75 years ago, in November 1940, negotiations were held in Berlin on the division of the world and the accession of the USSR to the Tripartite Pact. Western literature has introduced the idea that this was the turning point of Hitler’s policy, the point of his choice whether to maintain friendship with the Soviet Union or defeat it. But such assertions are just a juggling of facts. Hitler's ideas from the very beginning were a modification of the Schlieffen plan, which was played out in the First World War. Crush Western opponents, and then transfer all forces to the east. But Schlieffen and Moltke based their plans on calculating the timing of mobilization in different countries, the carrying capacity of railways. Hitler found more reliable means - diplomatic frauds. He spoke to successive blows first to the west and then to the east to those close to him at the beginning of the 1930s.
Before the start of the war with Poland, having signed a treaty with the USSR, he again explained at a meeting of military leaders: after the victory over the Western powers, the turn of Russia would come. Almost immediately after the capitulation of France, 31 July 1940, Hitler set the General Staff the task of developing an attack on the USSR with the aim of "destroying the life force of Russia." The term of the operation was determined - spring 1941 of the year. Halder's diary testifies: the German generals seized upon the preparation of a new war with great enthusiasm. Already on 9 in August 1940, the Head of the Operational Directorate of the OKV Warlimont issued the first directive on the preparation of a strike against the USSR, codenamed Construction in the East. 14 August Goering instructed General Thomas, head of the economic department of the OKV, that deliveries to Russia should be considered only until next spring. On August 26 began to move divisions to the East from France.
But the Nazi victories changed the situation around the world. European borders shifted. The Soviet Union, taking advantage of the agreement with Germany, annexed Western Ukraine and Belarus, the Baltic republics, and Bessarabia. Overpowered Finland, forced to cede a number of areas. Finns then sharply reoriented to Berlin. And the difficulties and serious losses of the USSR in the war with the Finns played a cruel joke with the Germans. They concluded that the Russians are a weak opponent, they will be easily broken. They themselves swallowed state after state. Fears of war with the Soviet Union were not expressed by any German military leader.
The situation in the Balkans also escalated. When Russia returned Bessarabia, taken from her during the Civil War, Hungary and Bulgaria were aroused. After the First World War, their areas were also given to Romania. Now they set out to fight, to recover their losses. In Berlin, they were alarmed: what if the USSR intervenes, undermines the whole of Romania with its oil fields. On 28 August, the crisis deepened so much that Hitler ordered five tank, three motorized divisions, paratroopers.
Still, the situation was resolved by the world. Germany has joined forces with Italy, have exposed themselves as supreme arbiters. At the talks in Vienna, they dictated a compromise solution to three countries: Romania gives half of Transylvania to Hungary, South Dobrudja Bulgaria. The Romanians were forced to agree, but their cost to the throne to their king Carol. Public outrage rose, he otrёksya in favor of his son Mihai, grabbed his mistress Magda Lupescu, 10 wagons of values and drove off to Switzerland. The real ruler was General Antonescu, who was very sympathetic to the Germans. They immediately sent a military mission, to prepare the Romanians, "if war is imposed on Russia." And Hungary and Bulgaria, having received generous handouts, entered the channel of German policy.
In addition, the collapsed France and England were gigantic colonial empires. Their possessions spread across the globe. In Berlin, they were aware: Germany itself cannot simply “digest” such volumes. Here it was necessary to somehow share with the allies. Oh, they were willing to connect. With an appetite, Mussolini squinted at the French colonies in Africa, drove to the Führer, begged. But in this case, Hitler refused. Italy in the war proved to be disgusting, did not contribute to the victory. And the French government of Petain - Laval became obedient puppets of Germany. To repel such useful slaves away from oneself was unreasonable. Therefore, Hitler hinted to the Duce that the British had many rich colonies. If the Italians want it, let them win them themselves.
Well, Japan rolled its lips to French Indochina (it included Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). I turned to my German friends, and Hitler treated her more favorably than Italy. He judged that Japan should be tied to a stronger alliance, drawn into a war with the Western powers. And Indochina is located far away, no matter how the local authorities spread to the British. Let it be better supervised. German and Tokyo diplomats together appealed to the Vichy government of France, and it did not dare to object. Signed an agreement - in Vietnam were allowed to place 6 thousands of Japanese soldiers. The official pretext was to guard the railway so that cargoes for Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese troops were not transported through Vietnam.
The Japanese sent more troops than agreed, took control of not only the railway, but also cities and ports. The Vichy government said there was a protest. However, the Japanese did not listen to him, and he needed only to accept it. The commanders of the occupation units began to behave in Vietnam in much the same way as in Manchuria or in China. French colonial officials assigned their advisors, whose instructions became binding.
These changes inspired the neighboring kingdom, Thailand. At the end of the XIX century, the French took away Laos and Cambodia. Now Thailand is on fire, too, to take advantage of the defeat of the colonialists, to return their lands. Not here it was! The French in their homeland stood at attention before the Germans, in Vietnam in front of the Japanese, but they perceived the claims of the Thai people as a national insult! The colonial command mobilized their units. Serious battles began at the border. A squadron of French ships remaining in the Vietnamese ports, rushed to the Thai and sank their entire fleet - two old battleships of coastal defense.
But ... the peacemakers stood up. None other than the Japanese. Slipped at those and others, told to sit at the negotiating table. And the Japanese themselves determined the results: they ordered to give Laos and Cambodia to Thai people. The French had nowhere to go, they gave. In Thailand, the first stories victory over the European power. The local dictator Plec Pibunssongram, in joy, produced himself from the major general right to field marshals. And he paid for the support of Japan, concluded a secret union with her.
Even more interest than Vietnam in the Tokyo caused the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia). There were oil fields, so necessary for Japan. The Netherlands no longer existed, why not seize their colony? But in this case the situation was different. The fleeing Dutch queen and government sat in London, and the colonial administration continued to obey them. England became the patroness of the Dutch and their possessions. Next door were the British colonies: Singapore, Burma, and behind her huge India.
Now the British were in an unenviable position, collecting all the forces to defend their own islands. In Tokyo, they thought it was possible to thoroughly pluck them. But Japanese politicians were sure: in this case, the United States will inevitably intervene. And how will the Soviet Union behave? If you turn to English and Dutch possessions, you will turn the rear to him.
In Japan, unlike in Germany, the Red Army’s combat power was very respectfully evaluated - they tried it out on their own skin on Hasan and Khalkhin Gol. Therefore, they came to the conclusion: for the development of the “British heritage”, the military resources of the USSR would have come in handy. In the summer of 1940, at a meeting of the Japanese leadership, Prime Minister Konoe, Foreign Minister Matsuoka, Tojo, Oikawa, and others, a project was put forward that seemed to promise a tremendous gain. Engage Stalin in an alliance against England. And in order to interest him, to allocate for the USSR an independent sector of interests.
1 August this project was handed over to German Ambassador Ott. It proposed "to try to force the Soviet Union to extend its influence in a direction in which it will have the smallest direct impact on the interests of Japan, Germany and Italy, namely in the direction of the Persian Gulf (it is possible that, if necessary, you have to agree with the expansion of the Soviet Union towards India) ”. In another version, it was expressly provided for “to recognize India for the purposes of the present moment as part of the living space of the Soviet Union.
In Berlin, I liked the project; it received the name Ribbentrop Plan in historical literature. Although viewed from a different angle than in Tokyo. The project was provided in a great way to fool Stalin when an attack is being prepared. A wedge was driven in, preventing the USSR and Great Britain from coming closer, they were pushed together with their heads together. Soviet armies would be transferred to Central Asia. In Afghanistan and India they would be stuck for a long time. Russian defense in the west weakened, as required. In general, there was clear benefit from all sides.
27 September 1940 of the Year within the framework of the proposed redivision of the world between Germany, Japan and Italy was signed by the Tripartite Pact, providing for the creation of a "new order" in Europe and Asia. The Soviet Union was invited to join the pact. In principle, Moscow did not object - but only on condition that it will be an equal partner in the coalition. In addition, the Russians wanted to clarify and clarify what “new order” means.
In the meantime, new circumstances have become superimposed that have complicated the relations between our country and Germany. In October, the Germans made an agreement with Finland and sent their troops there. Stalin was alarmed and outraged. Through Molotov, he pointed out to Berlin the violation of previous agreements on spheres of influence, demanded the withdrawal of the German contingents. And October 28 Mussolini attacked Greece. True, the Italians in just a week smashed to smithereens. But Hitler joined, he moved additional forces to Romania, negotiations began with Bulgaria and Yugoslavia on the introduction of German units and a joint war with the Greeks. Hitler mastered the Balkans more and more intensively, and in the USSR this was also perceived as extremely painful.
Finally, we agreed to meet to resolve the accumulated issues, and on November 12 of 1940, a delegation led by Molotov arrived in Berlin. But on the same day, Hitler issued a secret directive for his generals. He informed them that "political negotiations with the aim of finding out the position of Russia for the near future have begun." It was explained with utmost frankness: they must continue to prepare for an operation against the USSR, regardless of the results of the negotiations!
And before Molotov, the Führer unfolded the “Ribbentrop plan” to transform the “pact of three” into a “pact of four” with the corresponding projects for partitioning the “bankrupt estate” of Great Britain. A four-party treaty was proposed with Germany, Japan and Italy for a period of 10 years. The parties pledged not to join "any combination of powers" directed against any of them, promised to provide each other with economic assistance. A secret protocol on spheres of influence was attached to the contract. For Japan, East Asia is to the south of the Japanese Islands, for Italy, North and Northeast Africa, for Germany, Central Africa, for the USSR, to the south of the national territory in the direction of the Indian Ocean. And the final territorial redistribution of Europe was postponed until the end of the war.
Although the Soviet side on the "cranes in the sky" is not flattered. Molotov again raised the issue of German troops in Finland and Romania. He said that the Soviet Union had not yet received all the desired territorial concessions from the Romanians - in addition to Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, he pointed to Southern Bukovina. Hitler and Ribbentrop tried to convince them that all this “trifles” had no meaning compared to the emerging global perspectives. But Molotov stood his ground firmly. He said that "the great problems of tomorrow cannot be separated from the problems of today and from the implementation of existing agreements." They argued for a long time, repeatedly and agreed only on what Germany confirmed: Finland belongs to the zone of Russia's interests, the Fuhrer in this country will not interfere with Stalin’s policy (this agreement remained purely declarative, Hitler did not intend to execute it).
A draft treaty on the division of the world was sent to Moscow for further study and coordination. Stalin treated him very carefully. He realized that the German proposals very much smacked of large-scale provocation. On his instructions, Molotov handed over an evasive answer, without refusing and disagreeing, asked for extra time for work.
26 November through the German ambassador in Moscow Schulenburg, the Soviet government transferred its counter-project. It was indicated that the USSR was ready to join the Tripartite Pact, but conditions were offered somewhat different. First of all, the immediate withdrawal of German troops from Finland was required. Bulgaria was recognized as the sphere of Russia's interests, and for several months the USSR was to conclude a “mutual aid pact” with it - with the right to deploy military units on its territory. In addition, on the basis of a long-term lease, the Soviet Union was required to provide a base in the area of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Japan had to give up its rights to the oil and coal deposits of Sakhalin. And the center of the Soviet claims was supposed to recognize the regions to the south of Baku and Batumi, and in the direction not of India, but of the Persian Gulf.
Pay attention to the fundamental differences between the project and the counter-project. If the German version was aimed at pushing the USSR and England, then in the Soviet version Stalin retained the ability to maneuver and avoided entering into a big war. At the same time, Joseph Vissarionovich returned to the geopolitical and strategic tasks that the Russian Empire was trying to solve before the revolution. Bulgaria dredged out from under German patronage under Russian. This would affect the situation in Romania, it would also slip under the control of the Soviet Union, and our country would begin to play a dominant role in the Balkans. The base on the Bosphorus secured such a situation, opened the way to the Mediterranean, to the Middle East. The interests of Japan on Sakhalin were limited. And the strategic claims of the USSR shifted from India to Northern Iran, the eastern part of Turkey, Iraq, Syria - to the very direction in which the Russian empire had previously spread its influence.
However, such conditions could not please Berlin. They have already attributed Romania and Bulgaria to their own “asset”, and hoped to establish themselves thoroughly there soon. They set their sights on Iran, Iraq and the Middle East. Numerous pro-German organizations were already operating there, and agents were widely operating. Negotiations were held with local leaders willing to cooperate with the Nazis, they bribed someone, they played ambitions from someone, they promised help. But Turkey, due to which Soviet interests should be satisfied, Berlin diligently courted. He threw fishing rods about the alliance, the Turkish government met them more than favorably, expressed readiness for further rapprochement. Surrounded by Hitler, she was already considered an actual ally, they were sure that she would join Germany just as in the First World War.
But the Soviet Union agreed to be an equal partner in the Tripartite Pact. If he is truly recognized as equal, let the other parties “make room”, give up some interests for the sake of supposed friendship, Moscow’s consent to the realization of other plans and its support. However, our government probably requested “to the maximum” - it believed that the usual diplomatic mechanisms would work, the Germans and their allies would not agree with something, it would be possible to bargain.
Although Hitler saw the matter differently. If Stalin, joining the fallen national suburbs and pondering geopolitical demands, restored the former empire and its spheres of influence, then the Führer set himself the same goals that the German Empire pursued in the First World War. Hegemony in Europe, the colonization of the Balkans, the invasion of Turkey into the orbit, with its help expansion in Asia. The very goals that once led to the clash between Germany and Russia. However, the idea of “Lebensraum”, that is, “living space” in the East, in Russia, was common among the ideologues of Kaiser Germany and the Nazis.
There was no response to the sent draft at all. But Moscow’s proposals in fact did not interest Hitler too much. It remained only to regret that it was not possible to fool the heads of the Soviet leadership and hold him by the nose. Now the Führer used Russian conditions in order to once again justify the need for a blow to the USSR before his subordinates. From this angle, he undertook to comment on the document: “Stalin is clever and cunning. He demands more and more. This is a cold-blooded blackmailer. The victory of Germany has become intolerable for Russia, so it is necessary to bring it to its knees as soon as possible. ”
But the military, according to the Führer directive, continued to prepare for the coming war, regardless of any Ribbentrop plans, negotiations, or Soviet answers. In November 1940, General Paulus had already completed the development of a plan for an attack on our country. At the same time, Goering approved a plan for the deployment of the Air Force for the upcoming war. Hitler studied them, discussed with his advisers. 18 December 1940, he signed the directive No. 21, which received the symbol “Otto Plan”. Later, it was considered necessary to invent a louder, as if a historical name - the plan "Barbarossa".