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Back from the USSR: the Anti-Comintern's publications on Soviet Russia in Nazi Germany (1935-41).

Joseph Goebbels's speech of 13 September 1935 on "communism unmasked," held at the party "rally of freedom" that introduced the antisemitic legislation of the "Nuremburg laws," marked the starting point of a propaganda campaign against the USSR that lasted until the rapprochement between the dictatorships in the summer of 1939. (1) Anti-communism was the dominating theme of the Nazi party's rally. Before the assembled faithful in Nuremburg, speakers that included Adolf Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg emphasized the need to struggle against the Bolshevik threat. In his speech, the "Third Reich's" propaganda minister started by refuting the claim of the British press that Bolshevism and Nazism were converging. (2) He claimed that the German and the European public had a distorted view of Bolshevism and promised to expose the "true nature" of the Soviet regime. According to Goebbels, Bolshevism exemplified the "challenge of Jewish-led subhumanity against culture as such." Against this threat, it was Nazi Germany's "universal mission" to save Europe from the perils of Bolshevism. (3) Goebbels went on to read a long list of crimes that he attributed to Soviet Russia's rulers and their communist allies abroad. In Nuremburg, he set out to convince the German population and the European public that the Comintern was a "Jewish conspiracy." The speech showed Nazism's proclivity for viewing the world in conspiratorial terms. (4) Goebbels's appeal to join the fight against Bolshevism was soon published as a booklet and became the first component of a concerted campaign.

As he vilified Bolshevism in his speech, Goebbels paid tribute to one Soviet achievement: he complimented the Soviet government on its excellent international propaganda. He accepted the challenge to counteract these propagandistic successes and to establish "Jewish Bolshevism" as a Feindbild for the German and European public. (5) Fundamentally, the anti-Soviet campaign was part of the radicalization of Nazi rule and served to legitimize such measures as the antisemitic legislation of 1935. (6) The campaign against the USSR aimed to connect the image of the internal Jewish enemy with "Judeo-Bolshevism," which was portrayed as the greatest external threat. From the fall of 1935 onward, Nazi propaganda used a variety of different means to spread this message. The press, exhibitions on Soviet Russia, and speeches by party members kept repeating the same arguments.

In the following years, Goebbels's propaganda ministry initiated the publication of a wide range of monographs on the USSR. This article traces the sources of the Nazi regime's anti-Soviet propaganda, analyzes its narratives, and discusses them in the context of the Nazi regime and the German-Russian encounter in the 20th century. I start out by tracing the origins of Nazi discourse about the USSR in the Weimar Republic and introducing the structure of the Anti-Comintern's apparatus.

Weimar's Fascination with Bolshevik Russia and the Emergence of "Jewish Bolshevism"

The Russian Revolution instantly became a topic of political discussion, and intellectual debate about the new Russia profoundly shaped the political discourse of Weimar Germany. (7) The cultural impact of Soviet Russia transcended the boundaries of the communist movement. Throughout the 1920s, German intellectuals and professionals of various political orientations visited the USSR. (8) For many years, Berlin had become a capital for Russian emigres and the second seat of the Comintern. (9) A range of intellectual traditions for criticizing Bolshevism developed; prominent among them was the early criticism of Rosa Luxemburg and Kari Kautsky, who wrote on behalf of the workers' movement. (10) In the early 1920s, those adhering to National Bolshevism and the Conservative Revolution also discussed the events in Russia and their reverberations in Germany; the fascination with Soviet Russia was not limited to the Left. (11) World War I and the Treaty of Versailles created a widespread aversion to Western modernity, its values and principles. In the view of many German new nationalists, Russia and Germany shared a cultural distance from the West and therefore qualified as cultural and political allies. German communism, during the 1920s a mass movement in its own right, shared the Right's opposition to Versailles. Despite this national rhetoric, the German Communist Party (KPD) was deeply influenced by Moscow and developed its own cult of the USSR. (12) Toward the end of the Weimar Republic, however, the Stalinization of the KPD facilitated its marginalization and led to its partial self-destruction. (13) The anti-Bolshevik spectrum was also diverse. It included the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the state-sponsored anti-Bolshevism of Eduard Stadtler, as well as far-right volkisch groups that initially had limited influence. A profound interest in communist Russia thus existed across Weimar Germany's political spectrum. (14)

There was an early entanglement of Nazism with the world of Russian emigres and their reaction to Soviet power. From the outset, the National Socialist movement was part of this story of attraction and repulsion triggered by the rise of Bolshevism. Following the Russian Revolution, Munich became a home for both Russian and Baltic German refugees. During its early days, these emigre circles gained substantial influence over the Nazi Party. (15) Baltic Germans who influenced Hitler's views on Russia and Bolshevism included Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, who came from Riga to become a close companion of Adolf Hitler, and Alfred Rosenberg, who came from Reval. (16) Scheubner-Richter was shot walking arm-in-arm with Hitler during the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch; and Rosenberg, a graduate of Moscow University, claimed to be the Nazi Party's leading authority on Russian matters. (17) In the early 1920s, Rosenberg channeled ideas between the Russian and German Far Right; through him, among others, the discourses of Russian antisemitism were popularized in Munich and beyond. Rosenberg was involved in the distribution of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the originally Russian antisemitic fabrication that decisively formed the Weltanschauung of the Nazi elite. (18) Through his writing and through personal contacts in Munich, Alfred Rosenberg spread his ideas about the threat of "Jewish Bolshevism." (19)

In 1922, Rosenberg published his own denunciation of the Bolshevik Revolution. (20) The pamphlet Pest in Russland! (Plague in Russia!) summarized his view of the revolutionary turmoil. In his writings, Rosenberg applied the antisemitism of the Black Hundreds and the conspiracy theory of the "protocols" to the events of the Russian Revolution. (21) He saw ethnic Russians as victims of the upheaval. Accordingly, in Alfred Rosenberg's interpretation, the Revolution was an attempt of the smaller peoples of the empire--the Armenians, Chinese, Latvians, and Jews--to destroy European civilization. (22) Their victim was Russia, but their connections were international. He saw them as allies of Wall Street in a conspiracy to dominate the world. In his view, which Hitler came to share, the Bolshevik "red international" was merely a branch of the "golden international" of Jewish capitalism. Trotskii's capitalism, Rosenberg claimed, was far more brutal than its Western version. He stressed that the Bolshevik movement was dominated by Jews and that the Revolution had betrayed the Russian people. The author explained his ideas in a global context: according to him, the contradiction between communism and capitalism was a chimera. Not social order but racial categories formed the core of historical development. To him, nightmare had become reality in Russia: the Jews had become the rulers of the Slavic land. Rosenberg also drew parallels with the situation in postwar Germany, where he had taken refuge. He saw his new homeland ata crossroads and compared Germany's situation to Russia under Aleksandr Kerenskii. In his opinion, only volkisch politics could save the country from Bolshevism.

Adolf Hitler himself was influenced by Rosenberg's interpretation of the Russian Revolution as a racial struggle, and he adopted that view when he wrote Mein Kampf in 1924. (23) To him, Bolshevism was just one manifestation of universal Jewish evil. (24) In contrast to Rosenberg or Goebbels, Hitler never developed an interest in Russian culture or in the Bolshevik state. But the Nazi leader saw opportunities for expansion in Russia. Germany's eastern neighbor, weakened by the upheaval, was considered a target for imperial conquest. To Hitler, Russia--no matter under which regime--was of geopolitical interest; it was the place where the German Volk could gain Lebensraum. (25) These convictions of the Nazi leadership did not, however, play a major role in their struggle for power. During the election campaigns of the early 1930s, when the Nazi Party tried to win over voters, the discourse of "Jewish Bolshevism" and talk about expansion in the East played a marginal role. Both themes were hardly mentioned in speeches by Hitler or Goebbels. (26) Although German Communists remained major adversaries of the Nazis, anti-Bolshevism did not regain prominence in Nazi propaganda until 1935.

In the early 1920s, Rosenberg's and Hitler's views placed them on the margins of Weimar Germany's political discourse about Russia. The German Right, although generally convinced of the inferiority of Slavs, traditionally favored cooperation with Russia against the West. Many conservatives were convinced that reconciliation with Soviet Russia could help Germany in its struggle against the Versailles Treaty. The re-established Polish state was seen as a common enemy of the two countries. Thus, just like the tsarist empire in the 19th century, Bolshevik Russia was perceived as a natural ally of Germany. The cooperation of the Reichswehr with the Red Army was the most prominent result of the Russophilia of traditional German elites. (27) As mentioned above, the more radical parts of the new Right, dubbed the Conservative Revolution, often shared the affinity of the traditional elites toward Russia. They also developed their own fascination with Bolshevism. (28) The new Right admired the Bolsheviks for the greatness of their project, their anti-Western stance, and the ruthlessness with which they treated their adversaries. Throughout the 1920s, even among National Socialists, positive assessments of Bolshevik Russia remained prominent. Among those who did not agree with Rosenberg's condemnation of Soviet Russia were initially Joseph Goebbels and the influential group around the Strasser brothers. (29) The young Goebbels expressed his sympathies toward Bolshevik Russia in his pamphlet Die zweite Revolution. (30) Before he became Hitler's deputy in Berlin in 1926, Goebbels favored an eastern orientation in German foreign policy, and throughout his political career he clung to his anti-capitalist convictions. (31) In the same year, Goebbels embraced the "grandiose picture of Bolshevism," although he claimed to be taken aback by the "lies, dirt, blood, and brutish violence." (32) He gave up his admiration of Bolshevism for his career in the Nazi Party, but some of his earlier views, including his positive appraisal of communist propaganda strategies, remained with him throughout his political life.

In the years before the Nazi seizure of power both the German state and the USSR tried to influence German perceptions of the Soviet Union. In addition to the KPD's cult of the Soviet Union, the USSR sponsored several organizations that promoted the "achievements" of socialism in Soviet Russia. Most prominent among them was the Gesellschaft der Freunde des Neuen Russland (Association of Friends of the New Russia), which developed out of the famine relief effort of 1921 and attracted many prominent intellectuals. (33) The association published its own journal, Das neue Russland, and managed to influence bourgeois circles as well as the social-democratic milieu. Ir focused mainly on Soviet culture and successfully downplayed the political radicalism of the Bolsheviks. The Soviet Union was portrayed as a groundbreaking social and cultural project. With the onset of the First Five-Year Plan and the radicalization of Soviet policy, this association lost much of its initial appeal. In 1927, the Comintern founded the Bund der Freunde der Sowjetunion (Alliance of Friends of the Soviet Union) which was designed to have an impact on workers and played a prominent part in the Soviet peace campaigns of these years. The success of these forms of Soviet propaganda in the Weimar Republic has, however, been questioned. (34) Certainly, the Soviets gained more influence on German public opinion through traditional censorship. They tightly controlled the reports of correspondents in Moscow.

More effective among political elites was the Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Studium Osteuropas (German Association for the Study of Eastern Europe) under the leadership of the historian Otto Hoetzsch, who held the chair in East European history at Berlin's university. (35) Through this association and its journal Osteuropa, which influenced the press, the Reich's Foreign Office tried to manage the public view of the USSR. On the one hand, the German government fought the Comintern's subversive activities; on the other, it tried to contain substantial criticism of Stalin's regime. It systematically suppressed information about famine and terror in the Soviet Union. Raison d'etat demanded that the horrors of collectivization and repression be downplayed to keep the relationship between Germany and the USSR stable. Although official Berlin before 1933 became increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet government, it refrained from publicly denouncing the advent of Stalinist terror. The Foreign Office remained convinced that the press should not undermine cooperation and trade with the Soviet Union. The efforts of the Soviet and the German governments to influence public opinion illustrate that in Weimar Germany the debate about the Soviet Union was strongly influenced by state interference. The results of these efforts as well as traditional views of Russia continued to exist during the years of Nazi rule. (36)

The Creation of Nibelungen Verlag and the Invention of the Anti-Fellow-Traveler

Between the summer of 1935 and the fall of 1938, anti-Bolshevik propaganda in Nazi Germany reached its peacetime peak. (37) The supporting structures of this propaganda were, however, created immediately after the National Socialist seizure of power. In October 1933, the Gesamtverband Deutscher antikommunistischer Vereinigungen e.V. (Coalition of German Anti-Communist Associations) was founded in Berlin. Albeit officially an independent organization--an example of stage-managed civil society under total power--the Gesamtverband was initiated by Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment. Within this ministry Eberhard Taubert, who in 1940 wrote the script of the infamous propaganda film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), was in charge of anti-Bolshevik propaganda. In 1935, the work of the anti-Comintern was given higher priority and additional funding. The Gesamtverband organized the exhibition Bolschewismus ohne Maske (Bolshevism Unmasked) in Munich's Deutsches Museum. After Munich, the show went on permanent display in Berlin. One of the main fields of activity of the Anti-Comintern remained, however, publishing. (38) In August 1934, Nibelungen Verlag was founded as a publishing house that would exclusively print anti-Bolshevik works; and in 1936, the journal Contra-Comintern was launched. It is noteworthy that Joseph Goebbels and his ministry, not Alfred Rosenberg and the party, controlled this apparatus. Rosenberg, still the self-proclaimed expert on Russia in the Nazi leadership, made a number of attempts to gain more influence on such cultural policies bur had to leave this field to his rival. (39)

Why did the Nazi regime step up its anti-Bolshevik propaganda between 1935 and 1938? There are several plausible explanations. The offensive against Bolshevik Russia may be seen as a reaction to the "popular front" strategy proclaimed at the Seventh Comintern Congress of August 1935. (40) After years of fighting Social Democracy, Moscow declared "fascism" to be the main enemy of international communism. But the anti-Bolshevik campaign was certainly not merely a reaction to Comintern policy. It also has to be viewed within the context of the radicalization of the Nazi regime's foreign and internal policies. In November 1936, the Third Reich initiated the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan, and the anti-Bolshevik campaign was used to legitimize the internal terror against Jewish citizens. With the construction of "Jewish Bolshevism," internal and external threats could be fused and the leadership's conspiratorial perspective on politics could be promoted. In addition, popular opinion and established ideas about Russia were attacked. The regime tried to push back not only lingering positive images of communist propaganda, which were still remembered, but also the ambivalent views about Russia that had been prevalent among the German Right. Alfred Rosenberg's notion of "Jewish Bolshevism" was supposed to displace the multifaceted imagery constructed by such varied figures as Kari Kautsky, Otto Hoetzsch, Karl Staehlin, Eduard Stadtler, and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck.

The methods used by the Anti-Comintern indicate that the Nazi propaganda apparatus had studied Soviet propaganda, for the organization adopted both methods and narrative strategies used by the Bolsheviks and combined them with German traditions. (41) This may be observed in the use of "eyewitnesses"--a standard Soviet propaganda technique. Throughout the 1920s, the USSR continued to invite foreigners to the Soviet Union. Those who praised the Soviet experiment, later dubbed fellow-travelers or compagnons de route, were portrayed as firsthand witnesses of Soviet "achievements" and expected to give an "authentic" picture of life in the Soviet Union upon return. (42) The use of stage-managed front organizations, sponsored and controlled by the party-state, was another Soviet method that the Nazi regime employed. VOKS, the Soviet society for cultural ties abroad, officially an independent association but clearly an agency of the party-state, functioned in a similar manner. (43) The Soviet government also published journals, such as the already mentioned Das Neue Russland or Die USSR im Bau, that covered the projects of the First Five-Year Han for German readers. (44) Nazi propaganda borrowed these Soviet means for their own ends. This is also evident in the formats used: Goebbels's ministry seems to have understood the value of the travelogue as a propaganda genre. Firsthand accounts of life under communism could appeal to a wide audience. (45) Nibelungen Verlag's activities centered on publications of eyewitness accounts of travel to the Soviet Union.

Thus was invented the anti-fellow-traveler. Those who had had negative experiences in the USSR and were willing to circulate them via the Gesamtverband's publishing house qualified. These travelogues may be roughly divided into two groups, which followed two different narratives. In one, Nibelungen published accounts of German "specialists" who had served the Soviet government and had come back from the USSR. For the other, there were the memoirs of Russian refugees who had escaped life in the USSR. The most successful book of the series, Kari Albrecht's Der verratene Sozialismus (Socialism Betrayed), was promulgated late in the campaign, in 1939. The campaign began by publishing the experiences of ordinary Germans under Soviet rule.

Heim ins Reich: German Specialists Experience Soviet Russia

In 1935, the anthology Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig (UdSSR) (And You See the Soviets Correctly [the USSR]) was published. (46) The collection contained roughly 25 contributions by engineers about various aspects of Soviet life. (47) In addition to German experts, the volume contained contributions from Danes and Finns. The book concentrated less on the fate of the "specialists" themselves than on the "realities" of life under Soviet rule. It used many photographs to illustrate the harsh living conditions of the 1930s and to challenge Soviet claims about rising living standards and worker's prosperity. Many pictures showed (black) markets where people struggled to find food and clothing or sold their possessions.

Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig tried to explicitly discredit the narratives of the fellow-travelers and the Soviet propaganda about the miraculous successes of the First Five-Year plan, the "construction of socialism," and the prosperity of the working class. (48) In an article titled "Die Wahrheit uber die Propaganda der Sowjets" (The Truth about Soviet Propaganda) the author claimed that all foreign delegations to Russia were closely supervised by the Main Political Directorate (GPU). Whatever VOKS showcased for its visitors had nothing to do with the realities of Soviet life. (49) It also described the distrust of ordinary Russians toward foreign visitors because they were seen as sympathetic to the communist regime. Apart from attempting to prove that the fellow-travelers were wrong, the book also highlighted repression in the USSR. Other articles accused the Soviet regime of persecuting religious believers, destroying churches, and undermining sexual morality. More interesting than these common tropes of anti-communism were the direct comparisons between Bolshevism and National Socialism. One A. Ohnesorge, identified as an engineer, wrote, "While in today's Germany the people [das Volk] constitutes a German community of workers, a following [Gefolgschaft], devout and hopeful under the leadership of and united with the Fuhrer ... the Russian people are frightened and internally demoralized [zermurbt] and live a life without hope, like a herd of animals [vegetiert]." Ohnesorge referred not only to the emotional situation in the two countries but also to the way in which they were ruled. He called Stalin a despot and declared that a "Fuhrer in our sense of the term is unknown to today's Russians," thus stressing the differences between Hitler and the Soviet leader--a distinction that Goebbels emphasized again in internal documents in 1937. (50) Other essays in Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig denounced Soviet agriculture for its inhumanity. (51) The articles raised the issue of the 1933 famine. The German public had long been alarmed by the situation in the Volga region, and the volume elaborated on the late of the ethnic Germans who had settled there. (52)

In Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig the opinions of experts were used to discredit the USSR. The engineers writing for this anthology used technical language, a Fachsprache, which was supposed to give the book a matter-of-fact tone. They judged things by drawing from their own expertise or by appealing to the reader's common sense, exploiting their status as engineers to present themselves as objective observers of the failed modernization in the USSR. The "specialists" blamed opportunism, bad planning, and megalomania for the failures of the great Soviet experiment. The narrative was thus a blend of personal experience and technical language, but the main focus was on the suffering of the Russian people. The work of the engineers who had served the Soviet government was only partially described. Why these "specialists" had decided to work in Russia was hardly explained. Some stated that unemployment and the economic conditions of the Weimar Republic drove them out of the country. But none of the authors admitted to having been a Communist or being fascinated by the immense opportunities that Soviet Russia seemed to offer during the First Five-Year Plan.

The perspective and the language of Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig could, however, easily be altered. This was the case in two monographs written by former "specialists." Both Ernst Ertl's Werkmeister im "Paradies" (Foreman in "Paradise") and Agricola's Das endlose Gefangnis (The Never-Ending Captivity) were also written from the point of view of foreign workers. (53) Das endlose Gefangnis is primarily a book about the Gulag and may be viewed as part of the tradition of memoirs on life in the camps. (54) The main character, a Finnish "specialist" in Moscow, is arrested, and the reader follows him on his odyssey through the Soviet penal system. He is brought to the Liubianka, questioned, imprisoned, and shipped to the camps of northern Russia, where he spends four years until he is released to his native Finland. Kitchin's fellow Russian inmates are depicted as fine characters. The Finnish protagonist stresses that he was not a Communist but had believed that a decent life was possible in the USSR. During his journey he loses this conviction, but he does not voice resentment of ordinary Russians. It is in their company that he learns his lesson about Soviet Russia. The most noteworthy aspect of the book is, however, the frank discussion of labor camps, their administration, and the value of slave labor. It is remarkable that a book containing a detailed account of life in a concentration camp could be published in the Third Reich. The Ministry of Propaganda seems to have been confident that the reading public would make no connection with the situation in Nazi Germany.

Ernst Ertl's memoir differs in many ways from Das endlose Gefangnis. His account of life in the USSR is written in the third person and reads like a pulp-fiction novel. Ertl is portrayed as a young engineer who went to Soviet Russia to escape unemployment in his native Austria. His initial expectations of serving as a "specialist" are, however, never met. Instead he is assigned work ata dysfunctional new tractor plant in the Ukrainian city of Khar'kov. Ertl and his family--the protagonist was accompanied by his wife and young son--experience life in Soviet Russia as a trail of tears. The text uses different strategies to "authentically" describe the Soviet dystopia encountered by the Ertl family. It plays with many well-established cliches about the backward, disorganized, and dirty East. (55) All Ernst Ertl and his colleagues come across is dirt, primitiveness, lies, deception, theft, and immorality. But Ernst Ertl's Bildungsroman is more than a lesson in Russian backwardness. It is also constructed as an account of the viciousness of Jewish rule in Russia. Although Ertl is never arrested by the GPU, his life is presented as permanent struggle against a corrupt and unjust "Jewish" system. Werkmeister im "Paradies" offers a simple explanation of the injustices at the Khar'kov tractor plant. Behind every problem lurks a Jewish official who exploits the foreign "specialists" as well as the workers for his own benefit. The only amiable Russian he describes is an old doctor who lectures him on the tragedy of Russian history. While using many older stereotypes about Russia, Ertl closely follows Rosenberg's narrative of "Jewish Bolshevism." His book is a National Socialist construction of Soviet dystopia, a book that portrays the USSR in the way the Nazis imagined it to be.

Ernst Ertl's story lacks interesting detail about life in the USSR. The narrative is schematic; the book consists of a litany of Jewish conspiracies against the foreign "specialists." Yet the text employs another method of creating authenticity. The language is riddled with Russian words: an apartment is a kvartira, a shop a magazin, the boss a nachal'nik, a doctor a vrach, and a German a nemets. (56) This use of foreign words adds to the experience of alienation described in the book. Although the Austrian engineer is not corrupted by these surroundings, he is denied a happy life. When the Ertls are able to escape from their ordeal after a German relative sends them money for train tickets, the family is ruined and exhausted. On a last get-together with fellow "specialists" in Khar'kov, they conclude that Germans cannot live under Bolshevism because it is an "alien" (artfremd) system of government. They all decide to leave the "Jewish paradise." After four years in the USSR, the Ertls have lost all their possessions through fraud and robbery, but there is hope on the horizon: a "new Germany," namely the Third Reich. Referring to the Jewish "red" director of the Khar'kov tractor works in the book, Ertl tells his wife: "Bolshevism is a family business of the Porensteins! A German worker has no place there--this I will tell everybody." Ernst Ertl has his Bildungserlebnis and returns home "reformed" (gelautert). (57) He has become not only an anti-Bolshevik but also an antisemite.

Not all foreigners entered the USSR at the invitation of the Soviet government. Maria de Smeth, a Dutch woman, was abducted by Soviet coast guards off the Crimean coast. (58) She was taken prisoner by the GPU, was accused of spying, and spent four months in Soviet captivity. De Smeth's account of her involuntary trip to the USSR follows the same lines as Ertl's book. She encounters Jewish GPU officers everywhere, makes fun of their "Yiddish" German and communicates in pidgin Russian ("Wasser?" "Nein. Tschai!!" [Water? No. Tea!]). She faces a test of character in her GPU interrogations when offered work for the Soviet side. Naturally, she declines. (59) In prison de Smeth meets many Russian women, but none of them proves to be as clever in the struggle with the GPU as she is. Her account of Soviet Russia is written from the perspective of a woman who is a victim superior to her captors.

De Smeth's observations of Russian life exhibit proficiency in racial theory. She theorizes about effects of the constant "mixture of races" (Rassenmischungen) on the Russian national character and concludes that this intermingling could explain the Russian demeanor. Having observed great antipathy among the different peoples of the USSR, she explains to her readers who is most despised: "All are afraid of Jews, Latvians, and Chinese," she states, thereby repeating Rosenberg's 1922 claim that these were the nations behind the Russian Revolution. (60) The Russians, in contrast, were noble savages to her, "not stupid, just backward and uneducated." More than other publications of the Anti-Comintern, Unfreiwillige Reise nach Moskau follows Rosenberg's racist narrative. It seems likely that either Maria de Smeth, a staunch supporter of Nazism since the early 1930s, knew his work or her book was edited by someone familiar with it. She exhibits her antisemitism in every description of life in the USSR, and she constantly makes a distinction between Jews and non-Jews when explaining a person's behavior. Upon her return to Germany, she summarizes her experiences by declaring that she knew of no "golden mean" (goldenes Mittel) that could exist in the Soviet Union, but she clearly states that the "international Jewish conspiracy" (internationaler Judenklungel) ruling Russia must be defeated. (61)

These books by and about foreign "specialists" and the involuntary visitor de Smeth were part of the construction of a Soviet dystopia for the German reader. They were clearly written for different audiences. Whereas the anthology of essays by experts seems aimed at professionals, the biographical accounts of life in the USSR were clearly constructed to appeal to the emotions of the average reader. They told stories of ordinary people and their suffering to which people could be expected to relate. In their description of life in the USSR, all these books shared common themes, which were often borrowed from established European discourses about the "East": backwardness, dirt, lack of education, and organization. Other aspects of these stories were connected to a classic critique of communism: the loss of individual rights, persecution of religion, poverty, and economic chaos. Implicitly, they often defended such notions as individual liberty or the rule of law. But clearly most narratives also included the core beliefs of Alfred Rosenberg about Russia. This can be observed in their obsession with the ethnic origin of anyone holding a position of power. The privileged, the powerful, and the ruthless people that these authors encountered in Bolshevik Russia are usually identified as Jewish. Especially in the books of Ertl and de Smeth, Jews are portrayed as the profiteers of the Revolution while the Russian people are the victims suffering under their yoke. Thus, according to these publications, Soviet Russia was not a case of Fremdherrschaft--foreign rule--but even worse from the Nazi perspective, artfremde Herrschaft, or rule by an alien race. Whereas they more or less follow the ideas of Alfred Rosenberg, they fail to discuss Adolf Hitler's concept of Lebensraum in the East. Although some point to the abundance of resources in Russia, the country is not portrayed as a livable place. Russia, here, was simply the ideal environment in which to become an anti-Bolshevik.

Escaping the USSR: The Suffering Russians

Other eyewitness accounts published by Nibelungen Verlag were supposedly written by Russians. They included two memoirs of Soviet pilots who had fled the USSR, as well as books written by Soviet peasants, former nobles, and Russian Germans. These books by Russian authors all contain an antisemitic interpretation of the Russian Revolution. The Russian protagonists, their families, and their people were, however, the group with which the German public was supposed to sympathize. Hence all the titles written by emigres gave a positive picture of the Russian people.

During the 1930s, aviation was one of the core themes of Soviet propaganda, and pilots were singled out as popular heroes. (62) One aim of these publications was therefore to destroy the myth of the modern Soviet aviator and to discredit the USSR's claim to be a modern country with advanced aviation. Both books by Russian pilots, Wladimir Unischeski's Wettlauf mit der GPU (Race against the GPU) and Georg Kravetz's Funf Jahre Sowjetflieger (Five Years as a Soviet Pilot) again follow the narrative pattern of a Bildungsroman. As young Soviet men, the authors had been thrilled by the prospect of becoming air-force pilots. To them, aviation served as a symbol for the modernization of Russian society. Kravetz was accepted at an air-force academy and enjoyed the privileged life of a Soviet cadet. He was, however, annoyed early on by the non-professional political instruction which was, of course, given by Jewish commissars: "The main part of our study was political instruction. This comprised political studies--the teacher was the Jew Serafimowitsch--and the history of class struggles--the teacher was the Jew Karagodski." (63) Kravetz also noted that none of the Jews in the Soviet air force were capable of flying an airplane. In these Nazi narratives, Jews were bureaucrats, not fighters.

Even his summer vacation does nothing to cheer up the young pilot. On the contrary, Kravetz is alarmed when he travels home in the summer of 1931 and witnesses how the fest of the population is suffering as a result of collectivization. As his training continues, he becomes increasingly aware of the deficiencies of the Soviet air force. According to Kravetz, there are many accidents in his unit and flying Soviet airplanes is generally unsafe. He is also disgruntled by harsh punishments and denunciations, which he portrays as common practice. In 1933, Kravetz discovers his interest in National Socialism and the new German regime. The pilot claims that he and many of his comrades are attracted to Nazism because of the negative coverage it receives in the Soviet press: "We began to suspect that National Socialism, or fascism as our press wrote, was a racial [volkisch] movement and that the Communists perceived it as extremely dangerous." (64)

In his narrative, Kravetz recounts how he is dismissed from the air force and joins Osoaviakhim, the Soviet mass organization that promoted aviation. The discharge accelerates his break with Bolshevism. In increasing conflict with the regime, Kravetz takes a job with the postal service as an airmail pilot and escapes to Latvia. Wladimir Unischewski's pilot tale follows a similar pattern. He also joins the air force as a young man and has similar conflicts with "Jewish commissars." Unischewski falls into disgrace for telling anti-Bolshevik jokes among bis fellow pilots. His career as a fighter pilot is ruined and be has trouble finding a new position. When be manages to find work as a pilot again through personal connections, Unischewski escapes to Estonia. Both stories again follow the pattern of a Bildungsroman--here it is nor the Soviet factory but the air force where the crucial experiences are gained. In these accounts of Soviet pilots, however, Soviet institutions were run in a similar way: by Jews and for Jews. Both books about pilots seem to be aimed ata male audience; they take place in a military environment and portray their protagonists as good soldiers.

The narratives of the Russian nobility (Gorjanowa), the Russian peasant (Nikolajew), and the Russian Germans (Kraft) differed from the anti-Bolshevik Bildungsroman of the German engineer or the Soviet pilot. (65) These groups were never lured by fascination with the great communist experiment. There is no development of the protagonists into anti-Bolsheviks that could be recounted. Their stories, rather, follow the lines of a passion play. They are sagas of trial, suffering, death--and finally salvation from the Bolshevik purgatory. These books begin with memories of the Russian Revolution and the Civil War as a time of unprecedented suffering and injustice. The Blutrevolution of 1917 serves only as a prelude to ever greater woes experienced under Bolshevik rule. In their negative assessment of Russia's development these books mirror many of Rosenberg's ideas. All include antisemitic passages where the suffering of the protagonists and their families are linked to a perceived Jewish rise to power. Both women, Gorjanowa and Kraft, are finally rescued from the USSR because they marry foreigners and receive permission to leave the country. Thus they are redeemed through the love of foreign men. Nikolajew, the peasant, has to find his own escape route and flees through the wilderness to Finland. These books by Russian authors, especially those by Gorjanowa and Kraft, emphasize suffering. They seem to appeal to female readers who could identify with the fate of the protagonists.

With the exception of the Soviet pilots, books by Russian authors stress that the suffering began in 1917; they lack even a hint of fascination with the Bolshevik project. In contrast to the German accounts, these writers do not see the necessity of a revolution in Russia at all--something many "specialists" stress--but rather idealize the tsarist past. Bolshevism to them was doomed from the beginning, and postrevolutionary life was unending suffering. The fascination with Bolshevism may thus be seen as a German sentiment in these publications. It also becomes clear that the Anti-Comintern had no consistent interpretation of the Russian Revolution: whereas some authors stressed the need for radical change in Russia, other were allowed to idealize the pre-1917 past.

An Unlikely Bestseller: Karl Albrecht's Der verratene Sozialismus

Karl I. Albrecht's Der verratene Sozialismus went through ten editions and 100,000 copies before Hitler's treaty with Stalin stopped further printing. (66) After the Gertuan invasion, Albrecht's book began to be printed in Germany once more and was even translated into Russian for propaganda purposes. (67) The number of copies reached two million by 1944. Der verratene Sozialismus became the most popular reading that the Third Reich offered about its communist adversary. The author, Karl Albrecht, a pseudonym for Karl Matthaus Low, was a German Communist who had emigrated to Soviet Russia in 1924 and had advanced rapidly in the Soviet government. Before his arrest in 1932, he occupied the post of the deputy people's commissar responsible for forestry in the USSR's Council of Ministers. He was the highest-ranking communist defector to collaborate with the Ministry of Propaganda in its anti-Soviet campaign.

The metamorphosis of a former leading Bolshevik into a bestselling author in Nazi Germany seems like ala unlikely scenario. From a communist perspective the author of Der verratene Sozialismus was an apostate. For the Nazis he was a useful victim of the purges. As the title of his book suggests, Albrecht remained committed to socialism, to the idea of finding an alternative to capitalism, a better modernity. He dedicated his book to the "victims of Bolshevism" and to "true socialists all over the world as a warning." In the preface he portrays himself as someone who wants to alert the international public about Soviet reality. in this section, I summarize Albrecht's account of his experience in the Soviet Union and analyze the structure of his narrative.

Albrecht's story follows a chronological pattern that is interrupted by information and reflection about Soviet government. He combines personal experience with political rumors about Moscow's power structures and prominent Bolsheviks. This combination might have given the book a broader appeal; both those interested in personal stories as well as those with an interest in the development of the USSR under Stalin could find information. Unable to obtain work in the Weimar Republic and a convinced Communist, Albrecht sets sail for Leningrad in 1924. After the war, he has been educated as a forestry specialist. There is an obvious need for his profession in the USSR, and during his stay he commits himself to the modernization of forest management in northern Russia. Albrecht describes his arrival in the Soviet Union as a great emotional experience: "It was an inspiring and fantastic atmosphere, like an intoxication [Rausch] which greets any foreign Communist at the moment where he is welcomed in the 'fatherland of all workers.'" During the first weeks of his stay in Leningrad, Albrecht witnesses the Fifth Comintern Congress, which becomes his first disappointment in the USSR. He criticizes its stage-managed nature and the lack of discussion, labeling it a "theater show." (68) More important, though, is that Albrecht accuses the USSR early on of betraying the idealism of foreign Communists and of using them to ruthlessly pursue a policy of world domination. In retrospect, the author claims to have felt his first doubts about the USSR at the Comintern congress. He is disappointed by the naivete of the foreign visitors. But at this point he still manages to overcome these feelings and to continue his assignment in Karelia, where he is put in charge of forest management reform: "I used all my energy to suppress my growing misgivings, my critical thought. I considered myself faint-hearted." (69)

In the part about his work in Soviet management, the author provides insights into the political culture and everyday life in the USSR. While serving in the Karelian ASSR, Albrecht witnesses the region's growing dependence on Moscow's bureaucracy and on forced labor. The loss of autonomy and the interference of the center during the First Five-Year Plan gives him the opportunity to establish contact with Bolshevik leadership circles. Moscow introduces what he describes as a policy of plundering Karelia's natural resources. The region's abundant woods are harvested by slave laborers. It is during Stalin's "Great Break" that Albrecht has his first experiences with the GPU. Their conduct accelerates his anti-Bolshevik conversion. Although Albrecht continues to defend the Russian Revolution for liberating the people and to believe in the merits of Lenin's policies, he establishes contact with the anti-Stalinist opposition. Albrecht recounts a conversation with the Georgian Bolshevik Avel' Enukidze, who blames Stalin personally for the increasing terror against the population. According to Enukidze, Stalin and "the Jew" Kaganovich are responsible for the negative developments in Soviet Russia. Albrecht claims that he shared these views. He quickly realizes the dangers that were involved in opposing Stalin. The author does not fail to mention that at the time of his writing, in 1937, Enukidze had been arrested and executed. Albrecht bemoans the loss of an "old socialist" and "Georgian freedom fighter." (70)

According to the narrative of the second part of Der verratene Sozialismus, the author's break with his Bolshevik beliefs was caused by his experiences with the GPU and its slave labor system. Albrecht is appalled by the conditions found in the labor camps during his extensive travel through the USSR. But despite his growing doubts about the legitimacy of the GPU's repressions, Albrecht continues to rise in the Soviet power structure. In 1929, he gives his first talk to the Politburo. Yet he runs into difficulties with his policy of modernizing the lumber industry. Two years later, Albrecht's plans to professionalize Soviet forestry are rejected. The Soviet leadership decides instead to expand the use of forced labor in the northern forests. These experiences in Moscow and in the Far North lead the author to reassess Soviet officialdom. During the First Five-Year Plan, A1brecht claims, a new type of functionary rose to power, the Gewaltmensch (man of violence), who ruled without moral restraint and lacked expertise. To him, these men represented the backbone of Stalin's revolution. When Albrecht criticizes conditions of forced labor in the Urals, he is recalled to Moscow. In the following section of the book, he justifies his break with the Soviet economic model, which he blames for inefficiency, waste, and, ultimately, chaos and destruction. (71)

Disconnected from his personal experiences, the author includes a short history of Soviet power and German communism in Der verratene Sozialismus. To the German public he outlines Stalin's fight against the "opposition" and his struggle for absolute power. Again, he professes his admiration for Lenin but condemns both Trotskii and Stalin. Albrecht gives the reader a detailed account of Bolshevik infighting, and names Stalin as the driving force behind the purges. While he identifies secret police chief "Herschel" Iagoda as a Jew, Albrecht abstains from further highlighting racial categories throughout the text. Although he uses antisemitic imagery, he does not portray the USSR as a "Jewish conspiracy." Rather, he points to Stalin's will to power and his control of the secret police as an explanation for the prevailing terror. He sees Soviet power as based on fear--of Stalin and accusations of treason. (72) Albrecht rejects the Bolshevik systems for both political and professional reasons; he is disappointed as a Communist and as a "specialist."

In his book, Albrecht also depicts Soviet and German Communists who surrounded Stalin. In these passages, he seems to rely on political gossip. Again, his assessments of the political situation are mixed. Although he claims that among the Soviet leadership, fear of Kaganovich was stronger than of Stalin and calls Kalinin a "devious" character, he paints a positive picture of Ordzhonikidze, under whom he had worked. "Sergo" is called an "outstanding personality." (73) Of great interest to the German public was surely his information about the German exiles in Moscow. (74) He summarizes the political infighting in the KPD for his readers and presents portraits of the different leaders. While he provides a negative picture of party boss Wilhelm Pieck, Max Hoelz and Clara Zetkin both serve as positive examples of German socialists who became victims of Stalinism. In great detail the author describes the murder of the once celebrated "antifascist" Hoelz by Soviet agents in 1933 and the isolation of Clara Zetkin in her Moscow apartment. (75) Zetkin, who had been an icon of German communism in the Weimar Republic and was anathema to the Nazis, is characterized as a "beautiful human being." (76) The author credits her with hating Stalin and having saved hundreds of people from GPU repression. Albrecht ends this part of his memoir with yet another strong profession of commitment to socialism. In Moscow he knew "many good, faithful comrades, honest experts, believing and ardent socialists. But these people are no more. They are dead.... But those who inspect the parades on Red Square next to Stalin, Kalinin, Molotov, Voroshilov, and Kaganovich ... those communist leaders are traitors to their comrades, traitors to the Russian people, traitors to socialism." (77)

In the second part of Der verratene Sozialismus, the author depicts his conflict with the GPU that leads to his arrest and subsequent odyssey through Moscow's prisons. (78) Albrecht gives an inside account of conditions at Liubianka, Taganka, Butyrka, and the model prison of Sokol'niki. He discusses the fate of his fellow Russian prisoners in great detail, and, as in the first part of the book, positively assesses the character of the Russian people. He praises them for their ability to endure suffering and their "goodness" (Gute).

Albrecht linked his downfall to his criticism of the GPU. After excoriating the conduct of GPU officials, he is accused of spying for the Reichswehr. Several attempts on his life fail and, finally, the secret police arrest him. Thus, according to Albrecht, the GPU destroys not only "socialist ideals" but also his personal career. Still, in the narrative of Der verratene Sozialismus the GPU does not only serve as the destructive element--it is also shown as the seducer, which time and again tries to convince the captive to give up his German citizenship and work as an informer. Albrecht realizes, however, that his citizenship is the only way to save himself. The harsh conditions and the constant offers of the GPU serve as a test of character that the protagonist has to endure to free himself from his Bolshevik past. Albrecht has to go through this Bolshevik purgatory to rid himself of his former convictions. While in Soviet captivity he completes his transformation from an internationalist Communist into a German socialist. After being sentenced to death and surviving a mock execution, Albrecht is allowed to leave the USSR for Nazi Germany. His Russian wife and daughter are left behind in the USSR.

Upon his arrival in the Third Reich, he is again arrested, this time by the Gestapo. This chain of events leads the author to a comparison of the GPU and the Gestapo: Albrecht praises the cleanliness of the Nazi prison and the allegedly correct treatment by the Gestapo officer who finally decides to let him travel to Turkey. Because of further harassment in Istanbul through the GPU, he ends up in Switzerland. In the epilogue to the book, Albrecht again proclaims there is only one true socialism, the "socialism of action" (Sozialismus der Tat), which cannot be reached through class struggle. He condemns the USSR on account of the lack of freedom of conscience and religion. True socialism, according to the author, can be achieved only after its enemy--Bolshevism--is defeated. He concludes the book with the promise that "as long as I have the strength, I will commit my future work to this one struggle: against Moscow--for socialism." (79)

Karl Albrecht's Der verratene Sozialismus was published late in the series of books on the USSR. Commercially, it was the most successful. Again, the narrative closely resembles that of a Bildungsroman, a novel of personal development. While giving an account of life in the USSR, the text concentrates on the moral, psychological, and above all political changes of the protagonist. Thus Albrecht took up a pattern that was common in other accounts of life in the Soviet Union published by the Anti-Comintern. Albrecht's book remains unique, however, because of the high rank he occupied in the Soviet Union, his positive characterization of Bolshevik officials and German Communists, and the comparatively low incidence of antisemitism. (80) The Ministry of Propaganda sponsored the publication of a book that was highly critical of Stalin and his leadership but refrained from repeating the standard narratives of anti-Bolshevik propaganda. Albrecht did not deny his earlier support for the Soviet experiment. Although none of the readers in the Third Reich could verify its information, Der verratene Sozialismus lacked the obvious patterns and exaggerations of Nazi propaganda. It might have been the relative absence of stereotypes and interest in the author's extraordinary late that accounted for the book's success.

Although ir may be assumed that Albrecht's "true socialism" was supposed to mean National Socialism, the author failed completely to embrace Nazi values. His criticism of corruption, repression, violence, and the absolute power of one person and his clique must even in his day have pointed to Nazi rule. Implicitly, the author rejects any rule by force and advocates norms and values that were found neither in the Soviet nor in the Nazi regime. To Goebbels's ministry, which controlled the publication of Der verratene Sozialismus, the propaganda victory of releasing a critical book about the USSR by a former high-ranking Communist must have outweighed the ideological flaws of the text. In retrospect, Albrecht's book about the USSR seems more typical of Cold War discourse about Soviet Russia. He is concerned with slave labor and Stalin's abuses of power. Thus the book may also be interpreted as a forerunner of the Cold War propaganda battles that lay ahead.

"Jewish Bolshevism" and "Jewish World Conspiracy"

Between the summer of 1939 and the spring of 1941, when the Third Reich and the USSR were allied, the anti-Bolshevik propaganda was halted. Joseph Goebbels officially dissolved the Anti-Comintern and concentrated the efforts of his ministry on the British enemy. (81) This had to change with the German aggression against the USSR. After the attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, Goebbels noted in his diary that it was time to play the "anti-Bolshevik record" (antibolschewistische Walze) once again. (82) The propaganda ministry had to rally the concerned German public for the war against the USSR. (83) It soon became apparent that the wartime propaganda was more than a mete repeat of the anti-Soviet campaign of the late 1930s. Nazi propaganda again emphasized the global Jewish conspiracy against the German nation, as the anti-Bolshevik rhetoric became part of a discourse that served to legitimize the World War and the Holocaust. The booklet Warum Krieg mit Stalin? (Why War with Stalin?), published only days after the invasion, opened up a new dimension to Nazi anti-Bolshevism. (84) While the pamphlet repeated the allegations that were known from the 1930s propaganda offensive against the USSR, it also went a decisive step further. The USSR was now portrayed as one part of a global conspiracy of Jews against Germany. Warum Krieg mit Stalin? attempted to blame an alliance between British "plutocracy" and Bolshevism for the war--an argument that Goebbels also advanced in his editorials and on the weekly posters issued by his propaganda machine. (85) "Operation Barbarossa" brought the views the Nazi elite had held in the early 1920s again to the foreground. The propaganda of the summer of 1941 claimed that "Bolshevism" and "plutocracy" were essentially the same political system because both were "Jewish." (86) Goebbels's ministry put forward the notion that Germany was fighting a defensive war against an international "Jewish conspiracy." Nazi propaganda created a fictional worldwide plot against the German nation, and this notion of global conspiracy took center stage for the rest of the war. (87) It was exported to the countries that Germany occupied: thus occupied Paris in 1942 was full of anti-Bolshevik slogans, and exhibitions on "Jewish Bolshevism" targeted the French public. (88)

Despite the radicalization of the rhetoric and the nexus between capitalism and communism in Nazi propaganda, only a few new books on the USSR were published. They consisted both of accounts of the fighting Wehrmacht and of stories of suffering in the USSR. (89) Although Warum Krieg mit Stalin? promised "total victory in record time," and Sven von Muller remained confident in his 1941 reports from the eastern front, this optimism did not persist. It took the harsh winter of 1941 and the defeat at the gates of Moscow and in Stalingrad to change the Nazi discourse about Bolshevism one more time. In April 1943, Nazi propaganda presented its biggest scoop against the Soviet Union: the discovery of mass graves of murdered Polish officers in the Katyn' forest, near Smolensk. (90) This Soviet war crime was publicized in an international campaign. Since the Third Reich had contributed its own share to the destruction of Polish elites and continued its own policy of genocide, the charges were hypocritical. Still, the allegations held true, and the affair would poison relations between Poland and the USSR for decades to come. For once, Goebbels's propaganda against the USSR was based on facts and made an impact on the international public.

During the remaining years of the war, the description of the Bolshevik menace replaced the discourses of German superiority that had once reigned supreme. Fear, not arrogance, was supposed to serve as the bond of the fighting Volksgemeinschaft. When the Wehrmacht faced defeat, fear of Bolshevism and retaliation for German crimes was supposed to keep the German public in the war. (91) The flaws of the Soviet system were no longer emphasized. The public did not need to be enlightened about the USSR any longer. Goebbels faced the task of stirring up fear of defeat without neglecting the possibility of victory. In the final stages of the war, the enemy had to be strong and yet capable of being defeated at the same time. (92)

Discourses of Dystopia: The Soviet Union in Anti-Comintern Publications

Propaganda is made to serve an immediate purpose. The books published by Nibelungen Verlag between 1935 and 1941 were all designed to establish a Feindbild of Bolshevism. These texts become interesting when placed in the context of the history of propaganda and German-Russian relations. (93) They provide evidence of the discursive entanglements between National Socialist Germany and the USSR; they demonstrate what one regime wrote about the other; and they show how the propaganda methods and narratives of one side influenced the other. The narrative of the travelogue and the setup of the anti-Comintern as an association clearly point to Soviet examples. As in the USSR the regime attempted to control its own society while influencing public opinion abroad.

Both regimes tried to re-educate their audiences at home while trying to bolster their standing with the international public. Throughout the 1930s, the Soviets continued to invite foreign travelers to their country--the most famous cases being Andre Gide and Lion Feuchtwanger. (94) Nazi travelogues about the USSR rivaled the claims of the fellow-travelers. Thus, between 1935 and 1939, the USSR and Nazi Germany were engaged in a transnational propaganda battle fought by two dictatorships that controlled immense media resources. Both countries responded to the claims of the other. The Third Reich's publications about the USSR fought both the deeply rooted German fascination with (Bolshevik) Russia and Soviet claims of moral superiority and prosperity. Even then, in their dystopian exaggeration, the Anti-Comintern's publications themselves are evidence of an ongoing fascination with the eastern neighbor.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviets carefully constructed a myth about their own country, the myth of the great match forward to socialism, of a country united behind its leadership and thankful for Soviet "achievements." (95) The goal of the Soviet government had been to spread this myth not merely in the Soviet Union but throughout the Western world. The Anti-Comintern's publications on the USSR concentrated on rebutting some of the central themes of Soviet propaganda. They touched on such Soviet topics as the First Five-Year Plan and industrialization, the modernization of everyday life in the USSR, and the development of Soviet aviation. The rivalry between the dictatorships during the 1930s led to this discursive struggle made up of claim and counter-claim. Whereas the Soviets strictly controlled the discourse about their own country, Goebbels's apparatus allowed a limited flexibility: Rosenberg's views on Russia were dominant in the Anti-Comintern's publications but not exclusive. (96) Articles by defectors and returned "specialists," personal accounts in the form of the Bildungsroman, the Russians' stories of suffering, and National Socialist pseudo-social science as well as antisemitic pamphlets were published between 1935 and 1939. All these texts could be bound together only by the construction of a Soviet dystopia.

Some of the books discussed here--such as the accounts of Ertl, de Smeth, and von Muller--may be described as a permutation of Rosenberg's ideas into other genres. By exposing a Jewish conspiracy at its center, these books told stories about the Soviet Union as the Nazi regime imagined it to be. The volkisch heroes Ernst Ertl and Maria de Smeth were able to depict the "realities" of the Bolshevik experience and expose the Jewish conspiracy that supposedly stood at its core. They had to overcome obstacles, temptations, and hardship in their pursuit of the "truth." Nevertheless, they could also serve as examples for the politically conscious and enlightened National Socialist person. (97) Their transformation into staunch anti-Bolsheviks and antisemites could symbolize the growing awareness of the threat of "Jewish Bolshevism" that German society was supposed to feel. Most of the observations of the writers were based on race. Authors like de Smeth, Ertl, Kravetz, or Sven von Muller discovered Jews throughout the USSR; and they described the political system as dominated by Jews. These narratives were written to educate the German public about the "realities" of Soviet life and their authors can be described as "engineers" of the National Socialist soul: they served to mobilize and educate the public for the Nazi project. Thus the publications of the Anti-Comintern were more than just repetitions of well-established cliches about Russia. They were, by and large, tied to the antisemitic core of Nazi rule.

Where the facts of life in the USSR did not match the realities of the Rosenbergian discourse, new characters were invented. This can be observed in the case of Stalin, who was not Jewish--although, according to this discourse, as the most powerful man in the USSR he should have been. While some authors claimed that the "Jewish" Kaganovich was pulling the strings behind the scenes, others invented a Jewish mistress to show that Stalin had Jewish family ties (judisch versippt). (98) The portraits of "Jewish commissars" and "red directors" given by Ertl and de Smeth point to the connections among propaganda, terror, and genocide. Here, to justify its destruction the enemy is constructed as vicious and cunning. The image of "red commissars" created in the books issued by Nibelungen Verlag during the 1930s pointed to the Nazi policies that were to come. They served as a justification for persecution at home and war abroad. Both in the propaganda campaign that accompanied the deportation of German Jews after 1941 and in the vindication of the attack on the Soviet Union, the notion of "Jewish Bolshevism" loomed large. (99) Thus the texts of the Anti-Comintern helped prepare German society for war and genocide.

Still, the publications of Anti-Comintern also contained a fair amount of accurate information about the USSR. The exaggerated claims of Soviet propaganda about the conditions of life in the USSR were easy to rebuff. To anyone but firm believers in communism, life in the USSR was full of hardship. Whereas Soviet "achievements" could be deconstructed, other problems were harder to tackle. On the one hand, there was the ongoing fascination for "building socialism." On the other, explicit criticism of dictatorial rule in the USSR--of the secret police, denunciations, labor camps, and the absolute power of the leader--could backfire. Many of the Soviet grievances pointed to the modus operandi of Nazi rule itself. The criticism of Soviet dictatorship had to take an implicitly Western position. To discredit the USSR, the narratives of the Anti-Comintern embraced freedom of conscience and religion, rights that were systematically destroyed in Germany while these books were being published. Thus writing about the Soviet Union in Nazi Germany was a sensitive task that involved potential pitfalls. But the Nazis were willing to take this risk because they aimed at discrediting the USSR not just politically but also morally.

When writing about the USSR--even in a publishing house closely supervised by the propaganda ministry--many subjects could be discussed that were normally avoided. The Russian Revolution could be embraced; and in the case of Karl Albrechts's book, even such figures as Lenin, Clara Zetkin, and other leading Bolsheviks could be portrayed in a positive light. As long as the author painted a negative picture overall, the narrative structure of the Bildungsroman made it possible to include aberrations before the final break with Bolshevism. It is notable that most of the books painted a positive picture of the Russian people. They were not portrayed as subhuman, and there were few discussions of the "racial differences" between Germans and Slavs. The books authored by Russians showed them as heroes suffering under and fighting against "Jewish Bolshevism." There was no one way to construct a Soviet dystopia, and the Anti-Comintern used a variety of different narratives. In the end, they were all supposed to show that the "great experiment" of the Soviets did not deliver on its promise of harmonious modernity. Under Bolshevik rule, they argued, exploitation and alienation of the people had only worsened. The Volksgemeinschaft of Nazi Germany was portrayed as the only society that could overcome the contradictions of modernity. In this view, social harmony could be achieved only in volkisch socialism, not in Bolshevism.

Finally, the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Third Reich had to walk a fine line between demonstrating Soviet inferiority and keeping alive the Bolshevik menace. Only a strong USSR could serve as an enemy. Still, Soviet communism had to be discredited as a dysfunctional and irrational system. Because of these inherent contradictions, the impact of this propaganda is hard to judge. The transnational mobilization against Bolshevism that Goebbels intended was hard to achieve, and the anti-Soviet propaganda certainly lost much of its appeal because of its instrumental character. It was halted between 1939 and 1941 and resumed full force after the German attack.

Postscript: The Emergence of a Divided Postwar Discourse

The need to control the discourse about the Soviet Union and the fascination with Soviet Russia survived the finis Germaniae of 1945. In the eastern parts of Germany, the population suffered through flight, expulsion, and mass rape as the war came to an end. Some of the scenarios of Goebbels's propaganda became reality, such as the violent retaliation of the Soviet army. These experiences shaped the relationship between Germans and Russians in the years of Soviet occupation. (100)

freedom of conscience and religion, rights that were systematically destroyed in Germany while these books were being published. Thus writing about the Soviet Union in Nazi Germany was a sensitive task that involved potential pitfalls. But the Nazis were willing to take this risk because they aimed at discrediting the USSR not just politically but also morally.

When writing about the USSR--even in a publishing house closely supervised by the propaganda ministry--many subjects could be discussed that were normally avoided. The Russian Revolution could be embraced; and in the case of Karl Albrechts's book, even such figures as Lenin, Clara Zetkin, and other leading Bolsheviks could be portrayed in a positive light. As long as the author painted a negative picture overall, the narrative structure of the Bildungsroman made it possible to include aberrations before the final break with Bolshevism. It is notable that most of the books painted a positive picture of the Russian people. They were not portrayed as subhuman, and there were few discussions of the "racial differences" between Germans and Slavs. The books authored by Russians showed them as heroes suffering under and fighting against "Jewish Bolshevism." There was no one way to construct a Soviet dystopia, and the Anti-Comintern used a variety of different narratives. In the end, they were all supposed to show that the "great experiment" of the Soviets did not deliver on its promise of harmonious modernity. Under Bolshevik rule, they argued, exploitation and alienation of the people had only worsened. The Valksgemeinschaft of Nazi Germany was portrayed as the only society that could overcome the contradictions of modernity. In this view, social harmony could be achieved only in volkisch socialism, not in Bolshevism.

Finally, the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Third Reich had to walk a fine line between demonstrating Soviet inferiority and keeping alive the Bolshevik menace. Only a strong USSR could serve as an enemy. Still, Soviet communism had to be discredited as a dysfunctional and irrational system. Because of these inherent contradictions, the impact of this propaganda is hard to judge. The transnational mobilization against Bolshevism that Goebbels intended was hard to achieve, and the anti-Soviet propaganda certainly lost much of its appeal because of its instrumental character. It was halted between 1939 and 1941 and resumed full force after the German attack.

Postscript: The Emergence of a Divided Postwar Discourse

The need to control the discourse about the Soviet Union and the fascination with Soviet Russia survived the finis Germaniae of 1945. In the eastern parts of Germany, the population suffered through flight, expulsion, and mass rape as the war came to an end. Some of the scenarios of Goebbels's propaganda became reality, such as the violent retaliation of the Soviet army. These experiences shaped the relationship between Germans and Russians in the years of Soviet occupation. (100)

From 1945 on, the Soviet occupation authorities imposed strict controls on any publication about the USSR. A tight censorship regime was swiftly established. The publications of the Anti-Comintern and Nibelungen Verlag could be found on the list of books that were to be removed from public libraries. (101) After the war, the Soviets resumed their practice of inviting intellectuals and delegations to visit the Soviet Union. From 1946 on, Germans were again invited to the USSR. The first postwar delegation of German youths traveled to the USSR in the summer of 1946. (102) Writers such as Anna Seghers, Stephan Hermlin, and Bernhard Kellermann traveled to the Soviet Union in 1948 and wrote about it. (103) The Soviets established the Kultur und Fortschritt publishing house, solely devoted to publishing materials on the USSR. The East Germans were subjected to re-education about the USSR and, weeks before the foundation of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, "German-Soviet Friendship" was proclaimed. For decades to come, the discourse about the Soviet Union was strictly limited to the official story of heroism, achievement, and prosperity. (104) The experiences of the war and the immediate postwar period were suppressed. Until 1956, the Soviet embassy in Berlin and VOKS in Moscow closely monitored the discourse about the USSR in the GDR. Even in the post-Stalinist years, "friendship" was the only term assigned to describe the relationship between the countries. Berlin, once the capital of German fascination with Russia, became a city divided between superimposed friendship with the Soviet Union in the eastern part and Cold War fear and resentment of the Russians in the West.

The western part of Germany found its own way of continuing the discourse about Soviet Russia. In 1952, the Federal Republic founded the Bundeszentrale fur Heimatdienst, now the Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Political Education) to coordinate anti-communist propaganda for its population.

The Soviet side did not remain passive either. In 1952, VOKS invited Paul Distelbarth, a travel journalist, to take part in a tour of the Soviet Union. Like many of his predecessors, Diestelbarth returned and wrote a book that he claimed was an objective and impartial account of his experiences in the USSR. Although his main concern was not the political system but the Russian people, his work covered the sites that foreign visitors were shown and he recounted many tales already told in the 1930s. (105) West German discourse about the USSR, however, allowed for more than official anti-communism and Soviet propaganda. During the 1950s, the fascination with Soviet Union found new forms. Novels and movies about the hardship of the German soldier in World War II enjoyed great success. (106) There were also accounts from figures who had lived through the years of the great experiment and had reflected on its significance. Such authors as Klaus Mehnert, a frequent traveler to the USSR since the 1930s, and Wolfgang Leonhard, the son of German Communists who had grown up in Moscow and defected in 1949 from the Soviet zone of occupation to the West, wrote bestsellers about their experiences in Russia. (107) They published for the mainstream of politically interested Germans. The combination of political radicalism and fascination for Russia that had dominated Weimar Germany had withered away. When political radicalism re-emerged in the 1960s, the center of attention had shifted to China and the Third World.

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(1) On Joseph Goebbels, see Ralf Georg Reuth, Goebbels, trans. Krishna Winston (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993).

(2) Goebbels had been working on this speech since August. See Joseph Goebbels: Tagebucher 1924-1945, ed. Ralf Georg Reuth, 6 vols. (Munich: Piper, 2003), 3: 1935-39, 877.

(3) Joseph Goebbels, Kommunismus ohne Maske (Munich: Eher, 1935), 5, 7.

(4) The constant discourse about political conspiracy inside and outside the country was also characteristic of Bolshevik political culture. Cf. Gabor T. Rittersporn, "The Omnipresent Conspiracy: On Soviet Imagery of Politics and Social Relations in the 1930s," in Stalinism: Its Nature and Its Aftermath, ed. Rittersporn and Nick Lampert (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1991), 101-20.

(5) In his diary, Goebbels expressed satisfaction with himself and with the reception of the speech: "Fight without compromise. Anti-Bolshevik and anti-Jewish. My life is one thousand times justified. Stormy ovations" (Reuth, ed., Joseph Goebbels: Tagebucher 1924-1945, 3: 885).

(6) On the radicalization of persecution in 1935, see Peter Longerich, Heinrich Himmler: Biografie (Munich: Siedler, 2008), 204-10.

(7) Gerd Koenen and Lew Kopelew, eds., Deutschland und die Russische Revolution, 1917-1924 (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1998), includes lucid essays and a bibliography of German publications on Russia between the October Revolution and the death of Lenin (827-935). See also the contributions in Dan Diner and Fritz Stern, eds., "Deutschland und Russland," themed issue of Tel Aviver Jahrbuch fur Deutsche Geschichte 24 (Gerlingen: Bleicher, 1995); and Gerd Koenen's work focusing especially on Alfons Paquet and Eduard Stadler, Der Russland-Komplex: Die Deutschen und der Osten 1900-1945 (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2005).

(8) Matthias Heeke, Reisen zu den Sowjets: Der auslandische Tourismus in Russland, 1921-1941 (Munster: Lit, 2003).

(9) Karl Schlogel, Berlin Ostbahnhof Europas: Russen und Deutsche in ihrem Jahrhundert (Berlin: Siedler, 1998), 78-110, 136-58, 200-54.

(10) Werner Muller, "Bolschewismuskritik und Revolutionseuphorie: Das Janusgesicht der Rosa Luxemburg," in Totalitarismuskritik van links: Deutsche Diskurse im 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Mike Schmeitzner (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007), 29-48; Jurgen Zarusky: "Demokratie oder Diktatur: Kari Kautskys Bolschewismuskritik und der Totalitarismus," in ibid., 49-68.

(11) For a comparison of the reaction to Bolshevism among the German Left and Right, see Andreas Wirsching, "Antibolschewismus als Lernprozess: Die Auseinandersetzung mit Sowjetrussland in Deutschland nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg," in Vam Gegner Lernen: Freundschaften und Kulturtransfer im Europa des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, ed. Martin Aust and Daniel Schonpflug (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2007), 137-56; for an overview of the German Right, see Stefan Breuer, Anatomie der konservativen Revolution (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1995). For an influential anti-Western and Russophilic perspective on the German Right. see Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Das dritte Reich (Berlin: Ring, 1926).

(12) See Klaus Michael Mallmann, Kammunisten in der Weimarer Republik: Sozialgeschichte einer revolutionaren Bewegung (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1996), 220-22; and Eric D. Weitz, Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Papular Protest to Socialist State (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 234-38.

(13) Bert Hoppe, In Stalins Gefolgschaft: Moskau und die KPD, 1928-1933 (Munich: Oldenbourg 2007)--reviewed in this issue of Kritika.

(14) The fascination with Bolshevism on the German Left and Right created serious problems for Soviet cultural diplomacy; see Michael David-Fox, "Leftists vs. Nationalists in Soviet-Weimar Cultural Diplomacy: Showcases, Fronts, Boomerangs," in Doing Medicine Together: Germany and Russia between the Wars, ed. Susan Gross Solomon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 103-56.

(15) Walter Laqueur, Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict (London: Weidenfeld, 1965), 50-125. On Munich, see Johannes Baur, Die russische Kolonie in Munchen 1900-1945: Deutschrussische Beziehungen im 20. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998).

(16) Ian Kershaw dates the merger of Hitler's antisemitism with anti-Bolshevism to the second half of 1920 and acknowledges Rosenberg's influence (Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris [New York: W. W. Norton, 1999], 152-53; 246ff.). For a detailed account of the collaboration between far-right Russian emigres and the postwar volkisch movement in Munich, see Johannes Baur, "Die Revolution und 'Die Weisen von Zion': Zur Entwicklung des Russlandbildes in der fruhen NSDAP," in Deutschland und die Russische Revolution, 1917-1924, 165-90; Michael Kellogg, The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Emigres and the Making of National Socialism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). A hagiographic biography of Scheubner-Richter was published under Nazi rule: Paul Leverkuhn, Posten auf ewiger Wache: Aus dem abenteuerlichen Leben des Max von Scheubner-Richter (Essen: Essener Verlags Anstalt, 1938).

(17) On Alfred Rosenberg's biography, see Ernst Piper, Alfred Rosenberg: Hitlers Chefideologe (Munich: Pantheon, 2007); on his position in the Nazi party-state and his power struggle with Goebbels, see Reinhard Bollmus, Das Amt Rosenberg und seine Gegner: Studien zum Machtkampf im nationalsozialistischen Herrschaftssystem (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2006).

(18) The first German translation of the "protocols" was published in 1920. See Kellogg, The Russian Roots of Nazism, 63-78; and Wolfram Meyer zu Uptrup, Kampf gegen die "judische Weltverschworung": Propaganda und Antisemitismus der Nationalsozialisten 1919 bis 1945 (Berlin: Metropol, 2003), 91-108. On the "protocols," see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (London: Serif, 1996); and Stephen Bronner, A Rumor about the Jews: Reflections on Antisemitism and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

(19) Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 55-82; Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (London: Allen Lane, 2003), 178-79.

(20) Alfred Rosenberg, Pest in Russland! Der Bolschewismus, seine Haupter, Handlanger und Opfer (Munich: Deutscher Volksverlag, 1922).

(21) On the Black Hundreds, see Walter Laqueur, Black Hundred: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia (New York: Harper, 1994).

(22) Meyer zu Uptrup, Kampf gegen die "judische Weltverschworung," 99-107.

(23) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kamp: Eine Abrechnung (Munich: Franz Eher Nachf, 1927), 750. On Hitler's Mein Kampf, cf. Othmar Plockinger, Geschichte eines Buches: Adolf Hitlers Mein Kampf, 1922-1945 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2006).

(24) Cf. Hitler's obscure conversation with the volkisch writer Dietrich Eckhart, where both men tried to make sense of world history as a permanent struggle against Jewish obstruction: Dietrich Eckhart, Der Bolschewismus von Moses bis Lenin: Zwiegesprach zwischen Adolf Hitler und mir (Munich: Franz Eher Nachf, 1925).

(25) Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1936, 246-50.

(26) Koenen, Der Russland-Komplex, 413-15.

(27) Manfred Zeidler, Reichswehr und Rote Armee 1920-1933: Wege und Stationen einer ungewohnlichen Zusammenarbeit (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1993).

(28) Louis Dupeux, "Nationalbolschewismus in Deutschland" 1919-1933: Kommunistische Strategie und konservative Dynamik (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1985).

(29) Koenen, Der Russland-Komplex, 398-401.

(30) Laqueur, Russia and Germany, 150-52.

(31) Uwe Klussmann, "'Ich hasse den Kapitalismus wie die Pest': Joseph Goebbels als nationaler Sozialist," in Das Goebbels-Experiment: Propaganda und Politik, ed. Lutz Hachmeister and Michael Kloft (Munich: DVA, 2005), 64-72.

(32) Goebbels, diary entry of 26 June 1926, in Joseph Goebbels: Tagebucher 1924-1945, 1: 1924-29, 257.

(33) Edgar Lersch, Die auswartige Kulturpolitik der Sowjetunion und ihre Auswirkungen auf Deutschland, 1921-1929 (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1979); Lersch, "Hungerhilfe und Osteuropakunde: Die 'Freunde des neuen Russland,'" in Deutschland und die russische Revolution, 617-45; David-Fox, "Leftists vs. Nationalists in Soviet-Weimar Cultural Diplomacy."

(34) Christoph Mick, Sowjetische Propaganda, Funfjahrplan und deutsche Russlandpolitik, 1928-1933 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1995), 438-40.

(35) Uwe Liszkowski, Osteuropaforschung und Politik: Ein Beitrag zum historisch-politischen Denken und Wirken von Otto Hoetzsch (Berlin: Spitz, 1988).

(36) For an overview, cf. Hans-Ulrich Volkmann, ed., Das Russlandbild im Dritten Reich (Cologne: Bohlau, 1994).

(37) On Nazi propaganda and Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment in the 1930s, see Ernest K. Bramsted, Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda, 1925-1945 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1965); Reuth, Goebbels, 172-250; David Welch, The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda (London: Routledge, 2002); Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939 (London: Penguin, 2005), 120-220; Stefan Krings, "Das Propagandaministerium: Joseph Goebbels und seine Spezialisten," in Das Goebbels-Experiment, 29-48; on images of the other side in the 1930s, see also Katerina Clark and Katl Schlogel, "Mutual Perceptions and Projections: Stalin's Russia in Nazi Germany--Nazi Germany in the Soviet Union," in Beyond Tatalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, ed. Michael Geyer and Sheila Fitzpatrick (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 396-441. The authors stress the predominance of traditional images of "German culture" and the "Russian soul" during the 1930s but have little to say about the possible transfer of images and discourses.

(38) On the peculiarities of literature, publishing, and the book trade in the Third Reich, see JanPieter Barbian, Literaturpolitik im "Dritten Reich": Institutionen, Kompetenzen, Betatigungsfelder (Munich: dtv, 1995); Frank Trommler, "A Command Performance? The Many Faces of Literature under Nazism," in The Arts in Nazi Germany: Continuity, Conformity, Change, ed. Jonathan Huener and Francis R. Nicosia (New York: Berghahn, 2006): 111-34.

(39) Bollmus, Das Amt Rosenberg und seine Gegner, 61-103; Piper, Alfred Rosenberg, 323-434.

(40) On the Comintern in the 1930s, see Kevin McDermott and Jeffrey Agnew, The Comintern: A History of International Communism from Lenin to Stalin (Basingstoke, UK: Mamillan, 1996); William J. Chase, Enemies within the Gates? The Comintern and the Stalinist Repression, 1934-1939 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001); and Aleksandr Vatlin, Komintern: Idei, resheniia, sud'by (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2009).

(41) To his staff, Joseph Goebbels declared how much he admired Soviet propaganda, most notably the 1925 Eisenstein film Battleship Potemkin (Goebbels's address to representatives of radio, 25 March 1933, cited in Welch, The Third Reich, 183-85).

(42) On the fellow-travelers, see Sylvia Margulies, The Pilgrimage to Russia: The Soviet Union and the Treatment of Foreigners (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968); David Caute, The Fellow Travellers: Intellectual Friends of Communism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988); Michael David-Fox, "The Fellow-Travelers Revisited: The 'Cultured West' through Soviet Eyes," Journal of Modern History 75, 2 (2003): 300-35; David-Fox, "Troinaia dvusmyslennost': Teodor Draizer v sovetskoi Rossii (1927-1928). Palomnichestvo, pokhozhee na obvinitel'nuiu rech'," in Kul'turnye issledovaniia, ed. Aleksandr Etkind and Pavel Lysakov (St. Petersburg: Evropeiskii universitet; Moscow: Letnii sad, 2006), 290-319. For a philosophical interpretation, see also Michail Ryklin, Kommunismus als Religion: Die Intellektuellen und die Oktoberrevolution (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag der Weltreligion, 2008).

(43) On the functioning of VOKS in the 1920s, see David-Fox, "Leftists vs. Nationalists in Soviet-Weimar Cultural Diplomacy."

(44) The journal Die USSR im Bau, the German version of SSSR na stroike, appeared in 1930-35 and was succeeded by UdSSR im Bau (1935-41).

(45) In this essay I abstain from discussing pseudo-scientific texts published by Nibelungen Verlag and focus on travelogues. Hermann Greife, whose work was both ideological and antisemitic, was the most prominent Nazi scholar who published on Soviet Russia. He undermined the standards of Russian studies established in Weimar Germany by such scholars as Otto Hoetzsch. See, for example, Hermann Greife, Sowjetforschung (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1936); Greife, Zwangsarbeit in der Sowjetunion (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1936); Greife, Die Klassenkampfpolitik der Sowjetregierung (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1937); Greife, Ist eine Entwicklung der Sowjetunion zum nationalen Staat moglich? (Berlin: Junker & Dunhaupt, 1939); and Greife, Bolschewismus und Staat (Berlin: Junker & Dunhaupt, 1942). For National Socialist studies of the USSR, see also Adolf Ehrt, Der Weltbolschewimus: Ein internationales Gemeinschaftswerk uber die bolschewistische Wuhlarbeit und die Umsturzversuche der Comintern in allen Landern (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1936); Niels Nark, Das bringt die Rote Armee (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1936). Ostforschung, another branch of ideologized social science under Nazism, did not extensively deal with Russia but with areas of German settlement in Eastern Europe. Cf. Michael Burleigh, Germany Turns Eastwards: A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich (London: Pan, 2002); Eduard Muhle, Fur Volk und deutschen Osten: Der Historiker Hermann Aubin und die deutsche Ostforschung (Dusseldorf: Droste, 2005); Ingo Haar and Michael Fahlbusch, eds., German Scholars and Ethnic Cleansing, 1919-1945 (New York: Berghahn, 2006); and Gotz Aly and Susanne Heim, Vordenker der Vernichtung: Auschwitz und die Plane fur eine neue europaische Ordnung (Hamburg: Hoffmann & Campe, 1991).

(46) Alfred Laubenheimer, ed., Und du siehst die Sowjets richtig: Berichte von deutschen und auslandischen "Spezialisten" aus der UdSSR (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1935).

(47) On foreign workers in the USSR, see Sergei Zhuravlev, "Malen'kie liudi" i "bol'shaia istoriia": Inostrantsy moskovskogo Elektrozavoda v sovetskom obshchestve 1920-kb-1930-kh gg. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2000), 45-260.

(48) On these Soviet narratives that were--albeit in somewhat altered form also used in foreign propaganda, see Jeffrey Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to CoM War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), 54-82; on Soviet propaganda in Germany, see Mick, Sowjetische Propaganda, 127-72.

(49) Laubenheimer, ed., Und du siehst die Sowjets richtig, 118-25. VOKS was the "All-Union Soviet for Cultural Ties Abroad." On the Nazi view of "Jewish VOKS" and the deception of foreign visitors, see also Maria de Smeth, Unfreiwillige Reise nach Moskau (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1939): 227-29; Sven von Muller, Die Sowjet-Union: Kulisse und Hintergrund (Hamburg: Broschek & Co., 1941), 25ff. For an inside account of VOKS, see Raisa Orlova, Memoirs (New York: Random House, 1983), 106-28. For an assessment of VOKS in the 1930s, see Michael David-Fox, "From Illusory 'Society' to Intellectual 'Public': VOKS, International Travel, and Party-Intelligentsia Relations in the Interwar Period," Contemporary European History 11, 1 (2002): 7-32.

(50) Dr. ing. A. Ohnesorge, "Warum ist die Wirtschaft der Sowjetunion zusammengebrochen?" in Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig, 163-76. Goebbels declared it necessary to fight the idea that Stalin was Russia's Fuhrer (Koenen, Der Russland-Komplex, 416).

(51) Laubenheimer, ed., Und Du siehst die Sowjets richtig, 260-343.

(52) The suffering of the Volga German population under Soviet rule was a subject already discussed in the Weimar Republic. See Mick, Sowjetische Propaganda, 350-79. For an account of Volga German suffering published in the "Third Reich," see Alexander Schwarz, In Wologdas weissen Waldern: Ein Buch aus dem bolschewistischen Bann (Altona: Hans Harder, 1935).

(53) Agricola [Alexander Baumeister], Das endlose Gefangnis: Erinnerungen des Finnlanders Georg Kitchin aus den Kerkern der Sowjetunion (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1936); Ernst Ertl, Werkmeister im "Paradies": 4 Jahre im Traktorenwerk Charkow (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1937).

(54) On the Gulag, see Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History (New York: Doubleday, 2003); and Oleg V. Khlevniuk, The History of the Gulag: From Collectivization to the Great Terror (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

(55) On the origin of these stereotypes about Eastern Europe, see Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996).

(56) Karl Schlogel notes a similar use of "eastern slang" in the novels of the volkisch writer Edwin Erich Dwinger, who published widely on the German experience in Eastern Europe. Cf. Karl Schlogel, "Die russische Obsession: Edwin Erich Dwinger," in Traumland Osten: Deutsche Bilder vom ostlichen Europa im 20. Jahrhundert, ed. Gregor Thum (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: 2006), 66-87, 71-72.

(57) Ertl, Werkmeister im "Paradies, " 298-301.

(58) De Smeth, Unfreiwillige Reise nach Moskau. In postwar Germany, the author published a memoir: Maria de Smeth, Roter Kaviar--Hauptmann Maria: Odyssee einer Frau im 20. Jahrhundert (Munich: Welsermuhl, 1965). On de Smeth's book about Spain, another piece of Nazi propaganda, see Babette Quinkert, "Propagandistin gegen den 'judischen Bolschewismus': Maria de Smeths Reisebericht aus Spanien 1936/37," in Volksgenossinnen: Frauen in der NS-Volksgemeinschaft, ed. Sybille Steinbacher (Gottingen: Wallstein, 2007): 173-86.

(59) De Smeth, Unfreiwillige Reise nach Moskau, 51, 98.

(60) Ibid., 103; Rosenberg, Pest in Russland!

(61) De Smeth, Unfreiwillige Reise nach Moskau, 123, 245-46.

(62) Cf. John McCannon, Red Arctic: Polar Exploration and the Myth of the North in the Soviet Union, 1932-1939 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Karen Petrone, Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Celebrations in the Time of Stalin (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 46-84; Kari Schlogel, Terror und Traum: Moskau 1937 (Munich: Carl Hanser, 2008), 386-410.

(63) Kravetz, Funf Jahre Sawjetflieger, 11.

(64) Ibid., 40.

(65) Peter Nikolajew, Bauern unter Hammer und Sichel: Bauer, Partisan, Verbannter, Fluchtling (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1936); Maria Kraft, In der Gewalt der Bolschewisten: Leidensjahre einer deutschen Frau in der Sowjet-Union (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1938); Natascha Gorjanowa, Russische Passion: Studentin, Ingenieurin, Frau im roten "Aufbau" (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1942).

(66) Karl I. Albrecht [Karl Matthaus Low], Der verratene Sozialismus: Zehn Jahre als hoher Staatsbeamter in der Sowjetunion (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1938).

(67) Karl I. Albrecht, Sud'by liudskie v podvalakh GPU, 1942.

(68) Albrecht, Der verratene Sozialismus, 34, 43. On the Comintern, see McDermott and Agnew, The Comintern; and Robert Service, Camrades! A History of World Communism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), 146-62.

(69) Albrecht, Der verratene Sozialismus, 48.

(70) Albrecht, Der verratene Sozialismus, 278. Enukidze was shot on 30 October 1937. For a recent discussion of the purges, see Schlogel, Terror und Traum, 103-18, 174-97, 239-66, 603-43.

(71) Albrecht, Der verratene Sozialismus, 191 ff., 219-49. The book's claim to "authentically" portray life during Stalin's "Great Break" is supported by privately taken photographs that illustrate the life of forced laborers in the USSR.

(72) Ibid., 250-326, 270-71.

(73) Ibid., 279. On Grigorii Konstantinovich Ordzhonikidze, see Oleg V. Khlevniuk, In Stalin's Shadow: The Career of "Sergo" Ordzhonikidze (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1995); on Ordzhonikidze's suicide in early 1937, see Schlogel, Terror und Traum, 218-38.

(74) On German exile in Moscow, cf. Reinhard Muller, Menschenfalle Moskau: Exil und stalinistische Verfolgung (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2001).

(75) On Clara Zetkin's Soviet experience, see Tania Puschnerat, Clara Zetkin: Burgerlichkeit und Marxismus. Eine Biographie (Essen: Klartext, 2003), esp. 359-90. On Max Hoelz in Moscow, see Ulla Plener, ed., Max Hoelz: "Ich grusse und kusse Dich--Rot Front!" Tagebucher und Briefe, Moskau 1929-1933 (Berlin: Dietz, 2005).

(76) Albrecht, Der verratene Sozialismus, 321.

(77) Ibid., 328.

(78) Ibid., 398-622.

(79) Ibid., 644.

(80) The defector's story was not a new genre. Somewhat similar was the book of the former Reichstag deputy Maria Reese, Abrechnung mit Moskau (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1938). Accounts of Soviet defectors had been published in the Weimar Republic as well as in the West and became prominent again during the Cold War. See, for example, Grigorij Z. Besedovskij, Den Klauen der Tscheka entronnen: Erinnerungen (Leipzig: Greitlein, 1930 [Russian orig. Na putiakh k termidoru: Iz vospominanu b. sovetskogo diplomata (Paris, 1930)]; Vladimir V. Chernavin, I Speak for the Silent: Prisoners of the Soviets (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1935); and Victor Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom: The Personal and Political Life of a Soviet Official (London: Hale, 1947).

(81) In 1940, German publications about the Soviet Union had a distinctly different tone. See, for example, Artur W. Just, Die Sowjetunion: Staat, Wirtschaft, Heer (Berlin: Junker & Dunnhaupt, 1940).

(82) Goebbels, diary entry of 24 June 1941, in Elke Frohlich, Die Tagebucher von Joseph Goebbels: Samtliche Fragmente, pt. 1: Aufzeichnungen 1924-1941 (Munich: K. G. Sauer, 1998), 9: 399-400.

(83) According to official reports, the German public was surprised and alarmed by the news of war with the Soviet Union. Heinz Boberach, ed., Die Meldungen aus dem Reich: Die geheimen Lageberichte des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS, 1938-1945 (Hersching: Pawlak, 1984), 7: 2426-40.

(84) Warum Krieg mit Stalin? Das Rotbuch der AntiComintern (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1941). On the war experience, see Mark Edele and Michael Geyer, "States of Exception: The Nazi-Soviet War as a System of Violence, 1939-1945," in Beyond Totalitarianism, 345-95.

(85) Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2006), 92-137. On the USSR in Goebbels's weekly newsreel, cf. Bianka Pietrow-Ennker, "Die Sowjetunion in der Propaganda des Dritten Reiches: Das Beispiel der Wochenschau, Militargeschichtliche Mitteilungen 46, 2 (1989): 79-120.

(86) On Soviet reactions to the antisemitic war propaganda of Nazi Germany, see Gennadii V. Kostyrchenko, Stalin protiv "kosmopolitov": Vlast' i evreiskaia intelligentsiia v SSSR (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2009), 78-81.

(87) As Hannah Arendt pointed out, at the core of the totalitarian worldview stood the idea of an omnipresent conspiracy (The Origins of Totalitarianism: New Edition [New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1966], 354-55).

(88) See the evidence in Jean Baronet, ed., Les Parisiens sous l'Occupation: Photographies en couleurs d'Andre Zucca (Paris: Gallimard, 2008).

(89) Sven von Muller, Die Sowjet-Union; Helmut Diewerge, ed., Feldpostbriefe aus dem Osten: Deutsche Soldaten sehen die Sowjetunion (Berlin: Wilhelm Limpert, 1941); Louise Diel, Himmelbett Moskau: Frauenerlebnisse im Sowjetparadies (Berlin: Nibelungen, 1941).

(90) Katyn: Dokumente zbrodni, 2 vols. (Warsaw: Trio, 1995); George Sanford, Katyn and the Soviet Massacre of 1940: Truth, Justice, and Memory (London: Routledge, 2005).

(91) See Peter Longerich, "Davon haben wir nichts gewusst": Die Deutschen und die Judenverfolgung (Munich: Siedler, 2006), 263-97.

(92) On Goebbels's propaganda in 1943, see Iring Fetscher, "Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?" Joseph Goebbels im Berliner Sportpalast 1943 (Hamburg: EVA, 1998); and Welch, The Third Reich, 137.

(93) The question of transfers and entanglements between Bolshevism and Nazism is still understudied. After the rejection of Ernst Nolte's "nexus" between the Gulag and the Holocaust during the 1986 Historikerstreit, research has concentrated mainly on comparisons and less on interaction between the regimes. See Ernst Nolte, Der europaische Burgerkrieg 1917-1945: Bolschewismus und Nationalsozialismus (Frankfurt: Propylaen, 1987). For a comparative perspective on both dictatorships, see Ian Kershaw and Moshe Lewin, eds., Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Dietrich Beyrau, Schlachtfeld der Diktatoren: Osteuropa im Schatten von Hitler und Stalin (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000); Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (London: Allen Lane, 2005); Jorg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel, Ordnung durch Terror: Gewaltexzesse und Vernichtung im stalinistischen und nationalsozialistischen Imperium (Bonn: Dietz, 2006); and Geyer and Fitzpatrick, eds., Beyond Totalitarianism.

(94) Schlogel, Terror und Traum, 119-35.

(95) Brooks, Thank You, Comrade Stalin, 54-158.

(96) Outside the Anti-Comintern's apparatus, different views could be printed. In his 1937 Weltrevolutionskrieg, Eduard Stadtler viewed Bolshevism as a phenomenon of the times that could not be understood in terms of race. See Stadtler, Weltrevolutionskrieg (Dusseldorf: Neuer Zeitverlag, 1937), 19-35.

(97) On the regimes' attempts to create "new men," see Peter Fritzsche and Jochen Hellbeck, "The New Man in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany," in Beyond Totalitarianism, 302-41.

(98) See Warum Krieg mit Stalin, 57-59; Greife, Zwangsarbeit in der Sowjetunion, 3; de Smeth, Unfreiwillige Reise, 140-41.

(99) Longerich, "Davon haben wir nichts gewusst," 159-201; Herf, The Jewish Enemy, 144-46.

(100) Norman M. Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 69-140; Jan C. Behrends,

"Freundschaft, Fremdheit, Gewalt: Ostdeutsche Sowjetunionerfahrungen zwischen Propaganda und Erfahrung," in Traumland Osten, 157-80, 159-64.

(101) For the complete list, see

(102) Erich Honecker, Friedensflug nach Osten: Im Lande des Sozialismus (Berlin: Neues Leben, 1946).

(103) Anna Seghers, Sowjetmenschen: Lebensbeschreibungen nach ihren Berichten (Berlin: Kultur und Fortschritt, 1948); Stephan Hermlin, Russische Eindrucke (Berlin: Kultur und Fortschritt, 1948); Bernhard and Ellen Kellermann, Wir kommen aus Sowjetrussland (Berlin: Kultur und Fortschritt, 1948).

(104) Jan C. Behrends, Die erfundene Freundschafi: Propaganda fur die Sowjetunion in Polen und in der DDR (Cologne: Bohlau, 2006).

(105) Paul Distelbarth, Russland heute: Bericht einer Reise (Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1954).

(106) Philipp von Hugo, "Kino und kollektives Gedachtnis? Uberlegungen zum westdeutschen Kriegsfilm der funfziger Jahre," in Krieg und Militar im Film des 20. Jahrhunderts, ed. Bernhard Chiari, Mathias Rogg, and Wolfgang Schmidt (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2003), 453-77.

(107) Wolfgang Leonhard, Die Revolution entlasst ihre Kinder (Cologne: K&W, 1955); Klaus Mehnert, Der Sowjetmensch: Versuch eines Portraits nach 12 Reisen in die Sowjetunion, 1929-1957 (Stuttgart: DVA, 1958).
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Date:Jun 22, 2009
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