25 Apr 22
“We have met the enemy, and they are us!”
Pogo (comic-strip character created by Walt Kelly, published from 1948-1975)
The Inter-Allied Military Control Commission arranged for the destruction of countless tons of German WWI small arms and other military equipment after WWI ended.
Not so in France and the UK of course, because they were on the winning side!
However by so doing, the Entente (Allies) unintentionally did Hitler an immense favor as he came to power in post-war Germany in the 1930s and started to re-arm and re-grow his military, secretly at first, then openly as the former “Entente,” now under weak leadership (Chamberlain, Petain), were easily intimidated.
Hitler’s new army thus had brand-new, modern equipment, unlike France and the UK, where they were now desperately (but vainly) trying to salvage/update all their rusting WWI equipment, most of which (by 1935) was hopelessly obsolete!
Yet, what simultaneously retarded much Nazi-era weapons development was the Nazi party itself, unwisely inserting its bully influence into military decisions that should have been left to non-political military staff officers.
In fact, it is this nasty, territorial in-fighting which would characterize party/military functioning and decision-making that ultimately prevented the Germans from developing a suitable self-loading military rifle prior to WWII.
In Japan, the same paralyzing politics would yield identical results!
Thus, Americans and Soviets entered WWII, both with excellent, mass-produced autoloading infantry rifles. Americans had the Garand, and Soviets had the SVT. Due to cross-purposed, protective, bungling bureaucracies, both Germany and Japan squandered the opportunity and both entered the War with functional, but obsolete, bolt-guns!
Post WWI Restrictions were, of course, placed upon German industry with regard to design and manufacture of new small arms. However, German manufacturer, Reinmetall for example, which was largely controlled by the German government, bought-up controlling interest in famous weapons-maker, Solothurn, a Swiss company. Solothurn then could manufacture and sell machineguns and other weapons under Reinmetall’s direction, but absent restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty.
Simson, a German company in Suhl, founded in 1856 by Jewish brothers, Löb and Moses Simson, was successfully in the metal-fabrication business, including guns and gun parts, throughout the later half of the 19th Century. The Simsons also successfully manufactured cars and motorcycles in the 1920s and half-way through the 1930s.
During WWI, the Simsons produced Mauser Rifles for the German War effort, and they got the contract in 1919, under provisions of the Versailles Treaty, to domestically manufacture (on a small scale) military arms for the German army, after WWI. France and the UK permitted this, because if Germans were not allowed to maintain and equip a small military force in the post-WWI era, then The UK and France would, at their own expense, have to police Germany and provide border guards. They surely didn’t want to do that!
Simson manufactured Luger Pistols and other arms for the German military throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s. They were not allowed to sell any weapons commercially.
However, because the Simsons were Jewish, Nazis “nationalized” their company in 1936, and the Simson family was forced to flee to Switzerland, and ultimately to the USA. When the War ended, the Simson factory in Suhl was dismantled and moved to the USSR.
The Simsons never returned to Germany.
“Folded hands may conceal a dagger. Likewise, a foe’s tears”