By the late 1930’s, Nazi Germany was suffering from a shortage of supplies. It could only supply 25% of the oil it needed to run its military and industry. The Germans were also short on essential metals needed to construct tanks and other pieces of military items. In the event of war, the Germans would be blockaded by the British Navy, eliminating 80% of foreign imports that supplied these essential materials. In the event of war, Germany would not be able to economically survive without improved relations with the Soviet Union.
As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, relations between Germany and the Soviet Union plummeted dramatically. By the late 1930’s however, the top Nazis realized that Soviet aid was critical to the survival of the German war machine. In 1936 Herman Goring said that Germany desired business ties with the Soviet union at any cost, and told German industrialists that he would approach Hitler himself with the need for increased trade from the Soviet Union.
The need for supplies was so dire that part of the reason the Germans seized the Sudeten land of Czechoslovakia was also to ease its shortage of supplies. Despite the increase of German territories and resources, Hitler still had to order major defense cuts, cutting down Wehrmacht allocations by 30% of steel, 47% of aluminum, 25% of cement, 14% of rubber, and 20% of copper.
By July and August of 1939, an economic agreement between the Germans and the Soviets were nearing completion. The Germans even reassured the Soviets, asserting that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were natural partners against the Capitalist west. The Germans even told the Soviets in negotiations that, “there is one common element in the ideology of Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union: opposition to the capitalist democracies,” and that, “neither we nor Italy have anything in common with the capitalist west”. See this source for confirmation. (Nekrich, Aleksandr Moiseevich; Ulam, Adam Bruno; Freeze, Gregory L. (1997), Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German–Soviet Relations, 1922–1941, Columbia University Press)
As Germany scheduled the invasion of Poland, it became clear that the only source for many military supplies would be the Soviet Union, and that without Soviet neutrality, Germany would be surely defeated. On August 19th, the Soviets and Nazis signed a commercial agreement, in which the Germans would supply the Soviets with military and civilian machinery in return for Soviet raw materials. It was agreed that the Soviets were to deliver 180 million Reichsmarks in raw materials to Germany, and that the Germans were to deliver 120 million Reichsmarks of industrial goods to the Soviets. German Foreign Ministry official Karl Schnurre is noted to have said, “[a]part from the economic import of the treaty, its significance lies in the fact that the negotiations also served to renew political contacts with Russia and that the credit agreement was considered by both sides as the first decisive step in the reshaping of political relations.” See this source for confirmation, (Grenville, John Ashley Soames; Wasserstein, Bernard (2001), The Major International Treaties of the Twentieth Century: A History and Guide with Texts, Taylor & Francis)
The Soviet side was also pleased. Vylacheslav Molotov wrote in the newspaper Pravda that, “we have never managed to reach such a favorable economic agreement with Britain, France or any other country.”On August 24th, the Soviets and Nazis signed a non aggression pact, in which Eastern Europe was divided into German and Soviet spheres of influence.
In September 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union divided Poland between themselves, and cooperated in the establishment of borders, arrests of Poles, and even held a joint military parade. Soviet aid to the Germans was crucial for Hitler. The German military was strained after the invasion of Poland, and only had munition supplies that could last for 6 weeks. In the face of a British blockade, the only remaining state capable of supplying Germany with the oil, rubber, manganese, grains, fats and platinum it needed was the Soviet Union. After the Soviet pact and the invasion of Finland, Germany also became the main trading partner of the Soviet Union.
On September the 28th, the two countries signed the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty, in which “to develop economic relations and trade between Germany and the Soviet Union by all possible means.” Oil, foodstuffs and cattle produced in Soviet occupied Poland were given to the Germans. In early October, German officials proposed a deal that would have increased Soviet raw material exports (oil, iron ore, rubber, tin, etc.) to Germany by over 400%, while the Soviets requested massive quantities of German weapons and technology, including the delivery of German naval cruisers, and . The Soviets also agreed to set up a German naval base in Basis Nord near Murmansk, on Soviet territory. From this location, the Germans, with the help of Soviet icebreakers, managed to cross into the Pacific and sink allied shipping. Germany agreed that the plans for the battleship Bismark could be included in the war materials to be provided to the Soviet Union.
From Feb 11th 1940 to Feb 11th 1941, the Soviets shipped 139,500 tons of cotton, 300,000 tons of scrap metal and pig iron, and 500,000 tons of iron ores. 100% of imported grain and barely products to germany cames from the Soviet Union. By June 1941, the Soviets contributed 50% of all of Germany’s oversea imports, at times exceeding 70%. Germany also supplied the Soviets with 31% of its own exports, and supplied 46% of Soviet industrial machinery.
As the Germans conquered Western Europe, they became even more dependent on Soviet imports. For a period of 5 months, the Soviets delivered 1,500 tons of oil to the Germans monthly.
Fears began to grow as the Germans consistently delayed the delivery of certain agreed products, such as machinery and naval ships. Despite these fears, Stalin sent Molotov to speak directly with Ribbentrop and Hitler, offering Soviet Axis membership, and even supporting the destruction of Britain. In this proposal, the world would be divided into spheres of influence between Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy and Japan. The Soviets also promised the delivery of 2.5 million tons of grain-1 million tons above what was previously agreed. Hitler never responded to Stalin’s proposal of marriage. He was already seriously considering an invasion of the Soviet Union.
Notice that bit about “consistently delayed the delivery of… machinery and naval ships.” Almost always, the warning signs of even the biggest betrayal can be seen, if you have eyes to see.
On April 13th, the Soviets signed a non aggression pact with Japan. During the signing of this pact, Stalin embraced the German ambassador and exclaimed “we must remain friends and you must do everything to that end!”. While Hitler was planning the invasion of Soviet union, many German generals protested, believing that such an action would have a negative impact on the German economic and military supply. As German troops built up on the Soviet border, Stalin made even more concessions, and even promised 5 million tons of grain for 1942.
The German success in the initial stage of Operation Barbarosa was in large part due to the raw materials imported from the Soviet Union. Soviet raw materials even convinced German generals to launch an invasion. In short, Stalin’s evil and cowardly collusion with Hitler not only resulted in the deaths of thousands of Poles, Balts, and others, but the deaths of millions of Soviet citizens at the hands of the Germans. It was Stalin that fed the Nazi war machine, and made it possible for Hitler to envelop Europe in flames. It was Stalin that enabled German war crimes and atrocities by his willful complicity. It was Stalin that used you, my dear Russian friends, as pawns. So yes, the Soviet Union was in collusion with Nazi Germany in the beginning of the war, and fed the very monster that would later attempt to devour it.
There should be a situation — for every high ranking PC trader, Imperial dynast, government leader (national or interstellar) — when you can actually smell a Great Betrayal coming… but the
sex money’s just So GOOD, that it takes real guts to break out of the fantasy, and really focus on what’s going on right in front of your nose.
Especially when all of your advisors are saying that you’re crazy… deluded… paranoid… irrationally fearful.
(And – believe it or not – some of those advisors aren’t even being paid off by your *cough* dear ally *cough*. They really, truly believe that you’re nuts.
If it makes you feel any better, they will die right after your PC does, when the Big Surprise kicks in. There’s even a small possibility that they will survive the Surprise, and get the chance to tell the truth of what really happen, before their air/raft crashes due to a fluke programming error or they are found suicided due to grief over what happened.)
If the PCs aren’t the main target of the betrayal, then they have a better chance of surviving the Surprise. But they may well anger their patron, when trying to warn him and break him out of his fantasy world of easy sex/money/power/safety forever… and get little thanks for their warnings, if he survives the knife in the back.
A better tactic may well be joining in the betrayal yourself… assuming you can stomach the moral self-defilement, and avoid the “traditional payment for traitors.” But if the one you betrayed (or a member of his family/inner circle) somehow makes an amazing comeback, you’d better disappear yourself, before you are disappeared.
A less corrupt decision is to simply leave your Corporate Employer/King/Family Archon, if he won’t listen – and act – on your warnings in time. If you did your best, it is within the bounds of honour to hand in your commission and save your own skin (and some of your own family and wealth.) There’s still going to be a bad taste left in your mouth, but it beats having your corpse kicked aside after some futile last stand.
But that’s my view.
Every servant — in-game and in real life — must make his own case before the Great Throne, and personally weight the price of loyalty, treason, and flight… life and death..
And it’s up to every leader to decide to suffer the avoidable pain of waking up, before its too late and must pay the full price for his delusions.
(Of course, the leader and all that is under his authority will pay the price for living in a dreamworld. Something for Imperial Nobles to keep in mind.)
Oh, and one more thing: your business partner may well value your destruction more than the profits you put in his pocket.
This is true, even for the most corporate-minded and pragmatic Vilani. The money may well be a nice fat delicious bribe, to get past your defenses and within arms length of your naked back.
Mammon is not only a false god: he is one of the best liars of all time.
“If your enemy starts putting money in your pocket, just take the cash!
Nobody really puts Revenge or God or Race or Power or Ideology above money.
Don’t be stupid!”
<insert: blazing, winsome, golden smile of Wealth>