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

ISBN : 9780190675141

Ian Ona Johnson
368 ページ
156 x 235 mm
  • First complete book on a topic that has remained hidden from view for decades, and yet had a major impact on the 20th century's greatest catastrophe
  • Will be the definitive book on the fateful alliance of two mortal enemies
  • Author poised to become a major figure in military history

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.


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


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.

Winner of the Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award for First Book

"Readers interested in the technical aspects of experiments and in the development of prototypes will benefit from this book. Regarding the political aspects of the cooperation, Johnson confirms the assumptions of the authoritative literature." -- Dietrich Beyrau, H/Soz/Kult

"The strength of Johnson's work is that he clearly illustrates that most of the Reichswehr's top leadership had been on board for a war of revenge to assert Germany's primacy on the continent well before Hitler and the Nazis came to power." -- Roger R. Reese, Texas A&M University, The Russian Review

"Johnson's book is a revelation and a triumph. It lays bare one of the least-known and least-understood of inter-war relationships – the odious pariahs' dance between Germany and the Soviet Union. Well-written and academically impeccable, it is an essential read for everyone interested in the period." -- Roger Moorhouse, author of Poland 1939: The Outbreak of World War II and The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941

"Ian Johnson has done extraordinary research, drawing on twenty-three archives in five countries and three languages, which allows him to tell a highly original story: How the German-Soviet partnership of the early 1920s lay at the foundation of European politics in the two decades that followed, helping to determine Stalin's Terror, the German army's virulent contempt for Bolshevism, and ultimately the outbreak and conduct of the Second World War and the Holocaust. This is one of the most important and readable books in years on this critical period." -- Benjamin Hett, author of The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, and the Road to War

"Ian Johnson's compelling study is a major contribution to twentieth century history.Based on significant research, this study takes forward our knowledge of an important aspect of the background to World War Two." -- Jeremy Black, author of Rethinking Military History

"Compelling, elegantly written, and based on meticulous excavation of the archives, Ian Ona Johnson's book forces a reckoning with the interwar continuity of relations between the Soviet Union and their German partners—Weimar and Nazi alike. It reveals in captivating detail how Germany's clandestine rearmament shaped the Nazi German Wehrmacht, the Soviet Red Army, and the ultimate destabilization of Europe." -- Jennifer Siegel, The Ohio State University
"The strength of Johnson's work is that he clearly illustrates that most of the Reichswehr's top leadership had been on board for a war of revenge to assert Germany's primacy on the continent well before Hitler and the Nazis came to power. For the German military, a large, modern armed force was key to the restoration of Germany's place in Europe. In their eyes the illegal Soviet-German military cooperation was fundamental to achieving that." --The Russian Review