On 11 February 1940, Germany and the USSR sign a new trade agreement to replace the one of August 1939. They agree to deliver to each other raw goods, worth of 640-660 million Reichsmark over the next two years, though other sources estimate that amount to be even higher.
The Soviets will deliver mainly oil, cotton, phosphates, chrome ore, iron, platinum and lumber. The USSR promises to try as hard as it could to buy everything from other countries - which banned Germany from their trade market. Germany on the other hand, would deliver mainly coal and special deliveries of military equipment and ‘secret military weapons, together with plans and specifications’. This caused Germany to have to juggle both their export production and the needs of their own army.
This agreement makes Germany rely on the Soviet Union even more than before. Their shortages still aren’t fully resolved in this deal, and the Germans have to export raw materials and finished products that they could very well use for their own war effort. Additionally, being dependent on Soviet Russia is something that Hitler does not like at all. Yet, this agreement is very important for Germany. One of its key points is that Germany can now transport goods (especially soybeans and rubber from Manchuria and Japan) via Soviet railroads, allowing Germany to trade with the Far East as well as the Middle East, bypassing the British Blockade.
Photo: German tanks being restored in a German factory, 1940.
Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L04352 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.