Maltzan - The Architect of Rapallo

Weimar Foreign Policy, German-Soviet Relations, and the Treaty of Rapallo, 1920-22

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2010
68 Pages, Grade: 1




I. Historiography on Weimar Foreign Policy, German-Soviet Relations, and the Treaty of Rapallo, 1918-1922

II. From Brest-Litovsk to Berlin, 1918-1922
1. The Early Contacts - POWs and Informal Relations
2. The Polish-Soviet War and German-Soviet Military Contacts
3. Economic Relations and the First German-Soviet Treaty
4. The Reparations Issue and the “Policy of Fulfilment”
5. Maltzan and German-Soviet Preliminary Negotiations in Berlin

III. The Conference of Genoa – The First Week, April 10th-16th, 1922
1. The German Delegation at Genoa – The First Days, April 10th-13th
2. Allied-Russian Talks at the Villa d’Albertis, April 14th
3. Resumption of German-Soviet Talks - Maltzan’s Hour, April 15th
4. A Rainy Day at Rapallo, Easter Sunday, April 16th

Conclusion: Maltzan, the Architect of Rapallo


In the crucial years from 1918 to 1922, the Weimar Republic struggled to regain great power status, in order to be able to play a major role in international politics again. Although it had lost its military power and its status as a Machtstaat, Germany still maintained its potential as the strongest economic power in Europe.[1] Germany was defeated in the war, humiliated and degraded through the regulations of the Versailles Peace Treaty and burdened with a large amount of war reparations. Germany looked to international trade to regain its economic strength. This was considered to be a precondition to becoming a great power in the modern sense, as a Handelsstaat. Confronted with French opposition, left behind by Great Britain, and treated with indifference by the United States, the new Republic searched for a strong partner to break out of its political and economic isolation.[2]

The Soviet Republic, the first socialist state, was to become the solution to German diplomatic efforts. As the successor state of the former Tsarist Empire, born out of a revolution, the Soviet Russia had the same labor pains as the Weimar Republic. Confronted with a counterrevolutionary civil war, attacked by interventionist armies of the other great powers, isolated on the international arena, devastated by war and civil war, destabilized by a complete roll up of the political, military, and business elite, the Soviet Republic was also looking for a partner of significance with which to make a new start.[3]

The topic of this article is the foreign policy of the Weimar Republic in the years 1920-1922. Its emphasis is on German-Soviet relations during the same period. However, the focus of this article lies in the circumstances - in German-Soviet relations, and on the wider European diplomatic theater - that led to the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo during the Conference of Genoa in April 1922. This treaty established full diplomatic relations between the Weimar Republic and Soviet Russia.

The Treaty of Rapallo is also at the heart of this research paper. In addition to the German diplomatic elite, individuals from politics, the military, and the economic-industrial sector also played a major role in establishing the relationships between the newly created (but isolated) countries in Europe during 1920-1922. However, it is from early January to mid April 1922 that is of most significance to the author. During this time, the diplomatic communication between the German and the Soviet side intensified and yielded the fruits, which ultimately resulted in the Treaty of Rapallo.

The aim of this article is to show, how it was possible that the political establishment of Weimar Germany decided to go along with the Soviet regime. For the understanding of this case study it is inevitable to show the international circumstances on the European theater that arose at the end of World War I. The terms of the Versailles Treaty, the reparation issue, Britain’s drive for trade and economic supremacy, its politics of balance of power in Europe, further, France’s security dilemma and desire for revenge,[4] and finally, Soviet Russia’s but also Germany’s mutual aim to break out of their pariah status are of great importance for the understanding of Germany’s foreign policy making in the early years of the Weimar Republic.

If one asks who was most responsible on the German side for making Rapallo possible, then the answer must surely be Adolf Georg Freiherr von Maltzan (Ago von Maltzan) a diplomat of old school Bismarckian Realpolitik. He was head of the Russian department and later the Eastern department of the German foreign office (Auswärtiges Amt) and probably the leading advocate of German-Soviet cooperation among the German foreign policy elite. He possessed smart diplomatic skills, and cunning methods, which, through persuasion and manipulation, produced political outcomes before and at Rapallo. These were crucial for German-Soviet relations in the following years. He is at the heart of this research paper. An analysis of his role and actions are crucial to understand the intensification that took place in German-Soviet diplomatic rapprochement, as well as the decision of the parties to sign the Rapallo Treaty.

Unfortunately, because of Maltzan’s sudden death in 1927 (airplane crash), Maltzan did not leave behind any memoirs. Neither is there any biography written on him. Most of the sources available are his own notes and documents left at the Politisches Archiv of the Auswärtiges Amt, which give a detailed account of his work in the Russian and Eastern department. In order to write about Maltzan, one has to patch up single remarks of his contemporaries, who were in close contact with him, or try to piece up available documents of the Auswärtiges Amt in a chronological order to be able to create a picture of his work.

This paper does not aim to write a biography of Maltzan, nor does it claim to give a detailed account of his everyday business at the Auswärtiges Amt. What brought these two countries with such contradictory political, economical, and societal systems together? Who was responsible in the German foreign policy elite, and what exactly was the role of Ago von Maltzan? Does agency belong to him alone? The sources at hand are just too scarce. This article rather tries to analyze German-Soviet relations from 1920 to 1922 and highlight Maltzan’s role and involvement in the process of this relationship. Maltzan as a diplomat at the headquarters of the Auswärtiges Amt was not always present in the public. He rather worked behind his desk or led backdoor negotiations with other diplomatic personnel. This paper will analyze German foreign policy towards Soviet Russia in the context of post-war European politics. It gives an analysis and interpretation of Maltzan’s thoughts and ideas in analogy to political and diplomatic circumstances that occurred before and up to the Treaty of Rapallo. For the understanding of Maltzan, the history of German-Soviet relations is as important as the events that occurred at Rapallo.

I. Historiography of Weimar Foreign Policy, German-Soviet Relations and the Treaty of Rapallo, 1918-1922

In 1958, Ludwig Zimmermann published the first comprehensive work on Weimar foreign policy. It remained so for the next thirty years. Zimmermann’s thesis is that the problems of Weimar foreign policy were driven by the rigid and unbending policies of the Allied powers, conducted through the regulations of the Versailles Peace Treaty and the reparations issue.[5] In this way, Germany was left with no other choice than to seek gradual rapprochement and accommodation with the Soviet Republic at Rapallo.[6]

Horst Günther Linke describes German-Soviet relations from 1917 on as a step by step rapprochement – with occasional setbacks - toward mutual diplomatic recognition. His emphasis lies on the early economic relations of both countries that contributed immensely to the beginning of their cooperation. Lessening the length of Versailles’ shadow was the overall guiding principle of German foreign policy, he argues.[7]

Peter Krüger published a new comprehensive book on Weimar foreign policy that considered the contemporary scholarly works. It is a synthetic study, unmatched until today. He shows how in post war Germany a specific “republican foreign policy”[8] evolved and took place, which distinguished itself from its Whilhelmine past. Its basic principles were the peaceful mediation of international differences, a liberal foreign trade policy, and a new style of diplomacy designed to give other nations confidence in Germany's reliability and credibility. He clearly explains the importance of economic factors as the guiding theme of Weimar foreign policy in the early years and its orientation toward the West.[9] In this light, Rapallo is seen as a means of extending the new Republic's freedom to maneuver rather than as a crude attempt to put pressure on Britain and France.[10] Krüger is probably the only scholar who has developed the role of Ago von Maltzan so extensively. He fully agrees with other scholars on Maltzan’s role as the leading hand behind Russo-German rapprochement.[11]

One of the most recent studies on Weimar foreign policy remains written by Klaus Hildebrand in his monumental synthetic work on German foreign policy, with considerable chapters on the Weimar era. His thesis for the Weimar period is summarized under the subtitle “struggle for revisionism”. Hildebrand argues that by pursuing Ostpolitik, German foreign policy elites aimed to improve their defensive lines against French “super-Versailles”, thereby attempting to prepare for a future offensive line toward the Entente powers.[12] He also refers to the prehistory of German-Soviet relations that evolved out of the Polish-Soviet War (1920), along with early economic and military exchanges. He argues further that German foreign policy actions have to be regarded within the framework of the European Staatenwelt.[13] The road to Rapallo and German-Soviet cooperation is also to be understood in this context. One overarching reason for signing of Rapallo was that both the Germans and the Soviets feared a unilateral step by the other side to join the Western powers, causing ultimately the other to stay behind.[14] It was Hildebrand who invented the notation of Maltzan as the architect of Rapallo.[15]

Constitutive works also exist on the Genoa conference, and the Rapallo treaty. Three of the early outstanding works on the Treaty of Rapallo are written by Herbert Helbig in Die Träger der Rapallo-Politik,[16] and Theodor Schieder in Die Enstehung des Rapallo-Vertrages, and Die Probleme des Rapallo-Vertrages.[17] Both authors examine in detail the diplomatic background negotiations that led to Rapallo. Here, back stage diplomats from the Auswärtiges Amt such as Ago von Maltzan, Harry Kessler, Gustav Hilger, and Moritz Schlesinger appear in light of the negotiations. Their arguments demonstrate who truly was responsible for the outcome. They also show the internal conflicts and disagreements among the German delegation. Both authors argue that Joseph Wirth, the chancellor at that time, and Ago von Maltzan were the main contributors to Rapallo.[18]

Carole Fink has written a pioneering work on the Genoa conference.[19] Ernst Laubach wrote another one on the tenure of the Wirth administration.[20] Both works cover the same period of concern to this article, however, neither of them has an explicit thesis on Rapallo. Both authors’ arguments overlap with existing historiography, but they give a comprehensive account of the chain of events in their respective studies. Fink’s book shows the policy of the great powers at the Conference of Genoa. She incorporates the smaller nations as well. Thereby she highlights broadly the complexities of the diplomatic gathering, which was more or less predetermined to fail, due to American’s absence, France’s refusal to cooperate, and Germany’s sudden leap forward out of fear to be left behind, and Russian gamesmanship.[21] Although it is a comprehensive book on Genoa, Fink’s work lacks deeper insights to single issues and a clear judgment on historical changes like Rapallo.[22] Laubach’s work is a study on the foreign policy of the Wirth administration (1921/22). He gives a detailed account of the Wirth cabinet’s policy at Genoa and Rapallo, where the ambiguity of its “fulfillment policy” towards the Allied powers, and the differences within the cabinet and the foreign policy apparatus are unsheathed.[23]

Many more studies have been published in book or article form dealing explicitly with the reform of the Auswärtiges Amt, and the composition of its diplomatic corps. Thereby, the authors investigate the role of old school diplomats versus new outsiders from the business world, or political parties, and how they affected foreign policy making.[24] Many more studies have been done on the German military and its Chief of the General Staff, Hans von Seeckt.[25] The questions asked, and the issues dealt with, mostly concern the secret cooperation between the German and the Soviet military, and the German military’s influence on, and meddling with Weimar foreign policy.[26] In further studies, Poland takes a special role in early Weimar history. Especially the beginning of the Polish-Soviet War (1920) is mainly considered as the spark that initiated German-Soviet military relations.[27]

In addition, there are a number of contemporary memoirs from German diplomats and officers active in constructing German-Soviet relations. They give an insight to the mutual relationship and especially on the role of Ago von Maltzan. One of the important ones, are Moritz Schlesinger memoirs.[28] He was an “outsider” in the German Foreign Service but he was an essential figure for the initialization and the process of normalization in German-Soviet relation from 1920 to 1922. In his function as a commissary for POWs he was in close contact with Maltzan and became a companion for him for the next years. The memoirs of Gustav Hilger[29] as the German commissary for POWs in Russia and Wipert von Blücher[30] the secretary of legation at the Eastern department are also indispensable sources for the understanding of early German-Soviet relations and on Maltzan’s role as the chief of the Russian department (“Russische Abteilung”) and later the Eastern division (Ost-Abteilung). Another source are, the diaries of the diplomat Harry Graf Kessler, and his biography of Walther Rathenau.[31] He was in close contact with many of the members of the German delegation at Genoa. Furthermore, Lord D’Abernons[32] three volume diaries are also of great value for detailed informations on the events happening during the 1920s in Germany, seen from the perspective of a British ambassador. He was in close contact with German diplomats and politicians and has written extensively on meetings with – and his opinion on Maltzan. Kessler’s and D’Abernon’s writings were the first and main sources for academic research on Rapallo and Maltzan in the early years. However, the best and the only detailed account of the events at Rapallo are written by Maltzan himself. As a member of the German delegation at Genoa and responsible for negotiations with the Soviets, he has left his records on the last procedures before the signing of the Rapallo-Treaty.[33]

II. From Brest-Litovsk to Berlin, 1918-1922

After four years of war, Germany was finally defeated and had signed an armistice by November 11, 1918. About two months later, the Allied powers had gathered in Paris to negotiate a peace treaty. The outcome was the Versailles Peace Treaty that was signed by Germany on June 28, 1919. Under the terms of the treaty, Germany had to abandon a quarter of its territory in the West to France, and in the East to the newly established state of Poland. It had to demobilize and downsize its military to 100.000 men. According to Art. 231 (War Guilt Clause), Germany had to accept responsibility for the outbreak of the war, which made it accountable for all damages it had caused to the Allied countries. In regard to that point, Germany had to pay reparations.[34] Further, Art. 116.1, 2 of the Versailles Peace Treaty demanded the annulment of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which Germany had imposed on Soviet Russia on March 3, 1918.[35] Germany also had to withdraw its entire military from the newly established countries in the East: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland, and was obliged to recognize and respect their independence. Furthermore, Art. 116.3 said that the Allied powers would reserve all rights of Russia, for compensation and reconstruction that would result from the Peace Treaty. Finally, under Art. 117 Germany had to accept all agreements that were and would be signed between the Allied powers and the newly created states on the territory of the former Russian Empire.[36]

The terms of the Peace Treaty were unacceptable to the German delegation and so they refused to sign it. During the negotiations, the German foreign minister to Versailles, Graf Ulrich Brockdorff-Rantzau,[37] had tried to use the peril of Bolshevism in the East, to present Germany as a bulwark against the menacing “red threat”.[38] Thereby, he intended to create a new relationship between Germany and the Western powers in order to lessen the hard conditions of the Peace Treaty.[39] In this regard, the Germans tried to avoid any relations with the Bolsheviks.[40] However, the Allied powers did not believe in an immediate threat from the Bolsheviks and declined any courtesy towards Germany.

At some point during 1919, however, the Allied powers were thinking about using German division in the East to engage them against Bolshevik troops, while they themselves were fighting with their interventionist armies on Russian soil. They also wanted Germany to join the trade embargo against Russia.[41] But here, Germans attitudes had changed and they refused to cooperate because it did not seem to be opportune to them, to fight a regime near the German border that would probably succeed in the power struggle over Russia.[42] The Germans also withdrew from the idea to threaten the West by going with the Russians. Germany was too dependent on good relations with the Allies in order to modify and lessen the conditions of the Peace Treaty. German foreign policy towards Soviet Russia asked for caution and a wait-and-see position. Meanwhile, Germany would take a neutral position and deal pragmatically with any Russian side, whenever the circumstances required it.[43] After Versailles, German foreign policy had one overriding goal, which was the revision of the Peace Treaty. During the 1920s, all German foreign policy efforts were concentrated on the modification of the terms of the Peace Treaty and the abolition of reparations that Germany had to pay.[44] In order to achieve this goal, two different policies competed with each other.

On the one hand, the majority of the political elite pursued a policy of accommodation and cooperation with the Western powers, especially with England. England was seen as “neutral” and more understanding towards Germany. It was also a counterweight against French demands in regard to the fulfillment of the peace conditions. One of the exponents of such a policy was Walther Rathenau, the industrialist and later foreign minister of the Weimar Republic.[45] On the other hand, there was a group of very influential politicians, military, and diplomats that favored a policy of strength. They did not believe in the Allies’ openness to compromise. Most of them favored cooperation with Soviet Russia, regardless of its political physiognomy. To this influential group belonged Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau, a long serving diplomat and distinguished politician, foreign minister at the Paris Peace Conference 1919, and after Rapallo 1922, German ambassador to Moscow until 1928; the second person was Hans von Seeckt, who was Chief of the General Staff, responsible for the reform of the Reichswehr and at the same time an advocate of the Machtstaat; finally, the diplomat Ago Freiherr von Maltzan, who should become one of the most influential diplomats of Weimar Germany, and the undisputed master of German-Soviet relations from 1920-1925.[46]

All three believed in foreign policy being based on attributes of power and interest, balance of power and alliances. However, they were not blind to the new conditions that German foreign policy faced after the war. Germany did not have its mighty military at its disposal anymore but could take advantage of its still remaining economic power. The Primat der Außenpolitik had undergone a transformation into a Primat der Außenwirtschaftspolitik. A new republican foreign policy was evolving, which tried to achieve political goals by diplomatic negotiations towards compromise and economic cooperation of mutual benefit.[47] Therefore the whole foreign policy apparatus was reformed and adjusted to the new needs.[48]

Between 1918 and 1920, German-Soviet relations were ambivalent and chaotic. After Germany had defeated the Russian forces and had imposed its will on the new rulers by the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, it had also established diplomatic relations with the Bolsheviks. From March 1918 to November 1918, both countries had exchanged ambassadors. Meanwhile, the Germans were fighting the Western Allied powers and the Soviets were struggling to survive in a civil war (1918-1922). However, when Germany was defeated in World War I, the Soviets denounced the treaty of Brest-Litovsk but still enjoyed diplomatic relations with the Germans. At the same time in Germany, Communist uprisings sprang up, agitated and supported by the Communist International (Comintern) and the Soviet representative on the ground Adolf Joffe. When the German ambassador to Russia, Wilhelm von Mirbach-Harff was assassinated in July 1918, and Communist rebellions were still going on with the involvement of the Soviet embassy, the Auswärtiges Amt decided to break off diplomatic relations with Moscow (05.11.1918).[49] Nevertheless, Communist riots were still active up to the early 1920 and throughout Weimar history.

From 1919 to 1920, the fate of the Bolshevik regime was still undecided. During the civil war, Great Britain, France, the United States, and Japan had sent interventionist forces to support the White Russian armies against the Bolsheviks. The erstwhile World War I Allies had become enemies. However, the latter were able to defeat their enemies one after another. The Bolsheviks had made a victorious revolution, they had survived the civil war, and now they were going to consolidate their stance on power, in order to construct their utopian socialist state. After four years of war and two years of civil war, the overwhelming part of the economy was devastated. The Soviets were looking for diplomatic recognition and they were eager to establish trade and economic relations with other states to start rebuilding their war-damaged country. However, all Western countries, Germany included, declined any kind of official relations or economic cooperation. The Bolsheviks had nationalized the entire economy and had thereby “stolen” billions in foreign property and investments. They also refused to pay back Russia’s war-time Allied debts to Great Britain, France, and the United States.

Germany was also looking for a partner in the West to support it against French arbitrariness and suppression. But the United States[50] were unwilling to intervene on Germany’s behalf, after it had caused the World War, and the British were occupied with their own economic problems.[51] France did everything in its powers to make sure that Germany would abide by the regulations of the Peace Treaty and the reparations that it had to pay.[52] Germany as well as Soviet Russia were isolated on the international arena. Germany, because it had caused a devastating war, and was only reluctantly fulfilling the peace conditions; Russia, because it was a socialist state with a revolutionary agenda that aimed to overthrow all Capitalist states. Whereas the Russians tried to approach Germany many times, the Germans were reluctant, and aimed instead to establish good relations with the West first and not to antagonize them by an early recognition of the Bolsheviks. It owed much to circumstances and foresight of some individuals on the German side that relations began to develop. In that sense, the year 1920 were crucial, because advocates of German-Soviet cooperation entered their predetermined positions within the political and military institutions of the Weimar Republic. After the annulment of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk in late 1918, German-Soviet relations remained in a state of no contract (“vertragsloser Zustand”)[53], but the internal economic and external political constraints that followed, slowly but surely brought the two sides closer to each other.[54]

1. The Early Contacts - POWs and Informal Relations

After Germany’s defeat in World War I, and the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the Allied powers demanded that German troops in the East withdraw from the Baltic region immediately. Already during the war, the German government (Reichsregierung) as well as the Auswärtiges Amt had a diverging agenda from that of the Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL). The OHL had promised German troops land in the Baltic region, and now they were rebelling and refusing to go back home empty-handed. The so called Freikorps (paramilitary units), led by some hard-headed Generals like General von der Goetz, had no ambition to withdraw from the occupied territories, especially not in regard to the newly emerging Bolshevik threat in the East.[55] The Allies threatened with intervention if Germany did not abide. Disarmament became a dangerous matter in early German-Allied as well as German-Soviet relations.


[1] See Peter Krüger, Die Aussenpolitik der Weimarer Republik (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft: Darmstadt, 1985), p. 1-6; Gottfried Niedhart, Die Aussenpolitik der Weimarer Republik (Enzyklopädie Deutscher Geschichte, Band 53, Oldenbourg Verlag: München, 1999), 1-2.

[2] Ibid, 7.

[3] See Fritz T. Epstein, Aussenpolitik in Revolution und Bürgerkrieg, 1917-1920. In: Dietrich Geyer (ed.), Sowjetunion. Außenpolitik 1917-1955 (Osteuropa-Handbuch, Böhlau Verlag, Köln, Wien, 1972), 124-130 and see also Dietrich Geyer, Voraussetzungen sowjetischer Aussenpolitik in der Zwischenkriegszeit. In: Dietrich Geyer (ed.), Sowjetunion. Außenpolitik 1917-1955 (Osteuropa-Handbuch, Böhlau Verlag, Köln, Wien, 1972), 19-50.

[4] See Peter Krüger, Die Aussenpolitik, 91.

[5] See Ludwig Zimmermann, Deutsche Aussenpolitik in der Ära der Weimarer Republik (Musterschmidt Verlag: Göttingen, Berlin, Frankfurt, 1958), 65-74.

[6] Ibid, 117-122.

[7] See Horst Günther Linke, Deutsch-sowjetische Beziehungen bis Rapallo (Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik: Köln, 1972), 9, 98-105.

[8] See Peter Krüger, Die Aussenpolitik, 9-13, 17-30.

[9] Ibid, 17-30.

[10] Ibid, 173-183.

[11] See Peter Krüger, A Rainy Day, April 16, 1922: The Rapallo Treaty and the Cloudy Perspective for German Foreign Policy. In: Carole Fink, Axel Frohn, Jürgen Heideking (ed.), Genoa, Rapallo, and European Reconstruction in 1922 (German Historical Institute, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Port Chester, Melbourne, Sidney, 1991), 51-52, 59.

[12] See Klaus Hildebrand, Das Vergangene Reich. Deutsche Außenpolitik von Bismarck bis Hitler 1981-1945 (Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt: Stuttgart, 1995), 422.

[13] “Über weite Strecken der nationalen Geschichte und der internationalen Entwicklung trieben seine [Deutschlands] Staatsmänner Weltpolitik und fielen ihr gleichzeitig zum Opfer; sie traten mit herausfordernder Gebärde als die Herren des großen Spiels auf und waren oftmals nichts anderes als seine eigenbetörten Knechte; sie gingen hochmutig mit dem Schicksal um und verloren sich hilflos in seinen Fängen. Das beschreibt historische Ambivalenzen, die vor allem im Zusammenhang der Staatengeschichte nicht selten anzutreffen sind. Kaum eine große Macht verfügt über soviel Kraft und unbestrittenen Einfluß, dass ihr alles Relevante gleichermaßen zu bestimmen verfügbar ist.” Ibid, 892.

[14] Ibid, 425.

[15] Ibid, 427.

[16] Herbert Helbig, Die Träger der Rapallo-Politik (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen, 1958)

[17] Theodor Schieder, Die Probleme des Rapallo-Vertrages. Eine Studie über die deutsch-russischen Beziehungen 1922-1926 (Westdeutscher Verlag: Köln, Opladen, 1956) and Theodor Schieder, Die Entstehungsgeschichte des Rapallo-Vertrages, Historische Zeitschrift, 204, 3 (June, 1967): 545-609.

[18] See Herbert Helbig, 54-101; Theodor Schieder , Die Probleme des Rapallo Vertrages, 33-42; Theodor Schieder, Die Entstehung des Rapallo-Vertrages, 551-552, 559, 571-574, 581-584, 600.

[19] Carole Fink, The Genoa Conference. European Diplomacy, 1921-1922 (The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, London, 1984)

[20] Ernst Laubach, Die Politik der Kabinette Wirth 1921/1922 (Mathiesen Verlag: Lübeck, Hamburg, 1968)

[21] See Carole Fink, The Genoa Conference, 303-307.

[22] Ibid, 126-133, 162-176.

[23] Ernst Laubach, Die Politik der Kabinette Wirth, 172-223.

[24] See, Kurt Doß, Das deutsche Auswärtige Amt im Übergang vom Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik. Die Schülersche Reform (Droste Verlag: Düsseldorf, 1977); Ingmar Sütterlin, Die „Russische Abteilung“ des Auswärtigen Amtes in der Weimarer Republik (Dunker & Humboldt: Berlin, 1994); Hajo Holborn, “Diplomats and Diplomacy in the Early Weimar Republic.” In: Gordon A. Craig and Felix Gilbert (ed.), The Diplomats, 1919-1939 (Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, 1994); Kurt Doß, „ Vom Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik. Das deutsche diplomatische Korps in einer Epoche des Umbruchs. “ and Peter Krüger, „ Struktur, Organisation und außenpolitische Wirkungsmöglichkeiten der leitenden Beamten des Auswärtigen Dienstes 1921-1933. “ and John Röhl, „ Schlussbericht: Glanz und Ohnmacht des deutschen diplomatischen Dienstes 1871-1945.“ In: Klaus Schwabe (ed.), Das diplomatische Korps 1871-1945 (Deutsche Führungsschichten in der Neuzeit, Band 16, Harald Boldt Verlag: Boppard am Rhein, 1985); Peter Krüger, „ Die deutschen Diplomaten in der Zeit zwischen den Weltkriegen.“ and Peter Grupp, „ Harry Graf Kessler und das Auswärtige Amt. Funktionselite und elitärer Außenseiter.“ In: Rainer Hudemann, Georges-Henri Soutou (ed.), Eliten in Deutschland und Frankreich im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Strukturen und Beziehungen, Band 1 (Oldenbourg Verlag: München, 1994)

[25] See F. L. Carsten, The Reichswehr and Politics, 1918 to 1933 (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1966); Gordon A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640-1945 (Oxford University Press: New York, Oxford, 1956); John Wheeler-Bennet, The Nemesis of Power. The German Army in Politics, 1918-1945 (Palgrave/Macmillan Press: Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, 2005)

[26] See Hans W. Gatzke, Russo-German Military Collaboration during the Weimar Republic, The American Historical Review, 63, 3 (April, 1958): 565-587; Sergej Gorlow, Elena Ilina, Jürgen Zarusky, Geheimsache Moskau – Berlin. Die militärpolitische Zusammenarbeit zwischen der Sowjetunion und dem Deutschen Reich 1920-1933, Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 44, 1 (Jan., 1996): 133-165; George W. F. Hallgarten, General von Seeckt and Russia, 1920-1922, The Journal of Modern History, 21, 1 (March, 1949): 28-34; Gordon H. Müller, Rapallo Reexamined: A New Look at Germany’s Secret Military Collaboration with Russia in 1922, Military Affairs, 40, 3 (Oct., 1976): 109-117; Arthur L. Smith Jr., General von Seeckt and the Weimar Republic, The Review of Politics, 20, 3 (June, 1958): 347-357; Helm Speidel, Reichwehr und Rote Armee, Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 1, 1 (June, 1953): 9-45

Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, Großindustrie und Rapallopolitik. Deutsch-sowjetische Handelsbeziehungen in der Weimarer Republik, Historische Zeitschrift, 222, 2 (April, 1976): 265-341

[27] See Volkmar Kellermann, Schwarzer Adler, Weißer Adler. Die Polenpolitik der Weimarer Republik (Markus Verlag: Köln, 1970); Joseph Korbel, Poland Between East and West. Soviet and German Diplomacy Toward Poland, 1919-1933 (Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, 1963); Harald von Rieckhof, German-Polish Relations, 1918-1933 (John Hopkings Press: Baltimore, London, 1971)

[28] See also Schlesinger’s Memoires in, Hubert Schneider (ed.), Moritz Schlesinger, Erinnerungen eines Außenseiters im diplomatischen Dienst (Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik: Köln, 1977)

[29] Gustav Hilger, Alfred G. Meyer, The Incompatible Allies. A Memoir-History of German-Soviet Relations, 1918-1941 (The Macmillan Company: New York, 1953)

[30] Wipert von Blücher, Deutschlands Weg nach Rapallo. Erinnerungen eines Mannes aus dem zweiten Gliede (Limes Verlag: Wiesbaden, 1951)

[31] Wolfgang Pfeiffer-Belli (ed.), Graf Harry Kessler, Tagebücher 1918-1937 (Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1961) and Harry Graf Kessler, Walther Rathenau. Sein Leben und sein Werk (Rheinische Verlagsanstalt: Wiesbaden, 1962

[32] Viscount D’Abernon, An Ambassador of Peace. Lord D’Abernon’s Diary, Vol. I, From Spa to Rapallo, 1920-1922, Vol. II, The Years of Crisis, June 1922-December 1923, Vol. III, The Years of Recovery, January 1924-October 1926 (Hodder and Soughton: Limited, London, 1929-1930)

[33] See Ernst Laubach, Maltzans Aufzeichnungen über die letzen Vorgänge vor dem Abschluss des Rapallo-Vertrages, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 22, 4 (1975): 556-579 and ADAP, A, VI, Nr. 59, 17.04.1922, 122-130.

[34] See Eberhard Kolb, Die Weimarer Republik, 6., überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage (R. Oldenbourg Verlag: München, 2002), 23-35 and Gottfried Niedhart, Die Aussenpolitik, 8-10.

[35] For the contents of the treaty see Horst Günther Linke (ed.), Quellen zu den Deutsch-Sowjetische Beziehungen 1917-1945 (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft: Darmstadt, 1998), 53-56.

[36] See ADAP, A, III, Nr. 16, 23.01.1920, 35-37.

[37] Brockdorff-Rantzau descended from an old German gentry’s family. He had entered the German diplomatic corps by mid 1894 and had served from 1897-1912 in St. Petersburg, Vienna, Budapest. From 1912 and during the war, he served in Copenhagen. See Christiane Scheidemann, Ulrich Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau (1869-1928). Eine politische Biographie, in Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe III, Geschichte und ihre Hilfswissenschaften Bd. 788 (Peter Lang: Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Paris, Wien, 1998), 63-333.

[38] “[Es] muss versucht werden, die Feinde davon zu überzeugen, daß der wirtschaftliche Zusammenbruch und politische Ohnmacht Deutschlands ihrem eigenen Interesse zuwiderlaufen, und dass wir in Wahrheit gemeinsame Interessen haben. Das Mittel hierfür ist der Hinweis auf die Gefahr des Bolschewismus. … Vor allem bedürfen aber die Westmächte einer mitteleuropäischen Macht die imstande ist, den Bolschewismus von Westeuropa fernzuhalten. Würden sich die Westmächte begnügen, die Front gegen den Bolschewismus am Rhein aufzubauen, so würde er den Schützengräben bald überspringen und in die Länder der Entente eindringen. Diese Länder sind weit besser geschützt, wenn die Front gegen den Bolschewismus an der Weichsel und der Memel aufgebaut wird. Bestehen in Deutschland geordnete Zustände, so leistet der Charakter des deutschen Volkes Gewähr dafür, dass der Zündstoff der extremen bolschewistischen Theorie und Praxis nicht auf den Westen überspringt” See ADAP, A, II, Nr. 116, 21.01.1919, 204-207.

[39] “Zur Sache verbleibe ich bei meiner Erklärung vom 23. April: Aufnahme offizieller Verhandlungen mit Sowjetregierung ist vor Klärung der Lage hier gefährlich und zu unterlassen; Vereinbarung von Waffenruhe ist erwünscht, muß aber den führenden Militärs überlassen werden. … Amtliche Anknüpfung mit Rußland ist in dem Moment geboten, wo die Forderung der Entente eine Verständigung unmöglich erscheinen lassen.” Brockdorff-Rantzau from Versailles to AA, ADAP, A, I, Nr. 249, 03.05.1919, 473-474 and Christiane Scheidemann, Ulrich Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau, 533-549 and Peter Krüger, Die Aussenpolitik, 54.

[40] See Peter Krüger, Die Aussenpolitik, 53.

[41] See Günter Rosenfeld, Sowjetrussland und Deutschland 1917-1922 (Akademie Verlag: Berlin, 1960), 164-175.

[42] On the role of Russia in German foreign policy during the first months of 1919 see Horst Günther Linke, Deutsch-sowjetische Beziehungen, 36-57.

[43] „Neuerdings sind zwei neue Anregungen aufgetaucht: Einmal der Gedanke uns mit der Entente wegen eines gemeinsamen Vorgehens gegen die Bolschewiken zu einigen, sodann der, uns mit den Bolschewiken zu verständigen und auf diese Weise einen Druck auf die Entente wegen Herbeiführung eines billigen Friedens herbeizuführen. Ich halte das erste für aussichtslos und das zweite für gefährlich.“ Nadolny’s secret notes, ADAP, A, I, Nr. 89, 29.12.1918, 141-142

[44] See Gerd Meyer, „Die Reparationspolitik: Ihre außen- und innenpolitischen Rückwirkungen.“ In: Karl Dietrich Bracher, Manfred Funke, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen (ed.), Die Weimarer Republik 1918-1933. Politik, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft (Bonner Schriften zur Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Band 22, Droste Verlag: Düsseldorf, 1987)

[45] See Lothar Gall, Walther Rathenau, 220-248 and David Felix, Walther Rathenau, 175-190.

[46] On Seeckt see Hans Meier-Welcker, Seeckt (Bernard & Graefe Verlag für Wehrwesen: Frankfurt am Main, 1967), 524-558 and F. L. Carsten, The Reichswehr and Politics, 103-114, 135-147. On Brockdorff-Rantzau see Christiane Scheidemann, Ulrich Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau, 428-447, 549-712 and Herbert Hilbig, Die Träger der Rapallopolitik, 102-148. On Maltzan see Klaus Hildebrand, Das Vergangene Reich, 429.

[47] See Peter Krüger, Die Aussenpolitik, 13-16, 23-30, 80-84 and Gottfried Niedhart, Die Aussenpolitik, 2, 46-49.

[48] See Kurt Doß, „ Vom Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik. Das deutsche diplomatische Korps in einer Epoche des Umbruchs. “, 81-100. Peter Krüger, „ Struktur, Organisation und außenpolitische Wirkungsmöglichkeiten der leitenden Beamten des Auswärtigen Dienstes 1921-1933. “, 101-169. Peter Krüger, „ Die deutschen Diplomaten in der Zeit zwischen den Weltkriegen.“, 281-291.

[49] See Horst Günther Linke, Die Deutsch-sowjetischen Beziehungen, 19.

[50] On the United States and Weimar Germany see Karl-Ludwig Holtfrerich, „ Amerikanischer Kapitalexport und Wiederaufbau der deutschen Wirtschaft 1919-1923 im Vergleich zu 1924-1929“, 131-157 and Werner Link, „ Die Beziehungen zwischen der Weimarer Republik und den USA“. In, Michael Stürmer (ed.), Die Weimarer Republik. Belagerte Civitas (Verlagsgruppe Athenäum, Hain, Scriptor, Hanstein: 1980), 62-92.

[51] On British relations to Weimar Germany see Gottfried Niedhart, „ Multipolares Gleichgewicht und wirtschaftliche Verflechtung: Deutschland in der britischen Appeasement-Politik 1919-1933“. In, Michael Stürmer (ed.), Die Weimarer Republik. Belagerte Civitas (Verlagsgruppe Athenäum, Hain, Scriptor, Hanstein: 1980), 113-130 and Andrew Williams, “The Genoa Conference of 1922: Lloyd George and the Politics of Recognition.” In: Carole Fink, Axel Frohn, Jürgen Heideking (ed.), Genoa , Rapallo, and European Reconstruction in 1922 (German Historical Institute, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Port Chester, Melbourne, Sidney, 1991), 29-47.

[52] On France’s policy towards Weimar Germany see Stephen A. Schuker, “American Policy towards Debts and Reconstruction at Genoa, 1922.” In: Carole Fink, Axel Frohn, Jürgen Heideking (ed.), Genoa , Rapallo, and European Reconstruction in 1922 (German Historical Institute, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Port Chester, Melbourne, Sidney, 1991), 93-112.

[53] See Friedrich Gaus, official advocate of the Auswärtiges Amt on the interpretation of Art. 116 of the Versailles Treaty to Maltzan in, ADAP, A, III, Nr. 16, 23.01.1920, 36 and ADAP, A, V, Nr. 225, 22.12.1921, 451-454.

[54] See Theodor Schieder, Die Probleme des Rapallovertrages, 16.

[55] See John Hiden, The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, London, New York, Melbourne, 1987), 26-35 and Peter Grupp, Deutsche Außenpolitik im Schatten von Versailles 1918-1920. Zur Politik des Auswärtigen Amts vom Ende des Ersten Weltkriegs und der Novemberrevolution bis zum Inkrafttreten des Versailler Vertrages (Ferdinand Schöningh: Paderborn, 1988), 112-137.

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Maltzan - The Architect of Rapallo
Weimar Foreign Policy, German-Soviet Relations, and the Treaty of Rapallo, 1920-22
University of Washington  (Department of History)
Research Seminar in Modern European History
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Maltzan, Architect, Rapallo, Weimar, Foreign, Policy, German-Soviet, Relations, Treaty
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M.A. Pouyan Shekarloo (Author), 2010, Maltzan - The Architect of Rapallo, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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