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1939: Before the Pact. (Part 2)

But other significant events took place in Europe besides the Spanish war. Among them: the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany, the occupation and the division of Czechoslovakia, the occupation of Memel (in Lithuania)... These events showed Nazi's readiness to begin a big war in Europe. And lack of reactions from Britain and France showed that they couldn't fight and they did not will to fight against Nazi Germany. Moreover, after Munich Betrayal Stalin had to assume that Western Democracies agreed with Central and Eastern Europe to be Nazi's semi-colony or sphere of influence.

So, the opposition of USSR and German Bloc (Nazi Germani with occupied Austria and Czechia; Italy; Hungary; Slovakia) had formed in Central Europe by summer 1939. These states were united by treaties and interests in common. The USSR was separated from the Bloc by buffer countries: Poland, Latvia, Romania. So Poland was the main safety catch against the war in Europe. But in Czechoslovakia Poland acted as Hitler's ally. And it (from Soviet Government's point of view) would be able to take Germany's side in possible Nazi-Soviet conflict. Moreover all in government of USSR believed that in the Versal system Poland was main counterbalance for USSR in Eastern Europe. Also Poland was believed the least friendly country among the neighbours.

We have described the situation having developed in spring 1939. It was required to find powerfull allies for the USSR. Or the USSR and Germany had to become reconciled. A big and bloody war was the only alternative. Soviet diplomacy went the both ways, since emergency alternatives is always required in diplomatic games.


But is summer 1939 the situation was getting worse. Small Soviet - Japan war in the Nomongan area (Mongolia) began in last days of May. And big war in Manchuria could be declared every day. By the way, it is likely the date of beginnig of World War II could be changed since the Red Army and regular army of Japan took part in Nomongan conflict, and since activity of USSR in Europe depended on course of events in Nomongan area. Simultaneously N. Chamberlain put a pig Stalin when began negotiations with Japan to resolve all the contradictions in China (July 15). Thus the Japanese government was indirectly stimulated to expand the conflict with the USSR.

Since the war at Far East had begun and since a probability of a big war in Europe was increasing, Stalin had to do something to escape fighting on two fronts. But having analised international politics Soviet Leader concluded the USSR was moving towards international isolation. And they was forced to think so by activities of British government, which traditionally ignored russian interests during in Europe and in Asia.


But considering international situation we must also take into account interests of the Soviet State. It's mission was "sovetization" of the whole world. But the mission could not be performed in short run. But the weaker all other big states in Europe the closer accomplishment of the mission. So a big war was desirable for Soviet leaders, but they needed a long siting war (like WWI). But there was no guarantee of long war. So Soviet leaders had not to wish a war in Europe (especially until end of the Nomongan conflict).

But the USSR had more realistic objects. And they were related withn revision of WWI results in Eastern Europe. Some revisions of borders of Finland and Estonia (or dissappearence of this states) were required to improve state security. Also were required to return some territories loct according the Riga treaty and to make Poland weaker. But also existed a long list of territories in Europe and in Far East which Soviets not needed but wanted.

Priority of the territorial interests was lower than priority of security. But any interrnational treaty nearinig the USSR to its territorial goals would be preferable.

Also it should be noted that the USSR in 1939 was much closer to economical autonomity than Russian Empire in 1914. But in 1939 the USSR was importing products of mechanical enginiring and exporting agricultural products and raw materials. Therefore a war in Europe would be harmfull for Soviet economics because of losing a significant share of foreign trade. And remembering technological weakness in sphere of weapons (revealed during the Spanish war) the Soviet leaders had to maintain peace in Europe for several years. Unfortunately it could be more advantageous for USSR to maintain during a big war economical relations with Germany, than with Britain and France. The main reason was safety of transportation.


We cann't prove, that Soviet leaders had described priority list. But it could be confirmed by distribution of State expenditures in previous years. The largest share of the State expenditures was intended for defence, then economics. But expenditures for export of revolution were reducing during previous 10 years.

Предыдущее: Introduction. 1939: Before the Pact.  Следующее: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Did real alternatives appear?

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