The history of Ural&Dnepr began in late 1939. A secret meeting was held at the Ministry of Defence of the Soviet Union. The matter under discussion concerned the best model of motorcycles to be the most appropriate for the Soviet Armed Forces. Despite the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union knew it would soon be going to war against Adolf Hitler, the ruthless dictator of the German Third Reich.   The most recent historical researches prove that Joseph Stalin being as ruthless dictator as Adolph Hitler himself, if not even more, planned to attack Nazi Germany first. Thus, he ordered the military to prepare in all possible areas, including the ground forces. It was mostly unknown that in the same period of time the Soviet Air Forces were growing tremendously enabling the Soviet Army to attack the Nazi Germany first with a devastating surprise attack. Having seen the effects of Blitzkrieg (lighting war) against Poland, upgrading of military vehicles was of dominant importance to Joseph Stalin.   According to official accounts, after a long discussion the BMW R71 motorcycle was found to closely match to the specific requirements, and five of those motorcycles were secretly purchased in Sweden. In the process known as reverse engineering the bikes were taken down and copied part for part.  In early 1941 the first test models of M-72 motorcycles were shown to Marshall Stalin and the final decision to start their production was made. A more likely story is that the BMW factory supplied the construction drawings and casting moulds. As a result of the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact, transfers of technology took place in support of their Soviet “friends” in different areas. Soviet engineers toured German aircraft factories and brought back complete cannons as samples. The OPEL Kadett was given to the Soviets just prior to the war; however, it commenced series production only toward the end of the war as the Moskvitch 400. In 1941, BMW began series of R75 and did not resume production of R71.

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Location: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States