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The current time is: 10/23/2017 8:34:10 PM
 (1939-1945) WWII Battles
AuthorMessage
Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2775
German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/27/2017 10:08:30 PM
How could dreaded enemies Nazi Germany & Communist Russia sign a treaty?? Hitler & Stalin despised each other! Who initiated the pact, and did either take it seriously? Or was it just a stop gap to split territory and prepare for a future terrifying conflict!?

[Read More]

What say you?
Soviets & Nazis friends??
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

RuudSp
, Posts: 16
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/28/2017 3:39:28 PM
Never have the western allies been more stupid than in the weeks before this treaty was signed. They were doomed the moment Litvinov was replaced by Molotov.
The nazis and soviets never were friends. They thought they had outwitted each other.

kaii
Edinburgh, UK
Posts: 1884
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/28/2017 5:08:31 PM

Quote:
Never have the western allies been more stupid than in the weeks before this treaty was signed. They were doomed the moment Litvinov was replaced by Molotov.
The nazis and soviets never were friends. They thought they had outwitted each other.
--RuudSp


Exactly, they both needed more time before fighting each other and both thought they had got the better deal from the pact.

Strategically it made sense for both parties to sign when they did.

K
---------------
A fool and his money are soon elected.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 466
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/28/2017 7:00:49 PM
For Germany it was a way to keep the Soviet Army from smashing into the Wehrmacht in the middle of Poland.

For the Soviets it was a pragmatic decision. The English and French couldn't/wouldn't guarantee support if the Red Army objected to the invasion of Poland.

Poland didn't want two hostile armies in their country. They just didn't know how to stop it.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/

Scroll down to "Words of Peace, Words of War", and the Color Books section to read what each side was saying. The Pact is there as well.

For Historiography class at Purdue I did a paper on "The Effects of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on Soviet Cinema." My prof was stunned that I had a complete paper.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1315
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/28/2017 7:37:19 PM
I agree with both Ruud and Kai. At the same time ...

The non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia did not happen in a vacuum, and its validity as a treaty was as sound as any of the countless other treaties and agreements "binding" various European nations to one another.On September 30, 1938, GB and France make a mockery of their treaties both with each other and with Czechoslovakia. By April 1, 1939, German actions and pressures not just in the Czech rump and Slovakia, but throughout Eastern Europe, simply reinforced German refusal to recognize earlier promises and treaties.

My point? The non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia was no less hollow than many other pacts and treaties agreed to by European nations during the years between the wars.

During the Spring and Summer of 1939 there was (at least in theory) an attempt to arrange an Anglo-Franco-Russian accord. It failed largely because of the insulting approach taken by Britain and France towards dealing with a soviet state. There were "informal" discussions between German and British politicians under the auspices Birger Dahlerus, a Swedish industrialist. There was the ill-fated and almost comical Roosevelt request that everybody play nicely together in the sandbox. There was a French promise to Poland that its army would march into Germany 15 days after mobilization. And ... just to tag a different kind of insanity to this insane list ... there was the issue of Danzig, a perfectly justified concern for germanic groups drawn by Nazi cultural imperatives.

In light of all such nonsense, I don't see the non-aggression pact negotiated between Ribbentrop and Molotov as any more flawed than hosts of other treaties being signed across Europe. It may have been more cynical, but only to a degree.

I think it pretty easy to see what Germany gained from the treaty: protection from a two-front war; continuing supplies of strategic materials; relative stability of Eastern European borders (except in Poland). Soviet gains are less obvious to me, to be honest, but secure borders, better configuration of political and geographical borders and time to rebuild military forces all come to mind.

While Germany gained protection against a two-front war and allowed it to swallow much of Poland, Scandinavia and Western Europe, it's impossible to believe that the German military didn't realize the non-aggression pact with Russia ceded territory it would have to retake later. I would expect it looked like a good trade at the time.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2775
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/30/2017 8:09:48 AM

Quote:
For Germany it was a way to keep the Soviet Army from smashing into the Wehrmacht in the middle of Poland.

For the Soviets it was a pragmatic decision. The English and French couldn't/wouldn't guarantee support if the Red Army objected to the invasion of Poland.

Poland didn't want two hostile armies in their country. They just didn't know how to stop it.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/

Scroll down to "Words of Peace, Words of War", and the Color Books section to read what each side was saying. The Pact is there as well.

For Historiography class at Purdue I did a paper on "The Effects of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on Soviet Cinema." My prof was stunned that I had a complete paper.
--OpanaPointer




The Pact sure wasn't good news for Poland.


MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 466
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/30/2017 5:54:26 PM

Quote:

Quote:
For Germany it was a way to keep the Soviet Army from smashing into the Wehrmacht in the middle of Poland.

For the Soviets it was a pragmatic decision. The English and French couldn't/wouldn't guarantee support if the Red Army objected to the invasion of Poland.

Poland didn't want two hostile armies in their country. They just didn't know how to stop it.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/

Scroll down to "Words of Peace, Words of War", and the Color Books section to read what each side was saying. The Pact is there as well.

For Historiography class at Purdue I did a paper on "The Effects of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on Soviet Cinema." My prof was stunned that I had a complete paper.
--OpanaPointer




The Pact sure wasn't good news for Poland.


MD
--Michigan Dave

I can't think of anything that was in 1939.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2775
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/31/2017 8:22:25 AM
In Hitler's own words, why he broke the Pact with Russia!

[Read More]

I don't know which was more stupid of Hitler declaring war on the US? or invading Russia!?

His Generals had to be shaking their heads!?
What say you?
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1315
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 7/31/2017 9:40:30 PM
Thanks for that link, MD. It's always fascinating to watch Der Fuhrer work the faithful, and to hear the planted pleas from the crowd. This isn't his best speech, IMHO, and I find the need to offer screen shots from all over the time period of WW2 distracting, but most of Hitler's signature bits seem to be there in one form or another. Sadly, my German is so weak now that I can't follow the nuances of the speech.

If you want an experience, track down a digitally-enhanced copy of Leni Rieffenstahl's Triumf Des Willens. If possible, watch the short edition. It is a propaganda masterpiece, and gives a wonderful sense of what it was to be a Nazi in the mid-1930s.

As to your: {quote]I don't know which was more stupid of Hitler declaring war on the US? or invading Russia!?

His Generals had to be shaking their heads!?
I don't know that he felt he had any real choice with either decision. The US decision is often seen as the more foolish, but in truth the US and Germany were at war before 42.12.07. It was simply undeclared. Lend-Lease; convoy support; frozen assets: there was no doubt which side the US was on. Some of the speech you linked MHO to would have served to explain his thinking re the US: he was the soul of patience, the one who ignored threats and hostilities, the diplomat struggling to maintain peace at all costs, but he had staunch allies he would not desert, he was part of a powerful coalition, and could not allow the German Völk to be threatened without retaliation.

Soviet Russia was not really all that different a proposition. It's not just the fascist/bolshevik dichotomy at issue, though the treatment of Communists and Socialists from Jan 30, 1933 was blatantly aggressive. It was also the Nazi concepts of Lebensraum and Kultur, both vital to the mythos of germanic history, which required the Slavs to be slaughtered for the good of the Reich.

I continue to sense that Hitler's Germany would have collapsed without some attempt at gaining "Lebensraum", which had been a key to Nazi rhetoric even before Mein Kampf. I have pondered what might have happened had Germany regained it's colonies through Anglo-French appeasement, but not all that seriously. None of the colonies was Aryan, so although they may have provided various industrial, agricultural or mineral resources, it would have been at the expense of the native populations: Jews were not alone in being beneath contempt: so were Slavs, Romani, and indigenous Africans.

IIRC, there is a passage in Herman Wouk's War and Remembrance where a Nazi General is sharing some post-coital time with his mistress. He has a map of Eurasia in bed with them, and is explaining to his Liebschen how Germany ("this bit here, Liebschen") is going to invade Soviet Russia ("this large bit here, Liebe"). The mistress looks at her General lover and asks a single question: "Has der Fuhrer seen this map?"

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2775
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 8/1/2017 7:44:09 PM
Brian,

Your welcome, & thanks for your astute, & entertaining response,

there is a fine line between genius, & madness!?

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1315
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 8/1/2017 9:27:23 PM
Dave, just the most interesting coincidence.

I was seeing my cardiologist today, so took a book along with me in case he was running late. The book was Terry Charman's The Day We Went to War (2009), a Virgin Books publication in association with the Imperial War Museum. Good volume, is somewhat mis-named.

As I was sitting and waiting, I read the following entry for 11 August, 1939, datelined Obersalzberg. I offer it in full because it boggles the mind to think that any nation was quite so open about its intentions:
League of Nations High Commissioner in Danzig, Swiss diplomat Carl Burckhardt, has an audience with Hitler, 'the most profoundly feminine man' he has ever encountered. Burckhardt also has never met before 'any human being capable of generating so terrific a condensation of envy, vituperation and malice' as Hitler does. The Fuehrer tells Burckhardt that 'the Polish army already has the mark of death stamped on its countenance'. Then Hitler, with astonishing frankness, tells the Swiss that everything he is undertaking is fundamentally aimed at Russia, just as he wrote in Mein Kampf back in 1925. If Britain and France are so stupid as not to recognize this, he tells the Swiss diplomat, then he will be forced to join with Russia in order to annihilate them. Then, he will turn on Russia and gain the Lebensraum (living space), so vital for the German race. Back home in Basle, Burckhardt reports the conversation to British and French diplomats. He fails, however, to mention Hitler's remarks about Russia because he believes 'a German-Soviet pact was simply too absurd to contemplate'. (p. 45)

I sometimes find myself less than comfortable with such entries, particularly in hindsight. Somewhere, I am certain, this tiny gem exists in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. But it has, of course, been chosen in after the fact. Nonetheless, there is much to consider, if the contents meeting are similar to what Burckhardt reported. This meeting took place, it sould be noted, three weeks before the invasion of Poland (and just two weeks before Hitler's chosen date, until the possibility of a Germano-Russian pact arose).

In light of your comment concerning the fine line between genius and madness, this brief interchange in Obersalzberg deserves considerable thought. At least IMHO.

Cheers
Brian G

PS: BTW, The Day We Went to War is shaping up to be a decent read. Sez he who has now reached p. 55!
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2775
Re: German-Soviet Non-agression Pact!?
Posted on: 8/4/2017 9:52:59 AM
Thanks Bri,

I'll have to check that book out!?

MD

---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."