Black Reichswehr
Black Reichswehr was the name for the illegal paramilitary formations
Weimar paramilitary groups
Paramilitary groups were formed throughout the Weimar Republic in the wake of Germany's defeat in World War I and the ensuing German Revolution. Some were created by political parties to help in recruiting, discipline and in preparation for seizing power. Some were created before World War I....

 created by the Germans during the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, raised despite restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty.

Restrictions on German Military Forces after World War I

The Versailles treaty restricted the numbers of the German army to seven divisions of infantry and three of cavalry, for a total of 100,000 men, and no more than 4,000 officers; conscription was prohibited, and civilian employees engaged in forest protection, customs inspection and other official duties could not receive military training. The military was to be exclusively devoted to the maintenance of order within German territory and control of the frontiers. The Treaty further prohibited the construction of aircraft, heavy artillery, submarines, capital ships, and tanks, and the production of material for chemical warfare.

Naval forces were limited to 15,000 men; furthermore, the Treaty specified that the navy could number no more than six battle ships of no more than 10,000 tons displacement, six cruisers (6,000 tons displacement), six destroyers (800 tons displacement), and 12 torpedo boats (200 tons displacement., and that these ships could only be replaced after twenty years for the first two classes of ships, and after fifteen years, for the remaining classes of ships. Article 191 specifically prohibited the production or acquisition of submarines. The Treaty further prohibited the manufacture, import and export of weapons and poison gas.

To maintain these restrictions, the Treaty created an Allied military commission, whose job it was to monitor German military activity, known as the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers.

Circumventing the Military Restrictions established by the Versailles Treaty

The Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

, as it was reorganized under Hans von Seeckt
Hans von Seeckt
Johannes Friedrich "Hans" von Seeckt was a German military officer noted for his organization of the German Army during the Weimar Republic.-Early life:...

, evaded these prohibitions through a variety of measures. Initially, measures including hiding stores of weapons and munitions, and trying to maintain production capacity by camouflaging it as civilian activity. In a wider sense, freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

 like the Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 (SA) or the Organisation Consul
Organisation Consul
Organisation Consul was an ultra-nationalist force operating in Germany in 1921 and 1922. It was formed by members of the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, a Freikorps unit which disbanded after the Kapp Putsch failed to overthrow the German Weimar Republic...

 also belonged to the Black Reichswehr, although those were not commanded directly by the official Reichswehr.

German-Soviet Cooperation

As ‘’Generaloberst ‘’of the Reichswehr, Seeckt also created a secret arrangements with Soviet Russia to continue the cooperation that had existed after the treaty of Brest-Litowsk. In August 1920, Enver Pasha, working as a liaison between Germany and Soviet Russia, proposed that Germany provide information regarding the Polish military. On the Soviet side, the RSFSR selected Viktor Kopp, to work with the Germans. He established offices in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

, Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 and Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

. Kopp's cover was the repatriation of POWs, but his real responsibility was improving German and Soviet relations. Kopp was successful in getting a number of Soviet-German joint ventures started. Soviet supporters for this secret partnership included Lenin and Stalin. German supporters were von Seeckt, von Blomberg, Rathenau and others.

The Rapallo Treaty
Treaty of Rapallo, 1922
The Treaty of Rapallo was an agreement signed at the Hotel Imperiale in the Italian town of Rapallo on 16 April, 1922 between Germany and Soviet Russia under which each renounced all territorial and financial claims against the other following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and World War I.The two...

 of 1922 was an important milestone in this cooperation. The most significant result of the Rapallo was the German-Soviet military cooperation in which the Germans were granted rights to military bases on Soviet territory. The advantages accrued to the Germans were the development and testing of prohibited technologies , as well as trying and tactics suitable for them; training and evaluating an experienced cadre of specialists. The Soviets were allowed support to help train their Army as well as technical know-how. The combined training and testing was performed in three bases: of armor in Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

, of aviation in Lipetsk
Lipetsk is a city and the administrative center of Lipetsk Oblast, Russia, located on the banks of the Voronezh River in the Don basin, southeast of Moscow.-History:...

, and of chemical warfare in Tomka. When Hitler gained power in Germany this cooperation was terminated, but it is estimated that more than a 1,000 Luftwaffe pilots were trained through this cooperation. An added bonus was achieved by taking the officers who were training in the Soviet Union off the active list, allowing the Reichswehr to employ more officers than the mere 4,000 allowed by the Versailles Treaty. Heinz Guderian
Heinz Guderian
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was a German general during World War II. He was a pioneer in the development of armored warfare, and was the leading proponent of tanks and mechanization in the Wehrmacht . Germany's panzer forces were raised and organized under his direction as Chief of Mobile Forces...

 spent some important years in Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

 while Valerian Kuybyshev was trained in Germany.

A minor crisis occurred in 1926 when the German Social Democrats realized that Soviet weapons were being used to kill their supporters. British papers published articles regarding the German-Soviet cooperation. However, the German communists managed to throw enough doubts on the matter and the media coverage died.
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