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Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Did real alternatives appear?

So, international situation for the USSR was not good in spring 1939. There was an aggressive bloc against the USSR which at least included Germany, Italy and Japan. Taking in consideration defeat in the Spanish War against Germany (see previous page), we must conclude that Stalin (simly to save USSR) had to avoid a big war or had to find mighty allies.

The Crisis 1939 in Europe started in March with occupation of Czechia by Germany, Hungary and Poland. (Poland acted as Nazi's ally. And it is a very important fact!) It was followed by Hitler's ultimatum to Poland (Marth 21, 1939). Hitler's claims weren't looked excessive (from Stalin's point of view). If the Government of Poland had agreed with the claims then Poland would lose a slight part of territory, but Poland would be enabled to participate in campaign against the USSR. (May be it was impossible for polish leaders, but their behavior was impredictible. And Stalin had to assume possibility of Nazi-Polish alliance.) In any case the big war could begin every day. And the USSR wasn't ready. Therefore Soviets started conversations with Nazi (to avoid war) and with New Entante (to create powerfull alliane) almost simultaneously. In middle of April 1931 a project of three-power agreement (with GB and France) was proposed by Soviet Government to garantee reciprocal obligations in case of Germany's aggression and to protect buffer countries of Eastern Europe. And first conversations witn Nazi dated by that April too!

No acceptable answers from the Western powers were received until end of April 1939. And Stalin resigned his narcom (minister) of foreign affairs M. Litvinov and appointed V. Molotov (May, 3). Fast Soviet Nazi rapprochement was started with conversations on trade treaty. But it wasnt so advantageous for Stalin (as new Entante).

But in that period the Western Powers prompted the Soviet Union indirectly to sign MRP. First, Britain and France answered on soviet proposals, but too late. Second, no influential western politician visited Moscow to take part in conversations. Third, the Mongolian - Japan border conflict began in summer 1939, but (for Russians) Japan was British ally. Nevertheless Molotov began political conversations with Western representatives. But conversations with Nazi were more successful. That is Hitler was more interested in some agreements with Stalin.

In July 1939 Soviet government proposed to discuss a military convention against Germany. But new conversations werent started till middle of August. And new Western representatives had no rights to sign any treaty. But in same time very effective British Japan conversations were finished with signing new treaty concerning some conflicts in China. So Stalin had to think that Western powers less interesting in alliance with the USSR then in alliance with Japan. Moreover Stalin could think that Britain wished to involve Russia in big war in Far East.

So conversations with Western delegation were only a cover for new conversations with Germany, which finished by signing Moloto-Ribbentrop Pact (at night 23.08.1939).


Frankly speaking it was Soviet diplomacy who created very dangerous political situation in Europe. But from other hand it was required during the Nomongan conflict to make western borders of the USSR more secure; and to create stable buffer against Western powers. So Soviet Nazi rapprochement was forced (at least partly). And Stalin finally decided to enter into alliance with Nazi only after Hitler had offered a half of Poland.

But remember that in 1939 Germany seemed too weak to win the war. And all Soviet Nazi territorial treaties would have no significance after likely Hitlers defeat. Hence in any case Stalin gained only a time to make his army ready for big war in Europe. And situation could be the opposite if British government would be more active. Faster answer on the Soviet proposals in April 1939; solid guarantees of security for the Soviet Union in case Nazi Polish alliance; political pressing Poland, Finland and Japan this measures could cardinal change political situation in Eastern Europe. But London was ignoring Soviet interests in favour of nationalistic (for Moscow = almost nazi) regime in Warsaw. That is why London and Paris got MRP and WWII in 1939.

: 1939: Before the Pact. (Part 2)  :

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