By Eric Vandenbroeck and co-workers

Russia, Germany, and Poland 1917-1945 Part Four

The First World War proved to be the turning point in modern Polish history. It smashed the three empires which held it captive (Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary) and created a power vacuum that a new state in eastern Europe could fill. The core of independent Poland was the former province removed from Russia by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918). To this was added territory from Germany by the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and from Austria and Hungary by the Treaties of St Germain and Trianon (1919 and 1920).

Enter Johannes "Hans" Friedrich Leopold von Seeckt (1866 –1936) was chief of staff from 1919 to 1920 and commander in chief of the German Army from 1920.Hans von Seeckt (third from right) next to Wilhelm II (center):

Hans von Seeckt's eagerness for a Soviet partnership was not matched – initially - by most of Germany’s military and political leadership. Enormous barriers to any partnership stood in the way. Within the relevant German ministries lay deep division over cooperating with the revolutionaries to their east. The German government had considered, and rejected, rapprochement with the Bolsheviks in May 1919.1 The first major figure outside of the military to consider the possibility of working with the Soviets was the German minister of economic affairs, Robert Schmidt, who saw restored Soviet-German economic ties as a means out of Germany’s dire postwar economic circumstances. Germany had been Russia’s top trading partner in 1912-1913, while Russia had been the second-largest importer of German goods before the First World War.2 There was hope that the logical exchange of German industrial products for Russian raw materials might resume, despite the new Bolshevik government in Moscow.

Schmidt would be joined by a small cohort of diplomats in the German Foreign Ministry, a group known as the OstpoJitik (Eastern politics) faction. Chief among this group was Baron Ago von Maltzan, who managed the Foreign Ministry’s Russia desk. From that position, he sought to normalize relations with Russia and push for economic collaboration.3 Arrayed against them was much of the ruling SPD and their Zentrum allies in the Reichstag. They were dedicated to Erführungspolitik (fulfillment politics) policies—that is, fulfilling Allied peace terms in the hopes of reducing reparations and eventually reintegrating with the Western powers.4

In Moscow, a similar debate raged over relations with Germany. On the one hand, a large faction saw any accommodation with Germany's new government as a betrayal/ Lenin himself had written that the Revolution was “doomed" were there no comparable event in Germany. Shortly after the founding of the Communist International (Comintern), Lenin approved that body send 42 million gold marks (equivalent to USD 505,000 at that time) to the KPD, the most funding provided to any foreign party.6 At the same time, he viewed German economic assistance to Bolshevik Russia as essential. However, he also hoped that such assistance would be brought about under the aegis of a communist federation. However, given the defeat of communist uprisings in Germany in January and March 1919, the Bolsheviks had to consider the alternative of initiating cooperation with Germany while simultaneously seeking to undermine its government.7

In November 1919, a year after the Armistice, the Allies had returned control of Soviet-German POW exchanges to the German government.8 Shortly thereafter, the Reichszentralstelle fur Kriegs- und Zivilgefangene (Reich Central Office for Military and Civilian Prisoners), staffed largely by diplomats from the German Foreign Ministry, requested that President Ebert's government permit it to open direct communication with the Soviets regarding POW exchanges. This was granted. At their invitation, Viktor Kopp, a revolutionary serving in the new Soviet Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Germany to negotiate the POW repatriation process.9 Kopp’s own instructions were to open “normal diplomatic relations” between Germany and the Soviet Union and explore the possibilities of military and economic cooperation.10 In April 1920. Kopp and the German Foreign Ministry agreed to establish two POW repatriation offices, one in Moscow and one in Berlin. On July 7, Kopp and his German opposite number, a Moscow- born ethnic-German diplomat named Gustav Hilger, were extended diplomatic prerogatives. Thus, by the summer of 1920, the German Foreign Ministry had an envoy, Hilger,  in Moscow, and the Russians one of their own, Kopp, in Berlin.

As the two states increasingly developed the means to communicate, events in Eastern Europe began to push them toward cooperation. In the fall of 1919, the Bolsheviks had defeated a series of White offensives, the most dangerous of which had come within 250 miles of Moscow.11 Now holding the initiative, Trotsky's Red Army began reconquering much of the former Tsarist Empire, including Ukraine. But as the Russian Civil War drew toward a close, the Bolsheviks threatened the West. The head of state of newly independent Poland, Josef Pilsudski, led the Polish Army into Ukraine and Belarus in April and May 1920. Pilsudski’s invasion made clear the alignment of German and Soviet strategic interests. In the aftermath of Versailles, more than a million ethnic Germans resided in the new state of Poland. The Polish corridor created by Versailles further cut off East Prussia from the main body of Germany. Both brought intractable conflict between Poland and Germany, accentuated by strong prejudices against Poles in Germany; for the Soviets, the new state of Poland was also a problem. Trotsky wrote in 1920 that "'Poland can be a bridge between Germany and us or a barrier.”13 Soviet leadership believed that the revolutionary Bolshevik regime could survive only with access to the West's industrialized economies Poland stood in the way. Lenin called Poland Versailles’ ‘"bastard child,”14 and, like Seeckt, saw the destruction of Poland as in the Soviet interest.

The Polish Army’s advance into Ukraine in the spring of 1920 was poorly timed. Not only were most of the White armies defeated, but the Red Army was increasingly effective as a fighting force. By this juncture in the Russian Civil War, Trotsky had found and promoted talented officers. One of them was the aforementioned Mikhail Tukhachevsky, whom Trotsky placed in a command role, subordinated to the commander-in-chief of the Red Army, but functionally the senior military commander on the western front.15

The Polish Army took Kyiv on May 7. But soon after, the Poles began encountering veteran Red Army units; between January and May, Red Army strength on the Polish front had quintupled.16 On July 4, Tukhachevsky launched a massive counteroffensive. Outnumbered and far from their logistical bases, the Polish army began a headlong retreat. Red Army forces chased them westward, advancing more than 500 miles in just over a month.

In this precarious moment, leading figures in the German military were torn. Several radical nationalists such as Ludendorff hoped to ally with Poland against the Bolsheviks.1 But his adherents had mostly been driven from the army in the aftermath of the Kapp Putsch. Others inclined to work with the Poles and their French allies were discredited by ongoing French efforts to break up what remained of Germany. Most blatant was the French-backed “declaration of independence of the Rhineland,” made on June 1, 1920, trying to stir secession across all of Germany west of the Rhine.

Centrist German politicians were also interested in a partnership against the Bolsheviks. At the Spa Conference in July 1920, the victorious Allies invited the German government to discuss disarmament and reparations. Constantin Fehrenbach, the new German chancellor and Zentrum Party politician, proposed to British and French representatives that Germany retain 200,000 men rather than 100,000.18. This, he argued, was necessary to resist a potential communist invasion. The Allies refused. It was now clear that Germany would not be included in an anti-Bolshevik crusade, something German government representatives had repeatedly proposed.19 At that juncture, the Ostpolitik faction decisively gained the upper hand.

Seeckt was the leader of the pro-Russia faction within the military. During the First World War, he had advocated ethnic cleansing in the East, arguing for the expulsion of 20 million Russians and “riffraff of Jews, Poles, Masurians, Lithuanians, Letts, Estonians, etc.” from the former Tsarist Empire. He continued this region and should then be resettled with ethnic: “Once there are 200 million of healthy and mostly.

German people,” Germany would be permanently secure in the East."0 While he still favored the destruction of Poland, his views on Russia itself had changed. Now Seeckt himself wrote that Germany’s national strategy should be to “fight a war against the West in partnership with the East.”21He concluded that only Soviet Russia was equally dedicated to the destruction of Poland as a sovereign state.22 He further considered Poland the linchpin of the Versailles system. Only with an ally to the east could France maintain its encirclement of Germany. In partnership, Germany and Soviet Russia together could destroy Poland, and then Germany could defeat France; As his adjutant, Ernst Kostring, recalled, Seeckt believed that “war with Russia should never happen again.”24 The lesson of the two-front war in 1914 had been clear.

Seekt had little ability to aid the Red Army in June 1920. Instead, he quietly began encouraging connections between German businesses and the Soviet government.25 Although Allied powers had demanded Germany participate in a total economic blockade of the Bolsheviks, German businesses ignored this provision, with the Reichswehr encouraging its circumvention.26 During the summer of 1920, the Reichswehr assisted the Soviets in acquiring a total of 27 million marks’ worth (USD 325,000) of equipment from Krupp and other German firms, most notably locomotives and train cars intended to strengthen the Red Army’s logistical capabilities."27 Most of these purchases arrived too late to play a decisive role in the conflict, but they spelled the beginning of bigger things.28

While German officers and politicians debated the Red Army's prospects against Poland, victorious Soviet forces began approaching Germany's frontiers. General Tukhachevsky, at Lenin's direction, was to “liberate" Danzig and the Polish corridor and hand them over to Germany." In the process of fighting the Polish Army along the new borders in July 1920, Red Army units increasingly strayed across the orders relayed from Chancellor Fehrenbach and Minister of Defense Otto Gessler for strict neutrality Polish-Bolshevik conflict. Still, his interpretation of German neutrality clearly favored the Bolsheviks.30 He issued orders that all Reichswehr officers must “avoid any conflict with Russia or even the outward display of a hostile attitude toward Russia.’' He also instructed that “any cooperation or assistance toward representatives and troops of the Entente Powers must be avoided.”31 Seeckt went on to note that members of the military or general public openly supporting White Russian or Anti-Bolshevik forces should be taken into “protective custody.”’2 As the summer of 1920 progressed, the Polish government consistently complained to the Allies that as German forces left in Eastern Europe after the First World War withdrew in 1919 and 1920, they provided material aid to Bolshevik forces, looted local towns, and even attacked Polish garrisons.33 The Poles also produced evidence that the Reichswehr passed intelligence on the Polish Army to the Soviets.

While Seeckt was hoping for Soviet success on the battlefield, Lenin was considering his next steps.35 Germany seemed ripe for revolution, but the threat of a broader war loomed. Allied troops had occupied the Rhineland and were monitoring plebiscites on Germany’s eastern boundaries.36 The Soviet state was meanwhile unable to feed its own people, let alone fight a major war against the victors of World War I.

For much of July 1920, Lenin was busy with the Second World Congress of the Comintern (the Communist International) in Moscow. It became clear to those around him that he was struggling with how aggressively to export the Revolution. Lenin’s opening speech to the Congress on July 19, 1920, revealed his priorities, centering on Germany and Western Europe.37 Shortly thereafter, two French Communists asked Lenin how quickly the Red Army would move into Central Europe. Lenin replied, “ ‘if Poland gives itself to Communism, the universal revolution will take a decisive step.’” The Frenchmen recalled that then Lenin stopped, paused, and, as if “thinking out loud,” said,“ "Yes, Soviets in Warsaw, it would mean Germany shortly falling due ... it would mean bourgeois Europe cracking apart.” ’ A few days later, they said he ruminated, “Should we stop at the frontiers? Declare "Peace’? It is vain to imagine this!” He then added that if communist uprisings did not occur in Poland and the military situation deteriorated, he remained opposed to “risking a dangerous turn of events.” By this, he meant triggering a new general war in Europe.

While maintaining a certain rhetorical ambiguity, Lenin aggressively pursued both diplomatic and military objectives. In mid-July, as Red Army troops advanced on Warsaw, the Bolsheviks opened talks with Great Britain and France through representatives stationed in London. The Soviet delegates offered to halt their offensive in exchange for imposing “Versailles-like” conditions against the Poles:

39 Yet simultaneously, Lenin personally sent a stream of telegrams to the front (particularly to Joseph Stalin, then a commissar on the front lines) with orders for action. On July 12, Lenin told Stalin to “hasten orders for a furious intensification of the offensive.”40 By early August, the fate of Poland reached a critical moment. The Red Army moved westward at a rate of over 20 miles a day 41 Tukhachevsky’s primary objective was Warsaw. Still, as the front dissolved in front of them, senior Red Army commanders began to entertain the possibility of overturning the entire European order. Tukhachevsky, now nicknamed the “Red Napoleon” by the foreign press (his rival Stalin preferred “Little Napoleon”), was enormously ambitious. He issued orders exhorting his soldiers, 4 “To the West! Over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to worldwide conflagration.” 4: Lenin had already begun organizing the government of a new communist Poland. Things looked so dire in the Polish capital that Chief of State Pilsudski resigned and headed off to the front to lead a desperate gamble to halt the Soviet offensive. While Tukhachevsky was preaching the world revolution, Soviet envoy Kopp in Berlin told his German counterparts that he would press to transfer the Polish territory to Germany in the planned peace settlement.43

The climactic battle at the gates of Warsaw began on August 13. As it commenced, Seeckt made his position vis-a­vis the Soviets very clear for the first time in a memo to a handful of senior officers. He wrote that the Soviet victories against Poland had “aroused moods and hopes within the German military” and that these had muddied the picture of how to proceed. He noted that he knew many German officers hoped to “overthrow” Versailles and, with the help of Russian armies fighting in Poland, wage a new war against the Entente.44

Seeckt’s memo also highlighted the general weakness of the Soviet regime, however. He described the dilapidation of its war industries, noting that its largest factories, like the Putilov Works, the country’s top producer of artillery, were producing only a tiny fraction of their pre-1917 output45 He added details of the chaos of Russia’s transportation network and its agricultural difficulties. The point was that the country would be in no condition to back Germany in a general European war, especially one fought in the face of another long-term blockade, as had occurred in the First World War. Seeckt proposed an alternative, entering into a “friendly economic exchange with Russia to help Russia resume its internal development and undermine the very idea of the Soviet system by making sound alternatives available/'46 Turning Russia into an ally through economic cooperation would not only moderate communism but make it a potential source for raw materials in a future European war.

Seeckt envisioned that a relationship with Russia might provide the sort of leverage necessary to keep the Bolshevik regime from aiding the KPD, which he viewed as the biggest threat to Germany’s survival: “We must face Bolshevism as a unified state and reject international Bolshevism,” he wrote in the same 1920 memo. “This requires absolute order domestically and the most rigorous struggle against any revolution.”47 The Soviet state continued to sponsor the KPD, a fact known by the German government.48 Seeckt hoped to use a relationship with Soviet Russia to force the Bolsheviks to abandon their support for the KPD and revolution in Germany generally.49

Seeckt’s decision to avoid direct involvement in the Polish- Bolshevik War was logical, given Germany’s military weaknesses. It was also prescient, given the course the war would take: between August 13 and 17, 1920, a sudden shift in military fortunes changed the strategic landscape dramatically. As Soviet forces moved to encircle Warsaw, the speed of their advance and poor communications caused Tukhachevsky to lose control over the advance briefly. Simultaneously, the interference of Stalin, then, as noted earlier, serving as senior political commissar, delayed the movement of the fearsome First Cavalry Army into its intended position.50 Already overstretched, this left a huge gap in Soviet lines. Pilsudski took full advantage of the weakness in the Red Army’s front. The Polish Army began a major counterattack on August 16 and caught Soviet forces completely off guard. Instead of seizing Warsaw, the Red Army now risked encirclement. Two entire Soviet army groups were driven into the newly delineated borders of East Prussia, where between 65,000 and 90,000 soldiers were interned by the German government.51

Even as the Red Army retreated from Poland, Enver Pasha, who had tried and failed to reach Moscow in April 1919, finally succeeded in traveling to the Bolshevik capital. ” He was accompanied and assisted by Ernst Kostring, one of Seeckt's aides, highlighting the importance with which the Reichswehr viewed a possible Soviet connection. Shortly after the Battle of Warsaw, Enver managed to gain an audience with Trotsky and then had a long conversation with Trotsky's aide E. M. Skliansky.54 On August 26, 1920, he wrote to Seeckt, notifying him of the success of his mission, connecting the German military with Bolshevik leadership. In his letter, Enver informed Seeckt that Trotsky represented a faction with “real power” that favored an “understanding” with Germany and was willing to acknowledge Germany’s 1914 borders.55 This would require abnegating the Treaty of Versailles, the destruction of Poland, and the establishment of a new order in Europe. Given the defeat of the Red Army, Germany’s weaknesses, and the international situation, such a prospect was not likely to happen immediately. Instead, it would require a long-term, mutual commitment to undermining the European status quo.

Two months after the Battle of Warsaw, the Poles and the Soviets agreed to a ceasefire, followed by a peace agreement the following spring.56 The survival of Poland convinced the German military that Versailles would remain in force.57 For the Soviets, the defeat of the Red Army in front of Warsaw in August, called the “Miracle on the Vistula” by their opponents, broke the revolutionary spell cast by the Bolshevik leadership. With the survival of their mutual enemy in the new Polish state, Germany and the Soviet Union now shared at least one strategic aim, one that would endure for the next twenty years.


Part One:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part One

Part Two:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Two

Part Three:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Three

Part Five:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Five

Part Six:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Six

Part Seven:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Seven

Part Eight:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Eight

Part Nine:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Nine

Part Ten:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Ten

Part Eleven:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Eleven

Part Twelve:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Twelve

Part Thirteen:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Thirteen

Part Fourteen:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Fourteen

Part Fifteen:   Russia, Germany, and Poland Part Fifteen


Apart from the archival documents listed in the footnotes following is a list of published sources that have been used:

1. Richard K. Debor Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918-1921 (Montreal: McGill- Queen's University Press, 1992), 66

2. John P. McKay, Pioneers for Profit: Foreign Entrepreneurship and Russian Industrialization, 1885-1913 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), 33; B. R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-2000 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 645.

3. Debo, Survival and Consolidation, 292-293.

4. Hilger and Meyer, The Incompatible Allies, 68.

5. Debo, Survival and Consolidation, 65.

6. Sebestyen, Lenin, 463.

7. David R. Stone, “The Prospect of War?: Lev Trotskii, the Soviet Army, and the German Revolution in 1923," The International History Review, 25:4 (Dec., 2003), 816. They would maintain, briefly, a German communist government “in-exile" in Moscow: in the summer of 1918, the Soviets had encouraged a group of German POWs to establish the Central Revolutionary German Workers’ and Soldiers' Committee. In November 1918, this group took over what had been the German embassy, giving them a sort of de facto recognition as an alternate government to that of the SPD, Hilger and Meyer, The Incompatible Allies, 34,

8. Moritz Schlesinger Papers, “Reports of the Reichszentralstelle fur Kriegs- und Zivilgefangene,” November 1919, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University (Hereafter MA-YU), Collection 1590, Box 5, Folder 128.

9. Technically, he returned to Germany. Kopp had been there before as a trade delegate. Robert C. Williams, “Russian War Prisoners and Soviet-German Relations, 1918 to 1921/’ Canadian Slavonic Papers, 9:2 (Autumn 1967), 270-271.

10. Viktor Kopp, “Tov. V. I. Leninu” [To Comrade Lenin], 14 August 1920, The Russian State Archive of Socio­Political History (hereafter RGASPI), f. 5, op. I, d. 2136,1.4,1-3.

11. Mawdsley, The Russian Civil War, 144, 146, 133.

12. Ibid., 250.

13. Xenia Joukoff Eudin and Harold Henry Fisher, Soviet Russia and the West, 1920-1927: A Dociwienruty Survey (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1957), 181-182.

14. Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland, Volume It: 1795 to Present (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005), 291. Future foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov preferred the term “monstrous bastard of Versailles." Stephen Kotkin, Stalin, Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 (New York: Penguin, 2014), 358.

15. Davies, white Eagle, Red Star (London: Macdonald, 1972), 132.

16. Ibid., 2. M. Tukhachevsky, "The March beyond the Vistula,” in Jozef Pilsudski, Year 1920 and Its Climax Battle of Warsaw during the Polish-Soviet War, 1919-1920 (New York: Pilsudski Institute of America, 1972), 87.

17. Vourkoutiotis, Making Common Cause, 3-4,

18. Sergey Alexeyvich GorlovSovershenno sekretno: Alianz Moskva-Berlin, 1920-1933 [Top Secret: Alliance Moscow- Berlin, 1920-1933] (Moscow: Qlma Press, 2001), 34, Unless otherwise noted, “Gorlov” in the footnotes refers to Sovershenno sekretno.

19. “Memo Regarding German Use of Reichswehr,” 3 August 1920, BNA, WO 32/5784,1,

20. Hilger, Meyer, The Incompatible Allies, 191-192. Much the same could be said of the German political establishment. When then-chancellor Briining met Hitler for the first time in 1930, Hitler made it clear his goal was to defeat France and destroy the Soviet Union; Briining's main concern was not the objective, but attacking “before one was sufficiently armed on the home front.” Wolfram Wette, “Ideology, Propaganda, and Interna! Politics as Preconditions of the War Policy of the Third Reich,” in Germany and the Second World Wur, Volume I; The Buildup of German Aggression, ed. the Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamt [Research Institute for Military History], trans. P, S. Fall, Dean S. McMurry, and Ewald Osers (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1990), 50.

21. Hans Meier Welcker, Seeckt (Frankfurt am Main: Bernard und Graefe, 1967), 210.

22. Haigh, Morris, and Peters, German-Soviet Relations, 72.

23. The Soviets did indeed offer, through the approaches of Kopp and an unknown Red Army officer, to help restore Germany’s former frontier to the East. But the Soviets may have reneged on that offer; Kopp told Maltzan when victory seemed assured in early August 1920 that “if a Soviet regime was instituted in Poland, [Russia] would determine Poland's frontier with Germany based on ethnographic factors.” Robert Himmer, “Soviet Policy toward Germany during the Russo-Polish War, 1920,” Slavic Review, 35:4 (December 1976), 678.

24. General Ernst Kostring, Profile bedeutener Soldaten, Band 1, General Ernst Kostring [Profile of Important Soldiers: Volume 1, Ernst Kostring], ed. Herman Teske (Frankfurt: E. S. Mittler und Sohn, 1966), 46.

25. Vourkoutiotis, Making Common Cause, 52; Manfred Zeidler, Reichswehr und Rote Armee, 1920-1933: Wege und Stationen einer ungewohnlichen Zusammenarbeit [The Reichswehr and the Red Army, 1920-1933: Paths and Facilities of an Unusual Collaboration] (Munich: Oldenbourg Verlagt 1994), 59, Unless otherwise noted, “Zeidler” in the footnotes refers to Reichswehr und Rote Armee.

26. “Geschaftliche Beziehungen der Firma Krupp mit der Sowjet-Regierung in Russland in den Nachkriegsjahren,, [Krupp’s Business Relations with the Soviet Government in Russia in the Postwar Years], Kruppisches Archiv, Essen (hereafter KA-E), WA/40 B 1350,1. See also Norbert H. Gaworek, “From Blockade to Trade: Allied Economic Warfare against Soviet Russia, June 1919 to January 1920/' Jahrbucher fur Ceschichte Oslcuropos, Neue Folger 23:1 (1975).

27. “Top Secret: To Comrade Lejava," 20 August 1920, Russian State Military Archive (hereafter RGVA), f. 33987, op. 3, d. 52,1 430, reprinted in The Red Army and the Wehrmacht How the Soviets Militarized Germany and Paved the Way for Fascism, from the Secret Archives of the Former Soviet Union, eds. and trans Yuri Dyakov and Tatyana Bushuyeva (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995), 32.

28. “Protokol No. 36, Zasedaniya Politicheskogo Biuro TSK ot 13 Avgusta 1920 g." |Minutes of a Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee on 13 August 1920], 13 August 1920, RGASPI, f. 17, op. 3, d. 102,1, 2.

29. Kotkin, Stalin; Paradoxes ofPowert 364.

30. This was not true of the entire German government. Members of the German Foreign Ministry and some of the civilian leaders of East Prussia hoped for a Polish victory in the Polish Bolshevik war. “Memo on Poland,” 6 Aug 1920, BNA, GFM 33/3591, 1.

31. Hans von Seeckt, “Fernschreiben vom Offizier an Offizier ’ [Telegram from Officer to Officer], 23 July 1920, GFM 33/3591, BNA, 1.

32. Ibid.

33. Colonel H. H. Wade, “Cipher Telegram to Mr. Balfour,” 18 January 1919, BNA, FO 608/266, 196, 1. Colonel Wade detailed the fighting between German and Polish forces in his reports back to London.

34. "Report, Polish Military Mission to the Supreme Allied Command,” 7 July 1920, Instytut Jozefa Pilsudskicgo w Ameryce in New York (1JP-NYC), Box 3, Folder 2,10-18, 1-8.

35. Some material excerpted with permission from lan Johnson, “The Fire of Revolution: A Counterfactual Analysis of the Polish-Bolshevik War, 1919 to 1920,” The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 28:1 (March 2015), 156-185. Taylor & Francis Online: Peer-reviewed Journals.

36.  Silesia and Danzig were two of the most important Entente occupation zones in the aftermath of World War I, each hosting thousands of allied soldiers. For more, see Nicolas Beaupre, “Occuper l’Allemagne apres 1918" [The Occupation of Germany after 1918], Revue historique des armees, 254 (2009), 9-19; and T. Hunt Tooley, [The Occupation of Germany after 1918], Revue historique des armies, 254 (2009), 9-19; and T. Hunt Tooley, National Identity and Weimar Germany: Upper-Silesia and the Eastern Border 1918-1922 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997).

37. V. I. Lenin, “First Session Speech,” Second Congress of the Communist International. Minutes of the Proceedings (Moscow; Publishing House of the Communist international, 1921), 1.

38. Thomas Fiddick, Russia’s Retreat from Poland: From Permanent Revolution to Peaceful Coexistence (London: Macmillan, 1990), 122-124.

39. “Peace Negotiations between Poland and Russia,” July 1920, BNA, FO 688/6,7,1.

40. Ziemke, The Red Army, 1918-1941,124.

41. Michael S. Neiberg and David Jordan, The Eastern Front 1914-1920: From Tannenberg to the Russo-Polish War (London: Amber Books, 2008), 218.

42. Conan Fischer, Europe between Democracy and Dictatorship: 1900-1945 (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2011), 124.

43. "Besprechung mit Herr Kopp” [Meeting with Mr. Kopp), 19 July 1920, Politisches Archiv des Auswartigen Amtes, Berlin (hereafter PA-AA), KO 095872, 2. The Polish government was so concerned that Germany might invade in the spring of 1920 that it had drawn up plans for a defense and then counterattack into eastern Germany, assigned troops to form a defensive front, and requested General Charriou, a French military adviser, be sent to reconnoiter the likely German invasion routes. “Instruction au sujet des reconnaissances a effectuer sur la frontiere occidentale” [Instruction Regarding Reconnaissance to Be Carried Out on the Western Frontier), 28 February 1920, Josef Pilsudski Institute NYC (hereafter JPI NYC), 2/9/367,1-5.

44. Hans von Sceckt, “Memorandum,” 31 July/8 August 1920, Bundesarchiv Militararchiv, Freiburg im Breisgau (hereafter BA MA), RH2 29/i, 1-2.

45. Seeckt, “Memorandum,” 31 July/8 August 1920, 1-2. For more on the importance of the Putilov Works, see Jonathan A. Grant, Big Business in Russia: The Putilov Company in Late Imperial Russia, 1868-1917 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999).

46. Seeckt, “Memorandum,” 31 July/8 August 1920,1-2.

47. Ibid.

48. “Unterbringung deutscher Kommunisten in russischen Betrieben” [Accommodating German Communists in Russian Enterprises], 25 November 1925, Bundesarchiv Lichterfelde (hereafter BA-L), R/1501/20330. 

49. But the Bolsheviks would do so only after the failure of a last uprising in 1923. “Die Welt erobern” [Conquering the World], Der Spiegel, 30 October 1995,; “Memorandum,” 19 December 1932, PA-AA, R31497/E496919, 1.

50. Kotkin, Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 362. 

51. Annemarie H. Sammartino, The Impossible Border: Germany and the East 1914–1922 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010), 147. 

52. Felix Dzerzhinsky, “Telegrammi F. E. Dzerzhinskogo v Moskvu V. I. Leninu i v Minsk v RVS zapadnogo fronta I. T. Smigle o pribyvshem iz Germanii Enver Pashe” [Telegrams from F. E. Dzerzhinsky to Moscow and V. I. Lenin and to the Revolutionary Military Council on the Western Front and to I. T. Smigla about the arrival from Germany of Enver Pasha], 11 August 1920, RGASPI, f. 76, op. 3, d. 106, l. 1–2.

53. Rorlich, “Fellow Travellers,” 292. 

54. Ibid. 

55. Rabenau, 307, quoting a letter between the Pasha and Seeckt

56. For more on the foreign policy decisions surrounding the Battle of Warsaw, see Johnson, “The Fire of Revolution.” 

57. Jeffrey Korbel, Poland between East and West: Soviet and German Diplomacy toward Poland, 1919–1933 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), 65. 

Johnson, Ian Ona. Faustian Bargain (pp. 252-253). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. 


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