I am intending to follow historical articles by linear time line way from the old to the present, but date 39.23.08. is far too important to miss its 70 anniversary. For it was the Non-aggression pact between National socialist Germany and Socialist Communist Soviet Union that changed the lives of millions and continued to perceive its hard burden on generations to come. The pact inevitably lead to World War II and destruction of three Baltic republics, Poland and many other sovereign countries for years to come. Speculations of reasons signing this criminal agreement and theories of its importance continues on both academic and public fields. Since the fall of Soviet Union the discussion has become stronger with fanatical factions of historians and writers and movie directors who tries push their point of view on this agreement.
In the late thirties the danger of Nazi Germany has become the center of attention. Adolf Hitler was eagerly convinced that the injustice of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) needs to be terminated, and that included annexing of lost territories by any means necessary. First the Rheinland in 1936, then Austria in 1938, and finally the Czechoslovakia in 1939. This could be done because of rather slowminnded British-French appeasement policies who tried to ”appease” Hitler by filing his demands. After occupation of Czechoslovakia it was clear that Hitlers appetite for more lands has not gone weaker and now he was committed to get even larger peace of land namely Poland. British and French politicians now begun to look for a way to stop Hitler. And thats were the Moscow came in. Since Germans would fear from two front war the British-French agreement with Soviets it was the only possible solution to avoid war. But de facto leader General secretary of Communist Party Joseph Stalin had other plans.
After the death of Wladimir Lenin in 1924. slowly and steady Stalin took power of whole Communist party and the Soviet Union. Before him the main goal by leaders such as Lenin or Trotsky was to trigger world scale socialist revolution. This was attempted in 1917.-1922. but ended in failure. Stalin took more pragmatic approach on “building Socialism in sole state”. However the hope for new world revolution newer vanished from Stalin’s mind and the speech made by Stalin in 1939. 19. august showed that Stalin has a point of view of present events on its own. The speech is considered fabricated by some, but most modern historians agree that it actually took place.
In the speech Stalin rightfully acknowledges the position of Soviet Union in the possible war and peace solution as the primary. If Soviet Union makes deal with France and UK the Germany will be forced to cancel its invasion plans on Poland. The Germans would be forced to look for modus vivendi with Western powers. But that would be disadvantageous for Soviet Union or even dangerous. Instead he proposed signing agreement with Germany. On this basis the Germany will attack Poland and war between Germany and France and UK would be inevitable. On this scenario the Soviet Union could wait for suitable moment to enter war itself, but before it can have free hand on Baltic nations and Romanian ex-Russian possession the Bessarabia (nowadays Moldova) and more nations in Eastern Europe. In conclusion he emphasized again that war between The Reich and capitalist French-British block is in the “interest of workers motherland” and that the war “must continue as long it can and exhausts the both sides” If this speech has taken place and by most word it has than its clear explanation why Soviets signed the pact with Germans not with British.
There were a attempts of making talks with western powers before the 23. august, French and British diplomats arrived by ship to Leningrad but no progress was made since Stalin showed little interest and delayed the talks making them dead-end. British and French were also not ready sign any agreement if it would meant the annexation of Baltic states and making border with Germany even thought the Poland was still in between.
After the western-soviet talks failed in 19. august the Soviet People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov met the German ambassador Verner Fridrich fon der Shulenburg and stated that the Soviet government is ready to meet German Foriegn Minister Joahim fon Ribentrop in Moscow. He gave him project of non aggression pact which gave anything Germany could wanted, but only if a secret protocol regarding foreign issues would be included. Ribentrop was to welcomed at 26. august. But Hitler was not fully satisfied for his plan was to attack Poland on 26. august. So he wrote a personal letter to “mister Stalin” informing him that he supports the project of the agreement but wishes to arrange Ribentrops arrival on 22. or 23. august for the situation between Germany and Poland is “tense and unbearable”. The last phraze was intended to make Stalin believe that war could occur any moment.
On afternoon of 23. august Ribentrop arrived on Moscow by plane and the talks begun. The “polish problem” was solved easily but Baltic states made some difficulties. Hitler set the border of the ”sphere of interest” across river Daugava therefore splitting Latvia in half between Germans and Soviets. This was not tolerated by Stalin who wanted all ports of Curland. Ribentrop was forced to send telegram asking Hitler what to do. Hitler did not bother to argue on Baltic problem and gave rest of Latvia to Soviets. Lithuania was left to Germany. So now everything was ready to sign one of the criminal deal of the history of mankind. Finland, Estonia, Latvia and part of Poland and Romania was sold by Hitler to Stalin to make his desired attack on Poland. These nations were marked as a ”Soviet sphere of interest”, meaning that they are free for invasion, occupation and annexation. It was dead pact for Poland and for Baltic states in the next year. It is an open question what would Hitler do if there is no non-aggression pact signed. Would he still risk to attack Poland even if could mean war in two fronts? Other question was the Hitler was aware that attack on Poland could cause declaration of war from France and UK. Numerous sources states that Hitler was convinced that Brits and French would stay neutral and when he learned that they have declared war, he in deep shock asked “What now?”.
But what we know is that the secret protocol of 23. august and two later signed which changed the borders, by adding more land to Soviet Union, destroyed Poland in 1939. causing the outbreak of Second World war, took 10% of territory from Finland in a result of Winter war in 1939.-1940. That the protocols caused the end of three Baltic nations annexing them in Soviet Union for next 50. years, that it caused the annexation of Bessarabia from Romania which is now an independent country of Moldova. The Moldova is direct result of Molotov-Ribentrop pact. And that a large lands now in Belarus and Ukraine once belonged to Poland. The protocols affected life’s of millions for they made World War II possible. The effects of Molotov-Ribentrop pact will probably will newer be fully repaired. The only success is restoration of Baltic states independence. In 1989. 23. august marking the date a large protest demonstration called the “Baltic Way” took place. People from all three Baltic nations gathered in live chain from Vilnius to Tallin showing unity against unjustified Soviet regime. That showed that the end of Soviet Union a country that helped to cause the Second World war is drawing near.