The Secret Hitler-Stalin Pact - HISTORY
His alliance with Stalin allowed Hitler to fight a war of aggression on the relationship between the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the war itself. After Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia, Britain had to decide to what extent it would intervene should Hitler continue German. Seventy-five years ago, on 23 August , Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia stunned the world by announcing that they had concluded a.
Hitler and Stalin Joseph Stalin as depicted in Soviet propaganda Joseph Stalin was the leader of Soviet Russia from the mids until his death in Though Stalin and Adolf Hitler never met or spoke, their lives and their fates were inextricably linked.
Both men loathed and feared the other, yet there was much Hitler and Stalin had in common. Both were born into humble backgrounds, their early lives shaped by destitution and impoverishment. As young men, both were drawn to radical political movements.
- The Secret Hitler-Stalin Pact
- German–Soviet Axis talks
- When Stalin was Hitler's ally
Both became revolutionaries and unlikely national leaders, rising to power in the tumultuous years between the two world wars. Both promised progress, modernisation and better lives for their countrymen — but both were more concerned with consolidating and expanding their own power, rather than pleasing the people.
The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, – review | Books | The Guardian
Where the fates of Hitler and Stalin intersected, there would be little but war, conquest and misery for millions of Europeans. The infant Dzhugashvili contracted smallpox, a disease that left him with permanent facial scarring.
At the behest of his mother, Dzhugashvili entered a seminary to train for the priesthood — but he was soon expelled for behavioural problems and not paying his school fees. In he took a liking to the communist theories of Lenin and joined the fledgeling Bolshevik movement.
Dzughashvili was tasked with raising funds for the party through criminal means: Dzhugashvili soon became a wanted man: In he was appointed to the Bolshevik Central Committee to advise on racial minorities, chiefly because of his own Georgian background. In he became editor of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda. In the city of Voroshilovgrad today Luhanskfor example, Soviet authorities considered cases in the Polish Operation during the Czechoslovak crisis, and ordered executions.
In the regions of Soviet Ukraine adjacent to the Polish border, Soviet units went from village to village as death squads in September. Polish men were shot, Polish women and children were sent to the Gulag, and reports were filed later — over and over again. In the Zhytomyr region Soviet authorities sentenced a hundred people to death on 22 September, more on 23 September, and on 28 September.
That was the day that Hitler had set as the deadline for an invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Red Army was standing at the Polish border; and the NKVD had cleared the hinterland of suspicious elements by massive shootings and deportations of Poles, regarded as the enemy nation.
German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact
But instead the crisis was resolved. At Munich the leaders of Britain, France, Italy and Germany decided that Czechoslovakia should cede the territories that Hitler wanted.
This was a shameful action and is remembered as such today not only in Prague but in London, Paris and Washington. Soviet policy during those weeks is entirely forgotten. But the terror and mobilization provides a useful bit of background to Soviet policy after the next European crisis generated by Hitler did create the opportunity for a Soviet invasion of Poland.
The Soviet deportations of Polish citizens in repeated, on a smaller scale, the methods of the Great Terror. Beria, the head of the NKVD, established a special troika to deal rapidly with the files of all of the Polish prisoners of war.
He established a quota for the killings, as had been done in and In the Polish Operation of the Great Terror ofPolish men had been shot and the families deported to be exploited and denationalized. This was repeated in If the families of the executed men were in the Soviet zone, they were deported to the Gulag.
After the invasion of Poland, the next major Soviet act of aggression during the period of alliance with Nazi Germany was the invasion of Finland in November The winter war was a very costly victory for the Soviet Union, although the losses were much greater, in relative terms, for the much smaller target of invasion. A rehabilitation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is also a rehabilitation of that war. After sham referenda they were annexed to the Soviet Union.
These three small countries lost tens of thousands of citizens to deportations, including most of the elites. They were declared by Soviet law never to have existed, so that service to the state became a crime under Soviet law. They remember not only the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, but also the Nazi-Soviet Treaty on Borders and Friendship that followed, and the sham elections and propaganda in the Soviet zone that so resemble recent Russian actions in occupied Ukraine.
In the first variant, Moscow invites Poland to play the historical role of Germany, and partake in a division of Ukraine. No one in Warsaw took seriously such proposals. In the second variant, Moscow suggests to Berlin that Germany would be better suited if it acted as a great power, ignoring the new rules of the European Union and following the old rules of the interwar period.
Although this would be strategic idiocy for Germany, whose admirable power position depends precisely upon European integration, important German statesmen such as Gerhard Schroeder and Helmut Schmidt have taken meaningful steps towards endorsing this position. What is happening is the shift from one possible Russian memory of the war to another, a memory mutation with implications for all of Russia and all of Europe.
From to the Soviet Union was a German ally, fighting in the eastern theatre and supplying Germany with the minerals, oil and food needed to make war against Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and most importantly France and Britain.Warlords: Hitler vs Stalin (WW2 Leaders Documentary) - Timeline
During this stage of the war Stalin was eager to please Hitler, and in general fulfilled not only obligations of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the Treaty on Borders and Friendship but also specific requests of his German ally.
There was one major exception.
The Hitler-Stalin Pact
Stalin was perfectly aware of the plight of Jews in the German zone of Poland. Unsurprisingly he was completely uninterested in helping them. There was no sign of interest in Moscow. This was one of the few German requests that was not fulfilled during the period of the alliance. Soviet propaganda passed over the first war in silence and celebrated Soviet feats of arms in the second.
Given the millions of Soviet citizens killed by the Germans this made perfect political sense.
German–Soviet Axis talks - Wikipedia
In this telling of Soviet history, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact had to be denied: After all, it allowed German troops to approach the Soviet Union well before the invasion ofit aided Germany to become the European power that almost reached Moscow, and it created a false sense of complacency in the Kremlin.
Stalin refused to believe that Germany would invade in He dismissed more than a hundred intelligence warnings of the coming invasion as British propaganda, and was caught completely off guard. In the decades that followed the war, the Soviet Union wanted to present itself as a power that stood for peace. For Hitler, the pact provided a guarantee that he could invade first Poland, then France and most of the rest of western Europe, without having to worry about any threat from the east.
For Stalin, it allowed a breathing space in which to build up armed forces that had been severely damaged by the purges of the previous years, as his botched invasion of Finland showed. It also gave him the chance to expand the Soviet Union to include parts of the old Russian empire of pre-revolutionary times.
Moorhouse is right, therefore, to insist that for Stalin the pact was not merely defensive, though he goes too far when he claims it was a golden opportunity for the Soviet leader "to set the world-historical forces" of revolution in motion. Moorhouse tells a good story and, though it has been told before, notably in Anthony Read and David Fisher's The Deadly Embracehe is able to add interesting new details.
Yet for all its virtues this is a deeply problematic book.
Page after page is devoted to a detailed description of the horrors inflicted by Stalin and his minions on the territories the pact allowed him to occupy, with mass arrests and deportatations, shootings, torture and expropriation. The shooting of thousands of Polish army officers by the Soviet secret police in Katyn Forest and elsewhere has been well known for decades, like the brutal deportation of over a million Poles to Siberia and Central Asia, but much of the material provided by Moorhouse on the Baltic states is relatively new and makes sobering reading.
None of this, however, is balanced by any comparable treatment of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in Poland following their occupation of the western part of the country: