The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office
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Pol. V 8924
Moscow, September 6, 1939-5:46 p. m.
Received September 6, 1939-8:15 p. m.

No. 279 of September 6

Reference your telegram No. 267 of the 5th. (1)

Since anxiety over war, especially the fear of a German attack, has strongly influenced the attitude of the population here in the last few years, the conclusion of a non-aggression pact with Germany has been generally received with great relief and gratification. However, the sudden alteration in the policy of the Soviet Government, after years of propaganda directed expressly against German aggressors, is still not very well understood by the population. Especially the statements of official agitators to the effect that Germany is no longer an aggressor run up against considerable doubt. The Soviet Government is doing everything to change the attitude of the population here toward Germany. The press is as though it had been transformed. Attacks on the conduct of Germany have not only ceased completely, but the portrayal of events in the field of foreign politics is based to an outstanding degree on German reports and anti-German literature has been removed from the book trade, etc.

The beginning of the war between Germany and Poland has powerfully affected public opinion here, and aroused new fear in extensive groups that the Soviet Union may be drawn into the war. Mistrust sown for years against Germany, in spite of effective counter-propaganda which is being carried on in party and business gatherings, cannot be so quickly removed. The fear is expressed by the population that Germany, after she has defeated Poland, may turn against the Soviet Union. The recollection of German strength in the World War is everywhere still lively.

In a judgment of conditions here the realization is of importance that the Soviet Government has always previously been able in a masterly fashion to influence the attitude of the population in the direction which it has desired, and it is not being sparing this time either of the necessary propaganda.


(1) Not printed. Back

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