Devil’s Bargain: Germany and Russia Before WWII | HistoryNet
The earliest stages of the German-Russian postwar relationship German airplanes were flown across borders into Russia at night, and. Germany's invasion of Russia was the largest surprise attack in the Luftwaffe— the Nazi air force—destroyed over 2, Russian planes in. As often happens in history, the plans of men may go awry in ironic ways. There the Germans unexpectedly defeated two large Russian armies at the Battle of.
The air force training programs established in Russia came far closer to achieving what German visionaries had in mind. The Germans had created a large and technically advanced air force during World War I, and they were determined to maintain a secret force that could be expanded as soon as the hated Versailles Treaty was renounced. To do so, the German army needed a place to train its airmen and develop new technologies and tactics. The Russians offered the Germans a base at the spa town of Lipetsk, miles southwest of Moscow.
It proved ideal, and became the focus of a secret Luftwaffe rearmament and training program in the late s. The Lipetsk base, which opened inwas home to 60 to 70 permanent German personnel, including instructors, technicians, and test pilots. After completing the rigorous training program, as thorough as any offered in the world at the time, the airmen would return to Germany and be officially reinstated in the army. During the eight years it was in operation, more than Reichswehr airmen were trained in Russia.
To ensure the training was as modern as possible, the Reichswehr managed to quietly obtain one of the hottest fighter planes of the era: The D XIII, powered by a British hp Napier engine, was one of the fastest airplanes of its time and set several speed records in the early s.
There the planes served as trainers for the advanced fighter course and as fighter-bombers used to train German pilots in dropping bombs and attacking ground targets. During the next few years the base also acquired several Heinkel HD 21 and Albatros L 68 trainers, and some Junkers transports that were used for the observer and navigator courses. With plenty of aircraft the school had 66 planes inthe Germans were able to mount relatively large air exercises.
The German air wing also carried out air support for Red Army maneuvers, and the Germans and Russians gained experience in the complicated art of air-ground operations.
By the late s, the Lipetsk school had expanded to include a flight test center.
Although the Versailles Treaty had forbidden the Germans an air force, they were still allowed civil aviation, and in the s companies such as Junkers, Dornier, and Heinkel were producing some up-to-date and even innovative designs. Some of these were not the transport or sport planes they purported to be, but were designed as bombers or reconnaissance planes. Inthe peak year for training and testing at Lipetsk, German trainers, instructors, and testing personnel were stationed there.
A similar success story was unfolding with armor development. One of the most painful mistakes the German General Staff made in World War I was its belated appreciation of the role of armored vehicles on the battlefield. In contrast to the Allies, who had fielded tanks by the thousands inGermany started late and had manufactured only a handful of tanks by the end of the war.
Although denied tanks by the Versailles Treaty, the Germans made the development of modern armored forces a high priority in the s.
The tank prototypes were to incorporate the most advanced engines and transmissions, be gas-proof, and be able to cross rivers. In the order was followed up by contracts to produce light tanks, also with all the latest engineering features. In keeping with the highly secret nature of the program, the Germans used code names for the armor in all military correspondence: By the German companies had produced six prototype heavy tanks and four light tanks and shipped them to the Russian industrial city of Kazan to be tested.
Along with military personnel, dozens of German engineers were secretly brought to Russia to oversee the armored experiments. The Soviets were just beginning to organize mechanized forces inso they were especially eager to support the German tank school and testing station.
Along with 10 German tanks, the Germans could now practice battalion-sized and larger operations. Although the armored warfare course was only for German officers, Soviet technicians were allowed to examine and test-drive the German prototype equipment, and more than 60 carefully selected Red Army officers were allowed to participate in the exercises and war games.
As the Soviet tank force expanded, the Red Army formed its new tank units near Kazan so they could conduct large-scale maneuvers with the Germans in and Between and30 German officers went through the months-long armored warfare course at Kazan; another 20 served as instructors.
Although small, the course was very thorough and certainly the equal of any offered by the other major powers. For the Soviets, the greatest benefit of the alliance was in German officer training. In the s, the German army had the well-deserved reputation of having the best officer training in the world.How Russia Stopped The Blitzkrieg
Conversely, a German officer visiting the Soviet army in the mids had summed up the state of the Russian forces as: Between and the Red Army sent many of its most promising officers to courses in Germany. The Allies had placed no restrictions on foreign officers training in Germany, and the Germans and Russians exploited this opportunity to the fullest.
The Red Army used the German army courses as a means of polishing the men who had been selected for high command. Each year from to25 to 45 Russian officers visited Germany, some to take short courses or to observe German maneuvers and war games. To help establish a general staff course for the new Soviet air force, the Germans sent a small team to Russia headed by Capt. Martin Fiebig, who would, incommand a Luftwaffe air corps in Russia.
From to he and his fellow Germans were the lead instructors for the men who led the Soviet air force. The same could be said of the Red Army in the s.
They found the Russian operations characterized by poor coordination of infantry, artillery, and air support.
Germany - World War I | cypenv.info
And, because Soviet tactics did not take into account the technological advances ushered in sinceRed Army planning and operational doctrine was also deficient. The Russians were eager to learn from their erstwhile enemies, and took the criticism seriously. The German doctrine of the s, which emphasized rapid maneuver and combined arms in the offense, appealed greatly to the Russians, and the Soviet officers worked to adapt the German approach to war to their own conditions.
That coalition was primarily a matter of convenience for each nation.
The key matchmaker was the Austrian Chancellor Klemens von Metternich, who forged a united front that proved decisive in overthrowing Napoleon, The revolutions of did not reach Russia, but its political and economic system was inadequate to maintain a modern army.
It did poorly in the Crimean war. As Fuller notes, "Russia had been beaten on the Crimean peninsula, and the military feared that it would inevitably be beaten again unless steps were taken to surmount its military weakness. Prussia was shaken by the Revolutions of but was able to withstand the revolutionaries' call to war against Russia.
Prussia did go to war with Denmark, however, and was only stopped by British and Russian pressure. Prussia remained neutral in the Crimean War. Prussia's successes in the Wars of German Unification in the s were facilitated by Russia's lack of involvement. The creation of the German Empire under Prussian dominance inhowever, greatly changed the relations between the two countries. As a result, Russia and Germany were now on opposite sides Russia-Germany border before World War I Earlier on it seemed as if the two great empires would be strong allies.
The League stated that republicanism and socialism were common enemies and that the three powers would discuss any matters concerning foreign policy. Bismarck needed good relations with Russia in order to keep France isolated. The military and civilian leadership ignored the resolution and enforced a draconian peace on Russia and Romania in — When the major battle in the west was brewing in Aprilthere were more than a million soldiers in the east to enforce the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia.
Clearly, the military, agrarian, and industrial elites who ruled Germany considered themselves involved in two wars simultaneously, one against the Triple Entente and the other against the aspirations of the German people for full political emancipation.
The latter conflict dictated victory at all costs on the military front. Defeat or a compromise peace on the battlefield would inevitably lead to democratization, because it would lead to a loss of legitimacy for the elite that had demanded so many sacrifices from the many millions of workers, farmers, and artisans while denying them effective political power. In November Alfred Hugenberga major industrialist and subsequent ally of Adolf Hitlertold German entrepreneursThe consequences of the war will be unfavourable to employers and industry in many ways.
One will probably have to count on a very increased sense of power on the part of the workers and labour unions, which will find expression in increased demands on the employer for legislation. It would, therefore, be well advised in order to avoid internal difficulties to distract the attention of the people and to give fantasies concerning the extension of German territory room to play.
William II felt compelled to promise an eventual end to the restrictive Prussian franchise in his Easter message of Shortly thereafter the Fatherland Party was established with enormous support from the elites. Its program included a commitment to fight for an unequivocal German victory, including annexations, and maintenance of the Prusso-German political system.
The Ludendorff offensive of April made great breakthroughs in the west. But the effects of four years of attrition were apparent. The military did not have the reserves to take advantage of the initial gains. With almost a million fresh American troops in France, the Allies launched a counterattack that quickly gave them the initiative. Slowly the German forces began retreating.