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A nation must think before it acts.
Ian Johnson’s Faustian Bargain: The Soviet-German Partnership and the Origins of the Second World War, which details the two decades of deep military cooperation between the Nazis and Soviets that preceded the outbreak of war between them in 1941, begins with a simple puzzle: what were they thinking? How could the Nazis and the Soviets have thought it was a good idea to undertake deep military cooperation in the 1920s and 1930s, even as both countries’ military and political leaders were preparing for war against each other? The basic outlines of Nazi-Soviet collaboration in the 1920s were leaked to the European press at the time, but Johnson’s painstaking research in Russian, German, Polish, British, and American archives reconstructs this cooperation in shocking detail.