"Pomegranate scam": all the secret becomes clear
Reichswehr artillery - 7,5 cm field cannon. The Reichswehr had guns, but there were problems with the release of ammunition for them ...
Book of Ecclesiastes or Preacher, 12:14
History Fatherland. And it so happened that the establishment of Soviet-German cooperation in the 20s was not welcomed by everyone. And not only in Europe, which had its own views on how a country that lost the world war should behave, but also in Germany itself, and even in the USSR.
To begin with, the Soviet representatives very often hinted to the Germans that, in the event of their intransigence, they could turn to Germany's sworn enemy, France, and it is clear that German industrialists and politicians did not like such hints. In addition, at this time, relations between Germany and the USSR were constantly spoiled by various "affairs".
So, after the signing of the Berlin Political Treaty, the Soviet side proposed on May 7, 1926 to eliminate all political incidents that hinder its implementation. First of all, it meant that the German side would pardon and exchange all arrested and convicted persons involved in the transfer of military secrets to the USSR. In the USSR, 14 German subjects were also convicted, 4 of whom faced the death penalty for economic and military espionage, and the rest - either life imprisonment or long imprisonment.
Reichswehr column on the march, 1924
Berlin agreed with the idea of exchange.
But the German Foreign Ministry decided that the War Ministry would be against it. They believed that such a step could be regarded by the Soviets as weakness, and in the future they would begin to blackmail Germany in this way. On the other hand, the trial of the "German spies" was dangerous in that it would surface the connections of the "Junkers" and the Ministry of War of the Weimar Republic with the "Red Air fleet”, And the winning countries would not like it.
To calculate all the options for events, on July 12, 1926, the Germans drew up an interesting document:
1. 200 thousand artillery shells ordered by the German side in the USSR were manufactured and stored in Leningrad for transportation to Germany, which is a direct violation of the Versailles Treaty.
2. In Lipetsk, German cadets are being trained at the school of military pilots. And this is also a violation of the Versailles Treaty.
3. There was an exchange of military and naval missions. In principle, there is no violation here, but this fact can be used to discredit Germany in the eyes of international public opinion.
4. Germany is building a chemical plant in Russia.
5. Germany contains in Russia tank school.
6. Firm "Junkers" maintains close cooperation with Russia.
7. Negotiations are planned with Unshlicht on the transfer of the German (military) industry to Russia ("Rheinmetall", "Krupp"), which is a direct violation of the agreement.
8. Germany has invested 75 million marks in the military industry. The charge of remilitarization is quite possible!
The document also said that Soviet pilots were being trained by German instructors; about the work of the flight school in Lipetsk; and also about repeated visits to the USSR by delegations of the Reichswehr, the Navy and the German Air Force. There was also the participation of German officers in the maneuvers of the Red Army in 1925 under assumed names.
However, there was also the Comintern, which sent its emissaries to Germany in order to incite revolutionary activity. And in Berlin they began to fear that Moscow would try to insure their work in Germany by arresting new German hostages in the Union.
Reichswehr soldiers suppress the "Kapp's putsch", 1920
As a result, on July 19, 1926, it was decided to "politically pardon" our "spies" in order to release "their spies".
The Reichswehr, represented by its generals, objected that this was a dangerous precedent. But ... on August 20, President Hindenburg nevertheless signed the relevant papers, and the issue was resolved: 14 Germans convicted in the USSR were exchanged in September for four convicted "spies" in Germany.
That is, military cooperation between the USSR and Germany, of course, took place, but it was subjected to serious tests, firstly, the actual political course of the USSR, in which they did not stop talking about the approaching world revolution, and secondly, views on the behavior of Germany in such countries, like England and France.
Reichswehr soldiers take part in suppressing labor unrest in Saxony, October 1923
And it all ended in a grandiose scandal, called the "grenade scam".
The fact is that rumors about the transportation of military cargo from Germany to Soviet Russia by sea (Mauser, chemicals for the production of toxic substances, in particular, mustard gas, as well as gunpowder, shells, spare parts for aircraft and small arms weapons and much more) began to spread in Finland back in February 1926.
Then several steamers in the Gulf of Finland were covered with ice, and during their rescue, information about the cargo transported could not be kept secret. Then, in November 1926, the Finns even prepared a list of Soviet enterprises, at which, with the assistance of Germany, the USSR was establishing military production. And ... they reported this to Warsaw, Paris, and London.
The French newspaper "Action Francaise" reported this on August 9, 1926. Well, B. Elmer, the press attaché of the Polish embassy in Berlin, did even better: he handed over to an American journalist materials about German supplies to the USSR, along with a request to publish all this.
Germany tried to disavow these rumors.
It was informed to all interested parties that the official German authorities had nothing to do with the transportation of weapons. What is this ... international smuggling on ships chartered in Germany. And these weapons are transported by Russia and China. And also it, and in large quantities, is being sold by the Italian government to China through Czechoslovakia, Denmark and Soviet Russia! Well, it is possible that it is carried by German ships, chartered in a private way. And, by the way, two examples of arms smuggling by Italy were found. And where there are two, there are many!
The scandal, however, could not be hushed up, because of which the commander-in-chief of the Reichswehr, General Hans von Seeckt, was forced to resign, and General W. Haye took his place. However, this rearrangement did nothing.
General Hans von Seeckt
In early December 1926, the influential British newspaper Manchester Guardian published articles on December 3 and 6 in which it sharply criticized the positions of the USSR and Germany.
Then on 4, 5, 6 and 7 December, similar materials appeared in the SPD newspaper Forverts.
In England, on December 3, 1926, articles appeared: "Loads of ammunition from Russia to Germany" and "Visits of officers to Russia." In a sensational vein and with eye-catching huge headlines on the front page, they reported on the existence of secret links between the German Reichswehr and the Red Army over the past five years.
It was stated that aviation the Junkers company built an aircraft plant in the USSR, which produces military products for both Soviet Russia and Germany, which is a direct violation of the Versailles Treaty. That German chemical plants for the production of chemical weapons are being built in the USSR, and that Reichswehr officers travel to the Soviet Union with false documents. Well, and General Seeckt, of course, knew all this, but did not stop it, although he was obliged!
Seaplane "Junkers" U-20. Played a very important role in the development of Siberia and the Far East
The Manchester Guardian also reported on steamers packed with shells that ply between Leningrad and German ports.
All this took place against the background of negotiations in Geneva, at which the question of terminating the activities of the Inter-Allied Control Commission was to be decided.
Berlin, of course, made an official denial, but then on December 5, 1926, the German Social Democratic newspaper Forverts added fuel to the fire, which published an article: "Soviet grenades for Reichswehr cannons."
The publication said: Soviet Russia "arms the German counter-revolution", supplies arms to the Reichswehr, and she also incites the German workers to revolutionary actions.
The newspaper asked.
And who, then, could answer this question directly and honestly?
As a result, the Berliner Tageblat newspaper was forced to admit the existence of facts of Soviet-German cooperation in the military field, but recalled its motives, such as the extremely difficult requirements of the Versailles Treaty, as well as the London Ultimatum, the Genoa Conference, the occupation of the Ruhr and the expectation of an attack from Poland.
It was explained that the policy of the Entente also hit German aircraft construction very hard, so many firms were forced to work abroad: Fokker in Holland, Dornier in Italy. And that all this does not contradict the Versailles Treaty.
As for the orders of ammunition and weapons in Soviet Russia, after the conference in Locarno, according to the newspaper, Germany no longer placed new orders in the USSR.
Junkers Ju-21 - fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. More than 1923 such machines were built at the Junkers plant in Fili near Moscow in 1925-100 ...
In general, everyone who was not lazy was throwing mud at Germany. Both "outside" and "inside".
On December 9, the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote that “the whole world knew” that Junkers had built an aircraft (and also a chemical) plant in Russia. But Russia was not bound, like Germany, by any treaties in this area and therefore "can, like another military power, provide itself with military aircraft and poisonous gases."
It's funny that the "repentant" Gustav Stresemann, who at that time was Reich Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Weimar Republic, despite all these revelations, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1926.
And in Geneva on December 12, 1926, he finally managed to achieve a very important concession from the victorious countries - the abolition of the humiliating inter-allied military control over Germany.
1. Gorlov S. A. Top secret: Alliance Moscow - Berlin, 1920–1933. - M .: OLMA-PRESS, 2001.
2. "Soviet-German military and military-technical cooperation of 1920-1933." The topic of the dissertation and author's abstract for the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Federation 07.00.02, Candidate of Historical Sciences Baikov, Alexey Yurevich, 2007, Moscow.
3. "Military-political relations between Soviet Russia and Germany in 1921-1939." The topic of the dissertation and the abstract of the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Federation 07.00.03, Doctor of Historical Sciences Kantor, Yulia Zorakhovna, Doctor of Historical Sciences 2006, St. Petersburg.
4. "Historians of the USSR - Russia on Soviet-German relations in 1917-1941." The topic of the dissertation and the author's abstract for the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Federation 07.00.09, Candidate of Historical Sciences Milovanov, Sergey Vasilevich, 2008, Voronezh.
5. Junkers in Russia.
To be continued ...
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