Military Review

War, which could not be


It is no secret that weapon World War II was forged by joint efforts. The Soviet Union and Germany helped each other arm, and the industrialization of the USSR, necessary for a big war, would have been impossible without the help of Western specialists.

For these services, the USSR paid by selling grain withdrawn from the population to the West, which resulted in millions who died of starvation.

About this in his article tells the editor of the economy department of the magazine "Expert" Maxim Rubchenko

If the conditions of the Versailles Peace were not so harsh on Germany, or if the Great Depression began ten years later, Stalin’s industrialization might not have happened.

Economic and political problems in developed countries offer developing countries a unique opportunity to gain access to advanced technologies. The most striking example of this in the first half of the twentieth century is the Soviet Union.

As a result of World War I, Germany faced the real prospect of extinction. The Germans did not have the opportunity to defend their country, since the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, limited the size of the German army to purely symbolic dimensions of 100 thousand people. In addition, Germany was not allowed to conduct any kind of military training in educational institutions, nor to have heavy artillery, Tanks, submarines, airships and military Aviation. She was deprived of the right of accreditation in other countries of her military missions, German citizens were not allowed to enter the military service and receive military training in the armies of other states.

Therefore, as far back as 1919, the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Germany, General Hans von Sect, came to the conclusion that it was necessary to have close military cooperation between Germany and Russia. “We will have to put up with Soviet Russia - we have no other way out. Only in a strong alliance with Great Russia does Germany have the prospect of regaining the position of a great power. England and France are afraid of the union of both continental powers and are trying to prevent it by all means, so we must strive for it with all our strength, ”he wrote in a memorandum to the German government at the beginning of 1920 of the year.

The same summer, a confidential meeting was held between the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council, Lev Trotsky, and Enver Pasha, the former military minister of Turkey, at which the Turkish general said that the Germans had asked him to convey to Moscow proposals for long-term military cooperation. The German proposal came to the Bolsheviks at the right time: the catastrophic failure of the Polish campaign, led by Tukhachevsky and Stalin, demonstrated all the weaknesses of the Red Army and forced Moscow to thoroughly engage in military construction. German help in this matter was invaluable. The head of the armaments of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army (RKKA), Jerome Uborevich, directly stated that “the Germans are for us the only outlet, through which we can study achievements in military affairs abroad, moreover, from the army, which has quite interesting achievements in a number of issues” .

German origin

From the end of 1920, secret negotiations began between Soviet Russia and Germany to establish military-technical and economic cooperation. Early next year, the Sondergroup P (Russia) was created at the German Ministry of War, and in the spring of 1921, its first authorized colonel Otto von Niedermeier together with the majors of the German General Staff F. Chuncke and V. Schubert made a study tour in defense factories and shipyards of Petrograd, which the Soviet side hoped to restore and modernize with the help of German capital and specialists. Niedermeyer was accompanied by Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of Soviet Russia Lev Karakhan. The German withdrawal was disappointing: the state of affairs in the defense factories and shipyards of Petrograd was catastrophic, so that a quick adjustment of the production process is out of the question.

Nevertheless, by the middle of 1921, the Sondergroup P had agreed with the German industrialists that the companies Blohm und Voss (submarines), Albatros Werke (air fleet) and Krupp (weapons) would provide Russia "both their technical forces and necessary equipment ". To finance the planned projects in Germany, a consortium led by Deutsche Orientbank was formed, which included all of the country's largest banks.

At the end of September, 1921, in Berlin, in the apartment of Major General Karl von Schleicher, secret talks between the Commissar for Foreign Trade Krasin and representatives of the Reichswehr, led by von Sect, were held, during which a specific cooperation scheme was approved. Zondergruppa P gives orders to the Soviet side to manufacture aircraft, heavy artillery and other items of military equipment, guarantees payment, and also provides loans to replenish the equipment of Soviet factories. The Soviet side is committed to attracting German firms to execute orders on the instructions of the Zondergrupa R and to guarantee the direct participation of German military technical personnel in carrying out its orders at Soviet factories.

In addition, in order to restore industry, the Soviet side undertook to create trusts, which would include the main enterprises manufacturing heavy artillery (Perm Motovilikha and Tsaritsynsky Plants), airplanes (Moscow, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl), gunpowder, projectiles, etc.

Junkers in Fili

The largest project of the Sondergrupa R in Russia was the construction of an aircraft factory by the company Junkers. 26 November 1922 in Moscow between the government of the RSFSR and the firm Junkers concluded three contracts: on the production of metal airplanes and engines, on the organization of the transit air traffic Sweden-Persia, on aerial photography in the RSFSR. In accordance with the first of these contracts, the Russian-Baltic plant in Fili, near Moscow (now the Khrunichev plant), was fully transferred to the Junkers for rental, which “the concessionaire accepts and equips”.

The production program was established in the amount of 300 aircraft per year, the Soviet side pledged to purchase 60 aircraft annually. The plant should have reached its design capacity in three years - by January 29 1925.

In a short time, Junkers was able to transfer to Russia an aircraft factory with a staff of more than 1300, modern by the standards. However, the Germans summed up the economic situation. The Soviet Air Forces ordered the supply of 100 aircraft at fixed prices, based on hourly wages in 18 kopecks in gold, but the introduction of NEP in the USSR and inflation eliminated all cost estimates, so the cost price of the aircraft was twice as high as the established prices. The Soviet side nevertheless demanded the fulfillment of the letter of the contract: “You undertook to sell planes at a fixed price and thus assumed the commercial risk; the contract remains a contract. " And at the same time she accused the Germans of insufficient capital investments in the equipment of the plant. Junkers categorically rejected this accusation: "We, from the point of view of a private industrialist, have invested enormous sums."

The Soviet government, picking on the fact that the company was not able to “concentrate aluminum and duralumin reserves in Fili in sufficient quantity to produce 750 aircraft and 1125 engines, that is, our main task is not to have a significant material basis for metal aircraft construction within the Union”, terminated all contracts with Junkers. The company instantly found itself on the verge of bankruptcy, and only an emergency loan of 17 million marks, provided by the German government "as a recognition of Professor Merit Hugo Junkers in German aircraft manufacturing," saved her from complete liquidation. But the firm could no longer engage in mass production of aircraft, and it had to significantly reduce the business, focusing only on the development of new types of aircraft.

As for the plant in Fili, he received subsidies in the amount of 3 063 000 rubles for 1924 – 1925 years and 6 508 014 rubles for 1925 – 1926 years. The most interesting thing is that the need for subsidies to the command of the Soviet Air Force was explained by the fact that "a powerful plant in Fili, which is part of the general plan for the development of military air forces, stands idle." These words cannot be interpreted otherwise than as a direct admission that Junkers has fulfilled its main obligation - to build a modern aircraft factory in Russia. And the nagging Soviet officials to the minor clauses of the contract were due to only one thing - their unwillingness to pay money for the work done. Such a trick in relations with Western firms - "bourgeois" and "imperialists" - the Bolshevik government uses more than once.

However, Junkers, one might say, was lucky: in the 1928 year, in order not to pay under the contract to the electrical engineering company AEG, the specialists of this company were arrested by the Soviet "authorities" for sabotage in the framework of the infamous "Shakhty affair". The Soviet engineers who were involved in the case were shot, and the Germans graciously allowed the Soviet authorities to return to Germany, but, of course, without paying for the work done.

Despite the sad experience of Junkers and AEG, German companies continued to operate in Soviet Russia. The Stolzenberg company set up the production of artillery charges and gunpowder at the factories of Zlatoust, Tula and Petrograd, together with the Germans launched the production of poisonous substances at the Bersol plant near Saratov, Carl Walter built workshops in Tula for cutting rifles and machine guns. The company Mannesmann repaired at the Mariupol Metallurgical Plant. Ilyich rolling mill-4500, which was bought by the plant before the revolution and destroyed during the revolution and the Civil War. In 1941, the Germans were taken to the Urals from under the nose, and, according to some experts, they still carry armor for the T-90 tank on it.

Friedrich Krupp, on the basis of the agreement concluded in July 1923 on the reconstruction of Soviet military factories and the supply of artillery shells of the German army, helped the Bolsheviks to establish modern production of grenades and artillery shells. The Germans also provided financing for the project, providing 600 with thousands of dollars to set up production and paying 2 million in advance dollars on order.

Architect Ford and Stalin

The experience of using the problems of developed countries for their own purposes, acquired by the Soviet Union in working with Germany, was very useful to the Bolsheviks when the economic crisis broke out in the West.

In the 1926 year, the first signs of an impending recession were recorded in the American economy — construction began to decline noticeably. Architectural and design firms immediately encountered problems, including the famous Albert Kahn, Inc. bureau. in Detroit, the founder of which Albert Kahn became famous as the “architect of Ford”. Even with him, one of the largest industrial architects of the twentieth century, a famous specialist in designing modern factories, the volume of orders was rapidly declining and by the end of 1928 of the year had vanished.

Bankruptcy seemed inevitable, but in April 1929, a stranger entered the office of Kahn, introducing himself as an employee of Amtorg - this formally privately owned enterprise was in fact the unofficial trade and diplomatic representation of the USSR in the United States. The visitor proposed an order for Kanu to design a tractor plant worth 40 million dollars (this was the Stalingrad Tractor Plant) and promised new orders if agreed.

The situation was rather dubious, since there was no diplomatic relations between the USSR and the USA. Kan asked for time to think, but the market crash at the end of October, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression, put an end to all his doubts. Soon the Soviet government received from Albert Kahn, Inc. the whole program of industrial construction in the Soviet Union, known in the Soviet stories as "industrialization in the USSR". In February, 1930 of the year between Amtorg and Albert Kahn, Inc. an agreement was signed, according to which Kahn’s firm became the chief consultant of the Soviet government on industrial construction and received a package of orders for the construction of industrial enterprises worth 2 billion dollars (about 250 billion dollars in today's money).

Since the full list of construction projects of the first five-year plans in our country has never been published, the exact number of Soviet enterprises designed by Kahn is still unknown - they mostly talk about the 521 or 571 object. The list, no doubt, includes tractor factories in Stalingrad, Chelyabinsk, Kharkov; automobile plants in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod; forge shops in Chelyabinsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kolomna, Magnitogorsk, Nizhny Tagil, Stalingrad; machine-tool plants in Kaluga, Novosibirsk, Verkhnyaya Salda; foundries in Chelyabinsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kolomna, Magnitogorsk, Sormov, Stalingrad; mechanical plants and workshops in Chelyabinsk, Podolsk, Stalingrad, Sverdlovsk; thermal power plant in Yakutsk; rolling mills in Novokuznetsk, Magnitogorsk, Nizhny Tagil, Sormovo; 1-th State Bearing Plant in Moscow and much more.

This, however, does not mean that Albert Kahn, Inc. designed from scratch every object. He only transferred to Russia the finished projects of American factories with American equipment. The firm of Albert Kahn played the role of coordinator between the Soviet customer and hundreds of Western (initially mostly American) companies that supplied equipment and advised on the construction of individual objects. In fact, a powerful stream of American and European industrial technology flowed through Kahn in the USSR, and all the largest construction projects in the USSR, with the help of Kahn’s connections, actually became global. Thus, the technological project of the Nizhny Novgorod Automobile Plant was completed by the Ford Company, the construction project by the American company Austin. The Moscow Automobile Plant (AZLK) was built in the 1930 year, too, on the model of Ford’s assembly plants. Construction of 1-th State Bearing Plant in Moscow (GPZ-1), which was designed by the company Kahn, was carried out with the technical assistance of the Italian company RIV.

The Stalingrad Tractor Works, designed by Kahn in 1930, built in the USA, unmounted, transported and assembled under the supervision of American engineers in just six months, was equipped with more than 80 American engineering companies and several German firms.

All projects of Albert Kahn in the USSR, which followed the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, were developed by a branch of his company, which opened in Moscow and worked under the leadership of Moritz Kahn, brother of the head of the company. In this branch, bearing the modest Russian name of Gosproektstroy, 25 worked as leading American engineers and about 2,5 thousand Soviet employees. At that time it was the largest architectural bureau in the world. Over the three years of the existence of Gosproektroy, more than 4 thousand Soviet architects, engineers and technicians who have studied American science to design and build have passed through it. Incidentally, at the same time, the Central Bureau of Heavy Engineering (TSBTM) worked in Moscow - exactly the same “production and training” branch of a foreign company, only its founder was the German Demag.

Payment and payment

However, a serious obstacle soon arose on the path of Soviet-American cooperation: the Soviet government began to run out of currency, the main source of which was grain exports. In August, 1930, when the time came to pay US dollars to Caterpillar 3,5 million for equipment for the Chelyabinsk and Kharkov tractors, as well as Rostov and Saratov combine plants, Stalin wrote to Molotov: “Mikoyan reports that billets are growing and we export 1 bread every day 1,5 million pounds. I think this is not enough. It is necessary to raise now the rate of daily export to 3 – 4 million pounds minimum. Otherwise, we risk losing our new metallurgical and machine-building (Avtozavod, Chelyabzavod, etc.) plants ... In short, we need to forcefully export the grain. ”

In total, from the year 1930 to 1935, the USSR had to pay 350 million dollars (more than 40 billion dollars of today's dollars) to American firms, plus interest on them by about the same amount at the rate of 7% per annum. 25 August 1931, Stalin wrote to Kaganovich: “In view of currency difficulties and unacceptable credit conditions in America, I speak out against any new orders for America. I propose to prohibit the giving of new orders for America, to interrupt any negotiations on new orders that have already begun, and, if possible, to break already concluded agreements on old orders with the transfer of orders to Europe or to our own factories. I propose not to make any exceptions to this rule either for Magnitogorsk and Kuznetsstroi, or for Kharkovstroi, Dneprostroi, AMO and Avtostroi ”. This meant the end of cooperation with Kahn, who performed his task in the eyes of the Soviet government: designed and laid a network of new industrial enterprises, and also formed orders for technological equipment, which could now be transferred to any firms. And in 1932, the Bolsheviks refused to Kahn's company to extend the contract.

Objects designed by Kahn continued to be built. For example, 22 March 1933 was signed by the Aviation Engine Trust for a five-year technical assistance agreement with the firm Curtiss-Wright (USA) providing for the organization of the turnkey production of air-cooled air-cooled motors 635, 725 and 1000 horsepower. Thus began the construction of the Perm aircraft plant (plant number 19). 5 on April 1938, its director V. Dubovoy, wrote to the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry: “The contract with Wright gave the plant the opportunity to quickly master the production of the modern powerful air-cooled engine Wright-Cyclone and, without slowing down the pace of production, move every year to a new , more modern and powerful model of the motor. During the contract, we received from the company the richest technical material that significantly accelerated the development of Soviet aircraft manufacturing. Wright firmly reacted to the fulfillment of contractual obligations, the implementation of the contract proceeded satisfactorily. We consider the extension of the technical assistance agreement with Wright to be beneficial. ”

As is known, the first aviation Soviet M-25 engine with a capacity of 625 l was produced at the Perm plant. with. (copy of “Wright Cyclone R-1820F − 3”). In addition, this company was the largest aircraft manufacturing plant during the Great Patriotic War.

World construction Soviet industrialization

In 1928, the Leningrad State Institute for Designing New Metal Plants developed and published a project of the Ural Machine Building Plant, intended for the production of excavators, crushers, blast-furnace and steelmaking equipment, rolling mills, hydraulic presses, etc. When designing the project, “the successes of Western Europe and American engineering in the field of heavy engineering. " In other words, the designers initially focused on imported equipment. Applications for its delivery were sent to 110 of foreign firms, and all of them expressed their willingness to help the Soviet Union in the construction of the largest machine-building plant. Moreover, the Soviet government decided not to spare money for the construction of the Uralmash.

A serious obstacle arose on the path of Soviet-American cooperation — the Soviet government began to run out of currency, the main source of which was grain exports.

A serious obstacle arose on the path of Soviet-American cooperation — the Soviet government began to run out of currency, the main source of which was grain exports.

The first water well (this was the beginning of the plant) when the plant was laid was drilled by the Germans from the Froelich-Kluepfel-Deilmann company on the German equipment, since domestic specialists simply did not know how to drill wells with a diameter of 500 mm and depth of 100 m. Compressed air production provided compressors firms Borsig, Demag and Skoda. The gas generator station was equipped with gas generators of the system of the German company Kohler. Only the cranes at the factory installed more than 450, and they were all imported, mainly manufactured in Germany.

The iron foundry was equipped with the equipment of the German company Krigar, and the charge was loaded with cranes of the English company Sheppard. In the steel shop installed electric furnaces of the company AEG, as well as sandblasting chambers and saws Mars-Werke. The largest forging press shop in Europe, Uralmash, was equipped with two steam-hydraulic presses by German firms Hydraulik, Schlemann and Wagner.

The factory’s pride is the machine shop No. 1, which consisted of 337 machines, of which 300 were purchased from the bourgeoisie. In particular, a unique German lathe was installed there, capable of processing workpieces weighing up to 120 tons. The huge carousel machine, also made in Germany, had a faceplate diameter of 620 centimeters, and one of the gear cutting machines could handle gears of five meters diameter.

Ural Heavy Machinery Plant (UZTM) was commissioned on July 15 1933. From 1928 to 1941, 311 foreign specialists worked on Uralmash, including 12 builders, four plant managers, 46 designers, 182 workers of various specialties. Most of all foreigners were German nationals - 141 people.

Another symbol of Stalin's industrialization is the Dnieper. His engineering and construction was engaged in the American engineering and construction firm Cooper. The construction site was being prepared by the German company Siemens, which also supplied power generators. The turbines of the Dnieper (except for one, already our copy) were made by the American company Newport News, which is now called Northrop Grumman and is the largest American manufacturer of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.

Soviet Commissar for Foreign Trade Arkady Rozengolts, speaking at 1934 at the XVII Congress of the CPSU (b), noted: “As an example of the most modern equipment we bought, we can bring water turbines specially ordered in the US, installed on the Dnieper, with a capacity of 90 thousand horsepower each. There are no such powerful turbines in Europe, but they are met by few in the whole world ”.

However, all the power plants, built in the framework of the famous GOELRO plan, were completed with imported equipment.

As the Steel Was Tempered

In November, 1926, the presidium of the Ural Regional Economic Council, approved the construction site of a new metallurgical plant - a site near Magnetic Mountain. 2 March 1929 was appointed Vitaly Hasselblat, who immediately went to the USA as part of a group of Soviet specialists. The trip plans included an order for both construction projects and the necessary American industrial equipment plant. The main result of the trip was the conclusion of 13 in May 1929 contract between the association "Vostokstal" and the company Arthur McKee from Cleveland to design the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (a little later a contract was signed with the German company Demag for the rolling plant of this combine). The Americans undertook to prepare a construction and technological project with a full description and specification of equipment, machines and mechanisms, transfer their production experience (patents, know-how, etc.) to the Soviet customer, send qualified specialists to the USSR to oversee the construction and launch of the facility. , to allow Soviet engineers and workers to master the production methods of the company at its enterprises, as well as to coordinate the supply of equipment for Magnitka.

The Americans chose a steel plant in Gary, Indiana, owned by US Steel, as a prototype for the Magnitogorsk Combine.

On July 1, 1930, the laying of the first blast furnace in Magnitogorsk took place. At a solemn meeting dedicated to this event, American engineers McMorey and Struven stood next to the Soviet builders under red banners. In total, more than 800 foreign specialists and highly qualified workers from the USA, Germany, England, Italy and Austria worked on the construction of Magnitogorsk. German specialists from AEG contracted to install the central power plant, they also supplied the most powerful 50 MW turbine with a generator to Magnitka at that time. The German company Krupp & Reismann established refractory production in Magnitogorsk, and the British Traylor - a mining industry.

But here, too, the cooperation of the Bolsheviks with the “bourgeois” did not pass without excesses. The start of the first blast furnace was scheduled for January 31 1932. Arthur McKee, led by Vice President Haven, said it was inappropriate to freeze in the thirty-degree frost when the furnace was not completely dried, and advised to wait until spring. But from the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry came the authorization to start the blast furnace. As a result, during start-up, first a pipe burst at one of the wells, then hot gases suddenly burst from the masonry. According to eyewitnesses, "there was a panic, someone shouted," Save yourself, who can! ". The position was saved by Deputy Governor Magnitostroya Chingiz Ildrym, who, at the risk of being burned to death, rushed to the winch and stopped the blast ”.

This accident served as a pretext for the Soviet government to terminate the contract with the company Arthur McKee: the Americans did their job and could go home - then it was already possible to do without them. After all, if the workers of the first blast furnace were laid out by the Russian workers under the supervision of the Americans for two and a half months, then a similar operation at the second furnace took 25 days, and for the third - just 20. If more than a thousand workers participated in the installation of the first and second blast furnaces, then only the 200 people participated in the installation of the fourth one. If on the construction of the first furnace, the American specialists advised all types of work - from concreting foundations to electrical installation, then on the second blast furnace - only installation work, on the third - only the assembly of loading mechanisms, and the fourth furnace was already completely built by our engineers. The blast furnaces of the McKee company after the overhaul work at MMK today. And the first rolling crimping and blank mill No. 2 of the German company Demag worked continuously from 1933 to the 2006 year.

Instead of gratitude, shooting

In the history of Stalin’s industrialization, the most shocking fact is that almost all the key figures of this project turned out to be enemies of the people. The first builder and director of Uralmash Bannikov, the first chief engineer Fidler, his successor Muzafarov, the builder of the power station Popov and many other builders of the plant were shot.

Legendary metallurgist Avraamy Pavlovich Zavenyagin said: “In fact, three bogatyrs were erected to Magnitogorsk: Gugel (Ya. S. Gugel — manager of Magnitostroem at 1931 – 1932. -“ Expert ”), Mariasin (L. M. Maryasin - builder and chief Koksokhimstroy Magnitostroya. - “Expert”) and Valerius (K. D. Valerius - head of the Magnitostroy trust in 1936 year. - “Expert”) ”. All three were shot in the late thirties.

Zavenyagin himself survived only thanks to a personal friendship with Molotov (they became friends in the 1921 year, when, participating in a party conference in Kharkov, they lived in the same hotel room). In 1936, Molotov phoned Zavenyagin, who was at that time director of MMK, with the words: “We decided not to kill you. We offer to go to the head of construction in Norilsk. " And Zavenyagin traded Magnitogorsk to Norilsk Combine.

Magnitostroy's favorite, Chingiz Ildrym, was shot in Sukhanovskaya prison in 1941 year. Both the first director of Magnitostroy V. Smolyaninov and the manager of Magnitostroy in 1930 were also shot. J. Schmidt, and the renowned brigadier of the first builders, the holder of the Order of Lenin V. Kalmykov. The first chief engineer, V. Gasselblat, died of exhaustion in the concentration camp of the town of Chibiu near Ukhta.

Purges were also being taken on other construction sites of the first five-year plans. For example, February 14 of 1931, the head of the OGPU, Vyacheslav Menzhinsky, reported in a memo to Stalin: “In addition to the arrests made from the Construction Management Office of Chelyabtraktorstroy, 40 people were cleaned. and measures were taken to remove the rest of the unsuitable element from the construction. ”

As a result of the repression of the thirties, almost everyone who was directly or indirectly involved in the procurement of imported equipment for these construction projects was destroyed. Therefore, it is difficult to get rid of the belief that one of the main goals of the prewar wave of repression was to conceal the truth about how and by whom industrialization was carried out in the USSR. So that in the history books it will forever be preserved as “the unprecedented feat of the liberated proletariat, led by the Bolshevik Party and the ingenious Stalin.”
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  1. Alex
    Alex 13 June 2014 15: 27
    Well, what does the war have to do with it? Once again I’m convinced of the correctness of the policy of the USSR at the beginning of the twentieth century: if it weren’t for this, Russia would be lost in the darkness of centuries.
  2. Alfons xv
    Alfons xv 8 June 2015 06: 46
    Tricky and creatures these Bolsheviks.