thc liac an idea of what motivated Imperial Germany andrnImperial Russia in 1918, as revealed by the now-forgottenrnW’lUi-Nikki correspondence between Cousin Wilhclm andrnCousin Nicholas. And thcv arc aware that the period from thernsecond decade of the 20th century through Worid War II andrnthe Cold War will in the future be seen as a historical gestalt,rnmuch like the Hundred Years War. Our current policymakersrnremember little more than the sealed train that, consistentrnwith Bismarck’s drang nach Osten, carried Lenin through thernGerman lines to Petrograd’s (St. Petersburg’s) Finland Station.rnHistorians and diplomats have buried the documents thatrndetailed the agreements made by Lenin, en route to Petrograd,rnwith Germany’s military and banking interests for whatrnamounted to the economic integration of a dying RussianrnEmpire with a Germany still confident that it could achieve atrnleast a stalemate in the war. The Seeckt papers, discoveredrnamong Reiehswehr archives after the Nazi collapse and lockedrnaway from philandering researchers by the State Department,rnmap out a grand strategy for an Ostpolitik later enunciated byrnWillv Brandt’s Social Democrats. Even before the breakup ofrnthe Soviet Union, Germany showed a deeper interest in developmentsrnto the east than in a “unification” of a Europe itrncould not dominate.rnHistories of the Russian Revolution, biographies and writingsrnof Lenin and Trotsky, and official Russo-Germanrnpronouncements either downplay or flatly deny the connectionrnbetween the Bolsheviks and Imperial Germany, though excommunistrnhistorians like Ruth Fischer—once the leadingrnmember of the Austrian Communist Party—tread on the margins.rnThere is solid evidence that the Bolshevik drive to assumernpower bv overthrowing the Kerensky regime—”The mostrndemocratic government in the world,” Lenin called it—wasrnfinanced by Gcrmam’ with millions of gold rubles. The transmissionrnof some of these funds to the Bolsheviks was in thernhands of one Alexander Helphand, known in revolutionary circlesrnas Parvus, who was simultaneously active among the Bolshe’rniks and on the German payroll. It was Parvus who engineeredrnLenin’s return to Russia in a sealed train that wasrnnevertheless open enough to admit German negotiators. Thernimmediate aim of the German General Staff was to aid in arncoup d’etat that would take Russia out of the war. But its widerangingrnagreements with Lenin went far beyond this, calling forrnthe opening of Russia to German industrial and banking interestsrnand demanding control of Russian reconstruction andrnnatural resources after the conclusion of hostilities.rnThe file of letters from the Imperial German staff and thernReiehsbank, now safelv buried in the archives, covers mattersrnother than the political-economic plan envisioned by Gcrmam-rnand welcomed bv the Bolsheviks, and it offers insights intornthe international policies that led to World War II. A 1917rndocument on the letterhead of the German General Staff’s Intelligencern{hlachtrichten) section in Berlin, addressed to thern”Government of the People’s Commissars,” stated that “in accordancernwith the agreeirrent . . . between our General Staffrnand the leaders of the Russian revolutionary army . . . Lenin,rnTrotsky, Raskolnikov, and Dybenko, the Russian division of ourrnGeneral Staff” would participate in and direct revolutionary aeti’rnities within Russia—and a list of German officers being assignedrnwas appended. In November of that year, the Councilrnof People’s Commissars was informed that another contingentrnof German officers had been assigned as “militar’ advisers.”rnOn January 12, 1918, the General Staff showed its muscle byrngiving Commissar of Foreign Affairs Trotsky a list of the “mainrncandidates for reelection” to the Communist Party’s CentralrnCommittee. “The General Staff orders us to insist on the electionrnof the following persons: Trotsky, Lenin, Zinoviev,rnKamenev, Joffe, Sverdlovsk (etc.). Please inform the Presidentrnof the Council [Lenin] of the General Staff’s wish.” Shortlyrnthereafter, a memorandum from the Reiehsbank, addressed tornTrotsky, informed the Bolsheviks:rnNotification has been received . .. from Stockholm thatrn50 million rubles in gold has been transferred to thernPeople’s Commissars. This credit has been supplied . . .rnin order to cover the cost of the Red Guards [at therntime Lenin’s only reliable troops] and agitators in therncountry. . . . I am instructed to convey the agreement ofrnthe Imperial Bank against the credit of the GeneralrnStaff of 5 million gold rubles [for the capture or sabotagernof U.S. war materials being sent to the ImperialrnRussian forces].rnThe Reiehsbank, which continued to supply gold to the Bolsheviks,rnrepeatedly reminded Lenin and Trotsky of the commitmentsrnthey had made—commitments that guaranteed tornGermany and its bankers what amounted almost to the totalrntakeover of the Russian economy. On January 18, 1918, G.rnSchantz, representing the Reiehsbank, wrote to Lenin outliningrnsome of the “guiding” principles, as ordered by Germanrn”commercial and industrial” groups: “The conflict of the Russianrnrevolution with the Russian capitalists absolutely doesrnnot interest German manufacturing circles…. You can destroyrnRussian capitalists if you please, but it is not possible for us tornpermit the destruction of Russian [industrial] enterprises.”rnIt was “essential,” Schantz wrote, “to conduct a canvassrnand gather statistical information with regard to the conditionrnof industry, and in view of the absence of money in Russia, tornaddress in business conversation” a consortium of Germanrnbanks. In the postwar era, all goods shipped to Russia, underrna German monopoly of trade, would have to be paid for in advancern”to the amount of 75 percent of the market value,”rnwith the balance payable in six months. This letter had beenrnpreceded by a “resolution” giving Germany exclusive right tornthe purchase of all Russian securities for five years after thernsigning of a separate peace treaty between the two countries.rnThe agreements signed by Lenin and Trotsky also gave Germanyrnexclusive rights for five years after the peace in the developmentrnof Russia’s “coal, metallurgical, machine tools, oil,rnchemical, and pharmaceutical” industries—with Russia’s industrialrneconomy run by a “supreme advisory organ consistingrnof 10 Russian specialists and 10 from German industrial organizations.”rnThe Communist leaders also agreed to cede twornmining districts in the area of Poland they controlled and torngive the oil region of Galicia to Austria-Hungary. The planningrndepartments of “producing and manufacturing industries. . .rnmust be controlled by German specialists,” and all banking wasrnto be an adjunct of the German banking system.rnThe collapse of the Kaiser’s armies before the onslaught ofrnfresh American troops, and the Treaty of Versailles, signaled thernend of these “arrangements,” but the magnetic field thatrnpulled Germany and Russia together remained. In 1922, underrnthe Treaty of Rapallo, Weimar Germany became the firstrncountry to give de jure recognition to the Soviet Union. ThernFEBRUARY 1995/19rnrnrn