Many people give great credit to the USSR for their pivotal in the allies defeat of the Nazi regime. They say if it hadn’t been for the Soviets, the war could have lasted a lot longer and could have gone Germany’s way.
However, it can be argued that because of the USSR the war lasted longer. The did aligned themselves with the Nazis a few weeks before the start of WW2. For the first year and a half or so they fought along with the Nazis, in Poland.
On August 23, Germany and the USSR signed a non aggression pact.
The German-Soviet Pact was an agreement signed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It was negotiated by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Commonly called the German-Soviet Pact or the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it is also known as the Nazi-Soviet Pact or the Hitler-Stalin Pact.
On 23 August 1939, two Focke-Wulf Condors, containing German diplomats, officials, and photographers (about 20 in each plane), headed by Ribbentrop, descended into Moscow. As the Nazi emissaries stepped off the plane, a Soviet military band played “Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles”. The Nazi arrival was well planned, with all aesthetics in order. The classic hammer and sickle was propped up next to the swastika of the Nazi flag that had been used in a local film studio for Soviet propaganda films. After stepping off the plane and shaking hands, Ribbentrop and Gustav Hilger along with German ambassador Friedrich-Werner von der Schulenburg and Stalin’s chief bodyguard, Nikolai Vlasik, entered a limousine operated by the NKVD to travel to Red Square. The limousine arrived close to Stalin’s office and was greeted by Alexander Poskrebyshev, the chief of Stalin’s personal chancellery. The Germans were led up a flight of stairs to a room with lavish furnishings. Stalin and Molotov greeted the visitors, much to the Nazis’ surprise. It was well known that Stalin avoided meeting foreign visitors, and so his presence at the meeting showed how seriously that the Soviets were taking the negotiations.
In late July and early August 1939, Soviet and German officials agreed on most of the details of a planned economic agreement and specifically addressed a potential political agreement, which the Soviets stated could come only after an economic agreement.
Below are some impressions of the signing of the treaty.
The conclusion of the non-aggression pact between Germany and Soviet Russia gave a thorough rebuff to England’s encirclement methods. At the signing of the pact in the Kremlin. Mr. Stalin (right), Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop (centre) and the lecturer Legation Councilor Hencke (left).
“The Prussian Tribute in Moscow” in the Polish satirical newspaper Mucha of 8 September 1939.
Signing of the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). 23 August 1939,under the watchful eyes of Lenin.
The German-Soviet Pact consisted of two parts, one public and one secret. The public part was a non-aggression pact in which each signatory promised not to attack the other. They further promised that, should one of the two signatories be attacked by a third country, the other signatory would not provide assistance of any kind to the third country. In addition, they each agreed not to participate in any arrangement with other powers that was directly or indirectly aimed at the other. The non-aggression agreement was to last for ten years and be automatically renewed for an additional five years if neither signatory moved to end it.
The secret part of the pact was a protocol that established Soviet and German spheres of influence in eastern Europe. It recognized Estonia, Latvia, and Bessarabia as falling within the Soviet sphere. The signatories agreed to divide Poland along the line of the Narev, Vistula and San Rivers.
With the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in effect, Germany attacked 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. Just over two weeks later, on September 17, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. These events mark the beginning of World War II.
Germany and the Soviet Union then moved to take control of the spheres of influence delineated in the secret protocol of the non-aggression pact. They amended the protocol to assign Lithuania and the city of Vilnius (then Wilno, Poland) to the Soviet sphere and adjusted the boundary they had set in Poland. On September 29, 1939, they partitioned Poland between them. Germany occupied western and most of central Poland and proceeded to annex the western provinces to the Reich. The Soviet Union occupied and annexed the rest of Poland.
Who knows what would have happened of Stalin had not signed the treaty. Would Hitler still have invaded Poland. Basically it was a treaty designed and agreed by 2 men, who had no honor among them.
these photos were interesting. Thank you!
In the background of the signing of the treaty was the inability of the USSR to reach an agreement with England. Stalin needed allies. He had purged his generals and was buying time. The signing of a treaty with Japan in the Far East allowed him to move troops toward the West. While the treaty made a mockery of Communist ideology – remember the Spanish Civil War – secret protocols included the names of foreign agents living in Russia and Germany, useful to both totalitarian regimes. I suspect Stalin did not think Hitler would turn on him, suggesting he was as taken in by Hitler’s assurances just as Chamberlain had been taken in. He probably thought he could consolidate control over a buffer zone between Russia and the West.