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anticipated civil war. But no one could seriously anticipate the images of 9
May 1945 in Berlin-Karlshorst, when German generals signed the surrender of
German military power.

continuity and discontinuity: the nazi image of russia
The images of Russia in Nazi Germany re¬‚ected both the internal radicalization
of the Nazi movement in Germany and developments inside Soviet Russia.
The mass media covered Russia well. Before 1933 there were news reports
on the trials against the engineers of Metro-Vickers, the Woltscht-Kinderman
incident, the trials against the Mensheviks and Shakhty, and the repression of
bourgeois specialists. A brilliant expertise existed among Menshevik emigr´ se
(Sotsialisticheskii vestnik) writing for German newspapers and among German
journalists (Arthur Feiler, Paul Scheffer, and others). There were eyewitnesses
who had just returned from Russia, where they had worked. Their image
was different from that of the KPD press or the media of the procommunist
Munzenberg media complex. All major events found a large audience and
r Forced collectivization was published in reports, even with pictures, and
monitored by experts in the German embassy and consulates in the country,
who at that time could move quite freely within the country.72
r Reports about the persecution of believers and religious groups, who suffered
most from the militant campaigns of communist youths in the late 1920s and
early 1930s, had a great impact on the German image of Russia. The religious
media especially acted very politically and were full of news, eyewitness
reports, and solidarity messages.73
r The persecution and repression of bourgeois scholars and experts were taken
very seriously by their academic counterparts in Germany.74
r The great Moscow trials had signi¬cant impact, although dif¬culties existed
in giving them a proper interpretation. Who was accusing whom of what?

Andrej Belyj [Andrei Belyi], Im Reich der Schatten: Berlin 1921 bis 1923 (Frankfurt am Main:

Insel, 1987), 40.
For reports with photographs on collectivization, see Ewald Ammende, Muß Rußland hungern?:

Menschen- und Volkerschicksale in der Sowjetunion (Vienna: Braumuller, 1935); Hans von
Herwarth, Zwischen Hitler und Stalin, Erlebte Zeitgeschichte 1931 bis 1945.
Cf. Kurt Meier, “Sowjetrußland im Urteil der evangelischen Kirche (1917“1945),” and Herbert

Smolinsky, “Das katholische Rußlandbild in Deutschland nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg und im
Dritten Reich,” in Das Russlandbild im Dritten Reich, 285“322, 323“56.
On Hoetzsch, Platonov, Tarle, and others, see Zh. I. Alferov, V. P. Leonov, eds., Akademich-

eskoe delo 1929“1931 gg., 2 vols. (St. Petersburg, Biblioteka Rossiiskoi akademiia nauk, 1998).
Mutual Perceptions and Projections 419

Yet, this dif¬culty was not con¬ned to the German Nazi-controlled press.
There was an atmosphere of irritation, intimidation, and enigma, especially
concerning the execution of the military leadership in the summer of 1937.
Many of these military of¬cers, who had previously visited Germany, were
accused of being German spies. The media coverage had multiple effects,
among which were the disorientation and demoralization of the remaining
communists and sympathizers with Soviet Russia.75
r One event that historians have had dif¬culty handling is the nonaggression
treaty of August of 1939 between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed the
week before the Wehrmacht invaded Poland. It requires separate, in-depth
analysis beyond the well-known and spectacular quotations in which Stalin
and the USSR were praised, and vice versa. Other memorable events include
the theatrical production of Ivan Susanin in Berlin and Eisenstein™s staging
of Wagner™s Die Walkyrie in Moscow. And for many “ perhaps most “ the
treaty signaled the return to the rational and traditional pro-Russian policy
that Bismarck had once pursued.

The Nazi-controlled press in Germany tended to interpret the great purges
and general developments under Stalin™s leadership as “healthy nationalism,”
directed against the “Jewish leadership” of early Bolshevism, whereas Trot-
skyites were accused of being agents of fascism by the Stalinist leadership.
Many brochures intended for a mass audience as well as exhibitions were dedi-
cated to the “Jewish question.” These mass publications identi¬ed Jews among
the leadership, referring to their Jewish family names (for example, “Litvinov-
Wallach”) and very often caricaturing them to demonstrate the “Jewish phys-
iognomy of Russia™s elite.”76
It is less clear, however, how other aspects of Soviet life were perceived
in Nazi Germany, especially aspects of the “great leap forward,” such as
large-scale construction sites, the grand designs of exploring and exploiting,
the reconstruction of Moscow and other cities, and the redesigning of public
spaces. And there are many other open questions, such as how Arno Brecker
appreciated the sculptures of his colleague and rival Vera Mukhina, how Boris
Iofan™s project for the Palace of Soviets was perceived by Albert Speer, and
what impact the example of the Palace of Soviets had for the planning of the
Reichshauptstadt Germania.
A broader question is this: What is the relation between pre-1933 and post-
1933 images of Soviet Russia? In other words, is there a direct path from
typically German images and prejudices to the Nazi image of the “Slavic Sub-
human” (Untermensch)? There is a striking continuity in the German rhetoric
of Kulturtragertum with respect to Russia, but there is no direct path from
German or European superiority discourses to the Untermenschen rhetoric of

Manfred Zeidler, “Das Bild der Wehrmacht von Rußland und der Roten Armee zwischen 1933

und 1939,” in Hans-Erich Volkmann, Das Russlandbild im Dritten Reich, 105“23.
Rudolf Kommoss on Kaganovich™s role, see Kommoss, 34.
Katerina Clark and Karl Schlogel

the Nazi Party. There were stereotypes of Russians in Germany to which most
Germans, even educated ones, adhered: Russians as Naturmenschen; Russians
as Kollektivwesen and vermasst; the rhetoric about the radical replacement
of the elites in the Russian revolution; and the disproportionately high con-
tribution of non-Russian nationalities to the revolutionary movement and the
establishment of power, and so forth.
But no direct path existed between the distinct sense of superiority and
unconscious Eurocentrism (related to Western or Central Europe) of the
German elites and, especially, of the petit bourgeois and working-class masses
to the racist contempt for and hatred of all Russians during the Nazi period.
There was a difference between the “usual” arrogance of Germans toward
Russians and racist hatred, including dehumanizing rhetoric and genocidal
practices against so-called Untermenschen. The Nazis exploited the deeply
anti-Russian or anti-Slav sentiments of the wider population, but their racist
idea of the inferiority of the Slavs was distinct. These racist ideas, combined
with a tendency to regard human beings as mere “raw material” (Rohmate-
rial), provided the Nazis™ legitimation for their extermination practices. This
racial and racist doctrine played its role at the moment when Nazi Germany
crossed the Bug River. Extermination war, starving to death of hundreds of
thousands of POWs, the calculated death of millions in a very short time, and
the systematic mass murder of the Soviet Jews should be understood as all of
one piece.77 The war that started on 22 June 1941 opened a new and unprece-
dented chapter not only in the history of modern warfare and crimes against
humanity, but also in relations between Germany and Russia.78

Relevant for the perception by army personnel is Ich sah den Bolschewismus: Dokumente der

¨ ¨
Wahrheit gegen die bolschewistische Luge: Thuringer Soldaten schreiben an ihren Gauleiter und
Reichsstatthalter (Weimar: Der Nationalsozialist, 1942); Hans Joachim Schroder, “Erfahrungen
deutscher Mannschaftssoldaten wahrend der ersten Phase des Rußlandkrieges,” in Bernd Weg-
ner, ed., Zwei Wege nach Moskau: Vom Hitler-Stalin-Pakt zum “Unternehmen Barbarossa”
(Munich and Zurich: Piper, 1991), 309“25; Heinz Boberach, ed., Meldungen aus dem Reich
1938“1945: Die geheimen Lageberichte des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS (Herrsching: Pawlak,
1984); Peter Jahn and Reinhard Rurup, eds., Erobern und Vernichten: Der Krieg gegen die
Sowjetunion (Berlin: Argon, 1991); Andreas Hillgruber, “Das Rußland-Bild der fuhrenden
deutschen Militars vor Beginn des Angriffs auf die Sowjetunion,” in Das Rußlandbild im Drit-
ten Reich, 125“63; Jurgen Forster, “Zum Rußlandbild der Militars 1941“1945,” in Das Ruß-
¨ ¨ ¨
landbild im Dritten Reich, 141“63; Peter P. Knoch, “Das Bild des russischen Feinds,” in Wolf-
ram Wette and Gerd R. Ueberschar, eds., Stalingrad: Mythos und Wirklichkeit einer Schlacht
(Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1992); Roland Foerster, ed., “Unternehmen
Barbarossa”: Zum historischen Ort der deutsch-sowjetischen Beziehungen von 1933 bis Herbst
1941 (Paderborn: F. Schoningh, 1993); Ortwin Buchbender, Das tonende Erz: Deutsche Pro-
paganda gegen die Rote Armee im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag, 1978); Ernst
Klee Willi Dreßen, and Volker Rieß, eds., “Gott mit uns”: Der deutsche Vernichtungskrieg im
Osten, 1939“1945 (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 1989); Wolfram Wette, “Die propagan-
distische Begleitmusik zum Uberfall auf die Sowjetunion 1941,” in Gerd R. Ueberschar and
Wolfram Wette, eds., Der deutsche Uberfall auf die Sowjetunion: “Unternehmen Barbarossa”
1941 (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1991).
Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941“1945: German Troops and the Barbarisation of Warfare

(Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001).
Mutual Perceptions and Projections 421

The more these practises developed, the more the idea of Russia the “Other”
resurfaced “ for example, in memoranda, protests, and interventions inside and
outside the Wehrmacht “ especially after the ¬erce resistance of the Red Army
and the population became evident and the plans for Blitzkrieg in Russia had
failed. Once again the sentimental clich´ of the brave and patriotic private
“Ivan” came into circulation. But, as we know, there were different plans for
defeating Russia: with the support of the Russians themselves and with the sup-
port of non-Russian nationalities, getting support from collaborators, building
up a military force (for example, the Vlasov army), and so forth.79 Hitler™s
image of Russia was not only obsessive, racially motivated, and obscurantist.
It was also, concurrently, a function of his struggle to keep power at any price.
Extermination was not only a result of a cumulative radicalization but also
a matter of deliberate policy to create a point of no return and to burn the
bridges at one™s back, with Europe in ruins and one™s own nation as hostage.

the german image of russia
In Nazi Germany, the image of Russia was a mixtum compositum. This image
was a function of German political struggles and, thus a construction, a very
selective and instrumental perception of facts and experiences connected to
Russian reality. The emergence of this image was highly dramatic because
internal and external con¬‚icts became intensively interwoven. Nowhere else
was the network between Russia and the outside world as dense and intensive
as in prewar Germany. The images of Russia in Nazi Germany were deeply
rooted in the pre-1914 world and in the experience of the postwar and postrev-
olution chaos. There was a common ground for images of Russia and Germany:
namely, the experience of war, revolution, and civil war. That means that fur-
ther research and discussion should be placed in a European framework, the
texture of which can be termed Katastrophenzusammenhang Europa (the con-
juncture of European catastrophe). There are some sites where this can be
studied more closely than elsewhere. One of these sites is Berlin; another one is
certainly Moscow (or Budapest, or Vienna). And, of course, there is no Berlin-
Moscow connection without Rome, and no Russian-German discourse with-
out Italian fascism. These were the sites of synchronized historical experience
of an entire epoch (Synchronisierung von Epochenerfahrung). The National
Socialist image of Russia was not the logical result of nineteenth-century prej-
udices, but something new, aimed at the establishment of a new type of racial
For future analyses, it may be of value to leave aside, at least to some
extent, comparisons between Russia and Germany, in order to move toward
a genetic reconstruction of the interplay of all the actors of the European
theater of war and revolution in the core period of 1914 to 1945. All of
the aspects discussed have European dimensions and European implications.

On the Vlasov army, see Catherine Andreyev, Vlasov and the Russian Liberation Movement

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
Katerina Clark and Karl Schlogel

Although Germany and Russia, as the epicenters, may remain at the center of
analysis, all aspects go beyond national historiography: the collapse of empires;
the drawing of new borders; irredentism and revisionism; the instability of
the newly established orders; the search for modernity or for an escape from
modernity; social revolution; accelerated upward mobility; exile and forced
migration; the globalization of class con¬‚icts (Komintern); and ethnic struggles
(the minority problems in the League of Nations). We should pay tribute to
what nation-to-nation comparison can give us, but we should move ahead
to a method of contextualization, of remapping the European landscape of
war and revolution. That does not necessarily mean national comparison, but
reconstruction of the European dimension of almost all relevant processes and
projects, especially communism and fascism.

the soviet image of nazi germany
To a marked degree both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany viewed each other
and composed their image of each other in terms of their putative roles in an
epic struggle for “Europe.” However, Soviet analyses of Nazi Germany gener-
ally avoided ethnic essentialism, largely preferring to attribute contemporary
Germany™s ills to Nazism, although in other key respects, its image of Nazi
Germany was comparable to the Nazi image of the Soviet Union.
Soviet rhetoric characteristically dealt in Manichaean binaries (us/them) with
a hyperbolically positive account of “us” and a hyperbolically negative account
of “them,” and the Nazi regime gave politicians and journalists ample material
for this. During the 1930s in almost every Soviet account of Nazi Germany,
it ¬gured implicitly or explicitly as the opposite of their country. But in this
instance the two sides of the us/them binary (Soviet/Nazi) corresponded roughly
to a key Nazi contrast between the Bolsheviks and themselves, though, needless
to say, the positive and negative colorations of the two poles of the Nazi binary
have been reversed. In effect, each country developed a model for the other
which was virtually a mirror image of that of its rival; that which was repre-
sented as positive in one side™s account of the contrast between themselves and
the other was presented in hyperbolically negative terms in the other, and vice
versa. Each of these regimes thereby dismissed the other™s country as primitive
and backward, even “barbaric,”80 thereby claiming superiority for themselves
as more rational and organized. In other words, the debate over which country
had the right to lead in Europe was partly about which one was the more
modernized, but only partly. The speci¬c way each regime articulated its back-
ward/progressive binary is telling. In deploying these binaries, spokesmen for
the two regimes pinpointed critical differences in their respective value systems
and cultural practices.


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