None of the incidents or dialogue in The Great Conspiracy has been invented by the authors. The material has been drawn from various documentary sources which are indicated in the text or listed in the Bibliographical Notes.
1. The Ferment of the Aftermath
THE first round of the war against Soviet Russia had ended in something very like a draw. The Soviet Government was in undisputed possession of most of its own territories; but it was ostracized by the other nations, bound in by a cordon sanitaire of hostile puppet states, and cut off from normal political and commercial intercourse with the rest of the world. Officially, the Soviet one sixth of the earth did not exist - it was "not recognized."
At home, the Soviet Government was confronted with an economic wilderness of smashed factories, flooded mines, ruined agriculture, wrecked transport, disease, famine, and almost universal illiteracy. To the bankrupt heritage of the feudal Czarist regime had been added the debris of seven years of ceaseless war, revolution, counterrevolution and foreign invasion.
The world outside the Soviet borders was still searching for peace, and not finding it. The English statesman, Bonar Law, relating the conditions of the world four years after the signing of the Versailles Peace, told the House of Commons that no less than twenty-three wars were still being waged in different parts of the world. Japan had occupied regions of China and brutally suppressed the Korean independence movement; British troops were putting down popular rebellions in Ireland, Afghanistan, Egypt and India; the French were engaged in open warfare with the Druse tribes in Syria, who, to French chagrin, were armed with machine guns from the British factories of Metro-Vickers; the German General Staff, operating behind the facade of the Weimar Republic, was conspiring to wipe out democratic German elements and to resurrect Imperialist Germany.
Every country in Europe seethed with feverish plots and counter-plots of fascists, nationalists, militarists and monarchists, all promoting their own ends under the general mask of "Anti-Bolshevism."
A secret memorandum, drafted in those early postwar years by the British Foreign Office, described the state of Europe in these words: -
Europe today is divided into three main elements, namely, the victors, the vanquished, and Russia. The feeling of uncertainty which is sapping the health of Western Europe is caused to no small extent by the disappearance of Russia as a power, accountable in the European concert. The most menacing of our uncertainties.
All our late enemies continue, full of resentment at what they have lost; all our late Allies are fearful of losing what they have won. One half of Europe is dangerously angry, the other half is dangerously afraid. Fear begets provocation, armaments, secret alliances, ill-treatment of minorities. These in turn beget a greater hatred, and stimulate a desire for revenge, whereby fear is intensified and its consequences are enhanced. The vicious circle is thus established.
Although Germany is at present quite incapable of undertaking aggressive action, it is certain that with great military chemical potentialities she will sooner or later again become a powerful military factor. There are but few Germans who seriously hope to exert this strength, when reacquired, against the British Empire.
While the British Foreign Office was complacently contemplating the rearmament of Germany and devoting its attention to Russia as the "most menacing of our uncertainties," across the Atlantic, amid the hysteria and confusion of the post-Wilsonian era, the United States was dreaming of "glorious isolation." The great American illusion of the time was summed up in the phrase "a return to normalcy." According to Walter Lippmann, then writing for the New York World, "normalcy" consisted of the following beliefs: -
That the fate of America is in no important way connected with the fate of Europe.
That Europe should stew in its own juice. . . .
That we can sell to Europe, without buying from Europe. . . . and that if Europe doesn't like she can lump it, but she had better not.
Walter Lippmann concluded: -
Out of the fears and in the midst of this disorder a kind of hysteria has been generated. It has evoked armies, crazy tariffs, wildcat diplomacy, every variety of morbid nationalism Fascisti and Ku-Kluxers. . . .
In spite of the unrest, war weariness and economic anarchy still prevailing in Europe, new plans for the military invasion of Soviet Russia continued to be drawn up and assiduously studied by the General Staffs of Poland, Finland, Rumania, Yugoslavia, France, England, and Germany.
The frantic anti-Soviet propaganda went on.
Four years after the great war that was to end all wars, all the elements existed for the making of a second world war to be launched against world democracy under the slogan of "anti-Bolshevism."
2. White Russian Exodus
With the debacle of the White armies of Kolchak, Yudenitch, Denikin, Wrangel and Semyonov, the immense archaic structure of Czarism had undergone its final collapse, scattering far and wide the turbid elements of savagery, barbarism and reaction which it had so long sheltered. The ruthless adventurers, the decadent aristocrats, the professional terrorists, the bandit soldiery, the dreaded secret police and all the other feudal and antidemocratic forces that had constituted the White Counterrevolution now spilled out of Russia like a muddy, turbulent stream. Westward, eastward and southward, through Europe and the Far East, into North and South America, it flowed, bringing with it the sadism of the White Guard generals, the pogromist doctrines of the Black Hundreds, the fierce contempt of Czarism for democracy, the dark hatreds, prejudices and neuroses of old Imperial Russia.
The Protocols of Zion, the anti-Semitic forgeries by which the Ochrana had incited massacres of the Jews and the bible by which the Black Hundreds explained all the ills of the world in terms of an "international Jewish plot," were now circulated publicly in London and New York, Paris and Buenos Aires, Shanghai and Madrid.
Wherever the White émigrés went, they fertilized the soil for the World Counterrevolution - Fascism.
By 1923 there were half a million White Russians living in Germany. More than 400,000 had migrated to France, and 90,000 to Poland. Other tens of thousands had settled in the Baltic and Balkan States, in China and Japan, in Canada, the United States and South America. Three thousand White Russian officers and their families had settled in New York City alone.
The total number of Russian émigré was estimated at between one and a half and two million. (1)
Under the supervision of a Russian Military Union, which had its headquarters in Paris, armed units of White Russians were established throughout Europe, the Far East, and America. They openly announced they were preparing for a new invasion of Soviet Russia.
The French Government founded a naval training school for White Russians at the North African port of Bizerte, where thirty ships from the Czarist fleet had been dispatched with crews of 6000 officers and men. The Yugoslavian Government established special academies for the training of former officers of the Czar's Army and their sons. Large detachments from Baron Wrangel's Army were transferred intact into the Balkans. Eighteen thousand Cossacks and cavalrymen were sent into Yugoslavia. Seventeen thousand White Russian troops went to Bulgaria. Thousands more were stationed in Greece and Hungary. White Guard Russians took over entire branches of the secret police apparatus in the anti-Soviet Baltic and Balkan States, moved into key government posts and assumed control of many of the espionage agencies.
With the assistance of Marshal Pilsudski, the Russian terrorist Boris Savinkov organized a White Army of 30,000 men in Poland. Ataman Semyonov, after being driven from Siberia, fled with the remnants of his armies into Japanese territory. His troops were provided with new uniforms and equipment by Tokyo, and were reorganized into a special White Russian Army under the supervision of the Japanese High Command.
Baron Wrangel, General Denikin and the pogromist Simon Petlura settled in Paris, where they became immediately involved in diverse anti-Soviet plots. Generals Krasnov and the Hetman Skoropadsky, who had collaborated with the Kaiser's army in the Ukraine, went to live in Berlin, and were taken under the wing of the German Military Intelligence.(2)
In 1920 a small group of immensely wealthy Russian émigrés, all of whom had maintained huge investments in France and other foreign countries, came together in Paris and founded an organization which was destined to play a major role in future conspiracies against Soviet Russia. The organization, which was given the name of the Torgprom, or Russian Trade, Financial and Industrial Committee, consisted of former Czarist bankers, industrialists and businessmen. Among its members were G. N. Nobel, who had held a controlling interest in Russia's Baku oil fields; Stepan Lianozov, the Russian "Rockefeller"; Vladimir Riabushinsky, a member of the famous family of Czarist merchants; N. C. Denisov, whose immense fortune had been amassed in the steel industry; and other Russian economic royalists whose names were famous in industrial and financial circles throughout the world.
Associated with these men in the Torgprom were British, French and German interests which had not abandoned hopes of retrieving their lost Russian investments or gaining new concessions as a result of the overthrow of the Soviet regime.
"The Torgprom", stated Denisov, the chairman of the organization, "has made it its aim to fight the Bolsheviks on the economic front in every manner and form." Torgprom members were interested, as Nobel phrased it, "in the early resurrection of the fatherland and in the possibility of soon being able to work in the fatherland."
The Torgprom's anti-Soviet operations were not limited to the economic front. An official statement issued by the Torgprom announced: -
3. A Gentleman from Reval
The Trade and Industrial Committee will continue its unremitting struggle against the Soviet Government, will continue to enlighten the public opinion of cultured countries as to the true significance of the events taking place in Russia and to prepare for the future revolt in the name of freedom and truth.
In June 1921, a group of former Czarist officers, industrialists and aristocrats called an International Anti-Soviet Conference at the Reichenhalle in Bavaria. The conference, which was attended by representatives from anti-Soviet organizations throughout Europe, drew up plans for a world-wide campaign of agitation against Soviet Russia.
A "Supreme Monarchist Council" was elected by the Conference. Its function was to work for "the restoration of the monarchy, headed by the lawful sovereign of the Romanov house, in accordance with the fundamental laws of the Russian Empire."
The infant National Socialist Party of Germany sent a delegate to the Conference. His name was Alfred Rosenberg. . . .
A slender, pale-faced young man with thin lips, dark hair, and a weary, brooding expression, Alfred Rosenberg had begun frequenting the beer halls of Munich in the summer of 1919. He could usually be found at the Augustinerbrau or at the Franziskanerbrau, where he sat alone for hours on end at one of the tables in a corner. Occasionally companions joined him and then, although he greeted them with little warmth, his manner would brighten, and his dark eyes would come to life and gleam in his chalky face as he started talking in a low, passionate voice. He spoke Russian and German with equal fluency.
Rosenberg was the son of a Baltic landowner who had owned a large estate near the Czarist port of Reval. His father claimed descent from the Teutonic Knights who had invaded the Baltic States in the Middle Ages; and young Rosenberg proudly regarded himself as a German. Before the Revolution in Russia, he had studied architecture at the Polytechnikum in Moscow. He had fled from Soviet territory when the Bolsheviks seized power and joined the ranks of the White Guard terrorists fighting under General Count Rüdiger von der Goltz in the Baltic area. In 1919 Rosenberg had turned up in Munich, his mind teeming with the anti-democratic and anti-Semitic doctrines of the Czarist Black Hundreds.
A small group of White Guard émigré and dispossessed Baltic barons began gathering regularly in Munich to hear Rosenberg's intense, venomous tirades against the Communists and the Jews. His audience usually included Prince Avalov-Bermondt, Rasputin's former friend, who had been General von der Goltz's most brutal White Guard commander in the Baltic area; Barons Schneuber-Richter and Arno von Schickedanz, two decadent and ruthless Baltic aristocrats; and Ivan-Poltavetz-Ostranitza, a Ukrainian pogromist, who had been Minister of Communications in the Ukrainian government of the Kaiser's puppet, Hetman Paul Skoropadsky. These men shared Rosenberg's Black Hundred views on the decadence of democracy and the international conspiracy of the Jews.
"At bottom every Jew is a Bolshevik!" was the constant theme of Rosenberg's tirades.
Out of Alfred Rosenberg's dark tortured mind, his pathological hatred for the Jews and frenzied enmity toward the Soviets, there was gradually evolving a world philosophy of counterrevolution, compounded of the fanatical prejudices of Czarist Russia and the imperialistic ambitions of Germany. The salvation of the world from "decadent Jewish democracy and Bolshevism," Rosenberg wrote in The Myth of the Twentieth Century, was to begin "in Germany" with the creation of a new German state. "It is the duty of the founder of the new State," he added, "to form an association of men on the lines of the Teutonic Order."
A race of German supermen was to carry out the task of a world conquest: "The meaning of world history has radiated from the north, borne by a blue-eyed blond race which in several waves determined the spiritual face of the world."
The idea of a holy crusade against Soviet Russia dominated all of Rosenberg's writings. He longed for the apocalyptic day when the mighty armies of the new "Teutonic Order" would pour across the Russian frontiers and smash the hateful Bolsheviks. "From west to east is the direction," he declared, "from the Rhine to the Weichsel, 'from west to east' it must resound, from Moscow to Tomsk."
Germany was passing through its period of bitter postwar crisis, of mass unemployment, of unprecedented inflation and widespread hunger. Behind the democratic facade of the Weimar Republic, which had been established in collusion with the German High Command after the bloody suppression of the German workers' and soldiers' soviets, a cabal of Prussian militarists, Junkers and industrial magnates were furtively planning the rebirth and expansion of Imperial Germany. Unknown to the rest of the world, Germany's future rearmament program was being carefully mapped out by hundreds of engineers, draftsmen and special technicians, working under the supervision of the German High Command, in a secret research and planning laboratory constructed by the firm of Borsig(3) in a forest outside Berlin.
Supposedly, the German Military Intelligence, Section IIIB, had been disbanded at the conclusion of the war. Actually, it had been reorganized with lavish funds supplied by Krupp, Hugenherg and Thyssen and was busily functioning under the supervision of its old anti-Semitic chief, Colonel Walther Nicolai.
The plans for Germany's new war were being elaborately and diligently prepared. . . .
Among the chief financial contributors to the secret campaign for rejuvenating German Imperialism was a suave, energetic industrialist whose name was Arnold Rechberg. A former personal adjutant of the Crown Prince and a close friend of the members of the old Imperial High Command, Rechberg was associated with the great German potash trust. He was one of the chief promoters of the secret German nationalist and anti-Semitic leagues. It was this avocation that drew his attention to Alfred Rosenberg.
Rechberg arranged to meet Rosenberg. Taking an immediate liking to the counterrevolutionary zealot from Reval, Rechberg introduced him to another of his proteges, a thirty-year-old Austrian rabble-rouser and Reichswehr spy named Adolf Hitler.
Rechberg was already providing funds to buy the uniforms and to meet various other expenses of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. Now Rechberg and his wealthy friends purchased an obscure newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, and turned it over to the Nazi movement. The publication became the official organ of the Nazi Party. As its editor, Hitler appointed Alfred Rosenberg. . . .
On New Year's Day, 1921, ten days after the Völkischer Beobachter had become the property of the Nazis, the paper outlined the basic foreign policy of Hitler's Party: -
And when the time comes and the storm is brewing over the eastern marches of Germany, it will be a case of collecting a hundred thousand men who are prepared to sacrifice their lives there. . . . Those who are determined to dare all must be prepared for the attitude of the Western Jews . . . who will raise woeful voices when the Eastern Jews are attacked.
. . . What is certain is that the Russian army will be driven back across its frontiers after a second Tannenberg. That is a purely German affair and the real beginning of our reconstruction.
The editorial was written by Alfred Rosenberg.
Out of the merger of feudal Czarism and the reborn twentieth century German Imperialism, Nazism was taking form. . . .
4. The Hoffmann Plan
Alfred Rosenberg was to supply the political ideology of the German Nazi Party. Another of Rechberg's friends, General Max Hoffmann, was to provide the military strategy.
General Max Hoffmann had spent much of his youth in Russia as an attaché at the Court of the Czar. He had come to speak Russian more fluently than German. In 1905, as a thirty-five-year-old captain newly appointed to General von Schlieffen's staff, he had served as German liaison officer with the First Japanese Army in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Hoffmann never forgot what he saw on the Manchurian plains - a seemingly limitless front, and a compact, perfectly trained attacking force cutting "like a knife through butter" into a far larger defending army that had huge reserves, but was cumbersome and ill-led.
At the start of the First World War, Hoffmann was appointed Chief of Operations of the Eighth German Army stationed in East Prussia to meet the anticipated Russian blow. The strategy which brought about the Czarist debacle at Tannenberg was later credited by military authorities not to Hindenburg or Ludendorff, but to Hoffmann. After Tannenberg, Hoffmann became the commander of the German forces on the Eastern Front. He witnessed the collapse of the Imperial Russian Army. At Brest-Litovsk, he dictated Germany's peace terms to the Soviet delegation.
In two wars, Hoffmann had seen the Russian Army in action, and each time he had witnessed its crushing defeat. The Red Army, in Hoffmann's opinion, was only the old Russian Army "decomposed into a rabble."
In the early spring of 1919, General Max Hoffmann had presented himself at the Paris Peace Conference with his ready-made Plan for a march on Moscow to be headed by the German Army. From Hoffmann's viewpoint his Plan had a double advantage: it would not only "save Europe from Bolshevism"; it would at the same time save the German Imperial Army and prevent its dissolution. A modified forth of Hoffmann's Plan had been endorsed by Marshal Foch.
On November 22, 1919, General Hoffmann declared in an interview with the London Daily Telegraph: "During the past two years I have gradually come to the conclusion that Bolshevism is the greatest danger that has threatened Europe for centuries. . . ." Hoffmann's memoirs, The War o f Lost Opportunities, bewailed the world's failure to march on Moscow according to the original conception of his Plan.
Following a visit to General Hoffmann in Berlin in 1923, the British Ambassador Lord D'Abernon recorded in his diplomatic diary: -
All his opinions are governed by his general conception that nothing can go right in the world until the civilized Powers of the West come together and hang the Soviet Government.
…Asked if he believed in the possibility of any unity between France, Germany and England to attack Russia, he replied: "It is such a necessity, it must come!"
In the postwar years, after the failure of armed intervention against Soviet Russia, Hoffmann brought out a new version of his Plan, and began circulating it, in the form of a confidential Memorandum among the General Staffs of Europe. The Memorandum immediately aroused keen interest in Europe's growing pro-fascist circles. Marshal Foch and his Chief of Staff, Pétain, both of whom were close personal friends of Hoffmann, expressed their warm approval of the revised Plan. Among the other personalities who gave the Plan their endorsement were Franz yon Papen, General Baron Karl yon Mannerheim, Admiral Horthy and the British Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Sir Barry Domvile.
The Hoffmann Plan, in its later versions, gained the backing of a large and powerful section of the German High Command, although it clearly represented a radical departure from the traditional Bismarckian school of German military and political strategy' The new Hoffmann Plan projected a German alliance with France, Italy, England and Poland, based on a common cause against Soviet Russia. Strategically, in the words of a prescient European commentator, Ernst Henri, in his book, Hitler Over Russia, the plan called for
concentration of new armies on the Vistula and the Dvina on the model of Napoleon; lightning march, under German command, on the retreating Bolshevik hordes; occupation of Leningrad and Moscow in the course of a few weeks; final clean-up of the country down to the Urals - and so the salvation of an exhausted civilization through the conquest of half a continent.
The whole of Europe, under German leadership, was to be mobilized and hurled against the Soviet Union.
(1) Not all the refugees were counterrevolutionaries. Thousands of confused and uprooted people, terrified by an elemental upheaval they could not comprehend, had joined the mass exodus. Moving from one country to another, they strove desperately to earn a living in a strange new world. Some became taxicab drivers, waiters, maids, nightclub entertainers, cooks, guides. Many, facing starvation in the cities of western Europe, became beggars. The brothels of Harbin, Shanghai and Peking teemed with White Russian refugees.
(2) The subsequent careers of many of the generals who led the foreign armies of intervention against Soviet Russia are of considerable interest. The Czech generals, Sirovy and Gayda, returned to Prague where the former became Commander-in-Chief of the Czech Army and the latter Chief of Staff. In 1926 General Gayda participated in an abortive fascist coup d'etat and subsequently was involved in other fascist conspiracies. General Sirovy played the role of the key Czech military Quisling in 1938. The British General Knox returned to England to become a Tory member of Parliament, a violent anti-Soviet agitator and a founder of the Friends of Nationalist Spain, an agency which spread Spanish fascist propaganda in England on behalf of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Foch, Petain, Weygand, Mannerheim, Tanaka, Hoffmann and other interventionist generals became leaders in anti-Soviet and fascist movements during the postwar period.
(3) For Borsig's subsidization of subsequent fifth column operations in the Soviet Union, see page 223.
(4) At first General Hans von Seeckt, commander of the German Reichswehr, opposed the Hoffmann Plan. Seeckt dreamed of a war of revenge against the West, in which he hoped to be able to use Russian raw materials and manpower. He believed he could come to terms with the opposition elements in the Red Army and Soviet Government. Later, Seeckt gave his backing to the Hoffmann Plan and became a Nazi.