Russia’s New Tank Factories 1922–39


Map Code: Ax01548

In 1922, Russia, weakened by civil war and humiliated by a series of military defeats, was determined to regain its prestige by becoming a formidable military power. This meant funnelling resources into arms production. The Germans, who were blocked from armaments manufacture by the Treaty of Versailles (1918), entered into a secret agreement with the Russians, under the guise of the 1922 Rapallo Treaty (a treaty of diplomatic ‘goodwill’). They provided the Soviets with money and expertise to participate in the manufacture and testing of armaments. The secret joint Soviet/German Tank School was established in 1926 and tank factories were scattered throughout Russia in places such as Moscow, Tsaritsyn and Tiflis. The German/Russian alliance also produced grenades and heavy artillery. After the Nazis rose to power in 1933, Germany manufactured its own weapons, but relied on Russian raw materials, such as oil. Although relations between the two countries became increasingly tense, they signed a non-aggression pact in 1939.

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