2) The founding of the German-Russian joint-stockrncompany Bersol near Samaria for the construction of arnchemical plant to produce poison gas.rn3) Production of artillery ammunition with the helprnof German technical assistance.rnAt the same time the work of Sondergruppe R wentrnon. Already achieved was the establishment of pilot andrntank schools with German participation. [Despite hostilernspeeches in the Reichstag] the foundations hadrnbeen laid and future historians will appreciate it. .. .rnMuch had been achieved, and a firm basis for furtherrnprogress was formed .. .rnThe German-Russian alliance had been looked onrnwith suspicion but was fortunately underestimated. . ..rnIt is true we were on very good terms with the RedrnArmv. The then chief of the German Truppennamt,rnGeneral I lasse, conducted detailed discussions with thernRussian chief of staff, Lebedev, whose conversationsrnwere also strongly concerned with the possibility of warrnwith Poland . . .rnThe economic collaboration resulted from the wellestablishedrnmilitary contact which, looking back, hasrnbeen of tremendous importance to our industry. It isrnno secret that German industry during the years of ourrneconomic misery was kept alive by the amount of Russianrnorders. .. . The Reichsbank received during the periodrn1929 through 1933, 1.33 billion RM in gold and silver.rnThe balance was paid off in essential raw materials.rnThe fact must be specially underscored that it wasrndue to these large Russian orders that our industryrncould maintain and even enlarge its industrial plants,rnsecuring technical progress and keeping together as wellrnas training teams of specialists and educating the risingrngeneration.rnThe idea of a military and economic alliance between Russiarnand Germany had originated with Otto von Bismarck, therncreator of the modern German welfare state. The grand strategyrnhad been close to the hearts of Kaiser Wilhelm and TsarrnNicholas, who seriously considered siding with the CentralrnPowers in 1914, as well as to those of nationalists in both theirrncountries. (I lad the tinder that set off the Great War not beenrnsparked in Serbia, a country with strong ties to Russia, TsarrnNicholas—the record seems clear—might well have joinedrnthe Gentral Powers.) As Boris Nicolaevsky, one of the bestinformedrnexperts on Russian and Central European politics,rnnoted in 1941, German nationalists “looked upon Russia as arnstable state [before and after the Revolution] whose destructionrnwas neither feasible nor desirable.” As Nicolaevsky wrote in thernNew Leader:rnThey advocated building the future on the basis of thernclosest ties of friendship and long-term political andrneconomic collaboration with Russia. An alliance of thernSoviets, with their boundless wealth of raw materials,rnand a highly industrialized Germany could, accordingrnto this view, form a vast combine capable of ruling thernwodd. . . . For the lasting success of such a liaison it was,rnof course, necessary to obtain positions of decisive influencernin Russia.rnHolding this view, but from another angle, was Joseph Stalin.rnThis put him in conflict with Sergei Kirov, ostensibly hisrnclosest friend but one of the few party leaders with any independentrninfluence. Kirov and a substantial part of the communistrnleadership favored a move away from Germany and towardrnthe West. The assassination of Kirov, on Stalin’s ordersrnand at the behest of the Reichswehr, was the excuse for thernfirst of the Great Purges, which, ostensibly aimed at ridding thernparty of pro-German influence, gave the Vozhd undisputedrnmastery. The Reichswehr, with Stalin’s support, organized thernunited front of Nazis, communists, and nationalists thatrnopposed the Social Democrats in the 1931 Prussian plebiscite,rnthe first severe blow to the stability of the Weimar republic. Inrn1932, again at the prompting of Stalin and the Reichswehr,rnNazis and communists literally linked arms in the great Beriinrntransport strike, the undertaker’s knock on the door of Weimar.rnThe Reichswehr and its nationalist-industrial constituencyrnbelieved that it would be the successor to a dead Weimarrnregime, but it was Hitler who triumphed. Up to a point, thernReichswehr and the industrialists could deal with Hitler, andrnthey continued a secret alliance with Stalin and the RedrnArmy—though they suffered a loss when Stalin “liquidated”rnMarshal Tukhachevsky, the Soviets’ most brilliant militaryrnstrategist, for fear that the Red Army would attain too much influence.rnAs for the Reichswehr, it pressed for the formal militaryrnand economic “alliance” that was spelled out later in thernsecret clauses of the Hitler-Stalin Pact—realizing that onlyrnwith Russia at its side could it triumph in the war that followed.rnAfter the invasion of the Soviet Union—opposed by thernReichswehr and by German industrial interests—and as thernUnited States started bringing its strength to bear, the Reichswehrrnbegan to accept the possibility of defeat and sought tornrenew its contacts with the Soviet military. On February 11,rn1945, Robert Murphy reported to the State Department’s EuropeanrnAffairs Division the estimate of Allen Dulles of the OSSrnthat “all indications currently received from Germany indicaterna definite trend toward the idea that Germany’s only salvationrnlies to the East”—the opposite of what the American peoplernwere being told:rnThe conviction seems to be growing that while thernRussians may be hard and brutal, even cruel, and thatrnthey will punish the principal Nazi offenders, they willrnoffer an affirmative economic and industrial futurernwhich will protect the Germans against starvation andrnpoverty. They believe that the Russians will berndependent on German industrial products which meansrnthat German plants will continue to work at full capacityrnand the unemployment problem will thus be solved.rnCount Klaus von Staufenberg, one of the leaders in thern”generals’ plot” to assassinate Hitler, even contemplatedrnorganizing a “workers and peasants” revolt that would sue forrna separate peace with Stalin. A realization of the interests betweenrnGermany and Russia was a major factor in the strategicrnconsiderations of both countries—before, during, and for arnshort time after the war. 1 litlcr’s obsessive antieommunism hadrnshattered traditional Russo-German policy. After the fall ofrnGermany, it might have survived had Stalin not realized atrnPotsdam that the Western allies, stupid as they had been inrntheir dealings with him up until then, were not going to handrnhim Germany. He retaliai:cd by stripping Germany of as muchrnFEBRUARY 1995/21rnrnrn