Soviet-German Agreements

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Soviet-German Agreements


Diplomatic relations were established between the USSR and Germany on Apr. 16, 1922, by the Treaty of Rapallo. The treaty had been preceded by a provisional agreement of May 6, 1921, on trade and economic relations; the agreement signified Germany’s de facto recognition of the Soviet government. Although diplomatic relations had been established between the countries on Mar. 3, 1918, by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the German government crudely violated relations by taking part in the military intervention against Soviet Russia. After the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee annulled the Brest-Litovsk Treaty on Nov. 13, 1918.

Germany was the first great capitalist power with which Soviet Russia established diplomatic relations. On May 3, 1924, reactionary German circles staged a provocation against the USSR trade mission in Berlin. In accordance with the protocol on settling the Soviet-German conflict (July 29, 1924), the German government satisfied the demands of the USSR by making apologies, punishing the guilty persons, and guaranteeing the rights of the trade mission.

The treaty of Oct. 12, 1925, consisted of a general part and a series of specific agreements. The agreements concerned population settlement and general legal service, economic relations, railroad service, navigation, taxes, trade arbitration tribunals, and protection of industrial property.

Simultaneously with the treaty of 1925 the countries signed a consular convention and the closely related agreement on rights of inheritance and a convention on legal service. The protocol of Dec. 21, 1928, was concluded pursuant to the treaty. Business relations between the USSR and Germany reached major proportions in the period 1926–32. The treaty on friendship and neutrality signed on Apr. 24, 1926, reaffirmed that the Treaty of Rapallo remained the basis of relations between the parties. A convention on conciliation procedure of Jan. 25, 1929, created conditions for the settlement of disputes. The Soviet government rejected international arbitration (in view of the hostility of the capitalist countries toward the USSR) and insisted on a bilateral procedure.

A protocol signed on June 24, 1931, renewed the 1926 treaty and the 1929 convention, which remained formally in effect until June 22, 1941, the day fascist Germany attacked the USSR. However, after Hitler’s rise to power in Germany (1933), Soviet-German relations deteriorated drastically, and the 1929 convention was not applied. Trade and credit agreements concluded on Apr. 9, 1935, and on Aug. 19, 1939, had some positive effect. In March 1939 the USSR announced that it did not recognize the occupation of Czechoslovakia by fascist Germany.

The Munich Agreement of 1938 and the Munich negotiations of 1939 proved that Great Britain, France, and Poland were unwilling to cooperate with the USSR in curbing the fascist aggressors. The Western powers tried to direct the aggression against the USSR. Faced with the possibility of a war on two fronts—in Europe and the Far East—the USSR looked for ways to ensure its security. When Germany proposed to the USSR that the two parties conclude a nonaggression treaty, the proposal was accepted. According to the Nonaggression Treaty, signed on Aug. 23, 1939, the parties pledged to refrain from attacking each other, not to support a third power if it attacked one of the parties, not to participate in groupings of powers directed against the other party, and to settle all disputes through peaceful means. The treaty averted the formation of a united front of the imperialist powers. The USSR gained time to continue preparations for repelling the fascist aggression.

The Soviet government utilized the Soviet-German treaties and agreements concluded after August 1939 to the same ends. These included a treaty on friendship and borders (Sept. 28, 1939), an economic agreement (Feb. 11, 1940), a convention on the procedure for settling border conflicts and incidents (June 10, 1940), a treaty on frontier legal relations (Aug. 31, 1940), a treaty on frontiers (Jan. 10, 1941), an economic agreement (Jan. 10, 1941), and an agreement on settling respective property claims and on resettlement (Jan. 10, 1941).

On June 22, 1941, fascist Germany treacherously broke the Nonaggression Treaty and began a war of aggression against the USSR. The war ended in the complete rout and unconditional surrender of Hitler Germany and in the collapse of the fascist state. In accordance with the principles of international law, the Soviet-German treaties became null and void from the moment of the German attack on the USSR.


Soviet-German (Federal Republic of Germany) Agreements


Diplomatic relations between the USSR and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) were established on Sept. 13, 1955. A consular treaty and an agreement on general questions of trade and navigation were concluded on Apr. 25, 1958. In the Treaty of Aug. 12, 1970, the USSR and the FRG pledged to promote the normalization of the situation in Europe, to settle disputes exclusively through peaceful means, and to refrain from the threat of force or the use of force; the parties also declared that they have no territorial claims against anyone and would not pose such claims in the future. The treaty established the principle of the inviolability of the frontiers of all European states as of the day of the signature of the treaty. In view of the bitter opposition of reactionary circles of the FRG, the treaty did not become effective until June 3, 1972.

In a communique of Sept. 19, 1971, the countries concluded that a continuous expansion of mutually advantageous ties is possible and announced an accord on creating a joint commission on economic, scientific, and technical cooperation. Several agreements were signed during summit meetings of May 18–22, 1973, including agreements on developing economic, industrial, and technical cooperation (May 19, 1973) and on cultural cooperation.

In a joint declaration of May 21, 1973, the countries noted the considerable progress that had been achieved toward the easing of tension in Europe and emphasized the importance of the treaties of the USSR, the Polish People’s Republic, and the German Democratic Republic with the FRG and of the four-power agreement on West Berlin of Sept. 3, 1971. The expansion of business relations led to the signing of long-term guidelines for the development of economic, industrial, and technical cooperation (Jan. 18, 1974) and the signing of an agreement on the further development of economic cooperation (Oct. 30, 1974).

In a joint declaration of Oct. 30, 1974, the parties stated that the treaty of 1970 remains the basis for a further improvement of relations between the USSR and the FRG. They also agreed to hold periodic consultations on questions of bilateral relations and on international problems, and they expressed their intention to increase cooperation in different fields.


Soviet-German (German Democratic Republic) Agreements


Diplomatic relations were established between the USSR and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on Oct. 16, 1949.

The USSR was the first power to recognize the GDR. The GDR was admitted to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) in September 1950. Relations between the USSR and the GDR have been developing on the basis of socialist internationalism. The countries concluded agreements on scientific and technical cooperation (Sept. 27, 1951), on a program enabling GDR citizens to study at higher educational institutions of the USSR (May 12, 1952), on discontinuing the payment of German reparations and other measures to ease the financial and economic obligations of the GDR (protocol, Aug. 22, 1953), and on aid for nuclear research and the use of atomic energy for the needs of the national economy of the GDR (Apr. 28, 1955).

The USSR and the GDR concluded jointly with other socialist countries the Warsaw Pact of 1955. The treaty on relations between the USSR and the GDR (Sept. 20, 1955) stipulated that the Soviet troops temporarily stationed in the GDR with the consent of its government do not interfere in the country’s domestic affairs and social and political life. A simultaneous exchange of letters reaffirmed the accord to the effect that the GDR exercises protection and control on its borders, as well as on communications between West Berlin and the FRG within the GDR. It was stipulated that until a special agreement is reached, control over the movement of the personnel and cargoes of US, British, and French garrisons in West Berlin would be exercised by the command of the Soviet Army Group in Germany.

The countries concluded agreements on air transportation (June 18, 1956), on questions connected with the temporary stay of Soviet troops in the GDR (Mar. 12, 1957), on exchange of undergraduate and graduate students (Feb. 21, 1958), and on cooperation in public health (Oct. 21, 1958). In addition the countries concluded a consular treaty (May 10, 1957), a treaty on trade and navigation (Sept. 27, 1957), and a treaty on friendship, mutual aid, and cooperation, with a term of 20 years (June 12, 1964).

Four agreements on technical aid to the GDR were signed in 1964. In addition, agreements were concluded on cultural and scientific cooperation (Oct. 1, 1964), on expanding cooperation in the construction of atomic electric power plants in the GDR (July 14, 1965), on forming an intergovernmental commission on economic, scientific, and technical cooperation (Mar. 16, 1966), on international highway service (June 1, 1966), on cooperation in radio broadcasting and television (Aug. 14, 1967), and on expanding scientific, technical, and economic cooperation in agriculture (July 3, 1968). In the 1970’s the countries concluded agreements on technical aid to the GDR for the gas and oil industry (July 22, 1970), on cooperation in tourism (Oct. 6, 1970), on cooperation in the expansion and construction of thermoelectric power plants in the GDR (June 1, 1973), and on mutual protection of copyright (Nov. 21, 1973).

During a summit meeting held on Oct. 5–8,1974, the countries announced their intention to extend the socialist economic integration of the member countries of COMECON. After the summit meeting agreements were signed on cooperation in the production of certain types of ferroalloys in the USSR (Jan. 31, 1975), on cooperation in the manufacture of equipment for atomic power plants (July 25, 1975), and on the results of the coordination of national economic plans between the USSR and the GDR for 1976–80 (protocol, July 28, 1975).

The treaty on friendship, cooperation, and mutual aid signed on Oct. 7, 1975, with a term of 25 years and replacing the 1964 treaty, is of fundamental importance for the further development of relations. The parties declared that the defense of socialist gains is a common international duty of the socialist countries.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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