp.124-127. 8 9 N.D.,170-C,32. 9 0 N.D.,170-0,40. It must be added that the decision to strike eastward might never have been made had not this idea been kept alive in Hitler's mind by his ideological and "Lebensraum" frame of reference. 120 Russian people as part of an anti-Communist crusade. It is obvious from Haider's account of the July 31 Berghof conference that Hitler's remarks signified a definite decision to make military and diplomatic preparations for an attack on Russia. The documents explicitly speak of a "decision" rather than of a possible venture. Moreover,the immediate repercussions in the military and diplomatic fields further indicate that fundamental decisions regarding Hitler's eastern policy had been reached. The basic pattern of Hitler's strategy was thus apparent. The primary goal was to crush Britain in the f a l l of 1940. However,if Britain held out during the winter,another attack "might" be made in spring. At the same time the object of Britain's hopes, Russia, would have to be eliminated. An attack on Russia was to be used as a tactic to bring Britain to her knees. Alternatively i f Britain were eliminated, an attack on Russia in the following spring could become Hitler's strategic goal. Diplomatic and military preparations for the attack on Russia were speedily begun. The most obvious repercussion in the diplomatic f i e l d was in Hitler's changed attitude to Finland. During the winter war of 1939-1940 Germany had supported Russia unqualifiedly. But Hitler's plans of July 31 for an attack on Russia called for.Finnish participation and 91 y Hilger, Wir und der Kreml, p.299. Hitler's propaganda was so effective that even such an acute writer as Hilger has fallen victim to i t : "He became more and more convinced that he was called by fate to destroy Bolshevism and that he was not per-mitted to rest until he had conquered for the German people their rightful Lebensraum." 121 d i c t a t e d a course of rapprochement. Signs i n J u l y and August that Russia was preparing to at t a c k F i n l a n d , put H i t l e r ' s plans i n jeopardy, so he moved to con s o l i d a t e h i s p o s i t i o n . He was determined not to forego the s t r a t e g i c advantage of c o n t r o l l i n g a F i n n i s h bridgehead f o r an o f f e n s i v e from the north. Therefore on August 14, H i t l e r ordered that F i n l a n d was to be supplied w i t h m i l i t a r y equipment. Word, of H i t l e r ' s support of F i n l a n d reached Haider on August 22. His d i a r y evinces s u r p r i s e : "Reversal of a t t i t u d e of Fuhrer w i t h respect to F i n l a n d . Support w i t h arms and ammunition." 9 2 In the f o l l o w i n g days Haider recorded f u r t h e r that F i n l a n d was to be supplied w i t h a i r p l a n e s and, i n the event of Soviet a t t a c k , 93 Petsamo was to be occupied. Negotiations w i t h F i n n i s h O f f i c i a l s were begun and on September 12 an arms-purchase 94 agreement was concluded. Meanwhile Goring had d i r e c t e d the A i r M i n i s t r y to supply F i n n i s h orders promptly. On August 30 he informed Thomas that the Fuhrer would f i n d any f u r t h e r Russian p o l i t i c a l or m i l i t a r y advance on the European continent " d i s p l e a s i n g " . The Soviets were to be informed of German assistance to F i n l a n d w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of dissuading them 9 5 from moving forward. y A f u r t h e r German F i n n i s h agreement, pro-v i d i n g f o r the t r a n s i t of German troops and equipment through 9 2 Haider D i a r y (Aug. 22, 1940), G.D.,D,X,366, footnote 2. 93 Loc. c i t . 9 4 Weinberg, op. c i t . , p. 127. 95 N.D. 1456-P.S.; G.D.,D,X,366, footnote 2. 122 96 F i n l a n d was signed on September 22. German troops immediately entered F i n l a n d . Molotov was a g i t a t e d and questioned the 4 97 Charge i n Moscow on these troop movements. F r a n t i c c o r r e s -pondence on both sides revealed the degree of Russia'is concern. A l l of t h i s was to H i t l e r ' s l i k i n g and on September 26 he con-f i d e d to Raeder that h i s s w i f t a c t i o n had saved the F i n n i s h s i t u a t i o n f o r Germany and tha t no complications were to be 98 expected that year. On H i t l e r ' s i n i t i a t i v e the dispute had exacerbated German-Soviet r e l a t i o n s . The p o l i c y d e c i s i o n of J u l y 31 w a s f u r t h e r r e f l e c t e d i n the German a t t i t u d e to R u s s o - I t a l i a n r e l a t i o n s . In the period immediately f o l l o w i n g t h i s f a t e f u l Berghof conference, H i t l e r ' s i n t e r e s t i n a R u s s o - I t a l i a n rapprochement began to wane. E a r l i e r , H i t l e r had been w i l l i n g to s a c r i f i c e F i n l a n d and even jeopardize the Rome-Berlin Axis i n order to keep Soviet f r i e n d s h i p . F o l l o w i n g the Winter War the Foreign O f f i c e had c o n s i s t e n t l y t r i e d to improve r e l a t i o n s between Germany and I t a l y . Abruptly the German p o s i t i o n was reversed. However, On August 17, Ribbentrop informed A l f i e r i that "... the German Government does not d e s i r e that . . . ( I t a l y ) make too go close a rapprochement w i t h R u s s i a . . . . " 7 / This r e v e r s a l obviously had to do w i t h a p o l i c y d e c i s i o n of some magnitude. 96 N.S.R.,pp.201-203. 97 N.S.R.,pp. 198-199. 9 8 N.D.,-170-C,86. 99 See p a r t i c u l a r l y G.D.,D,IX,6,11,21,34,263,280,346,359, 381,520. 123 Similarly diplomatic preparations for an eventual attack were begun in the Balkans. Soviet action against Roumania in late June 1940 had unleashed a wave of revisionist sentiment in Bulgaria and Hungary. On June 27 the governments of both countries urged Germany to support their claims against Roumania.-*-00 Simultaneously, the Roumanian Government turned to Germany for security and requested both a t e r r i t o r i a l guarantee^0''" and the dispatch to Bucharest of a German military 102 mission. The latter request was repeated on July 13. The o f f i c i a l line which the Foreign Office took in early July was that Germany had no p o l i t i c a l but only economic interests in the Balkans. Germany therefore desired tranquility in the area. She sympathized with legitimate revisionist claims but would only support them after peace returned to Europe.'1'03 The Bulgarians and Hungarians, however, would not be quieted by Ribbentrop's honeyed words and threatened military action against Roumania. On July 4 Berlin gave way and instructed i t s Minister in Bucharest to urge the Roumanian Government to enter voluntar-i l y into negotiations with Bulgaria and Hungary for the cession 104 of land to them. Meanwhile reports were circulating that the Soviet Union in the period from July 5 to 9 had turned a friendly ear to Bulgarian and Hungarian aspirations and promised to support 105 their claims against Roumania. This prospect was clearly 1°° G.D.,D,X,37,38. 1°1 G.D.,D,X,68. 1°2 G.D.,D,X,80. 103 G.D.,D,X,70,73,75. 1°4 G.D.,D,X,80. 1 0 5 G.D.,D,X,119,165. 124 disquieting to Hitler. It would put those countries in Russia's debt and thereby threaten Germany's Balkan interests. More-over, as Ribbentrop intimated on July 8, a war in the Balkans 106 might lead to a linkup of England and Russia in the area. If the Balkans were not to f a l l to Russia by default, Hitler had to do something quickly. On July 1% he personally intervened to urge the Roumanian monarch to initiate negotia-tions with Bulgaria and Hungary. 1 0 7 During the next two weeks Hitler's decision to settle with Russia was made. It envisaged the use of Balkan territory, man power and raw materials and therefore called for Roumanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian collaboration. Hitler's moves to secure the Balkans for Germany culminated in the Second Vienna Award of August 30« Through it, he f i r s t put Bulgaria and Hungary in his debt by compelling Roumania to cede part of the Dobrudja to Bulgaria and part of Transylvania to Hungary. Then, in a masterstroke of diplomacy, he secured Roumania's allegiance by offering her a t e r r i t o r i a l guarantee. The immediate effect of Hitler's gction was to establish German hegemony in the whole of South-eastern Europe. The date of the decision which culminated in this development is instructive regarding Hitler's motives. German interest in supporting Bulgarian and Hungarian revisionist 1 0 6 G.D.,D,X,129. 1 0 7 G.D.,D,X,171. 108 G.D.,D,X,408,409,410,413. The guarantee read: "Germany and Italy assume as of today the guarantee for the integrity and invio l a b i l i t y of the Roumanian national territory." 125 claims dated from e a r l y J u l y . However H i t l e r ' s idea of a t e r r i t o r i a l guarantee of Roumania f i r s t appears i n the docu-r 1°9 110 ments on J u l y 26. I t was repeated by H i t l e r on J u l y 27, and was bas i c to h i s plans of J u l y 3 1 . 1 1 1 In them Roumania was destined to f u l f i l l the same f u n c t i o n against Russia i n the south that F i n l a n d was to f u l f i l l i n the north. Moreover, statements by H i t l e r on August 31 support the argument that the 112 guarantee of Roumania was d i r e c t e d against Russia. The developments i n the Balkans i n the c r u c i a l months of J u l y and August thus appear both as a cause and as an e f f e c t of H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n to at t a c k Russia. Soviet a c t i v i t y i n the Balkans t i l l the end of J u l y argued i n favour of an attack. Develop-ments t h e r e a f t e r stemmed l a r g e l y from the d e c i s i o n to prepare an attack. The Vienna Award caught the Soviet Government by su r p r i s e . In f a c t H i t l e r d i d not see f i t to have Molotov i n -113 formed of the award u n t i l August 31. The Soviets objected to t h i s a c t i o n by h u r l i n g a s e r i e s of charges against the German Government. The hollowness of German p r o t e s t a t i o n s was e s t a b l i s h e d beyond doubt by the dis p a t c h of German troops 114 to Roumania i n l a t e September. ^  i. ,. German a c t i o n i n the Balkans and i n F i n l a n d had been a conscious provocation of Russia. The troop movement, 1 0 9 G.D.,D,X,234. 1 1 0 G.D.,D,X,245. 1 1 1 Haider M a r y ( J u l y 3 D , G.D. ,D,X,Appendix, pp.370-374. H 2 Haider Diary (August 31), G.D. ,D,X,415,footnote 2, p. 590; N.D.,170-C,50. H 3 N.S.R.,pp.178-181. 114 Weinberg, o p . c i t . p .131. 126 following hard upon the German guarantee of Roumania strengthened the Soviet Government in i t s suspicions that i t was being systematically excluded from affairs in the Balkans. The ostensible purpose of the troops was to act as training units within the Roumanian Army11'' but their real purpose was to prepare the ground for a joint German-Roumanian offensive . „ . 116 against Russia. The resulting tension in Russo-German relations represented a calculated risk, particularly with respect to Russo-German trade relations. These relations had been 1 developing positively on the basis of the February delivery schedules after the trade bottlenecks of March and April. On July 22, 1940,Schnurre reported exceptional Soviet accommo-dation on transportation and deliveries during the preceding months but warned that d i f f i c u l t i e s could be expected in the future because German deliveries were running behind Soviet deliveries to a greater extent than the February agreement 117 provided. Following the July 31 decision Hitler must have been anxious to maintain the flow of Russian raw materials into Germany until shortly before the projected attack. To ensure this, economics would have to be insulated from politics to the greatest possible extent. German deliveries would have to be f u l f i l l e d according to schedule. On August 14, two weeks after the July 31 Berghof conference, Goring informed Thomas, 1 1 5 N.S.R.,p.206. 1 1 ^ N.D.,C-53j cited in Weinberg, op.cit.,p.131. 1 1 7 G.D.,D,X,206. 12$ head of the War Economics Department of the O.K.W., that "...the Fuhrer desires punctual deliveries to the Russians only t i l l the spring of 1941. Later we would have no interest 11 8 in satisfying Russian wishes f u l l y . " The implication was obvious. Closely intertwined with the economic repercussions of the decision to attack Russia were the military reper-cussions. F i r s t to be affected was the size of the military establishment. Early in July a reduction in the size of the armed forces had been projected. This development was abruptly reversed by Hitler's decision to attack Britain and to plan an attack on Russia. His plans, as outlined on July 31, called for an army of 180 divisions. On August 17 Keitel ordered commencement of work on an army this s i z e . T h e comprehensive order for the buildup of the army to 180 120 divisions was issued by the O.K.W. on September 10. Simultaneously,the movement of German troops to the east was begun. Following reports in late August of Soviet troop concentrations in Bessarabia and Bucovina, Hitler, on August 26,ordered that German forces in Poland were to be 121 strengthened by the addition of 12 divisions. Their true purpose, to prepare an eastern offensive, was to be disguised 118 N.D. 2353-PS. ': 1 1 9 N.D. ,:i456"rrPSo, cited in Weinberg, op. c i t . , p. 119. 1 2 0 Haider Diary (July 3 D , G.D.,D,X, footnote 1, p. 373. 121 war Diary Wehrmacht Operations Staff (August 2 6 ) , G.D.,D,X,549-550; G.D.,D,X,389-396. The Fuhrer Conferences on Naval Affairs, Brassey, p.132. 128 as a defensive maneuvre to protect German interests in the 122 Balkans. * The navy too became involved in the military pre-parations against Russia. On August 13 Raeder was instructed to strengthen the fortifications of the northern Norwegian fiords "...so that Russian attacks there would have no chance of success, and the foundation for occupying Petsamo would be l a i d . " 1 2 3 In the meantime o p e r a t i o n a l s t u d i e s f o r the eastern offensive were commenced. Preliminary studies were already begun in late August. On September 3 General Paulus was charged with the task of preparing a detailed operational plan for the 124 attack on Russia. By early November the plan was completed. At a conference of high ranking military leaders on November 4 i t , as well as Germany's proposed intervention in Greece in support of Italy, were examined. Although Hitler expected 125 Russia to remain neutral in the Greek offensive, "the problem of Soviet neutrality was to be discussed during Molotov's forthcoming v i s i t to Berlin. In the meantime, preparations for the "Ostfall" were to be continued. On November 12 Hitler issued directive 18 on the conduct of the war. It coincided with Molotov's arrival in Berlin and had something to say regarding i t . The directive contained Hitler's decisions on matters previously discussed and indicated no withdrawal from 1 2 2 N.D.,1229-P.S. 123 Fuhrer Conferences, Brassey, p.126; N.D. 170-C,76. !24 Weinberg, op. c i t . , p.126. 1 2 5 N.D.,170-C,95; Fuhrer Conferences, Brassey, p.146. 129 his decision to attack Russia. On the contrary i t treated Molotov's v i s i t as an event of no consequence and ordered "...whatever result this conference has, preparations are to be continued for the Eastern campaign."12^ No detailed directive regarding the campaign had yet been issued but this was solely because plans were not yet completed. Hitler 7 promised one as soon as he had approved the plans of the army. These plans, l o g i s t i c a l and operational, were gathered together by Haider and presented to Hitler on December 5 . 1 2 7 Hitler agreed to them and ordered that they, together with plans from the O.K.W., be synthesized into a detailed directive. This synthesis was issued by Hitler on December 9 as Directive 128 21 and given the code name "Fa l l Barbarossa." The operational planning leading to the December 8 directive for the attack on Russia has been treated in some detail to show that i t was the logical culmination of a process initiated by Hitler's decision of July 31- As such i t was "...merely a summing up of plans already worked out." 1 2 9 The directive was not issued earlier because the preparatory studies were not completed. It had nothing to do with doubts in Hitler's mind concerning the attack as some writers suggest. 1 3 0 These doubts did in fact exist,but the date on which Directive 21 126 Fuhrer Conferences, Brassey, p. l66;N.D.,444-P.S. 1 2 7 N.D.,1799-P.S. 1 2 8 N.D.,446-P.S.; N.S.R.,pp.260-264« 1 2 9 Weinberg, Germany and the Soviet Union, p.139. 1 3 0 Hinsley, Hitler's Strategy, p. 109. 130 was issued does not e l u c i d a t e them. Nor was the d i r e c t i v e a 131 sequel to Molotov's v i s i t to B e r l i n on November 12 and 13. In the meantime, Germany took other measures which f u r t h e r exacerbated German Soviet r e l a t i o n s . The T r i p a r t i t e Pact was signed by Japan, I t a l y and Germany i n B e r l i n on 132 September 27, 1940. -J The purpose of the Treaty, from the German view p o i n t , was p r i m a r i l y to encourage Japanese aggression against B r i t a i n and to f r i g h t e n the United States i n t o per-manent n e u t r a l i t y . I t was al s o hoped that Russia would be pursuaded to renounce her i n t e r e s t s i n the Balkans. The Pact came as a s u r p r i s e to Russia. She was not informed of the Treaty t i l l the day previous to i t s s i g n a t u r e . ^ 3 3 On September 26 the German Charge d ' A f f a i r e s i n Moscow, von T i p p e l s k i r c h , on i n s t r u c t i o n s from Ribbentrop, assured Molotov that the Treaty would not a f f e c t e x i s t i n g good r e l a t i o n s between Germany and Russia, but a n t i c i p a t i n g a p r o t e s t , T i p p e l s k i r c h added that an i n v i t a t i o n f o r Molotov to come to B e r l i n would soon be f o r t h -coming. Molotov reserved comment on the Treaty but pressed T i p p e l s k i r c h f o r an expl a n a t i o n of the landing of German troops 134 i n F i n l a n d . Further Soviet p r o t e s t s concerning German troop movements i n t o both F i n l a n d and Roumania were made i n the • ^ l See H i l g e r , o p . c i t . , p.303 f o r the opposite view; a l s o Paul Schmidt, S t a t i s t auf Diplomatischer Biihne, p. 514. 132 N.D.,2643-P.S. 133 N.S.R.,pp.195-196. 1 3 4 N.S.R.,pp.197-198. 131 following days. Hitler was determined not to withdraw from his positions either in Finland or the Balkans. The idea of a delimitation of interests on a world wide scale,which was broached to Molotov by Ribbentrop in a letter on October 13, was designed to divert Russia from these areas and to conceal from Soviet eyes the functions for which they were to be used. 1 However, H i t l e r 1 s invitation to Molotov to v i s i t Berlin in November was not intended solely as a diversionary strategem. No doubt Hitler was interested in discovering Soviet plans for the coming months. Possibly,he was even willing to revoke his decision to attack Russia i f Molotov would agree to his pro-posals for a long term delimitation of interest. Anyway, he did not expect to have his proposal accepted. On the day of Molotov's arrival the already discussed order was given that plans for the attack on Russia already in progress were to be continued. At any rate,a meeting with Molotov could do no harm 35 N . S . R.pp.2 0 3 - 2 0 4 ; 206-207, 147- :-p.?>~7~2;:.3. On October 13 Ribbentrop directed a 15 page letter to Stalin. First he put up an elaborate defense of" German policy and tried to gloss over those developments which were most disquieting to Moscow. Ribbentrop's intentions may even have been honest for i t is not at a l l certain that Hitler took Ribbentrop into his confidence regarding his earlier decisions. The substance of Ribbentrop's apologia was a s i l l y indictment of British policy. Roumania had received a t e r r i t o r i a l guarantee to protect German economic interests in the Balkans against British intrigues. The German troops in Roumania were there as instruction units and to safeguard German interests against Britain. German troop landings in Finland were represented as supply movements into Norway. The Tripartite Pact was not aimed at the Soviet Union but should, on the contrary, f a c i l i t a t e a Russo-Japanese rapprochement. If this did not convince Molotov, Ribbentrop hoped that his peroration would at least divert his attention. In i t Ribbentrop proposed a grandiose delimitation of interests among the Soviet Union, Italy, Japan and Germany. N.S.R.,pp.207-213. 136 Ciano, Diplomatic Papers, p. 406. 132 and,if the Soviets were obstinate, at least Hitl'er:l?;o ialdeha ve a pretext for his assault. Molotov arrived in Berlin on November 12 and conver-sations were begun forthwith. The tenor of the conversations soon revealed that Hitler was determined not to draw back from his positions of influence in the Balkans and in Finland. Further Russian interests in Europe were to be repulsed and Russian energy diverted towards the Persian Gulf. The German tactics were apparent from the outset. At the f i r s t session Ribbentrop tried to lay down a conference agenda of three points: Russia's association with the Tripartite Pact, a delimitation of extra-European spheres of influence among Russia, Japan, Italy, and 13' Germany and a revision of the Straits Regime in favour of Russia. Molotov soon showed that he was not to be diverted from discussing the Balkan and Finnish questions. He faced Hitler as an equal and pricked his grandiloquent and vague pro-posals for the diversion of the "bankrupt British estate" with pointed questions. The Finnish question was looked on by Molotov as the touchstone of Russo-German relations. It was the last territory assigned to Russia in the Moscow agreements which had not been incorporated into the Soviet Union. German troop movements and arms shipments were preventing Russia from absorbing i t . Molotov demanded that Finland be dealt with on the basis of the spheres of influence agreement. Hitler tried to evade the question and justify German action in Finland on the grounds of wartime 137 N . S . R . ,ppp. 217-255. 133 n e c e s s i t y . H i t l e r warned Molotov to keep the peace i n the B a l t i c . The f a c t that one t h i r d of the d i s c u s s i o n s i n B e r l i n were devoted to the F i n n i s h question a t t e s t s to the urgency w i t h which i t was regarded by Russia and the int r a n s i g e n c e of the German p o s i t i o n . Molotov f u r t h e r demanded that Germany revoke i t s guarantee of Roumania. When H i t l e r c a t e g o r i c a l l y refused to do this,Molotov countered w i t h a question of a Russian guarantee to B u l g a r i a . H i t l e r evaded t h i s question by asking i f B u l g a r i a had requested the guarantee and by s t a t i n g that he could not give an opinion without f i r s t c o n s u l t i n g M u s s o l i n i . Molotov made the s a t i s f a c t o r y settlement of the Balkan question a p r e c o n d i t i o n of Russia's adhesion to the T r i p a r t i t e Pact. The Soviet Union was not i n p r i n c i p l e opposed to j o i n i n g the Axis Powers but f i r s t r e q u i r e d more p r e c i s e Information on i t s nature and purposes. On November 13 the Soviet Foreign M i n i s t e r l e f t B e r l i n . Molotov's two day v i s i t had a l t e r e d nothing. Both the northern and southern p i n c e r s of H i t l e r ' s projected f r o n t f o r the d r i v e against Russia were s t i l l i n German hands. There had been no agreement because H i t l e r had not sought agreement. In August 1939 he had been w i l l i n g to make g i g a n t i c t e r r i t o r i a l concessions f o r Soviet n e u t r a l i t y . Payment had been c e r t a i n . In the f a l l of 1940,however,he was not even w i l l i n g to give Russia her r i g h t f u l due i n F i n l a n d . I t can indeed be argued 138 For the opposite view that Molotov's v i s i t marked the occasion f o r H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n to s e t t l e w i t h Russia see Weizsacker, EErinnerungen, pp.304 ,305. 134 t h a t H i t l e r ' s stand on the Balkans was d i c t a t e d by h i s plans to intervene i n Greece,but the same cannot be s a i d w i t h regard to F i n l a n d . Moreover, H i t l e r ' s proposals f o r an e x t r a European sphere of i n f l u e n c e agreement was f a r - f e t c h e d and the promised t e r r i t o r i a l gains uncertain. The f a c t that Molotov had not l e t himself be b l u f f e d strengthened H i t l e r ' s determination to s e t t l e w i t h Russia. On November 14 Raeder observed that H i t l e r was s t i l l " . . . i n c l i n e d towards a demonstration w i t h Russia. , , 1 3 9 F o l l o w i n g Molotov's departure from B e r l i n on November 1 3 , p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y preparations f o r the attack on Russia were a c c e l e r a t e d . The f a i l u r e of the B e r l i n conversations was used as the pretext f o r the preparations. On November 20 H i t l e r wrote to M u s s o l i n i that Molotov's v i s i t had "...made i t p l a i n that he was becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y i n t e r e s t e d i n the B a l k a n s . " 1 4 0 Molotov's l e t t e r of November 25 added f u e l to these c h a r g e s . 1 4 1 Meanwhile the planning f o r "Operation Barbarossa" had 1 39 N.D. 170-C,98. On November 25 a f t e r h i s r e t u r n to Moscow Molotov t r a n s m i t t e d to Schulenburg h i s Government's co n d i t i o n s f o r the accession of Russia to the proposed Four Power Pact: (N.S.R.,p.258,259)• They merely covered the same ground which had been gone over during Molotov's v i s i t to B e r l i n . German troops were to be withdrawn ffom F i n l a n d i n exchange f o r a Soviet assurance to keep the peace i n the area. B u l g a r i a was to s i g n a mutual as s i s t a n c e pact w i t h Russia and give Soviet forces a base w i t h i n s t r i k i n g distance of the Dardanelles. The area i n the d i r e c t i o n of the P e r s i a n Gulf was to be recognized as the centre o f . S o v i e t a s p i r a t i o n s . F i n a l l y ^ J a p a n was,,to renounce her claims to raw^materiais c o n c e s s i o n s ^ i r i Northern Sakhalin. The memorandum merely strengthened H i t l e r ' s view that the f u l f i l l m e n t of Soviet terms f o r a long range understanding would put i n jeopardy Germany's proposed jump o f f spots f o r the i n v a s i o n of Russia. The proposals were never answered despite the f a c t that Russia continued untllFebruary to ask f o r a r e p l y . N.S.R.,pp.270-271. 1 4 0 C i t e d i n R o s s i , The Russo-German A l l i a n c e , p. 172. 1 4 1 N.S.R.,pp.258,259. 1 135 been complicated by the failure of Mussolini's offensive against Greece. Before the attack on Russia could commence the right flank of Hitler's anti-Russian front would have to be consolidated. The Balkan states would have to be tied even more securely to the Axis and a path cleared into Greece. On November 20, a scant week after Molotov's return to Moscow, Hungary was pursuaded to join the Tripartite Pact. Three days later Roumania followed suit and Slovakia was also induced to sign. Bulgaria was now the last state separating Germany from 142 Greece and Russo-German tensions now focussed on her. Molotov offered Bulgaria a mutual assistance pact in late November. His proposal was rejected. Thereafter the German Government increased i t s pressure on Bulgaria and despite repeated Soviet threats secured Bulgarian adherence to the 143 Tripartite Pact on March 1. J German forces could now be massed on the Greek frontier and the Luftwaffe put in bombing 144 range of the Ukraine and the Caucusus. The Soviet reaction 145 was increased sullenness. Tension reached a peak in the following days with the Yugoslav c r i s i s . On March 25 the Yugoslav Government reluctantly signed with the Axis. An internal Yugoslav c r i s i s was thereby unleashed by pro-Soviet circles; the Government was overthrown and a pro-Russian 1 4 2 Kordt, Wahn undWlrklichkeit, p. 287. X 4 3 N.S.R.,p.276. 1 4 4 RIIA, Survey, The I n i t i a l Triumph of the Axis, p. 396. 1 4 5 N.D.,170-C, 128. 136 Government i n s t a l l e d . Yugoslavia's a l l i a n c e w i t h Germany was repudiated and a t r e a t y of f r i e n d s h i p and non aggression pro-posed to the Soviet Government. The Yugoslavian o f f e r was accepted and on A p r i l 5 a Russo-Yugoslavian Pact was signed." 1" 4 0 Russian a c t i o n , however, was no more than a token gesture f o r Russia was not i n a geographical p o s i t i o n to give Yugoslavia m i l i t a r y a s s i s t a n c e . On A p r i l 6 the German attack on Yugoslavia began. Simultaneously German troops invaded Greece and i n four weeks cle a r e d the Balkans of enemy f o r c e s . H i t l e r ' s southern wing was now i n p o s i t i o n f o r the attack on Russia. H i t l e r ' s l i g h t e n i n g v i c t o r y persuaded S t a l i n to reverse h i m s e l f . N e g o t i a t i o n from a p o s i t i o n of strength had not stopped H i t l e r ; perhaps appeasement would. From now on S t a l i n l e f t no e f f o r t u n t r i e d to keep H i t l e r i n good humour. 1 4 7 In the f i e l d of m i l i t a r y planning,few complications were encountered. In December and January various planning con-ferences were held and by February planning was f a r enough advanced f o r H i t l e r to s e t t l e d e t a i l e d problems connected w i t h the proposed attack. The Naval War Diary of February 18 c h a r a c t e r i z e d the proposed camouflage measures f o r "Operation 14f Barbarossa" as "the greatest deception i n war h i s t o r y . . . . " Plans f o r the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of Roumania and F i n l a n d were 1 4 6 N.S.R., pp.316-318. 1 4 7 N.D. 170-0,149. 1 4 8 N.D. 872-P.S. X 4 9 N.D. 033-C; N.D. 170-0,121. 137 150 completed .by early May. ^ On June 14 the Supreme Commanders of the Armed Forces, Goring, Raeder, Brauchitsch and Keitel presented their f i n a l plans for the attack to H i t l e r . ^ 1 But the timing of the invasion was complicated by the Balkan war in April. Planning in January had been based on the assumption that the attack would come in mid-May. On March 27 Hitler informed his military commanders that the Balkan operation would force postponement of the attack by 152 four weeks. Then on April 30 Hitler set the offensive for June 2 2 . ^ Economic planning paralleled military planning, In November 1940 Goring informed General Thomas, of the War Economics Department of O.K.W., of the planned attack. Detailed studies of the Soviet economy were immediately begun and in 154 January they were coordinated under a planning staff. ^ On February 28 orders were issued for the creation of an organ-ization to exploit the economic area of Russia. By April 2 planning was far enough advanced to permit a memorandum to be drafted on the aims and methods of the German occupation of Russia. 1 5 6 Neither Italy or Japan were informed of the preceding plans. Hitler probably withheld his decision from Mussolini Weinberg, op. c i t . , p. 149. !51 N.D., O78-C. 1 52 N . D . , 1746-P.S.; N.D.,170-C, 142. x53 N.D., 873-P.S. !54 N.D. 2353-P.S. X55 N.D., 1317-P.S.; N.D., 1157-P.S. I? 6 N.D., 1017-P.S. 138 because he thought i t unnecessary to inform him. Italy, Hitler knew, would be eager enough when the attack began. The Italians had no doubt discerned a change in Hitler's attitude to Russia since the winter of 1939-1940. Despite Hitler's assurance to Mussolini on January 19, 1941,that as 157 long as Stalin lived there would be no danger from Russia, J the Duce found Hitler's mood to be "...very anti-Russian."158 On May 14 the most Ribbentrop would say in answer to a question by Ciano on Hitler's eastern plans ,was that i f Stalin were not careful "Russia w i l l be dispatched in the space of three months."159 On June 2, less than three weeks before the scheduled opening of the eastern offensive, Ciano came away from a conversation with Hitler with the impression that ..for the moment Hitler has no plan of action."1°° The Japanese question was more complex than the Italian one. Hitler was convinced he could vanquish Russia alone. Moreover, he probably f e l t that Japanese knowledge of his plans would encourage Japan to seek an accomplice role against Russia which would divert her from an attack against British positions in the Pacific. At any rate when the Japanese Foreign Minister, Matsuiicka, paid a four day v i s i t to Berlin in late March and early April, Hitler's Soviet Plans were veiled 157 N.D., 134-C. 1 5 8 Ciano Diaries, p. 338. Ciano Diaries, p. 351; N.D.,1866-P.S. 1 d 0 Ciano Diaries, p. 361. 139 from him.101- The most that Ribbentrop would say was that "...present relations with Russia were correct...but not very 162 friendly." Hitler raised the question of war with Russia merely to dismiss i t . However, Ribbentrop tried to dissuade MatsuDka from discussing a non-aggression pact with Soviet leaders. A further hint was contained in Ribbentrop's refer-ence to the need for greater shipments of rubber to Germany via sea routes; " . . . t r a f f i c over the Siberian Railroad was i A T not adequate." German aims must have seemed thoroughly ambiguous to the Japanese Foreign Minister and he probably 164 must also have considered a Russo-German war improbable. On his return to Tokyo he visited Moscow where, on April 13,. a Russo-Japanese neutrality pact was signed. Some three months later, on July 10, Ribbentrop realized the error of German policy and instructed the German Ambassador in Tokyo to request 165 the Japanese Government to intervene against Russia in Siberia. The request came too late. Stalin's frantic efforts to win Hitler's favour during the three months preceding the attack on Russia, which have been N.S.R.,pp.281-316. On March 24 Weizsacker had suggested to Ribbentrop that the Japanese be informed of Hitler [ s pro-jected assault on Russia: Weizsacker, op. c i t . , p. 309* 1 6 2 N.S.R., p. 284. 1 6 3 N.S.R., p. 307. 1 64 x o ^ Beloff, The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia,II.„p.373. Rossi, op. c i t . , p. 195. 140 166 f u l l y discussed elsewhere,were f u t i l e . H i t l e r ' s d e c i s i o n had long since f a l l e n ; Germany p o l i c y proceeded along "...a mental one-way s t r e e t against R u s s i a . " L O 7 However, there were German voices r a i s e d i n cau t i o n . The army and navy commanders questioned the p r o p o s i t i o n that the way to London l a y over 168 Moscow and warned against a two-front war. Of the c i v i l i a n s opposing a war against Russia Schulenburg was most p e r s i s t e n t i n h i s representations.. Since the Moscow Pact he had. conceived of Russo-German r e l a t i o n s as a r e v i v a l of the Rapallo s p i r i t . In mid A p r i l he journeyed to B e r l i n where,in c o l l a b o r a t i o n w i t h Weizsacker, he t r i e d to 169 dissuade H i t l e r from an atta c k against R u s s i a . H i t l e r received Schulenburg but would not even admit to him the f a c t that an attack was planned. Schnurre's v a r i o u s memoranda to the e f f e c t that Russian raw m a t e r i a l d e l i v e r i e s to Germany were e s s e n t i a l to the German war economy must a l s o be regarded as 170 protests against the idea of a Russo-German war. ' Their e f f e c t was probably the opposite of what Schnurre had intended. I f the war e f f o r t were dependent upon Russian raw m a t e r i a l d e l i v e r i e s , then i t was also dependent upon Soviet good w i l l . Of t h i s H i t l e r was not convinced and 1 6 6 For S t a l i n ' s e f f o r t s see N.D.,1?0-C, 149, 150, 151, 155, 159, 160, 161, 165, 167, 169, 176; Kordt, Wahn u. W i r k l i c h k e i t , pp. 298-300. B e l o f f , op. c i t . , I I , pp. 377-384. 167 " ' Weizsacker, Memoirs, p. 313' 1 ° 8 N.D.,170-C, 86, 98, 102; Fuhrer, Conferences, Brassey, (November 14, 1940), p. 153. 1 d 9 Weizsacker, Erinnerungen, p. 315* 1 7 0 H i l g e r , Wir und der Kreml, p. 306; N.S.R., pp.330-334. 141 probably parsuaded himself that control over his raw material needs was essential to his programme. In spite of a l l these warnings Hitler was not to be dissuaded. On June 22, 19A1, German panzers rolled across the German-Russian border on schedule. 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