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the occupied zone was called Land Oberost. Land Oberost is a kind of German
lieu de m´ moire. The war in the eastern lands was the central experience of an
entire generation of young and not so young men. The war made thousands of
young men paci¬sts and revolutionaries, not by theory but by disillusionment.
An entire generation of leading central European communists developed in
Russian POW camps “ Karel Capek, Ernst Reuter (the mayor of West Berlin
after World War II), Josip Broz Tito, Bela Kun, and many, many others. The
Eastern Front and the Russian Civil War became a school of radicalization

On German entrepreneurs and their privileged position in Russia, see the catalogue by Dittmar

Dahlmann et al., eds., “Eine grosse Zukunft”: Deutsche in Russlands Wirtschaft (Berlin:
Reschke & Steffens, 2000).
Karl Schlogel, “Nikolai Krestinski, and Graf von der Schulenburg: Diplomatie als Verrat,” in

Berlin, Ostbahnhof Europas: Russen und Deutsche in ihrem Jahrhundert (Berlin: Siedler, 1998),
Katerina Clark and Karl Schlogel

and military education on both sides: for communists and sympathizers with
Soviet Russia and for the hard-core White Russian and Freicorps members,
for the “Baltikumer” and others. For many Germans, the sites of events of the
German civil war in 1918“23 were almost directly connected to Europe™s most
important site of revolutionary events in this period, Russia. The activists of the
Russian October moved to the stage of the German October, and vice versa.
An entire generation had been educated and shaped by war and revolution
between 1914 and 1923. We can ¬nd the echo of this experience in a vast
corpus of literature of the 1920s and 1930s.60
the complex of the humiliated and excluded “ anti-polish and
anti-western revisionism. Both empires fell apart during World War I.
This raises questions: How does one live with the collapse of a centuries-
old order? How does one live with deep national humiliation, especially when
accompanied by economic crisis and breakdown? Brest-Litovsk, Versailles, new
borders, disintegration of the state, the collapse of the old elites, the question
of responsibility and guilt, theories of conspiracy, phobias of encirclement, the
fear of “¬fth columns,” international discrimination. How could Russia and
Germany cope with this hopeless situation? There was, in the eyes of many of
the interwar generation, one negative experience “ Brest-Litovsk and Versailles
“ and there was one positive experience “ Rapallo and the Molotov-Ribbentrop
treaty of 23 August 1939. Both events were rooted in deeply anti-Western
sentiments. Two different forms of ressentiment against the West, as embodied
in the victorious alliance at the Paris peace conferences, coexisted: German
“Kultur” against French and British “civilization,” and Russian “revolutionary
spirit” against the commercialized and pragmatic materialism of “the West.”61
romantics and nostalgia from the left and, especially, from the
right. The general perception is that only Germans of the extreme left were
enthusiastic about the “fatherland of the working class.” But it seems clear
now that being pro-Russian and pro-Soviet was, if not the mainstream feeling,
nevertheless widespread among German conservatives, even at the reactionary
end of the political spectrum. Germany and Russia were “fortresses” against
modernity, Westernism, and liberalism. The “leftists on the right” (Otto Ernst
Schuddekopf), that is, the representatives of the conservative and national-
Bolshevist revolution, were, in many respects, more pro-Soviet than their fellow
political travelers on the left.62 For people from the extreme left to the extreme
right, from communists to national-Bolsheviks, Soviet Russia was, in many
ways, a projection screen for fantasizing about a new Germany.63

Norman Stone, The Eastern Front, 1914“1917; Vejas Gabriel Ljulevicius, op. cit.

On “twofold revisionism,” see Gerd Koenen, Der Russland-Komplex: Die Deutschen und der

Osten 1900“1945 (Munchen: Beck, 2005), 277“300
Otto Ernst Schuddekopf, Linke Leute von rechts: Die national-revolutionaren Minderheiten

und der Kommunismus in der Weimarer Republik (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1960).
Besides Schuddekopf, see Hans Hecker, Die Tat und ihr Osteuropa-Bild, 1909“1939 (Cologne:

Wissenschaft und Politik, 1974); Karl Notzel, Die Grundlagen des geistigen Rußland: Versuch
einer Psychologie des russischen Geisteslebens (Jena: E. Diederichs, 1917); Waldemar Gurian,
Der Bolschewismus (Freiburg i. Br., Herder, 1931); Rolf Gunter Renner, “Grundzuge und
¨ ¨
Mutual Perceptions and Projections 415

between modernity and antimodernism, open spaces, transitions.
The period after World War I represented a time of transition, improvisation,
dissolution, and, at the same time, invention of traditions. This experience
concerns both countries, especially the urban centers and the metropolitan cul-
tures. It was a time of radical acceleration of upward social mobility and, at
the same time, of fragmentation of the old elites. It is true that despite all the
differences between the two countries, there was an amazing degree of paral-
lels. Weimar Germany and the Russia of the NEP were the staging grounds
of a world in ¬‚ux. There were great societal debates on initiating a new age
and trying to ¬nd new paths out of decay and crisis: debates on the rational
organization of the work process (Fordism and non-Fordism), on production
and recreation, on work and housing, on new forms of urban life, on gar-
den cities and deurbanization. There were the takeoff of sociology (mostly in
the form of Marxism), new questions about organization as science, and the
scienti¬cation of all questions. We ¬nd in both societies all the elements of a
radicalized rationality: the idea of the New Man created by health, hygiene,
and the rational organization of life; the notion of the trained and beautiful
body; the idea of the death of belles lettres and the birth of literatura fakta,
that is, factology and information instead of bourgeois novels; the rationalistic
and functionalistic dream of “form follows function.” In short, the collapse
of the old order was followed by the impressive takeoff of a self-assertive and
self-conscious modernity, mostly limited, of course, to very small circles, but
not exclusively.64 The path to this modernity had been paved long before the
First World War, but modernity had now come to the surface thanks to the
total collapse of the old order. The project of creating a new world had crossed
national borders. There was a certain style “ international, cosmopolitan, ratio-
nalistic, antitraditionalistic. Even the successors and enemies of this modernity “
Fascism, National Socialism, and Stalinism “ had to pay their tribute to this
main trend if they wanted to succeed.
europe as a field of interference. We are not only talking about
the sophisticated ideas of isolated intellectuals. There were very strong social
groups identifying themselves with these experiences and experiments. There
was a spirit, a style, a way of life, a “Zeitgeist.”65 The main actors of the
interwar period were children of the prewar period “ both revolutionaries and
counterrevolutionaries. They include Germans from the former Russian empire;
Baltic Germans as mediators and experts on Russian affairs; soldiers and mil-
itary men; radicalized prisoners of war; members of the Freicorps; the large
numbers of Russian agents in the domestic German clashes in the Ruhr region,
Hamburg, and Berlin; the radicalized parts of the working class, especially
among youths; and members of the prewar elite in diplomacy, politics, and

Voraussetzungen deutscher literarischer Rußlandbilder wahrend des Dritten Reiches,” in Das
Rußlandbild im Dritten Reich, 387“419.
See Marshall Berman™s seminal book on modernity, All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The

Experience of Modernity (New York: Penguin Books, 1988).
Eckhard John, Musikbolschewismus: Die Politisierung der Musik in Deutschland 1918“1938.
Katerina Clark and Karl Schlogel

culture. Domestic and international con¬‚icts were interwoven. The rejection
of Versailles™s Europe, territorial revisionism, and class war established a link
between Russia and Germany. All domestic parties were tied to external ques-
tions, supporters, and powers. This was important everywhere (there was the
“Red Scare” in Great Britain and in the United States), but nowhere did it go as
deeply as in Germany. For German communists, the Soviet Union functioned as
a substitute for the revolution that had failed at home. The “Fatherland of the
toiling masses” was a kind of hinterland for the “community of despair” (R. C.
Williams). Unsurprisingly, the KPD was accused of being the vehicle of social
upheaval, directed by a foreign power. German communists did not succeed in
making their own revolution, though they played “German October” in 1923.
There was much talk about the “Bolshevizing” of political parties and “Sovi-
etization” of work; there was even the duplication of the con¬‚icts and factions
of the Soviet party. Germany had its “own” Trotsky, its own Bukharin, and its
own Stalin. There was in fact a Stalinization of the German Communist Party,
but it came mostly from inside and not from outside.66 German communists
nourished their hopes in analogies and parallels. The Papen government was to
repeat the fate of Kerenskii™s provisional government. The image of the Soviet
Union was largely a function of internal clashes, and it was instrumental in the
struggle against the internal class enemy. The pictures and newsreels of col-
lectivization, from the Baltic-Belomor Canal, from Solovki, from activities of
the OGPU, and so forth, had a ¬rm place in the German mediascape. It would
be interesting to know how, on the Soviet side, the German image became
instrumental for Russian internal con¬‚icts (for example, the dialogue between
Vyshinskii and Bukharin at the Moscow trial on subtle details of the German
language “ the meaning of sollen).67
It is very important to keep in mind that all this took place in an extremely
short period of, say, twenty to thirty years “ less than a life span. That means
that men who served in World War I went on duty a second time in World War
II. (Dwinger™s book on the invasion of 22 June 1941 is called Wiedersehen mit

forging the images: the berlin-russia connection
Berlin is the place where all of this comes together, where we can study the
production process of the images that turned into lethal weapons in ideological

Hermann Weber, Die Wandlung des deutschen Kommunismus: Die Stalinisierung der KPD in

der Weimarer Republik (Frankfurt am Main: Europaische Verlagsanstalt, 1969).
The semantics of the German word sollen were discussed at the 1938 Moscow show trial

between Vyshinskii and Bukharin. See Prozessbericht uber die Strafsache des antisowjetischen
“Blocks der Rechten und Trotzkisten,” verhandelt vor dem Militarkollegium des Obersten
Gerichtshofes der UdSSR vom 2. Bis 13. Marz 1938 (Moscow: Volkskommissariat fur Justiz-
wesen der UdSSR, 1938), 474.
Edwin Erich Dwinger, Wiedersehen mit Sowjetrußland: Tagebuch vom Ostfeldzug (Jena: E.

Diederichs, 1943).
Mutual Perceptions and Projections 417

and military warfare against Soviet Russia.69 In the 1920s, much was still in
the making, in ¬‚ux, open-ended, not yet clear.
berlin “ a place of high-density cultural exchange. All actors,
activities, processes of concern took place and took shape here. The partici-
pants were diplomats, of¬cers and rank and ¬le, party leaders and party mem-
bers, high culture, emigr´ s, undercover agents, intelligence people, experts on
Russia, Baltic Germans, former franctireurs, Freicorps, ex-Red Guards, right-
wing terrorists, party apparatchiki, institutions of persecution and repression,
the entire urban fabric that weaves all this together.70
all topics and aspects concerned are mixed up. The image of Russia
was present in all of its various dimensions: as a lost and inaccessible economic
space; the other Russia of the exiled; the of¬cial representation of the USSR as
a vanguard of the world revolution; the Russia of subversion and espionage;
the Russia of Vladimir Nabokov and Prince Iusupov; Russia as a main power
to help to ¬ght the system of Versailles; the Russia of great economic prospects
(Russengeschafte, Russian deals); the Russia of the Jewish refugees; the Russia
of the false princess and future Hollywood celebrity Anastasia; the Russia of
serious scholars and of obsessive, even obscurantist experts on Russia, inun-
dating Germany with a ¬‚ood of anti-Soviet brochures and lea¬‚ets; Russia as a
destination for innovative and talented artists and architects; Russia as a center
and stimulus for urban planning, for reform of the penitentiary system, for
new ways of organizing life and work, for the equality of men and women, for
new theater, new education, and new aesthetics. Russia not only represented
a source of inspiration for many talented intellectuals, but found a broader
audience, especially among the young, and not just among communist youths
(youth movements like Wandervogel, where the Balalaika and the Russenbluse
were popular accessories). This “Russkii Berlin” was a place ranking among
the most prominent and most contested sites of European culture in the ¬rst
half of the twentieth century.
berlin as the site of antagonism, polarization, and civil war. All
antagonisms in Germany and especially in the German capital had a way of
being pro- or anti-Soviet, pro- or anti-Russian, because Soviet Russia was not
only a country among others, but the alternative, a different way of life, which
provoked sympathy or opposition. Almost all crucial questions were discussed
in reference or in opposition to Russia: right against left, Freicorps against com-
munists, Russian emigr´ s against Soviet diplomats, and Russian monarchists
against Russian Jews. (It would be interesting to compare this somewhat strange
state of affairs to the situation in other countries like France, the United States,

Irina Antonowa and Jorn Merkert, eds., Berlin-Moskau 1900“1950, Ausstellungskatalog

(Munich and New York: Prestel, 1995).
For studies on the Berlin-Russia connection see Karl Schlogel, Berlin, Ostbahnhof Europas

(Berlin: Siedler, 1998), 2nd enlarged ed., Das russische Berlin: Ostbahnhof Europas (Munich:
Hanser, 2007); Ulrich Faur´ , Im Knotenpunkt des Weltverkehrs: Herzfelde, Heart¬eld, Grosz
und der Malik-Verlag, 1916“1947 (Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, 1992).
Katerina Clark and Karl Schlogel

or England.) There were positions bridging these antagonisms: the Reichswehr,
which cooperated with the Red Army; the emigr´ s who worked in the Soviet
embassy; the monarchists, who supported their Soviet Russian ally in order
to destroy the second Polish republic. It was Andrey Belyi who articulated his
feeling in Berlin as “boom-boom” coming soon.71 This was the sound of the


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