The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

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23. August 1939

In the 1930s, attitudes in the defeated countries of the WWI, especially in Germany which was lead by ultra right wing National Socialist German Worker's Party, were turning ultra nationalistic and revengeful.
Militaristic Soviet Union, which behind the explanation of proletarian revolution, wished to regain former territories of the Russian Empire in Eastern Europe, seconded German Reich.
Germany's aggressive escalated with each year: in 1938, all of Austria was tied to German Reich, and based on the Munich Treaty signed on September 29, large part of Czechoslovakia went to Germany.
In March 1939, Klaipeda (Memel) region, belonging to Lithuania, was occupied.

Threat of a war breaking out in Europe increased. Poland was most likely Germany's next target, but Nazis understood that this step would unleash the war. Thus, they began to acquire Soviet Union's, their former ideological archenemy's support, or at least a promise of not getting involved.
On June 7, 1939, Germany signed a non-aggression treaty with Estonia and Latvia, which signaled Moscow, that Germany had no interest in these areas. After Great Britain and France failed in their attempt to strike a anti-Nazi alliance with the Soviet Union, Germany got its chance to open up negotiations with Russia.
On August 23, 1939, German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet commissar of foreign affairs, Vjatcheslav Molotov signed, as an unpleasant surprise to the Western countries, a non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, which in the history writing is known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP).

Both countries, one ultra right and the other one ultra left wing, acknowledged each other on the international level and promised to avoid any military conflict between each other. A secret protocol was added to the document, according to which the Eastern Europe was divided into spheres of influence: Germany received western Poland and Lithuania, latter went to the Soviet Union with later treaties; Soviet Union gained eastern Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Bessarabia (modern Moldova). Thus, the fate of several countries and nations had been arbitrarily sealed.

 Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                       
Image source: http://www.apk2000.dk/netavisen/billeder/hist_int/molotov-ribbentrop.jpg  http://kultuur.elu.ee/491/ke491_Molotov-Ribbentrop.jpg


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