The Hitler-Stalin Pact - HISTORY
His tactics involved using the threat of violence to achieve his aims. His foreign policy successes in the s were to make him a very popular figure in Germany. For the next five years Poland and Germany were to enjoy cordial relations. Both Hitler and Mussolini sent aid to General Franco who was fighting against. way the letter also expressed, as we shall see, the foreign policy that Stalin was In this situation, Soviet policy aimed to expand trade relations with capitalist a relationslhip founded on slhared adlversity and interlocking revisionist goals, For a time during the tense summer of Communists and Nazis shared. Stalin thus shares responsibility for Hitler's rise to power in and its The dynamics of Soviet foreign relations changed drastically after Stalin . Stalin's actual aim in this case was to acquire more than one vote in the.
There were other, more subtle reasons that were important to Stalin. Principally there was a defensive consideration, the Western militaries were impressive but an alliance would complicate their capitalist conviction to work against Russia. Stalin also wanted participation in the occupation of Japan, a North African trusteeship, revision of the Montreux treaty, and most importantly, reparations from Germany and a say in its post-war administration.
These could only be achieved in the context of Allied unity. Stalin therefore had to change his Eastern European approach. Whilst his aim of spreading Soviet influence remained the same, to keep the Grand Alliance Stalin could not openly impose revolution through murders and deportation as he had done previously. Roosevelt had sold the war to the American people as a crusade for liberal democratic values as expressed in the Atlantic Charter, and he induced the Allies to endorse this programme.
If Stalin flaunted this Roosevelt might not survive, and the Grand Alliance would go with him. To keep the alliance alive and to spread Soviet influence, Stalin had to change his tactics, and ordered the Comintern not to push for revolution, but rather to stress the common threat of fascism.
Stalin himself made light of world revolution at Tehran, saying: The National Front strategy was implemented across Europe to draw the masses towards communism without antagonising the West.
The purpose of these instructions was also made clear; Stalin stressed Allied solidarity and the need to preserve the alliance. This strategy was a response to the democratic and liberal policies of the Western Powers, who refused to talk about borders until the peace. It was a way of achieving Soviet predominance in Eastern Europe without Western condemnation that might damage the Grand Alliance. Some historians have argued that this was not the case and that Stalinist foreign policy was ad hoc, reactive and opportunistic.
Similar messages were sent out to the Communist parties throughout Europe in both East and West. However, despite this, one must also remember that there were incidents throughout the war where Stalin made it very difficult for the West to believe that he did indeed intend on maintaining the Alliance.
By ending relations with the Polish Government in Exile in for example, he was hardly showing his commitment to Alliance. Furthermore, throughout the war he pursued policies that were often utterly unacceptable to the Allies, importantly leaving the Polish Home Army to be slaughtered by the Germans in Warsaw, July-Octoberdespite the Red Army being only ten kilometres away.
Glantz has argued that the Red Army was not in a position to take Warsaw at that time however, even if that was the case, refusal to allow Allied planes to operate in Soviet territory to assist the Poles was inexcusable. However, Stalin did not see such actions as obstacles to a post-war peace. To Stalin, the Poles were an enemy. Furthermore, it is likely that he underestimated Allied concerns about Warsaw. For Stalin, Allied disquiet over Warsaw seemed remarkable.
Towards the end of the war the National Front Strategy evidently failed to achieve its objectives. Nowhere in Europe did the Communists succeed in winning a critical-mass of support, and they could not hold onto power without resorting to dictatorial methods and the brute strength of the Red Army, something that was antagonistic to the Western Alliance.
Although ultimately the National Front strategy did not work, its adoption in was a clear response to the policies of the Allies whom the Soviets realized they had to work with to defeat fascism. Stalin succeeded in bringing socialism to Eastern Europe, but not by methods he would have preferred, at a cost he had hoped not to pay. Poland was the key to Soviet security, and to create the strong and friendly Poland Stalin wanted, a government made up of the London Poles was unacceptable as they were unwilling to play the role of a client state.
Although it was an anathema to the British, Stalin felt he needed his Polish buffer-zone, and ultimately stopped at nothing to achieve it.
In his very earliest exchanges with Churchill, Stalin wrote: As the situation grew more desperate, Stalin pleaded: This objective remained constant, despite repeated changes in Allied policies: In April Roosevelt wrote to Stalin hinting of a possible second front, and in Washington in May Molotov pushed this, stressing the precarious Russian situation and arguing that if forty division were to be drawn off the Eastern Front that year, the subsequent Russian breakthrough could end the war before Roosevelt however told Molotov that he did have hope for a second front in and that this would be more practical if the Soviets were to reduce their demands for supplies from 8 million tons to 2 million, thereby freeing up ships to transport men to Britain.
Roosevelt was genuinely concerned about the Eastern situation. Churchill however, believed the Mediterranean strategy offered the highest chances for success. Stalin, responding to what Roosevelt had told Molotov, did agree to reduce his demand for supplies, he was therefore sacrificing one of his objectives to try and secure another. However, this was not what the British had in mind, and at the final negotiations back in London, Churchill suggested a small raid at most, making this very clear to Molotov in an aide-memoir stating that the British government was not bound by any definite obligations on the second front.
Stalin dropped the conciliatory, quid pro quo approach that he had adopted when sacrificing supplies for a second front and now put pressure on the Allies by questioning their resolve and by allowing his anger and suspicions to rise to the surface.
The fact that the region was a DMZ provided additional security for France against any future German aggression.
Neither Britian or France reacted to this obvious violation of the Versailles Treaty, further convincing Stalin that neither country could be trusted. Indeed, Hitler had counted on the fact that France would do nothing. France did not feel that they had the military might to defeat Hitler's troops alone.
Britain had made it clear that she had no interest in getting involved in a fight that, win or loose, did not affect her sovereignty. As a result, France's allies in Eastern Europe learned that they could not count on French assistance in the future. Needless to say, distrust was rampant in Europe; a fact that basically gave Hitler free run to establish his troops where ever he pleased.
Stalin had figured out that none of the European nations could be trusted nor could he predict what their policies would be at any given time. Since the primary focus was protecting ones self against the growing Nazi threat, Stalin turned to secret negotiations and arrangements with Germany. Hitler was willing to work out the details of positive relations with the Soviets, but only after Stalin was securely established as the absolute dictator of the Soviet Union.
During this time mid to late sStalin was busy with his purges, including eliminating most of the Red Army's general officers.
Hitler did not consider Stalin's position guaranteed, yet. While Stalin was secretly working toward a relationship with Hitler, the Comintern called for the formation of a Popular Front government which would bring together socialists and communists against Hitler's Nazis Stalin would dissolve the Comintern in Stalin's last attempt at gaining alliances with Britain and France was at the Munich Conference in September of Angered by being flatly rejected, he fired Maksim Litvinov and replaced him with V.
The agreement was signed on August 23,in Moscow. The main points were: Germany and the Soviet Union agreed not to attack each other or support a third party attack on the other.
Remain in constant communication regarding issues and policies of common concern. The two powers agreed not to align with other powers whose plan it is to threaten the other. All differences between the two countries would be resolved by arbitration Pact was good for ten years with an automatic five year extension, unless one party gave the other a one year notification of termination of the pact. The latter was to gain control of Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland east of a line formed by the Vistula and San rivers.
Obviously, the rest of Europe was quite alarmed and and threatened by this strong alliance between two nations which they had, thus far, not taken very seriously. Hitler immediately invaded western Poland and claimed his share September 1, Likewise, the Soviets took control of eastern Poland September 29,as well as, the Baltic states in August of Hitler, knowing that the U.
The Nazi dictator's next move proved to be unwise. Stalin scheduled his third Five-Year Plan from During this time, the Soviet Union was preparing for war, believing this to be inevitable as the Nazi threat continued.
More and more resources were poured into the military and war related industry. This five-year plan was cut somewhat short by the Nazi invasion of Soviet Russia. It was then that most of the nation's industry was moved from western Russia to the Urals to guard against future war damage. Stalin's fourth Five-Year Plan occurred from through and focused on the rebuilding of areas of the nation devastated by war. Stalin's dealings with eastern Poland were nothing short of brutal.
In October ofhe had his secret police order the, so called, election of new local authorities in Poland, Polish Ukraine and Belorussia. Most of these individuals were criminals who were more than happy to grab control of respectable citizens.
They were encouraged to take property away from the land owners and, in the name of land reform, make the peasants divide up the lands and loot among themselves. Many of the candidates in these trumped up elections were not even from the district that they would be representing. Local residents were driven by Soviet secret police to the polls out of fear and anyone who dared not vote suffered dire consequences. The ballots had only one candidate or group of candidates with the option to vote yes or no.
To insure a positive outcome, the no votes were thrown out and replaced with phony yes ballots. After the election, the newly elected officials begged the Supreme Soviet to admit Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia into their fold. In November oftheir petition was granted. From that point on, the Soviet governments have insisted that these people, via democratically elected representation, wanted to be a part of the USSR. The annexation of these regions was not enough for Stalin.
He did, what he did several times, decided to mix people up so as to keep them in a state of confusion and fear. In January ofa series of mass deportations began. After three deportations and by June ofroughly 1. About 52 percent were Poles with the remaining 48 percent being Ukrainians, Belorussians and Jews.
They totaled roughly 10 percent of the original population of their homelands and most were educated, once well-off and merchants.
Most of the merchants were Jews. These enemies of the Soviet State were hauled out of their homes in the dark of night, taken to a rail station and crammed into cattle cars.
Foreign relations of the Soviet Union - Wikipedia
The journey was long and they were given little food and water. Most who were old, sick or very young perished along the way. It is estimated that aboutPoles died before Hitler attacked Russia in June of From September to Junethe Nazis killed roughlyJews and about 10, Christian Poles plus another ca.
The Nazis caused the deaths of roughlyPoles, most of which were Jews. This compares to an estimated total ofPoles killed by the Soviets during the same 21 month time period. This scheme of elections followed by deportations and killing of state enemies worked so well that the Soviets did the same thing in the Baltic States and Bessarabia formerly northeast Romania, modern day Moldova.
All of these regions were annexed by June of The German - Soviet relationship was a strange and tenious one. They were allied against a common threat; the West. Sheer logistics makes a two-front war a Russian nightmare.
Under these conditions Stalin opted for "collective security" with Britain and France and went so far as to join the League of Nations, hitherto referred to in Moscow as the nest of capitalist bandits. The Comintern now directed the various Communist parties to ally with any group that was "antifascist," be it the Kuomintang, the British Tories, or the French bourgeoisie.
The dynamics of Soviet foreign relations changed drastically after Stalin recognized the danger posed by Nazi Germany. From throughthe Soviet Union tried to restrain German militarism by building coalitions hostile to fascism.
In the international communist movement, the Comintern adopted the popular front policy of cooperation with socialists and liberals against fascism, thus reversing its line of the early s. Litvinov, the commissar of foreign affairs, advocated disarmament and collective security against fascist aggression.
In the Soviet Union concluded defensive military alliances with France and Czechoslovakia, and from to it gave assistance to antifascists in the Spanish Civil War. The menace of fascist militarism to the Soviet Union increased when Germany and Japan itself a threat to Soviet Far Eastern territory in the s signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in But the West proved unwilling to counter German provocative behavior, and after France and Britain acquiesced to Hitler's demands for Czechoslovak territory at Munich inStalin abandoned his efforts to forge a collective security agreement with the West.
International events of the late s showed the power of external ideologies and threats. Waiting for impending war was literally poured into the air, sounded in the official appeal: Strengthening national defense, relentless mastery of military equipment, assistance in active radical improvement work osoaviahimovskih and athletic organizations, mobilization readiness of the sacred duty of each and every young Komsomol member. So this ideologey was interpreted at the local level: Let the Germans will remember these words of Comrade Stalin, and shoved his pig snouts into our Soviet garden Capitalist encirclement means that here is one country, the Soviet Union, which has established the socialist order on its own territory and besides this there are many countries, bourgeois countries, which continue to carry on a capitalist mode of life and which surround the Soviet Union, waiting for an opportunity to attack it, break it, or at any rate to undermine its power and weaken it.
Signaling a shift in foreign policy, Viacheslav Molotov, Stalin's loyal assistant, replaced Litvinov who was Jewish as commissar of foreign affairs in May Hitler, who had decided to attack Poland despite the guarantees of Britain and France to defend that country, soon responded to the changed Soviet stance.
While Britain and France dilatorily attempted to induce the Soviet Union to join them in pledging to protect Poland, the Soviet Union and Germany engaged in intensive negotiations.
The product of the talks between the former ideological foes--the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of August 23, shocked the world. The open provisions of the agreement pledged absolute neutrality in the event one of the parties should become involved in war, while a secret protocol partitioned Poland between the parties and assigned Romanian territory as well as Estonia and Latvia and later Lithuania to the Soviet sphere of influence.