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Faustian Bargain The Soviet-German Partnership and the Origins of the Second World War

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2021-06-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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When Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, launching World War Two, its army seemed an unstoppable force. The Luftwaffe bombed towns and cities across the country, and fifty divisions of the Wehrmacht crossed the border. Yet only two decades earlier, at the end of World War One, Germany had been an utterly and abjectly defeated military power. Foreign troops occupied its industrial heartland and the Treaty of Versailles reduced the vaunted German army of World War One to a fraction of its size, banning it from developing new military technologies. When Hitler came to power in 1933, these strictures were still in effect. By 1939, however, he had at his disposal a fighting force of 4.2 million men, armed with the most advanced weapons in the world. How could this nearly miraculous turnaround have happened?

The answer lies in Russia. Beginning in the years immediately after World War One and continuing for more than a decade, the German military and the Soviet Union--despite having been mortal enemies--entered into a partnership designed to overturn the order in Europe. Centering on economic and military cooperation, the arrangement led to the establishment of a network of military bases and industrial facilities on Soviet soil. Through their alliance, which continued for over a decade, Germany gained the space to rebuild its army. In return, the Soviet Union received vital military, technological and economic assistance. Both became, once again, military powers capable of a mass destruction that was eventually directed against one another.

Drawing from archives in five countries, including new collections of declassified Russian documents, The Faustian Bargain offers the definitive exploration of a shadowy but fateful alliance.

Author Biography

Ian Ona Johnson is the P.J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, among other publications.

Table of Contents

PART I: Sowing the Wind

Chapter 1: The Bolshevik's Army
Chapter Two: Revolution and Reaction
Chapter Three: The Treaty of Versailles
Chapter Four: The Polish-Bolshevik War
Chapter Five: The Corporate Program
Chapter Six: The Road to Rapallo
Chapter Seven: Poison Gas
Chapter Eight: Coups and Countermeasures
Chapter Nine: Partners in Mass Destruction
Chapter Ten: From Fili to Lipetsk
Chapter Eleven: The Military Futurists
Chapter Twelve: The Junkers Scandal
Chapter Thirteen: Resetting Relations
Chapter Fourteen: Fires and Scandals
Chapter Fifteen: Chemical Weapons and Fighter Pilots
Chapter Sixteen: The Tanks ARrive
Chapter Seventeen: Winter of Crisis
Chapter Eighteen: Machines of the Future
Chapter Nineteen: Yellow Cross
Chapter Twenty: Hunger

PART II: Reaping the Whirlwind

Chapter Twenty-One: Schliecher
Chapter Twenty-Two: Rearmament Begins
Chapter Twenty-Three: The End of the Republic
Chapter Twenty-Four: Enemies Again
Chapter Twenty-Five: Long Knives
Chapter Twenty-Six: The End of Versailles
Chapter Twenty-Seven: War Returns to Europe
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Purges and Panic
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Storm Clouds
Chapter Thirty: Fulfillment
Chapter Thirty-One: From Winter to Phony War
Chapter Thirty-Two: Whirlwind




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