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Wat was die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag en hoe het dit Pole beïnvloed?

Wat was die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag en hoe het dit Pole beïnvloed?

Die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag was 'n nie-aggressiewe verdrag tussen Nazi-Duitsland en die USSR. Die ooreenkoms, ook bekend as die Molotov-Ribbentrop-verdrag, is op 23 Augustus 1939 in Moskou onderteken. Dit het amper twee jaar van krag gehou totdat die Duitsers die verdrag op 22 Junie 1941 verbreek het deur die USSR binne te val.

Die verdrag was 'n verrassing vir hedendaagse waarnemers. Die Nazi's het kommunisme gehaat en die Sowjette het fascisme gehaat. Waarom het hierdie ideologies gekantse magte so 'n ooreenkoms aangegaan?

Die eerste Nazi-Sowjet-gesprekke het misluk

In 1933 het die Nazi -party die mag in Duitsland verkry en Hitler het sy aggressiewe herbewapingsprogram begin implementeer. Stalin het dit oorweeg om 'n alliansie te stig met die toenemend magtige Nazi -leier, maar ideologiese verskille verhinder dit.

Dan praat met Roger Moorhouse, 'n prominente Britse historikus van die Derde Ryk en die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, oor die berugte bondgenootskap tussen Hitler se Duitsland en Stalin se Rusland tydens die vroeë stadiums van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog.

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In plaas daarvan het Stalin hom tot Westerse liberale demokrasieë gewend en by die Volkebond aangesluit in September 1934. Lede van die Liga was op dieselfde manier gekant teen kommunisme, maar hulle aanvaar die USSR as 'n moontlike bondgenoot teen enige toekomstige aggressie van Nazi -Duitsland.

Stalin het ongeduldig geraak

Ondanks die toetreding tot die Liga, het Stalin gekant teen Brittanje en Frankryk se beleid oor vrede, wat volgens hom die Nazi's aangemoedig het om ooswaarts teen die Sowjets te marsjeer.

In die lente van 1939 het dit waarskynlik gelyk asof Brittanje en Frankryk binnekort in oorlog sou wees met Hitler, en Stalin was bang vir Duitse militêre aggressie. In April daardie jaar het die Sowjet -minister van buitelandse sake, Maxim Litvinov, 'n verdrag van kollektiewe veiligheid tussen Brittanje, Frankryk en die USSR voorgestel.

Die Russiese minister van buitelandse sake, Vjatsjeslav Molotov (links) en die Duitse minister van buitelandse sake, Joachim von Ribbentrop (naasregs) onderteken die verdrag op 23 Augustus 1939.

Die keuse was maklik: Stalin het gekies om 'n bondgenoot met Hitler te maak. Die ooreenkoms was blykbaar die amptelike einde van die Nazi-Sowjet-vyandigheid. Op 23 Augustus 1939 onderteken die Duitse minister van buitelandse sake Joachim von Ribbentrop en die Russiese minister van buitelandse sake Vyacheslav Molotov die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag.

Wat het met Pole gebeur?

'N Geheime protokol in die verdrag lui dat Duitsland en die USSR Pole sou verdeel en beset en hul deel van die land onder hul onderskeie invloedsfere sou bring. Sowel die Nazi's as die Sowjette het Pole daarna binnegeval.

Duitsland het Pole op 1 September 1939 binnegeval en die veldtog wat gevolg het, was kort, maar vernietigend, met bomaanvalle wat die fisiese landskap van Pole verwoes het.

Hitler kyk hoe Duitse troepe na Pole marsjeer tydens die sogenaamde "September-veldtog". Krediet: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S55480 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Die Rooi Leër het die land op 17 September 1939 binnegeval. Pole kon slegs ses weke lank weerstand bied voordat hy op 6 Oktober 1939 oorgegee het.

Duitsland en die USSR het Pole daarna in aparte besettingsgebiede verdeel. Die USSR het gebiede oos van die Narew-, Vistula- en San -riviere geannekseer, terwyl Duitsland westelike Pole geannekseer het. Die Nazi's het ook die suide van Pole met die noordelike dele van die Oekraïne verenig om die 'Algemene Regering', 'n Nazi-besette gebied, te skep.

Die nadraai

Die ooreenkoms het vir byna twee jaar van krag gebly. Op 22 Junie 1941 is dit nietig verklaar toe Nazi -Duitsland Operasie Barbarossa van stapel gestuur het en die USSR binnegeval het. Dit was 'n deurslaggewende keerpunt in die oorlog, aangesien dit daartoe gelei het dat die USSR by die Geallieerdes aangesluit het in die gevegte teen die Nazi's en die asmagte.

Roger Moorhouse is 'n historikus van die Derde Ryk en die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, skrywer van The Devils 'Alliance, Killing Hitler & Berlin at War. In hierdie fassinerende episode bespreek hy die ergste maritieme ramp in die geskiedenis: die sink van die Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945.

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Aan die einde van die oorlog het die Rooi Leër hom weer in Pole binnegekom, maar hierdie keer was dit om die Pole te bevry van die Nazi -besetting.

Selfs na die oorlog het die Sowjet -regering voortgegaan om die bestaan ​​van die geheime protokol om Pole te verdeel en te beset, te ontken. Dit is eers in 1989 met die val van die USSR onthul, erken en aan die kaak gestel.


Bladsye opsies

Om 4:45 op 1 September 1939 die Duitse slagskip Sleeswyk-Holstein het op die Poolse garnisoen van die Westerplatte-fort, Danzig (hedendaagse Gdansk), losgebrand in die eerste militêre betrokkenheid van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. Terselfdertyd het 62 Duitse afdelings ondersteun deur 1300 vliegtuie die inval in Pole begin.

Die besluit van Adolf Hitler om Pole binne te val was 'n waagstuk. Die Wehrmacht (die Duitse leër) was nog nie op volle sterkte nie en die Duitse ekonomie was steeds vasgevang in produksie in vredestyd. As sodanig het die inval Hitler se generaals ontstel en teenkanting teen sy bevel opgewek - en lekkasies van sy oorlogsplanne na Brittanje en Frankryk.

Die besluit . om Pole binne te val was 'n waagstuk.

Hitler se generaals dring tot versigtigheid en vra vir meer tyd om die verdediging van die 'West Wall' te voltooi, om enige Britse en Franse teenoffensief in die weste te stuit terwyl die grootste deel van die Wehrmacht was besig met die ooste. Hulle leier verwerp egter hul kommer en eis eerder hul totale lojaliteit.

Hitler was vol vertroue dat die inval in Pole om twee belangrike redes 'n kort, oorwinnende oorlog sou meebring. Eerstens was hy oortuig dat die ontplooiing van die wêreld se eerste pantserkorps die Poolse weermag vinnig sou verslaan in 'n blitzkrieg aanstootlik. Tweedens het hy die Britse en Franse eerste ministers, Neville Chamberlain en Edouard Daladier, as swak, besluitelose leiers beskou wat sou verkies vir 'n vredesooreenkoms eerder as oorlog.


Waarom wou Hitler die verdrag hê?

Duitsland se deelname aan 'n tweefrontoorlog in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog het sy magte verdeel, wat hul aanvallende krag verswak en ondermyn het.

Terwyl hy in 1939 op oorlog voorberei het, was die Duitse diktator Adolf Hitler vasbeslote om nie dieselfde foute te herhaal nie. Terwyl hy gehoop het om Pole sonder geweld te bekom (soos hy die jaar tevore Oostenryk geannekseer het), was die noodsaaklikheid om die moontlikheid van 'n tweefrontoorlog as gevolg van die inval te verminder, duidelik.

Aan die Sowjet-kant het die pakt gevolg op die uiteensetting van die Brits-Sowjet-Franse onderhandelinge vir 'n drieparty-alliansie vroeg in Augustus 1939. Volgens Russiese bronne het die alliansie misluk omdat Pole en Roemenië geweier het om die gang van Sowjet-militêre magte oor hul gebied te aanvaar maar dit is ook waar dat die Russiese premier, Joseph Stalin, die Britse premier Neville Chamberlain en die konserwatiewe party in Engeland wantrou het en geglo het dat hulle Russiese belange nie ten volle sou ondersteun nie.

So is onderhandeling oor die Nazi-Sowjet-nie-aggressie-verdrag gebore.


Inhoud

Vroeg in 1939, 'n paar maande voor die inval, begin die Sowjetunie strategiese alliansieonderhandelinge met die Verenigde Koninkryk en Frankryk teen die ongeluksmilitarisering van Nazi -Duitsland onder Adolf Hitler. In Augustus 1939 het die USSR 'n aanbod aan die Verenigde Koninkryk en Frankryk gedoen om "120 infanteriedivisies (elk met ongeveer 19.000 troepe), 16 kavalleriedivisies, 5000 swaar artillerie -stukke, 9.500 tenks en tot 5.500 vegvliegtuie en bomwerpers aan die grense van Duitsland te stuur ". [21] Aangesien die USSR geen grens met Duitsland gedeel het nie, beteken dit in werklikheid 'n oorweldigende, vrywillige besetting van die gebiede van Pole deur die Rooi Leër, wat voorheen die plek was van die Pools -Sowjet -oorlog in 1920. Die onderhandelinge het misluk. [22]

Aangesien die bepalings verwerp is, het Joseph Stalin die Molotov – Ribbentrop-verdrag met Adolf Hitler nagestreef, wat op 23 Augustus 1939 onderteken is. Hierdie nie-aggressiewe verdrag bevat 'n geheime protokol wat die verdeling van Noord- en Oos-Europa in Duits en Sowjet opgestel het invloedsfere in geval van oorlog. [23] 'n Week na die ondertekening van die Molotov – Ribbentrop -verdrag het die Duitse magte op 1 September 1939 Pole vanuit die weste, noorde en suide binnegeval. en wag op die Franse en Britse steun en verligting wat hulle verwag, maar nie die Franse of die Britte het tot hul redding gekom nie. Op 17 September 1939 het die Sowjet -Rooi Leër die Kresy -streke binnegeval in ooreenstemming met die geheime protokol. [24] [Nota 7]

By die opening van vyandelikhede het verskeie Poolse stede, waaronder Dubno, Łuck en Włodzimierz Wołyński, die Rooi Leër vreedsaam laat binnegaan, oortuig dat dit sou opruk om die Duitsers te beveg. Generaal Juliusz Rómmel van die Poolse leër het 'n ongemagtigde bevel uitgevaardig om hulle soos 'n bondgenoot te behandel voordat dit te laat was. [27] Die Sowjet -regering het aangekondig dat hulle optree ter beskerming van die Oekraïners en Wit -Russe wat in die oostelike deel van Pole woon, omdat die Poolse staat - volgens Sowjet -propaganda - in duie gestort het in die lig van die Nazi -Duitse aanval en nie meer kon waarborg nie die veiligheid van sy eie burgers. [28] [29] [30] [31] Met die oog op 'n tweede front, het die Poolse regering tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die verdediging van die Roemeense brughoof nie meer haalbaar was nie en beveel 'n noodontruiming van alle uniforme troepe na die destydse neutrale Roemenië. [1]

Die Volkebond en die vredesverdrae van die Vredeskonferensie in Parys in 1919 het nie gehelp om idees van versoening volgens Europese etniese grense te bevorder nie. Epidemiese nasionalisme, hewige politieke wrok in Sentraal -Europa (Duitsland, Oostenryk, Hongarye) waar 100% van die bevolking in absentia is universeel skuldig verklaar, en post-koloniale chauvinisme (Italië) het tot woedende revanchisme en territoriale ambisies gelei. [32] Józef Piłsudski het probeer om die Poolse grense so ver oos as moontlik uit te brei in 'n poging om 'n Pools-geleide federasie te skep wat in staat is om toekomstige imperialistiese optrede van Rusland of Duitsland teë te werk. [33] Teen 1920 het die Bolsjewiste as oorwinnaars uit die Russiese burgeroorlog getree en het hulle de facto eksklusiewe beheer oor die regering en die streeksadministrasie verkry. Nadat alle buitelandse ingrypings afgeweer is, het die Rooi Leër, onder bevel van Trotsky en Stalin (onder andere), weswaarts gevorder na die betwiste gebiede met die doel om kommunistiese bewegings in Wes -Europa aan te moedig. [34] Die grens skermutselinge van 1919 het geleidelik eskaleer en uiteindelik uitgeloop op die Pools -Sowjet -oorlog in 1920. [35] Na die Poolse oorwinning in die Slag van Warskou het die Sowjets om vrede gedagvaar en die oorlog eindig met 'n wapenstilstand in Oktober 1920 [36] Die partye onderteken op 18 Maart 1921 'n formele vredesverdrag, die Vrede van Riga, wat die betwiste gebiede tussen Pole en Sowjet -Rusland verdeel. [37] In 'n aksie wat die Sowjet-Poolse grens gedurende die tussenoorlog grootliks bepaal het, het die Sowjets aan die Poolse vredesafvaardiging gebiede toegewings gebied in die omstrede grensgebiede, wat baie ooreenstem met die grens tussen die Russiese Ryk en die Pools-Litause Gemenebest voor die eerste verdeling van 1772. [38] Na die vredesooreenkoms het die Sowjet -leiers die idee van internasionale kommunistiese rewolusie geleidelik laat vaar en het hulle ongeveer 20 jaar lank nie teruggekeer na die konsep nie. [39] Die konferensie van ambassadeurs en die internasionale gemeenskap (met die uitsondering van Litaue) erken die oostelike grense van Pole in 1923. [40] [41]

Verdragsonderhandelinge Redigeer

Duitse troepe het Praag op 15 Maart 1939 beset. In die middel van April het die Sowjetunie, Brittanje en Frankryk begin met die handel met diplomatieke voorstelle rakende 'n politieke en militêre ooreenkoms om moontlike verdere Duitse aggressie teen te werk. [42] [43] Pole het nie aan hierdie gesprekke deelgeneem nie. [44] Die drieparty -besprekings fokus op moontlike waarborge aan deelnemende lande as die Duitse ekspansionisme voortduur. [45] Die Sowjets het die Britte of die Franse nie vertrou om 'n kollektiewe veiligheidsooreenkoms na te kom nie, omdat hulle geweier het om tydens die Spaanse Burgeroorlog teen die nasionaliste te reageer en die besetting van Tsjeggo -Slowakye te laat plaasvind sonder effektiewe opposisie. Die Sowjetunie het ook vermoed dat Brittanje en Frankryk sou probeer om langs die kantlyn te bly tydens enige moontlike Nazi-Sowjet-konflik. [46] Stalin het egter reeds in 1936 geheime gesprekke met Nazi -Duitsland gevoer deur middel van sy sendelinge en volgens Robert C. Grogin (skrywer van Natuurlike vyande), was 'n wedersydse begrip met Hitler nog altyd sy voorkeur diplomatieke oplossing. [47] Die Sowjet-leier het niks anders as 'n ystergekleurde waarborg gesoek om sy invloedsfeer te verloor nie, [48] en het daarna streef om 'n noord-suid buffersone van Finland tot Roemenië te skep, wat gerieflik in die geval van 'n aanval gevestig sou word. [49] [50] Die Sowjets eis die reg om hierdie lande binne te gaan in geval van 'n veiligheidsbedreiging. [51] Gesprekke oor militêre aangeleenthede, wat middel Augustus begin het, het vinnig stilgehou oor die onderwerp van die Sowjet-troepe deur Pole in geval van 'n Duitse aanval. Britse en Franse amptenare het die Poolse regering onder druk geplaas om met die Sowjet -voorwaardes in te stem. [22] [52] Poolse amptenare het egter reguit geweier om Sowjet -troepe toe te laat om Pools gebied binne te gaan nadat hulle ernstige kommer uitgespreek het dat sodra die troepe van die Rooi Leër hul voete op Poolse grond gesetel het, hulle die eis om te vertrek afkeur. [53] Daarna het Sowjet -amptenare voorgestel dat die besware van Pole geïgnoreer word en dat die drieparty -ooreenkomste gesluit word. [54] Die Britte weier die voorstel uit vrees dat so 'n stap Pole sal aanmoedig om sterker bilaterale betrekkinge met Duitsland te vestig. [55]

Duitse amptenare het reeds maande lank in die geheim aanwysings na die Sowjet -kanale gestuur, wat daarop dui dat gunstiger terme in 'n politieke ooreenkoms aangebied sou word as Brittanje en Frankryk. [56] Die Sowjetunie het intussen gesprekke met Nazi -Duitsland begin oor die totstandkoming van 'n ekonomiese ooreenkoms, terwyl dit terselfdertyd met dié van die drieparty -groep onderhandel het. [56] Teen einde Julie en vroeg in Augustus 1939 het Sowjet- en Duitse diplomate 'n byna volledige konsensus bereik oor die besonderhede van 'n beplande ekonomiese ooreenkoms en die potensiaal van 'n gewenste politieke ooreenkoms aangespreek. [57] Op 19 Augustus 1939 het Duitse en Sowjet -amptenare die Duits -Sowjet -handelsooreenkoms van 1939 gesluit, 'n wedersyds voordelige ekonomiese verdrag wat die handel en uitruil van Sowjet -grondstowwe vir Duitse wapens, militêre tegnologie en burgerlike masjinerie beoog het. Twee dae later het die Sowjetunie die drieparty -militêre gesprekke opgeskort. [56] [58] Op 24 Augustus onderteken die Sowjetunie en Duitsland die politieke en militêre reëlings na aanleiding van die handelsooreenkoms, in die Molotov - Ribbentrop -verdrag. Hierdie verdrag bevat bepalings van wedersydse nie-aggressie en bevat geheime protokolle wat gedetailleerde planne vir die verdeling van die state van Noord- en Oos-Europa in Duitse en Sowjet-invloedsfere bevat. Die Sowjet -sfeer het aanvanklik Letland, Estland en Finland ingesluit. [Nota 8] Duitsland en die Sowjetunie sou Pole verdeel. Die gebiede oos van die Pisa-, Narev-, Vistula- en San -riviere sou aan die Sowjetunie val. Die verdrag bevat ook ontwerpe vir die deelname van die Sowjet aan die inval [25], wat die geleentheid insluit om gebiede terug te gee wat aan die Vrede van Riga van 1921 aan Pole afgestaan ​​is. Die Sowjetbeplanners sou die Oekraïense en Wit -Russiese republieke vergroot om die hele oostelike helfte te onderwerp van Pole sonder die dreigement van onenigheid met Adolf Hitler. [61] [62]

Eendag nadat die Duits-Sowjet-ooreenkoms onderteken is, het Franse en Britse militêre afvaardigings dringend 'n ontmoeting met die Sowjet-militêre onderhandelaar Kliment Voroshilov aangevra. [63] Op 25 Augustus erken Voroshilov dat "in die lig van die veranderde politieke situasie, kan geen nuttige doel gedien word om die gesprek voort te sit nie." [63] Op dieselfde dag het Brittanje en Pole egter die Brits-Poolse verdrag van wedersydse bystand onderteken, [64] wat bepaal het, dat Brittanje hom daartoe verbind om die soewereiniteit en onafhanklikheid van Pole te verdedig en te behou. [64]

Hitler het Brittanje en Frankryk probeer weerhou om in te meng in die komende konflik en het op 26 Augustus 1939 voorgestel om dit te doen Wehrmacht magte wat in die toekoms vir Brittanje beskikbaar is. [65] Om middernag van 29 Augustus het die Duitse minister van buitelandse sake, Joachim von Ribbentrop, die Britse ambassadeur Nevile Henderson 'n lys terme oorhandig wat na bewering vrede met betrekking tot Pole sou verseker. [66] Onder die voorwaardes sou Pole Danzig (Gdańsk) aan Duitsland oorhandig en binne 'n jaar sou daar 'n volksraad gehou word (referendum) in die Poolse gang, gebaseer op woonplek en demografie van die jaar 1919. [66] Toe die Poolse ambassadeur Lipski, wat Ribbentrop op 30 Augustus ontmoet het, verklaar dat hy nie die bevoegdheid het om hierdie eise alleen te keur nie, het Ribbentrop hom ontslaan [67] en sy buitelandse kantoor het aangekondig dat Pole die Duitse aanbod verwerp het en verder onderhandelinge met Pole is laat vaar. [68] Op 31 Augustus het Duitse eenhede, wat hulle as gewone Poolse troepe voorgedoen het, tydens 'n valse vlagoperasie die Gleiwitz -voorval naby die grensstad Gleiwitz in Silezië opgevoer. [69] [70] Die volgende dag (1 September) kondig Hitler aan dat amptelike militêre aksies teen Pole om 04:45 begin het [67] Duitse lugmag het die stede Lwow en Łuck gebombardeer. [71] Poolse veiligheidsdienspersoneel het arrestasies onder Oekraïense intelligentsia in Lwow en Przemysl uitgevoer. [71]

Op 1 September 1939 om 11:00 in Moskou tyd, het die berader van die Duitse ambassade in Moskou, Gustav Hilger, by die Volkskommissariaat van Buitelandse Sake aangekom en formeel die begin van die Duits -Poolse Oorlog, die anneksasie van Danzig (Gdańsk) aangekondig terwyl hy 'n versoek van die hoof van die OKL -generale personeel versoek dat die radiostasie in Minsk seinondersteuning bied. [72] Die Sowjet -kant het die versoek gedeeltelik gevolg. [72] Op dieselfde dag bevestig 'n buitengewone sitting van die Opperste Sowjet van die Sowjetunie die aanvaarding daarvan "Universele Militêre Dienswet vir mans van 17 jaar en 8 maande oud", waardeur die diensvoorstelwet van 1937 met nog 'n jaar verleng is. [72] Verder het die Politburo van die Kommunistiese Party die voorstel van die People's Commissariat of Defense, wat beoog het, goedgekeur dat die bestaande 51 geweerafdelings van die Rooi Leër aangevul sou word met 'n totale sterkte van 76 geweerafdelings van 6.000 man, plus 13 bergafdelings en nog 33 gewone geweerafdelings van 3 000 man. [72]

Op 2 September 1939 het die Duitse weermaggroep Noord 'n maneuver uitgevoer om die magte van die Poolse (Pomorze Army) wat die "Poolse gang" verdedig [72] te omhul met die gevolg dat die Poolse bevelvoerder -generaal Władysław Bortnowski die kommunikasie met sy afdelings verloor het. . [72] Die deurbraak van gepantserde kontingente van die Duitse weermaggroep Suid naby die stad Częstochowa het probeer om die Poolse 6de infanteriedivisie suid van Katowice te verslaan, waar die Duitse 5de pantserdivisie deurgebreek het in die rigting van Oświęcim, wat brandstofdepots opgeneem en beslag gelê het toerusting pakhuise. [72] In die ooste het afdelings van die 18de korps van die Duitse 14de leër die Pools -Slowaakse grens naby Dukla -pas oorgesteek. [72] Die regering van die Sowjetunie het richtlijn nr. 1355-279сс uitgevaardig wat die "Herorganisasieplan van die Rooi Leër se grondmagte van 1939–1940", [72] wat gedetailleerde afdelingsoordragte en bygewerkte gebiedsplanne vir al die 173 toekomstige gevegsafdelings van die Rooi Leër bygewerk het. [72] Benewens die herorganiseerde infanterie, is die aantal korpsartillerie en die reservaat van die artillerie van die opperhoofkommando verhoog, terwyl die aantal dienseenhede, agtereenhede en instellings verminder moes word. [72] Teen die aand van 2 September is verbeterde verdedigings- en veiligheidsmaatreëls ingestel by die Pools -Sowjet -grens. [72] Volgens instruksie nr. 1720 van die bevelvoerder van die grenstroepe in die Wit-Russiese militêre distrik, was alle afdelings op 'n permanente gevegsklare status. [72]

Die regerings van die geallieerde Brittanje en Frankryk het Duitsland op 3 September oorlog verklaar, maar het nie ooreengekome militêre optrede onderneem nie en ook geen aansienlike steun aan Pole verleen nie. [73] [74] Ondanks die noemenswaardige Poolse sukses in plaaslike grensgevegte, het Duitse tegniese, operasionele en numeriese meerderwaardigheid uiteindelik die terugtrekking van alle Poolse magte van die grense na korter verdedigingslinies in Warskou en Lwów vereis. Op dieselfde dag (3 September) het die nuwe Sowjet -ambassadeur in Berlyn Aleksei Shkvartsev sy geloofsbrief aan Adolf Hitler oorhandig. [72] Tydens die inleidingseremonie het Shkvartsev en Hitler mekaar gerusgestel oor hul verbintenis om die voorwaardes van die nie-aggressiewe ooreenkoms na te kom. [72] Joachim von Ribbentrop, minister van buitelandse sake, het die Duitse ambassade in Moskou in opdrag gegee met die beoordeling van en die verslag oor die waarskynlikheid van Sowjet -voornemens vir 'n inval van die Rooi Leër in Pole. [72]

Op 4 September 1939 het alle Duitse vlooteenhede in die noordelike Atlantiese Oseaan bevel ontvang "om via die noordelikste koers na Murmansk te volg". [72] Op dieselfde dag het die Sentrale Komitee van die Kommunistiese Party en die regering van die Sowjetunie die opdragte van die volkskommissaris van Kliment Voroshilov goedgekeur om die aftrede en ontslag van personeel van die Rooi Leër en jong bevelvoerders vir 'n maand te vertraag en om te begin volskaalse opleiding vir alle lugweerafdelings en personeel in Leningrad, Moskou, Kharkov, in Wit-Rusland en die Kiev Militêre Distrik. [72]

Op 5 September 1939 ontvang die Volkskommissaris van Buitelandse Sake Vyacheslav Molotov die Duitse ambassadeur Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg. [72] By navraag van die ambassadeur oor 'n moontlike ontplooiing van die Rooi Leër in Pole, antwoord Molotov dat die Sowjet -regering "sal beslis moet begin met spesifieke aksies" op die regte tyd. "Maar ons glo dat hierdie oomblik nog nie aangebreek het nie" en "enige haas kan dinge verwoes en die byeenkoms van teenstanders vergemaklik". [72]

Op 10 September beveel die Poolse opperbevelhebber, maarskalk Edward Rydz-Śmigły, 'n algemene terugtog na die suidooste na die Roemeense brughoof. [75] Kort daarna het Nazi-Duitse amptenare hul Sowjet-eweknieë verder aangespoor om hul ooreengekome deel te handhaaf en Pole uit die ooste aan te val. Molotov en ambassadeur von der Schulenburg het die aangeleentheid herhaaldelik bespreek, maar die Sowjetunie het die inval in Oos -Pole vertraag, terwyl hulle besig was met gebeure wat in die Verre Ooste afspeel in verband met die voortslepende grensgeskille met Japan. Die Sowjetunie het tyd nodig gehad om die Rooi Leër te mobiliseer en het die diplomatieke voordeel gebruik om te wag om aan te val nadat Pole ontbind het. [76] [77]

Op 14 September, met die ineenstorting van Pole, het die eerste verklarings oor 'n konflik met Pole in die Sowjet -pers verskyn. [78] Die onverklaarde oorlog tussen die Sowjetunie en die Ryk van Japan by die gevegte van Khalkhin Gol het geëindig met die Molotov -Tojo -ooreenkoms, wat op 15 September onderteken is toe 'n wapenstilstand op 16 September van krag geword het. [79] [78] Op 17 September het Molotov 'n oorlogsverklaring afgelewer aan Wacław Grzybowski, die Poolse ambassadeur in Moskou:

Warskou, as die hoofstad van Pole, bestaan ​​nie meer nie. Die Poolse regering het verbrokkel en toon geen teken meer van operasie nie. Dit beteken dat die Poolse staat en sy regering de facto ophou bestaan ​​het. Gevolglik het die ooreenkomste tussen die USSR en Pole hul geldigheid verloor. Aan haar eie lot en sonder leiding, het Pole 'n geskikte gebied geword vir allerhande gevare en verrassings, wat 'n bedreiging vir die USSR kan inhou. Om hierdie redes kan die Sowjetregering, wat tot dusver neutraal was, nie meer 'n neutrale houding behou en hierdie feite ignoreer nie. . Onder hierdie omstandighede het die Sowjetregering die opperbevel van die Rooi Leër beveel om troepe te beveel om die grens oor te steek en die lewe en eiendom van die bevolking van Wes -Oekraïne en Wes -Wit -Rusland onder hulle beskerming te neem. - Volkskommissaris vir Buitelandse Sake van die USSR V. Molotov, 17 September 1939 [80]

Molotov verklaar via openbare radio -uitsending dat alle verdrae tussen die Sowjetunie en Pole ongeldig is, dat die Poolse regering sy mense verlaat het aangesien die Poolse staat in werklikheid opgehou het om te bestaan. [31] [81] Op dieselfde dag het die Rooi Leër die grens na Pole oorgesteek. [1] [76]


Pole apart: Poetin, Pole en die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag

Geoffrey Roberts is emeritus -professor in geskiedenis aan die University College Cork, die Nasionale Universiteit van Ierland. Sy nuutste boek (mede-outeur van Marin Folly en Oleg Rzheshevsky) is Churchill en Stalin: Metgeselle tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog.

Namate die 75ste herdenking van die einde van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog nader kom, is twee van die belangrikste slagoffers van die oorlog en Pole en Rusland en Ndash weer gewikkel in 'n baie emosionele geskil oor die oorsprong daarvan. Die kern van die saak is die meerjarige kontroversie oor die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag van 23 Augustus 1939.

President Vladimir Poetin het die polemiek begin toe hy tydens die perskonferensie in Moskou op 19 Desember tydens 'n perskonferensie in Moskou op die 80ste herdenking van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog gevra is oor die resolusie van die Europese Parlement. Poetin beskou die resolusie as onaanvaarbaar omdat dit die Sowjetunie en Nazi -Duitsland gelykstel en sy skrywers daarvan beskuldig dat hulle sinies en onwetend is oor die geskiedenis. Hy beklemtoon eerder die München -ooreenkoms van September 1938 en die deelname van Pole en die deelname aan die ontknoping van Tsjeggo -Slowakye. Die Sowjet-Duitse nie-aggressiewe verdrag was nie die enigste sodanige ooreenkoms wat Hitler met ander state gemaak het nie. Ja, sê Poetin, daar was geheime protokolle wat Pole tussen Duitsland en die USSR verdeel, maar Sowjet -troepe het Pole eers binnegekom nadat sy regering ineengestort het.

Dit is nie die eerste keer dat Poetin sulke argumente voer nie. Hy het baie soortgelyke punte in 2009 gemaak tydens die 70ste herdenking van die uitbreek van die oorlog. Maar sy toon was toe versoenend eerder as strydlustig. By die herdenkingsgeleentheid in Gdansk beklemtoon Poetin die algemene stryd van Pole en Russe en vra dat die uitbreek van die oorlog in al sy kompleksiteit en diversiteit ondersoek moet word. Elke land was skuldig, nie net die Sowjetunie nie: & ldquoit moet erken dat alle pogings wat tussen 1934 en 1939 aangewend is om die Nazi's met verskillende ooreenkomste en pakte te paai, moreel onaanvaarbaar en prakties betekenisloos sowel as skadelik en gevaarlik was. & Rdquo

In antwoord op Poetin het die destydse Poolse premier, Donald Tusk, beklemtoon dat sy land op 1 September 1939 deur Duitsland aangeval is en dan twee weke later deur die Sowjetunie binnegeval is. Maar Tusk beklemtoon ook dat hoewel & ldquotruth pynlik kan wees, dit niemand moet verneder nie. & Rdquo

Die dag na sy nuuskonferensie in Moskou het Poetin leiers van die Statebond van Onafhanklike State toegespreek tydens 'n vergadering in Sint Petersburg om die voorbereidings vir die 75ste bestaansjaar te bespreek. Poetin gebruik die geleentheid om 'n lang analise te lewer van wat tot die uitbreek van die oorlog in September 1939 gelei het, insluitend gedetailleerde aanhalings uit baie diplomatieke dokumente.

Een dokument wat Poetin en rsquos opgeval het, was 'n versending van September 1938 deur Jozef Lipski, die Poolse ambassadeur in Berlyn, oor 'n gesprek met Hitler. Tydens die gesprek het Hitler gesê dat hy dit oorweeg om die Joodse kwessie op te los deur hulle na 'n kolonie te laat emigreer. Lipski het geantwoord dat, as Hitler 'n oplossing vir die Joodse vraag sou vind, die Pole 'n pragtige monument vir hom in Warskou sou bou. & ldquoWatter soort mense is diegene wat sulke gesprekke met Hitler voer? & quot, het Poetin gevra. Dieselfde soort, het hy gemeen, wat nou die grafte en monumente ontheilig van die Sowjet -soldate wat Europa van die Nazi's bevry het.

Die belangrikste punt van Putin & rsquos-trawl deur die Britse, Franse, Duitse, Poolse en Sowjet-argief was om aan te toon dat alle state in die dertigerjare sake gedoen het met die Nazi's, nie in die minste nie Pole, wat probeer om toenadering tot Hitler as deel van 'n anti-Sowjet alliansie. Poetin het hierdie geskiedenis gekoppel aan die huidige politiek: & ldquoRussia word gebruik om mense bang te maak. Of dit nou tsaar, Sowjet of vandag is, en niks het verander nie. Dit maak nie saak watter soort Rusland Rusland is nie en die rasionaal bly. & Rdquo

Poetin het die Sowjetse buitelandse beleid in die dertigerjare kragtig verdedig. Volgens die Russiese president het Moskou gesoek na 'n kollektiewe veiligheidsalliansie teen Hitler, maar sy pogings is afgeweer, veral tydens die Tsjeggo -Slowaakse krisis van 1938 toe die Sowjets bereid was om oorlog te voer ter verdediging van die land, mits Frankryk dit ook doen. Maar die Franse het hul optrede gekoppel aan dié van die Pole, en Warskou was besig om 'n plan te vind om 'n paar Tsjeggo -Slowaakse gebied te gryp. Volgens Poetin en rsquos kon die Tweede Wêreldoorlog afgeweer gewees het as state in 1938 teen Hitler opgestaan ​​het.

Met betrekking tot die Nazi-Sowjet-verdrag, terwyl Poetin aanvaar dat daar 'n geheime protokol was, het hy voorgestel dat daar moontlik in die argiewe van westerse state verborge vertroulike ooreenkomste kan wees wat hulle met Hitler gesluit het. Hy het ook herhaal dat die Sowjetunie nie werklik Pole binnegeval het nie, en het bygevoeg dat die Rooi Leër en rsquos -aksie baie Jode van uitroeiing deur die Nazi's gered het.

Poetin het op 24 Desember teruggekeer na die oorlog en die oorsprong van die oorlog op 'n vergadering van die Russiese ministerie van Ministerie van Verdediging: Ja, die Molotov-Ribbentrop-verdrag is onderteken en daar was ook 'n geheime protokol wat die invloedsfere omskryf het. Maar wat het Europese lande voorheen gedoen? Dieselfde. Hulle het almal dieselfde dinge gedoen & rdquo. Maar wat hom die hardste getref het, het Poetin aan sy kollegas gesê, was die Lipski -verslag: & ldquoThat bastard! Daardie antisemitiese vark & ​​ndash het ek geen ander woorde nie & rdquo.

Om eerlik te wees teenoor Poetin, het sy siening van die geskiedenis meer as om die vinger na Pole en die weste te wys. Hy het ook meer diepgaande oorsake van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog geïdentifiseer, insluitend die strafverdrag in Versailles wat die radikale en herlewing van gemoedstoestand in Duitsland aangemoedig het, en die totstandkoming van nuwe state wat baie konflikte tot gevolg gehad het, veral in Tsjeggo -Slowakye, wat 'n 3,5 miljoen -sterk Duitse minderheid.

Pole & rsquos se eerste reaksie op Poetin en rsquos woedende Filippyne was 'n verklaring van sy ministerie van buitelandse sake op 21 Desember, waarin hulle ongeloof uitspreek oor die verklarings van die Russiese president en rsquos. Volgens die ministerie van buitelandse sake het Polen in die dertigerjare 'n gebalanseerde beleid teenoor Duitsland en die Sowjetunie gehad, wat 'n ooreenkoms met beide lande aangegaan het. Ondanks die vreedsame beleid wat die Republiek van Pole gevolg het, het die Sowjetunie direkte stappe gedoen om oorlog te veroorsaak en terselfdertyd massa-misdade gepleeg & rdquo.

According the Polish foreign ministry the crucial chronology of events was that in January 1939 the Germans made their claims against Poland in mid-April the Soviet ambassador offered Berlin political co-operation and at the end of April Hitler repudiated the German-Polish non-aggression pact in August the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed in September Germany and the USSR invaded Poland and then signed a Boundary and Friendship Treaty that formalised Poland&rsquos partition.

Among Soviet crimes against Poland was the mass repression of Poles in the territories occupied by the Red Army, including 107,000 arrests, 380, 000 deportations and, in spring 1940, 22,000 executions of Polish POWs and officials at Katyn and other murder sites.

On 29 December 2019 Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, issued a statement, noting that Poland was the war&rsquos first victim, &ldquothe first to experience the armed aggression of both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and the first that fought in defense of a free Europe.&rdquo The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was not a non-aggression agreement but a military and political alliance of two dictators and their totalitarian regimes. &ldquoWithout Stalin&rsquos complicity in the partitioning of Poland, and without the natural resources that Stalin supplied to Hitler, the Nazi German crime machine would not have taken control of Europe. Thanks to Stalin, Hitler could conquer new countries with impunity, imprison Jews from all over the continent in ghettos and prepare the Holocaust&rdquo.

Morawiecki pulled no punches in relation to Putin: &ldquoPresident Putin has lied about Poland on numerous occasions, and he has always done so deliberately.&rdquo According to Morawiecki, Putin&rsquos &ldquoslander&rdquo was designed to distract attention from political setbacks suffered by the Russian President, such as US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline project and the World Anti-Doping Agency&rsquos banning of Russia from international sporting events for four years.

All states like to present themselves as victims rather than perpetrators and this not the first time Poland and Russia have clashed over the Nazi-Soviet pact. The piquancy of the polemics is obviously related to the dire state of Russian-Western relations and to the presence in Warsaw of a radical nationalist government.

But how should we evaluate the historical content of these exchanges? My first book, published in 1989 on the 50th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet pact, was The Unholy Alliance: Stalin&rsquos Pact with Hitler. Since then I have written many more books and articles about the Nazi-Soviet pact. My research has led me to conclude that Putin is broadly right in relation to the history of Soviet foreign policy in the 1930s but deficient in his analysis of the Nazi-Soviet pact.

After Hitler came to power in 1933 the Soviets did strive for collective security alliances to contain Nazi aggression and expansionism. Moscow did stand by Czechoslovakia in 1938 and was prepared to go war with Germany.

After Munich the Soviets retreated into isolation but Hitler&rsquos occupation of Prague in March 1939 presented an opportunity to relaunch their collective security campaign. In April Moscow proposed an Anglo-Soviet-French triple alliance that would guarantee the security of all European states under threat from Hitler, including Poland.

Some historians have questioned the sincerity of Moscow&rsquos triple alliance proposal but extensive evidence from the Soviet archives shows that it was Stalin&rsquos preferred option until quite late in the day. The problem was that Britain and France dragged their feet during the negotiations and as war grew closer so did Stalin doubts about the utility of a Soviet-Western alliance. Fearful the Soviet Union would be left to fight Hitler alone while Britain and France stood on the sidelines, Stalin decided to do a deal with Hitler -that kept the USSR out of the coming war and provided some guarantees for Soviet security.

The Soviets were not as proactive as they might have been in trying to persuade the British and French to accept their proposals. Some scholars argue this was because the Soviets were busy wooing the Germans. However, until August 1939 all the approaches came from the German side, which was desperate to disrupt the triple alliance negotiations. The political overture of April 1939 mentioned in the Polish foreign ministry statement is a case in point: the initiative came from the Germans not the Soviets.

One state that Moscow did actively pursue in 1939 was Poland. The bad blood in Soviet-Polish relations notwithstanding, after Munich the two states attempted to improve relations. When Hitler turned against Poland in spring 1939 Moscow made many approaches to Warsaw, trying to persuade the Poles to sign up to its triple alliance project. But Warsaw did not want or think it needed an alliance with the USSR given that it had the backing of Britain and France.

The failure of this incipient Polish-Soviet détente sealed the fate of the triple alliance negotiations, which broke down when the British and French were unable to guarantee Warsaw&rsquos consent to the entry of the Red Army into Poland in the event of war with Germany.

After the signature of the Nazi-Soviet pact there was extensive political, economic and military co-operation between the Soviet Union and Germany. Most people see this as a tactical manoeuvre by Stalin to gain time to prepare for a German attack. However, I have argued that in 1939-1940 Stalin contemplated the possibility of long-term co-existence with Nazi Germany.

Putin makes the point that Stalin did not sully himself with meeting Hitler, unlike British, French and Polish leaders. True, but Stalin received Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop twice - in August and September 1939 - and in November 1940 he sent his foreign minister, Molotov, to Berlin to negotiate a new Nazi-Soviet pact with Hitler. It was the failure of those negotiations that set Soviet-German relations on the path to war.

The first clause of the secret protocol attached to the Soviet-German non-aggression treaty concerned the Baltic states. Throughout the triple alliance negotiations Moscow&rsquos major security concern was a German military advance across the Baltic coastal lands to Leningrad. With the signature of the Nazi-Soviet pact that Baltic door to German expansion was locked by a spheres of influence agreement that allocated Latvia, Estonia and Finland to the Soviet sphere. Lithuania remained in Germany&rsquos sphere but was transferred to the Soviets in September 1939.

It was the second clause of the protocol that divided Poland into Soviet and German spheres but this should not be seen as a definite decision to partition Poland, though that possibility was certainly present. The protocol limited German expansion into Poland but did not specify the two states would annex their spheres of influence. The actions of both states in that respect would be determined by the course of the German-Polish war. In the event, Poland was rapidly crushed by the Germans, while the British and French did little to aid their ally except declare war on Germany. It was in those circumstances that Berlin pressed the Soviets to occupy Eastern Poland. Stalin was not ready, politically or militarily, to take that step but he knew that if the Red Army did not occupy the territory then the Wehrmacht would.

Putin glosses over the fact that the Red Army&rsquos entry into Poland was a massive military operation involving a half million troops. Large-scale clashes with Polish forces were averted only because Poland&rsquos commander-in-chief ordered his troops not to fire on Red Army. Even so, the Red Army suffered 3000 casualties including a thousand dead.

Often accused of parroting the Soviet line, Putin did not invoke the most potent argument that Moscow used to rationalise its attack on Poland, which was that the Red Army was entering the country to liberate Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine.

Poland&rsquos eastern territories had been secured as a result of the Russo-Polish war of 1919-1920. These territories lay east of the Curzon Line &ndash the ethnographical frontier between Russia and Poland demarcated at Versailles. The majority of the population were Jews, Belorussians and Ukrainians and many welcomed the Red Army as liberators from Polish rule. Such enthusiasm did not outlast the violent process of sovietisation through which the occupied territories were incorporated into the USSR as part of a unified Belorussia and a unified Ukraine.

During the Second World War Stalin insisted that the Curzon Line would be the border between Poland and the USSR &ndash a position that was eventually accepted by Britain and the United States. As compensation for its territorial losses Poland was given East Prussia and other parts of Germany. The result of this transfer was the brutal displacement of millions of Germans from their ancestral lands.

History is rarely as simple as polemicizing politicians would like it to be. Both sides of the Russo-Polish dispute have some valid arguments neither has a monopoly of what is a bitter truth. The Nazi-Soviet pact is a fact but so is Polish collaboration with Hitler in the 1930s. The Soviet Union did cooperate with Nazi Germany but it also played the main role in the defeat of Hitler. Stalin was responsible for vast mass repressions but he was not a racist or genocidal dictator and nor was he a warmonger. The Red Army&rsquos invasion of Eastern Poland was reprehensible but it also unified Belorussia and Ukraine. During the Second World War the Red Army was responsible for many atrocities but it did not commit mass murder and it did, together with its allies, liberate Europe from the Nazis.

Politicians will always use the past for political purposes. But in 2009 Putin came quite close to a balanced view about the Nazi-Soviet pact, as did Tusk in his measured rejoinder. Let&rsquos hope that Poland and Russia can find their way back to such middle ground.

The victory over Nazi Germany required enormous sacrifices by both countries. Surely it is possible to celebrate this common victory with dignity and with respect for differences about its complicated history.


How Stalin and Hitler Carved Up Poland (And Changed History Forever)

The nonagression pact paved the way for both countries to focus on domesic and expansionist priorities.

Kernpunt: Niether country trusted each other. But they also wanted to give themselves time to attend to other matters (and build up militarily).

On August 23, 1939, Soviet Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, V.P. Potemkin, waited at the Moscow Airport for Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany. He warmly greeted the former champagne salesman and then whisked him away for a clandestine meeting at the Kremlin.

Waiting to receive the emissary were Soviet strongman Josef Stalin and his granite-faced foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov. They concluded what became known as the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. Included were provisions governing the transfer of raw materials from the Soviet Union in exchange for manufactured goods from Germany. But, more importantly, the pact was a protocol establishing each signatory’s sphere of influence. This included Poland. Hitler and Stalin did not merely intend to partition their neighbor, they meant to wipe the country off the map. The Germans would begin to close the vise on September 1, advancing to Brest-Litovsk. The Soviets would close the eastern jaws on September 17 until Poland was gobbled up. As an added inducement for Stalin’s compliance, Hitler agreed that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Bessarabia, which was on the eastern edge of Romania, would be included in the Soviet sphere of influence.

This first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.

The pact was signed at 2 am on the 24th. The two dictators not only sealed Poland’s fate but set in motion a chain of events that would soon engulf the globe in World War II.

Bottles of champagne were opened to toast the historic moment. Stalin raised his glass to Hitler’s health. “A fine fellow,” remarked the Soviet dictator. Yet, 21 months later the pact would prove to be just another scrap of paper, for Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union would collide in a titanic struggle that was to become the greatest land war in history.

The Rise of Fascism, the Decline of the Allied Powers

By 1939, Italy, once in the Allied camp, was now a Fascist power under the sway of a swaggering brute named Benito Mussolini. Another former Allied power, Japan, was now militaristic, a self-serving belligerent selling itself to the masses of Asia as their deliverer from the bondage of the white man, while masking the brutal reality of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The United States seemed hopelessly absorbed in its delusion of self-quarantine and was determined not to mire itself in European politics.

This left Britain and France. Heart and soul of the Allied effort during the Great War, they were able to maintain the façade as power brokers at Versailles but emerged from the four-year contest of attrition as had many of their soldiers—as permanent invalids. And while they were hardly terminal, their economies were still unwell, playing host to cankers of damage and debt in addition to being socially scarred from the unremitting bloodletting of the trenches, they hobbled along for the next 10 years until the Great Depression.

France, in particular, never seemed to emerge from either. Indeed, it seemed to seek solace in a bunker mentality induced by the Maginot Line, that impenetrable shield of France, a marvel of 20th-century construction with its underground railways, air conditioning system, and fixed fortifications which proved little better than monuments during the coming era of mobile warfare.

Hitler seemed to sense the weakness, testing the waters on March 7, 1936, with his occupation of the demilitarized Rhineland in direct contravention of the spirit of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties.

Common belief holds that the French reaction or lack thereof to the German provocation was owing to a lack of intestinal fortitude, girded by nightmares of Verdun. A policy memorandum of Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden dated March 8, 1936, shows the British government counseling diplomatic action, urging the French not to scale up to a military riposte to which French Foreign Minister Pierre Flandin stated that France would not act alone. Rather, Paris would take the matter to the League of Nations.

There is, however, another side to this story: the lingering effect of the Great Depression. The French were concerned with their economy and currency. They desperately needed investors like Britain and, in particular, the United States to help bolster the franc. Foreign investment in the franc was hardly possible if Paris was mobilizing for war.

Hitler had won his game of brinkmanship. With just a couple of untried battalions, he had faced down 100 French divisions, throwing cold water on the doubts of his nervous generals and sending his stature soaring among masses of the German people while exposing the fragility of Anglo-French cohesion and the debility of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties.

Chipping Away at the European Security Order

Such trysts of gamesmanship played by an opportunistic Hitler brought Europe to the brink. His understanding of history spurred him to isolate that colossal power to the East, Soviet Russia. The Hitler-Stalin honeymoon fractured the European balance of power, removed the Red Army as a counterweight to German ambitions, compromised Moscow’s membership in the League of Nations, and revisited British and French ostracizing of the Soviet colossus from European politics at Versailles.

Adolf Hitler assumed the chancellorship of Germany on January 30, 1933. He relied on diplomacy to advance the interests of Germany because he lacked the military muscle for a more belligerent posture. For instance, he ended the clandestine Soviet-German military cooperation of the 1920s. Yet on May 5, Germany and the Soviet Union renewed the 1926 Treaty of Berlin. On January 26, 1934, Hitler signed a nonaggression pact with Poland. On September 18, 1934, the Soviets joined the League of Nations, Germany having withdrawn from the diplomatic fraternity the previous October.

By forging a nonaggression pact with Poland, Hitler prevented Warsaw and Paris from reaching an agreement that would have sandwiched a prostrate Germany and blocked any potential deal between Warsaw and Moscow. This, of course, raised serious doubts in the Kremlin as to German-Polish intentions. The idea of collective security proved attractive, hence Moscow’s long overdue membership in the League.

Yet, by the Spanish Civil War it was abundantly clear that Rome and Berlin intended to spread the Fascist creed like a plague across Europe. German and Italian involvement in Spain’s conflict, in the face of British and French neutrality, seemed another step toward the eventual isolation of the Soviet Union. Moscow, then, threw its support to the Republicans against Francisco Franco’s Nationalists. For Germany, Italy, and Soviet Russia, the contentious Iberian Peninsula offered that battlefield laboratory for new weapons and tactics in preparation for the main event that was sure to come.

Five years after assuming power, Hitler felt more confident, having successfully affected the Anschluss with his homeland Austria on March 13, 1938, followed seven months later by adding the Sudetenland to the Reich from a friendless Czechoslovakia. Too late did the British and French understand the meaning of “no more territorial claims” when Hitler snatched Bohemia and Moravia on March 14-15, 1939, helping to complete the destruction of Czechoslovakia.

Thus the stage was set for the run-up to world war.

The “White” Directive

By March 16, 1939, Hitler had positioned Poland squarely between the German jaws of East Prussia to the north and the satellite state of Slovakia to the south. He now controlled the vaunted Skoda Works and added Czech tanks and guns to the Wehrmacht. Romania and Yugoslavia, arms customers of the Czechs, now had another supplier following Berlin’s hostile takeover. However, Hitler was not resting on his laurels.

On March 19, a “request” was forwarded to Vilnius. Lithuania was to hand over Memelland, which it had occupied since 1923, to the Reich and do so without delay. Four days later, Lithuania complied.

On March 21, Ribbentrop hosted the Polish ambassador, Josef Lipski, in Berlin. Hitler’s huckster urged the Polish diplomat to accept the deal offered the previous October. Danzig was to be returned to the Reich, a deal that included road and rail connections across the Polish Corridor. In return, Hitler would recognize the Corridor and Poland’s western borders. To sweeten the deal, territory was promised at Ukraine’s expense, a carrot to be finalized at some later date.

Lipski took the German offer back to Warsaw. He returned to Berlin on the 25th armed with Colonel Joseph Beck’s reply. The Polish Foreign Minister understood the machinations of the Führer. Caving in now would only invite another set of demands. Beck rebuffed Hitler’s offer, intimating that continued German pressure over Danzig would invite conflict. It was clear by the 31st that Polish resolve had been stiffened by London and Paris. On that day, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain addressed the House of Commons, assuring Warsaw that, in the event of a German attack, Britain and France would stand by the Poles. That evening, Hitler ordered Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (German high command), to prepare for Poland. On April 3, Keitel issued a directive known as “White,” ordering the German armed forces to be ready for action no later than September 1.


German-Soviet Pact

The German-Soviet Pact, signed in August 1939, paved the way for the joint invasion and occupation of Poland that September. By signing the agreement, Hitler avoided the threat of a major two-front war. Stalin was permitted subsequently to expand Soviet rule over the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) and parts of Romania and Finland. The pact was an agreement of convenience between the two bitter ideological enemies. It permitted Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to carve up spheres of influence in eastern Europe, while pledging not to attack each other for 10 years. Less than two years later, however, Hitler launched an invasion of the Soviet Union.

Key Facts

This agreement often is commonly referred to as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, after the two foreign ministers who negotiated the deal. It is also known as the Nazi-Soviet Pact, or the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

The diplomatic arrangement included a 10-year non-aggression pact between the two countries, economic cooperation, and territorial expansion.

The pact prepared the way for World War II.

Hierdie inhoud is beskikbaar in die volgende tale

The German-Soviet Pact is also known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact after the two foreign ministers who negotiated the agreement: German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov. The pact had two parts. An economic agreement, signed on August 19, 1939, provided that Germany would exchange manufactured goods for Soviet raw materials. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union also signed a ten-year nonaggression pact on August 23, 1939, in which each signatory promised not to attack the other.

The German-Soviet Pact enabled Germany to attack Poland on September 1, 1939, without fear of Soviet intervention. On September 3, 1939, Britain and France, having guaranteed to protect Poland's borders five months earlier, declared war on Germany. These events marked the beginning of World War II.

The nonaggression pact of August 23 contained a secret protocol that provided for the partition of Poland and the rest of eastern Europe into Soviet and German spheres of interest.

In accordance with this plan, the Soviet army occupied and annexed eastern Poland in the autumn of 1939. On November 30, 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Finland, precipitating a four-month winter war after which the Soviet Union annexed Finnish territory borderlands, particularly near Leningrad. With German indulgence, the Soviet Union also moved to secure its sphere of interest in eastern Europe in the summer of 1940. The Soviets occupied and incorporated the Baltic states and seized the Romanian provinces of northern Bukovina and Bessarabia.

After the Germans defeated France in June 1940, German diplomats worked to secure Germany's ties in southeastern Europe. Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia all joined the Axis alliance in November 1940. During the spring of 1941, Hitler initiated his eastern European allies into plans to invade the Soviet Union.

Hitler had always regarded the German-Soviet nonaggression pact as a tactical and temporary maneuver. On December 18, 1940, he signed Directive 21 (code-named Operation Barbarossa), the first operational order for the invasion of the Soviet Union. From the beginning of operational planning, German military and police authorities intended to wage a war of annihilation against the Communist state as well as the Jews of the Soviet Union, whom they characterized as forming the "racial basis" for the Soviet state.

German forces invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, less than two years after the German-Soviet Pact was signed.


The Nazi-Soviet Pact: Hitler’s Ultimate Triumph

To fulfill his territorial ambitions in Europe, Hitler agreed to sign a pact with the Soviet Union in 1939. (Image: Bundesarchiv/Heinrich Hoffmann/CC BY-SA 3.0/Public domain)

A Polish Problem

Once again, one saw the usual drumroll: German minorities mistreated by the Polish government, some sort of representation for the German minority had to be made, the German population wasn’t going to stand for more of this. At this point, so grave was the threat that Franklin Roosevelt took the extraordinary step of writing a public letter to Hitler, in which there was a laundry list of states that he wanted Hitler to say that Germany wasn’t going to attack.

And Hitler got up in the Reichstag, now obviously all Nazi, and gave one of his most ironic and sarcastic speeches. In that speech, Hitler made no promises, and he continued to assert that Danzig wasn’t worth a war he wanted some solution to this now new Polish problem.

Nonetheless, he also gave orders to his military “to attack Poland at the earliest possible opportunity.” So, while publicly protesting that he’s trying to find a way for peace, Poland now becomes first on the agenda.

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The Worsening Conditions in Europe

Pressure was mounting on Neville Chamberlain’s government. Would it indeed honor its obligation to Poland? The key to the diplomatic situation in the summer and early fall of 1939, however, wasn’t in London the key was in Moscow.

The British and French had tried at various points over the summer to warn the Soviets about the imminent danger. But they were low-level contacts Chamberlain certainly didn’t fly off to Moscow to talk with Stalin. Meanwhile, the Germans took this up at a much higher level.

The Nazi Offer to the Soviet Union

German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop had begun to send feelers to his counterpart in the Soviet Union, Molotov, about the possibility of some sort of deal between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Finally, Ribbentrop offered the possibility of a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.

For Hitler, this pact made no ideological sense whatsoever. These were the two great ideological enemies. If Hitler was determined to smash Judeo-Bolshevism in the Soviet Union, Stalin saw Nazi Germany as the incarnation of evil. It was the great fascist power that was the greatest threat to Socialism in the world. But in a practical sense, there was a good deal of compelling evidence to support signing such a pact.

Hitler’s Aggressive Determination

Germany sealed the deal with the Soviet Union and pushed Europe toward the Second World War. (Image: Bundesarchiv/CC-BY-SA/3.0/Public domain)

Hitler, who was determined by this point to go to war with Poland, believed that a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union would act as a deterrent to the West. England and France wouldn’t dare intervene if the Soviet Union were already in the same boat as Nazi Germany.

And, of course, at the same time and more obviously, it would remove the danger of a two-front war for Germany. And Hitler was determined to avoid this at all cost.

Stalin’s Stance on the Non-Aggression Pact

For Stalin, the pact also made sense. Number one, it would buy time. In 1938, the Soviet Union and Stalin had initiated a massive purge of the Red Army. Not just the leadership, but a purge that went all the way down to company level, inserting political commissars to make sure the army was under direct Bolshevist/Communist control.

International intelligence experts believed that the Soviet military was extremely weak as a result, and so, this would buy time to rebuild his military. It would also provide territorial and strategic advantages in Eastern Europe.

The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

On August 24, 1939, Germany and Russia astonished the world by signing a non-aggression pact—the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact—in Moscow, pledging not to go to war with one another. There were secret clauses, which divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence.

Germany was to get Lithuania and Vilne the Soviet Union Finland, Estonia, Latvia. They agreed on a partition of Poland. Germans would move in from the west, the Soviets from the east. They couldn’t agree about Romania, which had rich oil fields, but the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the death knell for the state of Poland—and for peace in Europe.

The Unpreparedness of Germany

Despite a four-year plan that began in 1936 to build the German economy, it wasn’t ready for a long war. It could fight a limited war, such as one against Poland. It reflected Hitler’s conviction that the West wouldn’t fight. The Germans had followed a policy of armaments in breadth, not in depth, so that they had lots of different sorts of military equipment, but it hadn’t been built in any sort of depth to sustain a long war.

On September 1, 1939, the German population was awakened to a news bulletin that the Poles had attacked a German radio station on the frontier, and that German troops had been responding. In fact, the Germans had launched a massive invasion of Poland that, within a month, would bring the defeat of the Polish military.

A Shock for Hitler

To Hitler’s great astonishment, Britain and France decided to honor their obligations. Chamberlain issued an ultimatum to Germany: move out of Poland and then we can talk about the corridor, we can talk about Danzig. Hitler refused.

The Polish campaign was over in a month. The Poles fought heroically against overwhelming German force. Warsaw was bombed, signaling already that this wouldn’t be a war like the First War, where there was a distinction between front and the homefront.

Now civilians were already on the front line with the bombing of Warsaw. What Hitler had believed would be a short engagement against Poland now threatened to be the European-wide war which he did not believe would happen and was not prepared to fight.

On August 24, 1939, Germany and Russia signed a non-aggression pact.

According to the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact , Germany was to get Lithuania and Vilne the Soviet Union Finland, Estonia, Latvia. Germany and Russia agreed on a partition of Poland.

Hitler believed that a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union would act as a deterrent to the West.


BIBLIOGRAFIE

Gorodetsky, Gabriel. The Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia. 1999.

Ierace, Francis A. America and the Nazi-Soviet Pact. 1978.

Kolasky, John. Partners in Tyranny. 1990.

Read, Anthony, and David Fisher. The Deadly Embrace: Hitler, Stalin, and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939–1941. 1988.

Roberts, Geoffrey. The Unholy Alliance: Stalin's Pact with Hitler. 1989.

Suziedelis, Saulius, ed. History and Commemoration in the Baltic: The Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939–1989. 1989.


NAZI-SOVIET PACT OF 1939

The Nazi-Soviet Pact is the name given to the Treaty of Non-Aggression signed by Ribbentrop for Germany and Molotov for the USSR on August 23,1939.

In August 1939, following the failure of attempts to negotiate a treaty with Great Britain and France for mutual assistance and military support to protect the USSR from an invasion by Adolf Hitler, the Soviet Union abandoned its attempts to achieve collective security agreements, which was the basis of Maxim Maximovich Litvinov's foreign policy during the 1930s. Instead, Soviet leaders sought an accommodation with Germany. For German politicians, the dismissal of Litvinov and the appointment of Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov as commissar for foreign affairs on May 3, 1939, was a signal that the USSR was seeking a rapprochement. The traditional interpretation that Molotov was pro-German, and that his appointment was a direct preparation for the pact, has been called into question. It seems more likely that in appointing Molotov, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was prepared to seize any opportunity that presented itself to improve Soviet security.

Diplomatic contact with Germany on economic matters had been maintained during the negotiations with Great Britain and France, and in June and July of 1939, Molotov was not indifferent to initial German approaches for an improvement in political relations. On August 15, the German ambassador proposed that Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister, should visit Moscow for direct negotiations with Stalin and Molotov, who in response suggested a non-aggression pact.

Ribbentrop flew to Moscow on August 23, and the Treaty of Nonaggression was signed in a few hours. By its terms the Soviet Union and Germany undertook not to attack each other either alone or in conjunction with other powers and to remain neutral if the other power became involved in a war with a third party. They further agreed not to participate in alliances aimed at the other state and to resolve disputes and conflicts by consultation and arbitration. With Hitler about to attack Poland, the usual provision in treaties of this nature, allowing one signatory to opt out if the other committed aggression against a third party, was missing. The agreement was for a ten – year period, and became active as soon as signed, rather than on ratification.

As significant as the treaty, and more notorious, was the Secret Additional Protocol that was attached to it, in which the signatories established their respective spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. It was agreed that "in the event of a territorial and political rearrangement" in the Baltic states, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia were in the USSR's sphere of influence and Lithuania in Germany's. Poland was divided along the rivers Narew, Vistula, and San, placing Ukrainian and Belorussian territories in the Soviet sphere of influence, together with a part of ethnic Poland in Warsaw and Lublin provinces. The question of the maintenance of an independent Poland and its frontiers was left open. In addition, Germany declared itself "disinterested" in Bessarabia.

The treaty denoted the USSR's retreat into neutrality when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and Great Britain and France declared war. Poland collapsed rapidly, but the USSR delayed until September 17 before invading eastern Poland, although victory was achieved within a week. From November 1939, the territory was incorporated in the USSR. Estonia and Latvia were forced to sign mutual assistance treaties with the USSR and to accept the establishment of Soviet military bases in September and October of 1939. Finnish resistance to Soviet proposals to improve the security of Leningrad through a mutual assistance treaty led to the Soviet – Finnish War (1939 – 1940). Lithuania was assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence in a supplementary agreement signed on September 28, 1939, and signed a treaty of mutual assistance with the USSR in October. Romania ceded Bessarabia following a Soviet ultimatum in June 1940.

It is often argued that, in signing the treaty, Stalin, who always believed that Hitler would attack the USSR for lebensraum, was seeking time to prepare the Soviet Union for war, and hoped for a considerably longer period than he received, for Germany invaded during June of 1941. Considerable efforts were made to maintain friendly relations with Germany between 1939 and 1941, including a November 1940 visit by Molotov to Berlin for talks with Hitler and Ribbentrop.

The Secret Protocol undermined the socialist foundations of Soviet foreign policy. It called for the USSR to embark upon territorial expansion, even if this was to meet the threat to its security presented by Germany's conquest of Poland. This may explain why, for a long period, the Secret Protocol was known only from the German copy of the document: The Soviet Union denied its existence, a position that Molotov maintained until his death in 1986. The Soviet originals were published for the first time in 1993.

In all Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, during August 1987, during the glastnost era, demonstrations on the anniversary of the pact were evidence of resurgent nationalism. In early 1990 the states declared their independence, the first real challenge to the continued existence of the USSR.

See also: germany, relations with molotov, vyacheslav mikhailovich world war ii