Molotov-Von Ribbentrop Agreement

The Soviet Union had not been able to reach a collective security agreement with Britain and France against Nazi Germany, especially at the time of the Munich Conference of September 1938. In early 1939, the Soviets faced the prospect of virtually opposing German military expansion in Eastern Europe on their own, and so they began to seek a change in policy. On 3 May 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dismissed Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov, who was Jewish and a defender of collective security, and replaced him with Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, who soon enlisted negotiations with Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. The Soviets continued to negotiate with Britain and France, but in the end, Stalin decided to make a deal with Germany. He hoped to keep the Soviet Union at peace with Germany and buy time for building the Soviet military establishment, which was greatly weakened by the cleansing of the Red Army officer corps in 1937. The reluctance of Western democracies to oppose Adolf Hitler, as well as Stalin`s own unspoken personal penchant for nazis, also played a role in Stalin`s final election. For his part, Hitler wanted a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union so that his armies could invade Poland virtually without the resistance of a great power, which allowed Germany to confront the armed forces of France and Britain in the West, without having to simultaneously fight the Soviet Union on a second front in the East. But earlier on the same day, Britain and France reacted, knowing that the Soviet Nazi agreement was in default by forming their promise to Poland in a treaty in which they declared that everyone would fight to defend Poland if it was attacked. On August 25, 1939, the New York Times published a cover of Otto D. Tolischus, „Nazi Talks Secret,“ subtitled „The Soviet and the Empire Fit the East.“ [93] On August 26, 1939, the New York Times reported japanese anger[94] and French communist surprise[95] over the pact. However, on the same day, Tolischus presented a story in which he noted the advance of Nazi troops near Gleiwitz (now Gliwice), which led, on August 31, 1939, to the Gleiwitz Incident under false flag. [96] On August 28, 1939, the New York Times again reported fear of a Gleiwitz robbery. [97] On August 29, 1939, the New York Times reported that the Supreme Soviet had failed on its first day of convening to respond to the pact.

[98] On the same day, the New York Times of Montreal, Canada, also reported that American professor Samuel N. Harper of the University of Chicago had publicly expressed his belief that „the Russian-German non-aggression pact hides an agreement that Russia and Germany could have planned spheres of influence for Eastern Europe.“ [99] On August 30, 1939, the New York Times reported Soviet rearmament on its western borders through the transfer of 200,000 troops from the Far East. [100] The reassessment of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact began in 2005, when Putin compared it to the Munich agreement and accused the Baltic states of attacking Russia „to conceal the shame of collaboration.“