two countries canceled their mutual war debts and, in commercialrnagreements, repeated some of Lenin’s commitments.rnOf far greater significance were the secret clauses to the treatyrnthat obtained until Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union inrn1941. Those secret clauses circumvented the Versailles Treaty’srnban on German rearmament by providing for the training ofrnGerman troops on Russian soil. They set up the mechanismrnfor Germany’s purchase of armaments prohibited under thernVersailles Treaty and formalized agreements between thernReichswehr and the Kremlin going back to Lenin’s time. Theyrnalso established protocols and arrangements that Hitler andrnStalin would make public in 1939 in their “nonaggression”rntreaty. That this joint laying-on of hands shocked Westernrnleaders is an index of their naivete. It was denounced as thern”first step” toward a second world war, but it had long been inrnoperation.rnLenin was ready to sign away Russia’s patrimony to gain Germanrnsupport in his drive to take over a R.ussian Empire torn byrnwar and seemingly doomed by defeat on the battlefield. But hernwas also convinced that, with the termination of hostilities,rnGerman imperial power would collapse and an analogousrnrevolution would put Germany in his camp. He saw norn”betrayal” of the revolution in this, but another step towardrnworld hegemony. He attempted to give substance to thisrnscheme by sending Karl Radek into Germany in the earlyrn1920’s to overthrow the feeble Weimar Republic and to establishrna “national Bolshevik” regime that would merge with RussianrnBolshevism. For he carried in his head what every Russianrnleader, politician, and demagogue since Peter the Great hadrnheld—a vision of Russia as a “Third Rome,” which would steprnover a moribund Europe and bring to fruition in the modernrnworld what had but briefly existed as the Holy Roman Empire.rnThe thousandth anniversary of this “Third Rome” would havernbeen celebrated by President Gorbachev, had he not tripped onrnhis way to the forum—and it has lived within the hearts ofrnRussians as a kind of “thousand year Reich.” In acceding tornGerman demands, therefore, Lenin was taking both a short andrna long view.rnThe Seeckt papers, retrieved from Reichswehr archivesrnafter the Nazi defeat and swiftly buried by the StaternDepartment, are crucial to understanding the nature of thisrnRusso-German symbiosis, but they also open doors to previouslyrnpuzzling aspects of the events that led to World War II.rnGeneral Hans von Seeckt, a military delegate to the VersaillesrnGonference, was the creator of the Reichswehr under thernWeimar Republic. In a memorandum to the Reichschancellorrnin July 1922, he attacked those in Germany who sought to dissolvernthe secret “alliance” with Russia and to move Germany inrna Western direction. The memorandum went into such crucialrnmatters as Franco-Briti.sh antagonisms, the status of Polandrnand Gzechoslovakia, and the European alignment of power—rnmatters that today merit serious consideration but arc often ignored.rnThose passages in the Seeckt memoranda dealing withrnGerman-Soviet relations, excerpted here, show that the Germansrnhad no qualms about associations with the Bolsheviks:rnThe connection that Germany has formed withrnRussia represents the first and, so far, almost the onlyrnincrement in power that we have achieved since thernconclusion of the peace. It is only natural. . . that thisrnconnection should begin on the economic plane; butrnthe value of it consists precisely in the fact that [it]rnopens the possibility of political and military ties.rnThat such a double connection must constitute an incrementrnof power for Germany—and for Russia asrnwell—cannot be doubted . . .rnPoland is the heart of the eastern problem. Poland’srnexistence is intolerable, incompatible with the essentialrnconditions of Germany’s life. . .. The reestablishmentrnof the former border between Germany and Russiarn[that is, the elimination of Poland] is essential to the recoveryrnof both countries. .. . This should be the basis ofrnan agreement between the two countries. . .rnWe have two aims. Eirst, we desire to strengthenrnRussia in the economic and political—therefore in thernmilitary—spheres, thus indirectly strengthening ourselvesrnbecause Russia is a potential future ally. We alsornwant to strengthen ourselves directly by helping buildrnup a useful industry which will help us in case of need.rn. . . [This goal] is being put into effect by German privaternindustry. .. . The Russians have already expressedrnthe wish to establish and maintain contact with us onrnother military questions. . . . We are seeking to achievernour aim of direct rearmament in the same way, throughrnprivate industry. . . . The details of the negotiations canrnbe conducted only through the military authorities. .. .rnGermany will not be Bolshcvized by coming to an understandingrnwith Russia on questions of foreign policy.rn. . . Gertainly, there is a widespread and understandablerndesire for peace among the German people . .. but tornpractice politics means to lead. In spite of all, thernGerman people will follow the leader in the fight forrnexistence.rnThe “elimination” of Poland, the hammer stroke thatrnbrought on World War II, was even then, in 1922, a major goalrnof both German and Soviet policy—though the Soviet Union’srnefforts to recapture its half of the Polish state by invasion duringrnWorld War I had failed and resulted in the ignominy of thernBrest-Litovsk treaty, which compelled the Russians to pullrnback to their own borders. Seventeen years later, in Februaryrn1939, and six months before the announcement of the Hitler-rnStalin Pact, Seeckt’s program for Russo-Gcrman military andrnpolitical “cooperation” was outlined in a memorandum byrnMajor Fritz Tsehunke, over the years a close friend and collaboratorrnof Seeckt. Some salient points from the Seeckt archive:rnImplementing the ideas of General Seeckt, the socalledrnSondergruppe R [Special Unit R] was created byrnthe Reichswehr Ministry. Nicdermayer and I were sentrnto Moscow to establish military contacts with the USSR.rn. . . The result of our work, which for certain reasons hadrnto be disguised in Germany as well as in foreign countries,rnwas the founding of the Society for the Advancingrnof Industrial Enterprises (GEFU) with headquarters inrnBerlin and Moscow. A very considerable capital was putrnat my disposal by the German government. The purposernof GEFU was:rn1) The conclusion of a license-agreement betweenrnthe airplane factory Junkers and the Soviet governmentrnfor the production of [military] airplanes at the plantrnFili near Moscow.rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn