Why were so many Soviet films about an anticipated Nazi German invasion into the USSR shot in 1938–1939, both before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and after it?

Before the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact Nazi Germany had no shared border with the USSR, yet the movies show German (and not, say, Polish) invasion. After the pact, the countries were formally friendly, but still the USSR issued many films about a sudden German invasion. Could the public of the time interpret such films as an indication of Soviet desire to invade Germany (especially given in all such films the Soviets usually pushed the enemies back and defeated the Germans on German territory)?

Most of such films were destroyed after the war, but here are some examples:

  • Tankers (1939) - the invading power is clearly Germany, the officers with German names speak about "Versalles humilation" and superiority of Aryan race. They call themselves "Aryan army". They also consult with the "Supreme Leader". The soldiers wear Stahlhelm.

  • If a war is tomorrow (1938) - the officers of the invaders speak German language, speak about superiority of their race, and the helmets and tanks have swastikas (although the design of the helmets is French).

  • Deep raid (1938)

  • Squadron No. 5 (1939) - again, the invading power is Nazi Germany

  • 3
    Alexander Nevski might also belong on the list (invaders are Germans and some of the helmets look like Wehrmacht helmets).
    – Jan
    Sep 24 '20 at 15:18
  • 5
    I don't think i can do a full answer, but Hitler was already known as a warmonger, and especially stated that Slavs weren't aryan and were actually subhumans by their standards. That would most likely make Russians kind of wary
    – LamaDelRay
    Sep 24 '20 at 15:22
  • 2
    I think it's pretty much confirmed that, from at least '33 onward, Stalin assumed a German invasion. Was this belief widespread in the soviet union or at least the party? much historiography concentrates on Stalin so that may be not trivial to answer, but could be an avenue when answering this question.
    – mart
    Sep 24 '20 at 15:31
  • 2
    To create a foreign enemy to unite the people behind the party during times of terror and purges? (Merely postulating).
    – gktscrk
    Sep 24 '20 at 16:47
  • 4
    Given that Germans invaded Russian territory within living memory of most of those who made these movies and that the German leader of the time was vocally anti-Soviet, it shouldn't be all that surprising. Sep 24 '20 at 22:32

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