* Lew’s comments on COVERT GERMAN REARMAMENT 1919-1939
Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 5, 2015
A 1984 CIA research publication presents one of the great deceptions of modern times: the interwar German evasion of the disarmament provisions of the Versailles settlement. With intriguing detail the author shows how the military, political and industrial leaders of Germany cleverly, systematically, and effectively evaded armament restrictions and clandestinely rearmed Germany, transforming it in 20 years from the ashes of World War I to a first-rate military power.
Of particular note is that this rearmament began immediately after the German defeat in WWI, long before Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. Part of Hitler’s appeal to the military and major arms producers was his support for what they were already doing. The book is very well footnoted with a superb bibliography.
This opens up a whole new plot line for my German character in my novel-in-progress.
Here are a few excerpts …
… German rearmament was an extraordinary story of evasion, inspection, espionage and counterespionage
… Allied leaders engaged in self-deception … accepted statements that Germany had disarmed … (and later) that Hitler did not seek war
… from 1920 to 1926 … Germans evaded arms inspections by Inter-Allied Control Commission inspectors … demonstrated that successful arms evasion was possible … indicated a failure of will of the Allies to prevent German rearmament
… a strong Germany was seen by some as a European, Christian, capitalistic shield against a barbaric, atheistic and Bolshevik Russia
… businessmen saw opportunities for profit in German rearmament
… Allied leaders engaged in self-deception … accepted statements that Germany had disarmed … that Hitler did not seek war
… (after WWI) … Krupp’s teams of arms designers, engineers and craftsmen were kept together by moving them outside Germany … to Sweden & Netherlands … Fokker Aircraft Works … relocated to the Netherlands … inventories relocated by train (350 carloads, 220 airplanes, 400 engines) … Fokker operated in Holland to evade Versailles controls
… after the Inter-Allied Control Commission left Germany at the beginning of 1927 … Allies were limited to their small intelligence and espionage services
… by early 1934 the secret German air force was operating 44 units from 42 airfields each unit had a civilian cover name
… (in 1934) … naval architects and craftsmen who had been squirreled away in Dutch shipyards returned to Germany … Germany began producing 1 sub per month as well as great guns for battleships
… Hitler placed an order with Krupp for the first 100 tanks to be delivered by March 1934 … 650 more to follow a year later … by Oct 1935 three Panzer divisions had come into existence
… deception now switched from concealing secret rearmament to concelaing weakness … Goering used Ward Price and the London Daily Mail … which published all the disinformation Goering provided to overstate German military preparedness
… (by assisting Franco in the Spanish Civil War) the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht gained nearly 14,000 combat-experienced pilots, air crewmwn, tank men and antiaircraft crew men in 32 months of battle … tested new weapons systems – Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter, Junkers Ju-87 dive-bomber, 88-mm antitank-antiaircraft gun … also new tactics – air-ground support, carpet bombing (Guernica)
… Munich bluff (1938) … 6 hours before the scheduled invasion of Czeckoslovakia … Hitler panicked Chamberlain and Daladier by threatening further mobilization when in fact he had already fully mobilized … the bloodless victory in Czechoslovakia led Hitler’s generals to shelve their secret plan to oust him by coup