Why did Stalin sign the Nazi Soviet Pact (Aug 1939)?
This was a deal between Germany and Russia that they would not attack each other for 10 years and that they secretly agreed to divide Poland and Baltic nations between them.
• Stalin was aware of the threat to the SU once Hitler came to power as he had explicitly stated his intention of getting rid of Communism and Lebensraum.
• Britain and France would not commit to any alliance with the SU
• After joining the LON in 1934, he soon became disappointed at its inabilities to keep check on Fascist powers
• He was suspicious of the true motives behind the policy of appeasement especially with regards to rearmament
• Despite the Mutual Assistance Pact with France, he realized how weak France was after Rhineland
• The Munich Agreement confirmed his fears and paranoia that Britain and France were unable to stop Hitler’s aggression which would spread to the rest of eastern Europe. He also believed that Britain actually wanted Hitler to expand eastwards
• Britain didn’t help Czechoslovakia but did promise help to Poland, yet Poland was an enemy of the USSR.
• Poland was being stubborn and in August 1939 refused to open up to the idea of Russian troops going through their lands to fight against Germany
• To buy time to prepare militarily
• He wanted Poland
What was the Nazi Soviet Pact?
This refers to an agreement made between the SU and Germany on the 24th of August, 1939 that they would not attack each other and secretly they would divide Poland between them when they both invaded in September. They promised not to attack each other for ten years. Ribbentrop approached Stalin with the proposal and Stalin signed the deal as it was his only option.
What were the implications/consequences?
• Stalin bought time to rearm for an inevitable future war.
• Hitler won an important ally which might intimidate Britain and France from declaring war