Dangerous Liaisons

What the warming relationship between Germany and Russia means for the world.

If history is prophecy, as Winston Churchill said, then what is happening between Russia and Germany these days should cause grave concern in the United States and Britain.

As the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course stated, “In six separate instances within the last 200 years in which Germany has turned on the West, she has first made a pact with Russia to make herself safe from the East” (Lesson 3, emphasis mine throughout).

The strategic relationship nowbuilding between Germany and Russia should blast warning signals throughout the world. History’s track record in this particular cycle of events is unmistakable: Germany and Russia form an alliance that serves both their needs; Germany uses it as leverage against the West; and eventually the alliance ends with Germany and Russia facing each other in a bloody conflict—witness World War ii!

Russia’s relationship with Germany and the European Union is a clear signal that similar events are on the docket again for our world. Here is why.

Repetitive Cycle of History

The history of the relationship between Russia and Europe (particularly Germany) is nothing short of remarkable—especially in light of what is currently happening.

As the May 1962 Plain Truth stated, “The concept that Germany must ally with the East against the West goes back as early as Frederick the Great”—about 240 years!

In 1872, just after Germany’s Otto von Bismarck united the North German Confederation with the southern German states into a single German Reich under Prussian leadership, Bismarck formed the Three Emperors’ League with Russia and Austria. This relieved the Reich’s fear that Russia might join with rival France in a war fought from both east and west against the newly formed German Reich. But because of Russia’s and Austria’s differing strategies concerning the Balkan Peninsula, the league broke up six years later.

Bismarck resurrected the alliance for a second time in 1881—only for it to break up in 1887 due to continuing rivalries between Russia and Austria. That year, Bismarck rushed another agreement—this time separately with Russia—to prevent France snatching Russia away as an ally. This agreement between Germany and Russia, known as the Reinsurance Treaty, continued until the next kaiser, Wilhelm ii,sacked Bismarck and rejected his policy of keeping “the lines open to St. Petersburg” (then capital of the Russian empire). So in 1894, Russia did what Bismarck always feared:It allied with France. Twenty years later came the two-front war Bismarck had tried to avoid, and Germany was entangled in a conflict on both its eastern and western flanks. That was World War i.

This is where the modern history of these two nations’ relationship begins. In 1922, four years after the Great War, Germany and Russia stunned the world with a pact signed in Rapallo, Italy, which opened complete diplomatic relations between them. “The power balance in Europe had shifted overnight”(Plain Truth,December 1978). Through the pact, the German army could test weapons in Russia that were forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles.

Even when Hitler became chancellor in 1933 and a wave of anti-Russianism gripped Germany, the Nazis made a move that seemed contrary to their anti-Soviet policy. Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, secretly flew to Moscow in August 1939 to sign a non-aggression pact with Russia’s Stalin. “Hitler’s eastern flank was now secure. Russia had been neutralized”(ibid.). One week later, Hitler invaded Poland, and Russia took the Baltic states. Two years later, Germany violated the pact and attacked Russia.

The history is quite clear. Whenever it has wanted to expand its empire, Germany has always first needed to remove the Russian threat by signing pacts and treaties with it. Whether it was protecting itself from a Franco-Russian alliance in the late 19th century, or trying to extend Nazism across Europe without fear of a Russian attack, Germany has learned that “friendship” with Russia is in its best strategic interest.

Russia—Part of “Greater Europe”?

Since the conclusion of the Iraq campaign, the relationship between Russia and Europe has taken on a new warmth. This is a not-so-covert attempt to help each other counter increasing U.S. global dominance.

As think tank Stratfor stated, “Having abandoned dreams of Russia as a superpower, President Vladimir Putin and his associates appear to be pursuing a more realistic goal: for Moscow—together with Berlin and Paris—to become a leading voice within a united Europe, a potential superpower. Among other things, Russia is offering to lead the cis nations in Europe” (May 7).

On May 4, Putin made known his intention of proposing, as Stratfor termed it, a “common European marketplace to include both the EUand cis,” the Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly the 12 Soviet republics of the ussr). Putin said, “We intend to work with our colleagues toward creating a common economic space together with greater Europe” (ibid.).

Putin then met with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the Kremlin on May 13. “Kohl’s purpose during the visit was to make it clear to Putin that the Christian Democratic Party … and its allies share the current government’s strategic goal of creating a united Europe that would include Russia and all former Soviet states” (ibid., May 14).

Strengthening Europe—and Russia

Russia currently faces a choice between a stronger alliance with the EU or the U.S. Putin is at a crossroads, but political and economic possibilities reveal which direction he will take. Now the strategic partnership between Russia and German-led Europe will further solidify both power blocs’ global weight. It will help propel Europe to superpower status.

A May 7 Stratfor report said, “[W]ith Russia a major ally, Europe likely would encourage the integration of post-Soviet states so that it could emerge as a greater world power. The major fear in Europe, though, is that if cis states are not integrated with Russia’s help, they quickly could fall under the U.S. sphere of influence—something that already has happened to some new EU members and aspirants from Eastern Europe ….”

The EU needs Russia—which still exerts considerable influence among the Central Asian and Eastern European states—if it wants to build itself as a global superpower to rival the U.S. During Helmut Kohl’s May meeting in the Kremlin, he even admitted that “the alliance should serve as the engine for establishing the future Europe as a major world power” (Stratfor, May 14).

The strengthening of relations between Russia and Europe is bolstering Europe’s power, and thus comes at the expense of the United States.

Back in May 1962, the Plain Truth said, “Once a German-dominated Europe is fully established, Germany will be ready to negotiate and bargain with Russia—and behind the backs of the Western Allies if necessary. … What is now developing is a neutral European power dominated by Germany and allied with Russia! British and American armies will be forced to leave Germany and Europe.” It’s only a matter of time before the divide between the U.S. and Europe develops into a total pullout of U.S. forces from the Continent, thus marking a new chapter in Euro-Russian relations.

Economic Benefit

Europe won’t only benefit politically from its relations with Russia. It will also benefit economically.

Russian trade with Germany is roughly the same as that with America. Energy-wise, the strong economic relationship between Russia and the EU is quite evident: Russia is the largest single energy partner of the European Union.In 2001, the EU received almost 20 percent of its oil and over 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia. Russia is the EU’s largest supplier of uranium.

Also, let’s not ignore what this partnership will do for Russia. An EUCommission document states, “For the European Union, it is important to maintain and enhance Russia’s role as a supplier of gas and oil and to strengthen Russia as a secure and reliable supplier through technology transfers and investments to upgrade Russia’s energy infrastructure” (Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, May 13).

As Moscow-based analyst Peter Lavelle said, “[T]here is no doubt about [Putin’s] plans for Russia’s economic and trade future. Russia’s economic future lies with Europe and China” (Asia Times, April 5).

Germany alone is responsible for more foreign direct investment in Russia than any other country. Combined with the rest of Europe, the facts are clear. “Of the $19 billion of foreign direct investment in Russia since 1996, American companies have accounted for just $4 billion, as opposed to the European Union’s $7 billion,” Lavelle writes. “Russia’s bread-and-butter politics are solidly focused on economic performance and not foreign policy concerns. This is Putin’s political prime directive.”In other words, Russia goes where the money is—Europe.

Consider too that most of Russia’s foreign debt is owed to European states. The Business Report of November 18, 2002, reported that the Russian prime minister had signed a deal to exchange Russian debt for Eurobonds.

Is it any wonder that Moscow was so willing to side with Berlin and Paris when the United States was preparing for its Iraq campaign? And is it any wonder, as the international order is being transformed, that Moscow is determined to find a stronger place in this new arrangement as the European Union matures into the next superpower?


Ever since the end of World War ii, this magazine’s predecessor—the Plain Truth,founded by Herbert W. Armstrong—has been watching the relationship between West Germany (now a united Germany in the leadership role in a united Europe) and the Soviet Union (now Russia).

Throughout its 50-year-plus history, under the leadership of Herbert Armstrong, the Plain Truth warned its readers of another non-aggression treaty between Russia and Germany that would vividly spell out Germany’s and Europe’s intention to dominate the rest of the Western world.

Take this excerpt from May 1962: “When a Russo-German deal is made, you can be sure that the doom of the United States and Great Britain is on the horizon. A German-Soviet agreement—a second Rapallo—would be the greatest disaster which could befall the West.”

The same Plain Truth article predicted that a treaty between then-West Germany and Russia would lead to the eventual reunification of Germany (as East Germany was then controlled by the Soviets). Notice this statement:”Trade agreements and a non-aggression pact will be signed with Russia. Germany will again be united and her ‘lost lands’ restored. The result will shock the Western world!” (ibid.).

Then, in August 1970, the Moscow Treaty—a treaty of non-aggression—was signed between the Soviets and West Germans. The Plain Truth heralded this as “the biggest single political event in Europe since the end of World War ii” (August/September 1970). To those who knew the history of such agreements, it was clear that Germany was positioning itself for greater strength in Europe—to resurrect the Reich that had been so humiliatingly defeated in two world wars. Like all of its predecessors, the treaty altered the face of Europe. It opened the door for more talks on German unification until, 20 years later, that unity became reality.

What You Should Watch

When an overt non-aggression treaty once again is signed between Germany or the EU and Russia, in this new phase of global politics, history will be written before our eyes. Not only will it bring both the EU and Russia to powerful new heights as global players, it will mean that Europe has again secured itself against an attack from Russia.

Where will that lead?

As Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in a co-worker letter 42 years ago,”United, these European nations can protect themselves from Russia. They will make a deal with the ussr—a non-aggression pact. Then the Germans, who will dominate, remembering it was U.S. power that twice defeated them in world war, will attack the United States, destroying our cities.So says prophecy!” (Oct. 23, 1961).

Bible prophecy states that the U.S. and Britain will be trampled on by Europe. In fact, God singles out Assyria, modern-day Germany, as the key player in carrying out this destruction (Isa. 10:5).

Though it may seem that a renewed Russo-German alliance is unlikely, an understanding of history and Bible prophecy shows that it will come—though it will be short-lived.

Only by Germany forming a strategic alliance—and signing some sort of non-aggression pact—with Russia, will a German-led Eurobeast come to power as prophesied. God prophesies that this European bloc will exert unmatchable power over the Western world for 21/2 years (read our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy for more on this).

A German-Russian alliance, however, is a partnership that history—and prophecy—shows us will never last, despite its short-term benefits in strengthening both parties. Just as in World War ii,Russia will have its part in Germany’s downfall. Bible prophecy shows that Russia will align with Asia to counter the growing dominance of the unchecked European power. This will mark the end of the coming non-aggression treaty.

A Russian-EU alliance or treaty would strengthen Russia to be a contender on the world stage—one that will eventually challenge Germany and Europe in the greatest military conflagration the world has ever seen. This conflict will accelerate the world’s race to a nuclear Armageddon—creating such terror that escape from it is something only the return of Jesus Christ could provide.

Remember—the Plain Truth in 1962 said another Rapallo pact would be the “the doom of the United States and Great Britain” or “the greatest disaster which could befall the West.”

We have already seen a second Rapallo pact—signed in August 1970—which sped along the reunification of Germany and hurtled Europe toward greater cohesion. We can now expect the equivalent of a second Ribbentrop agreement—such as was signed immediately before World War ii—and when that happens, it will culminate in World War iii!

We can’t afford to ignore these trends! God wants us to act upon this understanding of prophecy and seek Him humbly, so we can be protected from these coming wars.

With reporting byjesse frederick