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Streetwise Professor

August 23, 2009

Seventy Years of Shame–or Is It A Model to Be Emulated?

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:16 am

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet (Molotov-Ribbentrop) Pact, the secret protocols of which divided eastern Europe between the two totalitarian powers.*

Rather than being a matter of shame to modern Russians (as it is to modern Germans), it is something to be defended, and by some, even celebrated as the template for a reordering of the geopolitical order.  The Russian counter-narrative is that prior to the British and French appeasement at Munich, Stalin was committed to collective security to contain German aggression.  After witnessing Western capitulation, however, Stalin concluded that collective security was a dead end, and that the USSR had to make its own deal with Germany in order to buy time and protect itself from Hitler.

There are myriad problems with this interpretation of events.  First, although the USSR was formally a part of a collective security arrangement with Britain, France, and others, to support the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia and other European states, its commitment was thoroughly hedged, and gave Stalin many options to escape having to perform on this commitment or to utilize the arrangement as a ways of realizing his own territorial ambitions at the expense of some of the very states the USSR was allegedly committed to defending.  Furthermore, even though in the days leading up to Munich the USSR did make some military preparations consistent with an intent to intervene on behalf of the Czechs, these preparations were ambiguous at best.  As Richard Overy states in his Russia’s War:

[t]he new evidence [from Soviet archives on Russian thinking at this time] is open to a  number of interpretations.  The Soviet Union might well have used the crisis to intimidate Poland, a state loathed by the Soviet leadership [la plus ca change].  On the same day that Soviet forces were put on alert an ultimatum was sent to Warsaw warning the Poles that any move against the Czechs on their part would be regarded as an unprovoked aggression.  No ultimatum was ever sent to Germany.  German intelligence was unimpressed by Soviet military movements and did not interpret the Soviet position as a threat of war.  War with Germany would have meant more serious of large-scale mobilization.  It is not improbable, given that military preparations were being kept secret from the Germans, that they were for domestic consumption–an elaborate military exercise or another war scare like 1927, designed to keep the system on its toes.  The most likely answer is that Stalin was keeping his options open.  The option he did not want was to be left fighting Germany alone.  Soviet intervention, if it came, was always dependent on the willingness of the ‘imperialist states’ to fight first.

In brief, the USSR may have been made commitments to collective security, but these commitments were never tested.    The credibility of these commitments therefore lay completely in the realm of conjecture.  Given Stalin’s well-known opportunism, there is considerable room to doubt that if Britain and France had indeed stood behind Czechoslovakia, that the USSR would have indeed joined the effort with any objective in mind other than exploiting the crisis to achieve its own ambitions.

This is particularly plausible when one avoids the error of interpreting the strategic situation in Europe in 1938-1939 in light of what happened subsequently.  In retrospect, it is clear that Germany was the greatest threat to European peace–and to the USSR.  In light of the campaign of 1940, it is also evident that France and Britain were no military match for Germany.

But that’s not the way it looked in 1938-1939, least of all to Stalin.  Stalin, and the Soviet hierarchy more generally, saw not just Germany, but Britain and France too as threats to the Revolution and the USSR.  From the Soviet perspective, informed by Marxist and Bolshevist ideology, these nations were just different manifestations of capitalism, and all deadly enemies of, and mortal threats to, the USSR.  Germany and France/Britain competed in Stalin’s mind for the status of Greatest Threat to the Revolution.

From Stalin’s perspective, the best of all worlds would be for the Germans, French, and British to fall on one another and tear one another to pieces, gravely weakening all three major threats to the USSR, and potentially leaving the Soviets in a position to dominate Europe.  Given the experience of the First World War–which dominated the thinking of most military and political figures in Europe of the time–bloody stalemate looked to be the most likely outcome of a war between Hitler and the Western Powers.  And bloody stalemate was just what Stalin craved.

Given these beliefs, a wise strategy for Stalin during the Czechoslovakian crisis would have been to make moves that would have convinced the British and French of a Soviet commitment to intervene on behalf of the Czechs in the expectation (or hope) that this would lead to combat between the Germans and the Western Powers.  In this scenario, Stalin would have had the strategic freedom to realize his own strategic ambitions, and in the best of all worlds (from his perspective) put the USSR in power not just in the entirety of eastern Europe and the Balkans, but in Germany as well.  Appeasement prevented this outcome in September, 1938, but another opportunity soon presented itself.

This conjecture cannot be proven, but it is as consistent with the historical record as the view that Stalin was firmly committed to collective security.  Methinks, however, that this cynical conjecture is more in conformity to Stalin’s ruthless, paranoid, and opportunistic persona than the more idealistic alternative.

Indeed, the events of 1939 bolster this argument.  If (a) Stalin’s motivation for dealing with Hitler in August, 1939 was his disillusionment with British and French commitment to collective security, and (b) Stalin’s overriding fear was Hitler and Germany, then (c) British and French actions in the spring of 1939 should have led to Stalin away from a deal with Germany, and towards a closer relationship with Britain and France.  At the end of March, 1939, Britain made a guarantee to Poland.  France soon followed.  If Stalin had indeed been desperate for an alliance to fend off Hitler, the Franco-British guarantee would have been a signal to reinvigorate collective security efforts.

But Stalin did no such thing.  In early-May, about a month after the British guarantee, he replaced the Foreign Minister that had been the architect of collective security (Litvinov), and in typically brutal fashion tortured virtually the Foreign Ministry personnel associated with the policy.  He did engage in talks with the French and British, and by July had agreed on a draft treaty that largely conceded his (mercenary) terms–but with this in his pocket, he reached out to Hitler.  In other words, he tested the British and French commitment to oppose Germany, and when he was sufficiently confident of this commitment, openly moved to deal with the Devil.

From his perspective, this was a triumph.  With Britain and France committed to fight Germany, it was in Stalin’s interest to promote war.  This would entangle his three–three, not one–mortal capitalist enemies in a war that would give him the greatest opportunity to emerge the dominant power in Europe.

Note that if stopping Germany had been the sine qua non of Stalin’s policy, his interest in cooperation with France and Britain should have increased as those countries abandoned their appeasement policies, and took a more belligerent and aggressive posture towards Germany.  In fact, it is almost universally recognized that the reverse is true.  As France and Britain abandoned appeasement, and as Britain in particular engaged in a crash re-armament drive, Stalin became more favorably disposed towards a deal with Hitler.  The more the British and French prepared to fight Hitler, the more open Stalin became to the latter’s blandishments.

Stalin’s openness to Hitler after the Western Powers became more set in their opposition to Germany makes perfect sense if you accept that Stalin’s true motivations were to embroil all of his enemies in a war, and to realize territorial ambitions in eastern Europe.

Knowing common human tendency to project one’s own views, Stalin’s fear that Britain and France were really trying to maneuver the USSR and Germany into war is very telling.  Russian historian Edvard Radzinsky’s anecdote is quite illuminating:

The Boss personally thought up an explanation of the alliance for the Soviet people.  In army units, a comic drawing was displayed.  It showed two triangles.  The caption over one of them read: “What did Chamberlain want?”  At the apex of the triangle was the word “London” and at the lower two corners “Moscow” and “Berlin.”  MEaning that Chamberlain wanted to bring the USSR and Germany into conflict.  The caption over the other triangle was “What did Comrade Stalin do?”  Now the word at the apex was “Moscow.”  Stalin had brought Berlin and London into conflict, leaving the USSR on top.

It should also be emphasized that if Stalin’s true objective were to stymie Hitler, firm support of British and French guarantees of Polish security would have been the best way to do it.  As a reader of Mein Kampf, Stalin would have been aware of Hitler’s morbid fear of repeating the mistake of waging a two-front war as Germany had done in WWI.  (A fear that dissipated as a result of the heady triumph in France in 1940–but that was in the future.)  Confronting Hitler with this prospect would have made war far less likely.  Instead, just when Britain and France took measures that increased their commitment to fighting Germany, rather than taking parallel measures that would have greatly increased Hitler’s risks if the two front war he feared, Stalin did the exact opposite.  As Norman Davies states in No Simple Victory:

[E]veryone saw that the key to further developments lay with Poland’s eastern neighbour, the USSR.  If Moscow were openly to side with the Western Powers, a unilateral German attack on Poland would be too risky to contemplate.  If Moscow were to adopt an ambiguous position, the world would be kept guessing.  And if Moscow were to throw its weight behind Berlin, Hitler would be given the green light.

And we know that Stalin indeed gave Hitler the green light.

This cannot be rationalized as a Stop Germany by Whatever Means Necessary policy.  Such a policy would have induced Stalin to act very differently than he did.  Instead, it is best explained as an opportunistic way of dealing with all of his enemies, and realizing his fondest territorial and political ambitions in the bargain.  Rather than treating Germany as an existential threat, he considered it just one enemy among many, and cannily maneuvered to pit his enemies against one another, and to swoop in to grab considerable spoils for himself.

Indeed, Stalin was brutally frank in his explanation of his motives.  In a speech to the Politburo on 19 August, 1939 (but which was not made public until 1994–go figure), Stalin said:

We must accept the proposals of Germany and diplomatically discard the British and French delegation.  The destruction of Poland and the annexation of Ukrainian Galicia will be our first gain.  Nonetheless, we must foresee the consequences of both Germany’s defeat and Germany’s victory.  In the event of a defeat the formation of a Communist government in Germany will be essential . . . . Above all, our task is to ensure that Germany be engaged in war for as long as possible and that Britain and France be so exhausted that they could not suppress a German Communist government.

Does it get any clearer than that?

In sum, the counter-narrative of Molotov-Ribbentrop, that it was needed for an isolated USSR to ensure its security after the Western Powers had capitulated at Munich, is contrary to: the actual course of events in 1939, an understanding of Stalin’s worldview and personality, and his very words.  Although in retrospect it seems obvious that Hitler was an existential threat to the USSR, and that Stalin must have been acting with a singleminded purpose to counter that threat, that retrospective perspective is misleading in the extreme.  The contemporary evidence tells a very different story.

To put it more bluntly: Stalin bears great responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War.  He wanted war–between Germany, Britain, and France–and he got it.  Indeed, until May, 1940, from his perspective the war was a great boon.  It pitted his enemies against one another, rather than against him.  What’s more, he gained substantial territories in the bargain, and destroyed what had long been a Soviet bugbear–an independent Poland.

The Second World War would not have broken out when it did and where it did had not Stalin, as part of a coldly calculating policy to advance Soviet interests, dealt with Hitler.  We cannot say that it might not have broken out later or at some other time.  But WWII as it happened was a war of Stalin’s choosing.  He just thought he was choosing a war between his enemies.  His was a strategy of “let’s you and him fight.”  In retrospect, it was a catastrophic error.  But at the time, Stalin believed he had executed an incredible coup.  Indeed, he was so enamored with it that he was reluctant to admit its ultimate failure even after German tanks rolled east on 22 June, 1941.

And, regardless of the motivations for the Pact, the unspeakable brutality of the USSR’s implementation of its terms should never be ignored.  I encourage you to read Overy’s account of what the Soviets did in Poland and the Baltics in the aftermath of the Pact–if you have the stomach for it.  Russians who sputter and whine and posture about the hostility of modern Poles or Lithuanians or Estonians or Latvians, and who threaten retribution against those who “slander” the good name of the USSR, should instead be deeply ashamed of Soviet behavior, and understanding of these attitudes.  Indeed, as Russians (and everybody else) are wont to point out, the Nazis were monsters.  If so, then why do myriad eastern Europeans find it so hard to differentiate between Nazis and Soviets?  The most obvious answer: The Soviets were monsters too.

Read Overy, or other honest accounts of the events of that time, and tell me otherwise.

But modern Russians, and most notably state organs, are not ashamed at the Nazi-Soviet Pact.  Indeed, many celebrate it.  No.  This is not a sick joke.

Indeed, the efforts of the state to defend Molotov-Ribbentrop go to extremes that would be considered comical, were the subject not so horrific.  A case in point is a report issued by the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR.  As Pavel Felgenhauer writes:

According to Sotskov [the author of the SVR report, and a former KGB official], before signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939, Russia was trying to create a system of collective security in Europe with Britain, France, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and other nations to stop Nazi Germany. Moscow’s main condition in 1939 was that its armed forces must be allowed to massively deploy in the Baltic territories and in Poland. But the Poles and the Baltic nations refused, while Paris and London hesitated to press them to accept Russian troops on their territory. If the Russian demand had been met, “our troops would have entered the Baltic territories much earlier,” according to Sotskov, “but the Poles, the West and the Baltic countries wanted to collaborate with Nazi Germany instead.” After the West refused to cooperate, the Kremlin accepted a German offer that gave Russia what it wanted: half of Poland, the Baltic countries, Finland and the part of Romania that is now Moldova – as a sphere of influence to occupy. After the Nazis attacked Russia in June 1941, Western democracies soon formed an “effective collective security system with Russia,” which according to Sotskov is one of the main positive results of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Pact also allowed Russia to rearm and to “move the border with Germany to the West” (www.svr.gov.ru/material/pribaltica.htm).

What a tissue of lies.  As just one example, the statement “after the West refused to cooperate” is flatly contradicted by Stalin’s own statement, quoted above, that “[w]e must accept the proposals of Germany and diplomatically discard the British and French delegation.”  Stalin made the choice. (Not to deny that the Franco-British diplomatic efforts were late, bumbling, and ineffectual.  But the point is that Stalin let everybody come to him; if he had been so anxious to secure an alliance against Hitler, he would have taken the initiative, and been less mercenary in his dealings with the West.  It should also be noted that the Western Powers’ reluctance to deal with Stalin was due, in large part, to their understanding that his motives and methods were as malign as Hitler’s.  As was shown in the event.  The British and French–much more the former than the latter, not surprisingly–were extremely reluctant to deal with the USSR to prevent Hitler’s devouring of eastern Europe if the price was to let Stalin do it instead, with their active complicity.)

This “reasoning” is also self-contradictory.  On the one hand, the USSR wanted to deploy massive forces in Poland and the Baltics as part of a plan to stop Hitler.  But on the other, it is acknowledged that the USSR just wanted these territories for itself, and dealt with Hitler because he would give them what Stalin wanted.

This organ of the government oh-so-concerned about defending the integrity of the historical record heaves up stuff like this:

According to Sotskov, “it is a lie; the Baltic States were never occupied by Russia.” The KGB intelligence reports that were sent to the Kremlin in 1940, say the Baltic people volunteered to join the Soviet Union. According to the KGB, communist rule was established through democratic elections, though elections were undemocratic, since many Russian-speakers did not vote. The denunciation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the secret protocol that divided Europe by the People’s Congress in Moscow in 1989 under President Mikhail Gorbachev was a grave mistake, according to Sotskov, who is apparently fully supported by the SVR (www.svr.gov.ru/material/pribaltica.htm).

Ah, yes, the myth of the fraternal peoples united under wise Soviet leadership.  And they wonder why the Balts in particular distrust them, not to say hate them?

But Falgenhauer puts his finger on it:

Today Russian official support of the Molotov-Ribbentrop accord that divided Europe into spheres of influence is not just a difference over historical interpretation. Last year, during a visit to Germany, Medvedev announced that Moscow wants to call an all-European conference to create a new collective security system (RIA Novosti, June 5, 2008). After the invasion of Georgia in August 2008, Medvedev announced that Russia has a “sphere of privileged interests.” Medvedev insisted that the war with Georgia had confirmed the need to form a new collective security system in Europe, since the existing ones (NATO, OSCE) did not manage to prevent the conflict (www.kremlin.ru, August 30, 2008).

Alexander Golts concurs that this isn’t about the past, but about the present:

There is really nothing surprising in the fact that the government has so passionately taken up the defense of Stalin’s foreign policy. Vladimir Putin’s understanding of realpolitik is the same as Stalin’s; everything is decided by military might and if there is a chance to bite off a chunk of someone else’s territory, you should go for it.

In other words, from the ruthlessly 19th-century realpolitik perspective of Putin et al, and large swathes of Russians more generally, Molotov-Ribbentrop, and Yalta as well, represent the way the world should work.  Great powers should divide the map between them.  Russia had then, as it has today, a legitimate interest in dominating eastern Europe.  Molotov-Ribbentrop secured that interest–at least Stalin thought it did, wrongly in the event.  The Pact, and ultimately Yalta, gave Russia what belonged to it by right.  The British and French are to blame in large part because they would not recognize these interests; Russia dealt with someone who did, someone with no scruples about the human consequences.  To criticize the Pact is to deny Russia recognition of its legitimate right to dominate “its” space.  Molotov-Ribbentrop divided eastern Europe in 1939.  Russia wants to divide eastern Europe in 2009.  To condemn the former is to delegitimize the latter.

So, you can expect even more robust defenses of M-R, and more hysterical attacks against those who criticize it, on this anniversary and in the days to come.  For to criticize Stalin and the revisionist USSR is, by extension, to criticize Putin and the revisionist Russia.  Their means may differ, but their worldview, and their strategic objectives, are largely the same.

* Hitler agreed to the Secret Protocol on 23 August at 10 PM.  The Pact was dated 23 August, but signed at around 2 AM on 24 August.

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37 Comments »

  1. You know, just a few years ago, after the Orange Revolution, the rooskies could not stand it when people came forth with the proposition: “there is no difference between nazism and stalinism, between the Reich and the sovok union.”

    It drove them to apoplectic frenzies when pictures of nazi and sovok soldiers were posted, showing lots of hugging and hand-shaking and partying – together. It destroyed the lie about the glorious workers’ paradise.

    Now, in typical schizoid fashion, roosha has fashioned “defenses” of the M-R Pact.

    Here is a video of a joint military parade on the occasion of the “wonderfulness” in Brest-Litovsk in 1939.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESGactCIx_g

    Comment by elmer — August 23, 2009 @ 10:00 am

  2. What do you think would have followed from a Soviet refusal of Herr Ribbentrop’s visit?

    Did the Polish government want a Soviet guarantee of their independence?

    Comment by rkka — August 23, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  3. Are Ukrainian ultra-nationalists like Elmer willing to give return Bukovina, Trans-Carpathia and Galicia back to their pre M-R nations?

    ****

    As for the above post, its views have been addressed at SWP. The West and not the USSR appeased Hitler at Munich. This led to the Nazi, Polish and Hungarian dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.

    The recent OSCE statement denouncing M-R, but not the Munich appeasement of Czechoslovakia highlights the questionable level of objectivity by some in the West.

    Who is celebrating M-R in contemporary Russia? I’m not aware of a holiday or attempts to honor M-R with matter like postage stamps. Whether Russian or not, there’s good reason to critically question the way M-R is assessed by some.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 23, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  4. Cutie Pie–Please read before writing. I wrote “celebrated as a template for reordering of the geopolitical order.” The SVR document is one specific example. Note that Golts states more generally, and I think this is a fair assessment, that the Russian government as a whole has “passionately taken up a defense of Stalin’s foreign policy.”

    Re the OSCE, the asymmetry is sensible for a variety of reasons, including: 1) the principals of Munich, namely Britain, France, and even Germany, have acknowledged the deadly consequences of Munich, whereas although the USSR and Russia for a brief moment acknowledged the deadly consequences of M-R, it has since backtracked and in fact shrilly and hysterically reacted to any such suggestion; 2) the main sponsors of the OSCE resolution were invaded by–and brutalized by–the USSR as the direct consequence of M-R. To put it bluntly: Russia’s very reaction to the OSCE declaration by itself justifies the resolution.

    And I am still puzzled, as I mentioned in an earlier post, by something that Vladimir Rhyzhkof wrote in today’s Russia Profile: namely, “[i]t is perplexing why modern Russia . . . has to defend Stalinism both in its home and foreign policy.” That very willingness to defend–in spite of the lack of any necessity to do so–is what is so informative, and so frightening to Russia’s neighbors. It speaks volumes about the values of its leaders, and their mindset in dealing with its neighbors. And that is why, IMHO, its neighbors are so adamant about making declarations about subjects long past and people long dead: because it informs Russia that they stridently disagree with Russia’s interpretation of its rights and privileges, and because they want to test its reaction to determine whether that atavistic interpretation still holds sway. Sadly, it clearly does.

    Making declarations about Munich would be irrelevant. No one but fringe lunatics (Pat Buchanan?) would dispute that Munich was a grave error, a decisive juncture in the descent to war, and a deep stain on the nations responsible for it.

    In brief, because Russia appears so committed to restoring the past, those who suffered by its past actions are particularly pugnacious about asserting their views on it.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 23, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  5. Indeed, as Russians (and everybody else) are wont to point out, the Nazis were monsters. If so, then why do myriad eastern Europeans find it so hard to differentiate between Nazis and Soviets? The most obvious answer: The Soviets were monsters too.
    ***
    So you equate occupation of Poland by Nazis and by Soviets? Really? How about 3 milion Jews? Does it make any difference?

    Comment by boba — August 23, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  6. boba–

    What an asinine comment. Really. By your “reasoning,” one can only be monstrous by equalling Hitler. That leaves a lot of room to work–to kill–without becoming a monster.

    Logic isn’t your strong suit, eh?

    Again, like I said in the post, read Overy or another reliable source on what the Soviets did in the lands they occupied–in 1939-1940, and in 1945 and afterwards. That certainly qualifies to be described as monstrous in my book.

    You seem to be a Cutie Pie in the making. As long as Russia ain’t the worst, it ain’t bad.

    Do you consider it some sort of achievement that the USSR looks good only by comparison to the Nazis?

    Sheesh.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 23, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  7. So, what is it? “looks good … by comparison” or “hard to differentiate”?

    Comment by boba — August 23, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

  8. Professor

    I don’t think you “help” Russia by agreeing with the historically biased declaration of the OSCE statement.

    If Munich badly reflects on Western policy, then there should be no reluctance to include it. This point highlights the opposition many Russians and some others have with the OSCE statement.

    I’m not fond of Stalin. Suggesting he was the same as Hitler can put into question the Western support of Stalin. This leads to some other points. Why not formally denounce how Soviet citizens were turned over to the USSR by the West against their will at the end of WW II? (This is said without meaning to excuse the individuals in that grouping who did some horrid things.) Yalta can also be tacked on (although the West didn’t have much choice, despite what the movie on Patton suggests).

    We’ve discussed how Stalin is viewed in Russia, with people inclusive of SO having commented at length that his legacy isn’t being brought back as part of some neo-Soviet or blend of neo-Soviet/Russian Empire revanchism. Your use of terms like “Muscovite” pleases a constituency, whose views include an ultra-nationalism with a problematical past.

    I sense what you think of the so-called realists, who come in different stripes much like the more idealistic of people.

    I don’t sense Russia en masse instigating the issue of M-R as much as some folks who get put in the “Russophobe” category.

    Major powers are known to do things they aren’t exactly proud of. The Western non-reaction to matters like NATO member Tureky’s treatment of Kurds in the last quarter of the last century, the casual manner of non-criticism to “Operation Storm” in 1995 are a few of the numerous instances where the American government’s stated humanitarian approach to foreign policy can be second guessed.

    “Whataboutism” can underscore the soft pedaling of others in a way which arguably misrepresents a given situation.

    Rkka earlier touched on a point I’ve held. Hitler was going to take Poland regardless of Soviet cooperation. Poland and the West didn’t help themselves by the manner they displayed towards Czechoslovakia. In some circles, this point seems to be downlayed, if not overlooked altogether. Yeah, Stalin might’ve still gone after the territories taken in M-R. That’s hypothetical, as is the view that Poland was developing its own extreme form of nationalism prior to WW II (some would say that it was already evident).

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 23, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  9. CP,

    “Rkka earlier touched on a point I’ve held. Hitler was going to take Poland regardless of Soviet cooperation.”

    So, Hitler wanted to have the WHOLE Poland. And should have done that anyway, at least according to you? Why, then, all of the suddenly, Hitler was completely willing to halve his booty and to SHARE Poland with the SU? Besides, Stalin kept the Eastern half of Poland for good after the world war II.

    Comment by Dixi — August 24, 2009 @ 2:52 am

  10. Because he thought it would eliminate the possibility of the West intervening militarily when he attacked Poland. What Hitler didn’t know is that the West had no plans to militarily impede his conquest of Poland to begin with, so the Pact did nothing to assist Germany conquering Poland.

    Comment by rkka — August 24, 2009 @ 4:11 am

  11. Besides, Vilnius became part of the Lithuanian SSR – western Belarus, part of the Byelorussian SSR – and Galicia part of the Ukrainian SSR.

    Czechoslovakia was earlier carved up on the premise of land that was either historically and/or demographically related to others.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 24, 2009 @ 6:36 am

  12. So there is no misunderstanding, I am not saying that M-R is a great example of foreign policy ethics to be “celebrated.”

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 24, 2009 @ 6:43 am

  13. [...] typical counter-argument to the above narrative is Seventy Years of Shame by Craig Pirrong, encompassing all possible criticisms for the Pact and drawing the necessary [...]

    Pingback by The Nazi-Soviet Pact as Second Munich | Sublime Oblivion — August 24, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  14. My take – The Nazi-Soviet Pact as Second Munich

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — August 24, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

  15. RKKA/CP,

    “Because he thought it would eliminate the possibility of the West intervening militarily when he attacked Poland. What Hitler didn’t know is that the West had no plans to militarily impede his conquest of Poland to begin with, so the Pact did nothing to assist Germany conquering Poland.”

    So, basically, what you are posing is that Hitler was afraid of the Western intervention and NEEDED therefore the M-P pact before attacking Poland. But, on the other hand, RKKA says that ” Hitler was going to take Poland regardless of Soviet cooperation.” So, please, explain so that even I understand, how these two apparently CONTRADICTIONARY arguments would possibly co-exist?

    Comment by Dixi — August 25, 2009 @ 1:56 am

  16. Adolph himself said he was concerned about Western intervention. In that case, he would have to modify his plan, and attack West with the main effort while hitting Poland at the same time.

    So he would attack Poland in either case. No contradiction at all.

    Comment by rkka — August 25, 2009 @ 4:36 am

  17. S/O:

    And in early August 1939, several British industrialists, with the knowledge of Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary, met with Goering to discuss an agenda for another Four-Power conference, to settle Germany’s grievances against Poland. The Poles of course, would not be invited, and neither would the Soviets. They took care to emphasize that if Germany attacked Poland the British would declare war, but mainly emphasized that there were alternatives for Germany to gain her objectives peacefully, as the Germans did at Munich the year before. Upon their return they briefed both Halifax and PM Chamberlain. So at the time a different “Second Munich” was also under consideration by the Brits. I suspect it wouldn’t have gone much better for the Poles than the same process had for the Czechs the year before.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/lord-aberconway-730097.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1421186/Lord-Aberconway.html

    Comment by rkka — August 25, 2009 @ 4:50 am

  18. And today is the anniversary of the German cancellation of their attack on Poland, scheduled for 26 August 1939. Even though Hitler had the M-R pact, something that happened on this date made him draw back from the brink of war. So the M-R Pact wasn’t as decisive in Hitler’s thinking as people seem to think.

    Comment by rkka — August 25, 2009 @ 4:55 am

  19. Agree with AK that all of the countries created between Germany and the then Bolshevik Empire were screwed by Versailles from the start, either Germany or Russia or both were eventually going to do a carve up and there was very little Britain or France could do about it even if they had the will (which everyone agrees that they did not). In retrospect the fact that both Germans and Russians died in such horrendous numbers, breaking their will for massed direct aggression; as well as the deployment of the atom bombs by the U.S. against Japan, probably prevented a NUCLEAR Third World War. I heard one professor, recounting his conversations with Edward Teller, say this to a seminar of students after 9/11.

    This is not a “let us do evil, that good may result” argument, it’s just how the 20th century unfolded, something even the Rolling Stones hit upon with their song “Pleased to Meet You” song inspired by Bulgakov. Additional pondering of how Czarist Russia and nearly all of Europe marched off to war in 1914 after confidently asserting that globalization at that time had made war impossible, I think is in order. That would dispel Western civilizational smugness, that is if you are going to lump America in with Western European civilization. Some more pondering of how Czarist Russia and nearly all of Europe marched off to war in 1914, setting the whole mess in motion…that was what Solzhenitsyn called for in his writings and his famous Harvard commencement address.

    The endless arguments about M-R and attempts to claim historic victimhood on all sides should cease. The American historian H.W. Brands said it best when he said that the world would be so much better off if the idea of victimhood transferring down through generations were trashed.

    Comment by Steve J. Nelson — August 25, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  20. Russia will never be a great power or even a civilized nation until its people can simply admit: “It probably wasn’t a good idea for us to have made a deal with Hitler. We’re sorry, and we’ll try not to do it again.”

    Germans don’t defend Nazis. Americans don’t defend slaveholders. But Russians, like a nation of barbaric lemmings, defend Stalin and his deal with Hitler. That is why Russia doesn’t rank in the to 150 nations of the world for lifespan and why Russians earn only $3/hour on average. It’s why Russia collapses over and over while America remains rock solid century after century.

    Russians will either learn or perish.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 25, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

  21. Phoby’s just upset that the USSR didn’t let Nazi Germany conquer all of Poland, occupy the Baltic States, and launch operation Barbarossa against the Soviet border of 1938.

    Comment by rkka — August 25, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  22. The Rolling Stones did a song called “Sympathy for the Devil”, NOT “pleased to meet you.”

    Let’s get it right.

    It does have the line:

    “pleased to meet you,
    don’t you know my name”

    etc.

    rasha is not going to learn.

    Comment by elmer — August 25, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  23. So says an anti-Russian/Ukrainian ultra-nationalist with some convoluted ideas.

    In comparison, my Ukrainian friends and acquaintances are more in sync with reality than him.

    On another rehahed point, Russia isn’t “celebrating” M-R. Harping on M-R, while muting the earlier Western appeasement at Munich is lacking in objectivity.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 26, 2009 @ 12:44 am

  24. Rkka,

    What you are saying, is that by signing the M-P pact made it possible for Germany (with the help of the S-U, of course as the pact declared) to attack Poland without the fear of Western intervention? In other words, you admit that, by signing the M-P pact Stalin, at least, accelerated Germany’s attack schedule on Poland and thus the beginning of the war? Furthermore, for Stalin an obvious win-win situation opened up with the M-P pact, to say the least. The half of Poland would be his in any case and, furthermore, his all enemies – Germany and the Western capitalist countries – might be tempted to fight each other. And indeed the M-P pact did not restrain France and Britain from declaring war on Germany…

    So, in the autumn of 1939 things seemed to be going well for Stalin: the half of Poland and the Baltic states + the rest of its “sphere of influence” already in his pocket and the war declared between Germany and the Western democracies (but the S-U still outside of the conflict). Actually, kind of “reversed” Brest-Litovsk Treaty securing the peace with Germany all over again but, instead of great territorial losses a’la 1918, this time containing huge territorial gains!. And for Stalin having achieved his mature age of 70 years (unlike so many of his former revolutionary comrades for quite understandable reasons…) it was just to sit and wait the WWI Version 2.0 to be repeated. For Stalin surely knew by experience how crucial the Version 1.0 had been, not only for the bolsheviks to gain power (with the due German help the Kaiser sending Lenin back to Petrograd in 1917), but also for him himself to achieve his current position. What great opportunities there seemed to arise for the cause of the revolution and, not least, for the S-U (with Stalin as its leading light) and all thanks to having signed the M-P pact -…!

    Comment by Dixi — August 26, 2009 @ 4:45 am

  25. “What you are saying, is that by signing the M-P pact made it possible for Germany (with the help of the S-U, of course as the pact declared) to attack Poland without the fear of Western intervention?”

    That was Hitler’s thinking, based on his total misreading of British thinking. What the M-R Pact actually did was ruin Hitler’s previously sterling reputation as an anticommunist. Before the Pact, Chamberlain’s German policy was “Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against Communism.” After the Pact Chamberlain’s German policy was “For twenty years, he (Hitler) has been the foremost opponent of Bolshevism. He is now its ally.”

    “In other words, you admit that, by signing the M-P pact Stalin, at least, accelerated Germany’s attack schedule on Poland and thus the beginning of the war? Furthermore, for Stalin an obvious win-win situation opened up with the M-P pact, to say the least.”

    Not at all. Hitler had set the date for the attack on Poland back in April, 1939.

    “Furthermore, for Stalin an obvious win-win situation opened up with the M-P pact, to say the least. The half of Poland would be his in any case and, furthermore, his all enemies – Germany and the Western capitalist countries – might be tempted to fight each other. And indeed the M-P pact did not restrain France and Britain from declaring war on Germany…”

    Not quite. He would have preferred the “Grand Alliance” in 1938, or in 1939. But as a fallback position after those diplomatic efforts failed it wasn’t too bad. Much better than letting Germany conquer all of Poland, occupy the Baltic States, and launch the lunge for Lebensraum against the 1938 Soviet border.

    Comment by rkka — August 26, 2009 @ 6:00 am

  26. Rkka,

    “That was Hitler’s thinking, based on his total misreading of British thinking. What the M-R Pact actually did was ruin Hitler’s previously sterling reputation as an anticommunist. Before the Pact, Chamberlain’s German policy was “Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against Communism.” After the Pact Chamberlain’s German policy was “For twenty years, he (Hitler) has been the foremost opponent of Bolshevism. He is now its ally.”

    “ Not at all. Hitler had set the date for the attack on Poland back in April, 1939.”

    What Hitler thought was surely decisive for Germany’s next steps. Therefore, if that was really what Hitler’s thought (as you seem to KNOW) then, indeed, the M-P pact did make it possible for Hitler to attack Poland without the fear of Western intervention haunting in his mind. That is, one major hinder in Hitler’s plans for attacking Poland was abolished by signing the pact. We will never KNOW whether Germany would have attacked Poland without the M-P pact or whether the attack would have started already in August 1939, but what we KNOW, for sure, is that Germany attacked Poland only after having made it sure that the M-P pact had been signed first…

    On the other hand, as the professor writes above, Stalin knew better by then, i.e. he knew about the France’s and Britain’s stances being hardening during the spring/summer 1939. In other words, for Stalin the WW1 Version 2.0 was quite plausible. That is, two flies with one stroke: the Baltic countries and the half of Poland + the war between Germany and the Western capitalist countries devastating both (not that bad hand thinking the future of the revolution in the S-U and elsewhere (especially in Europe)… methinks?). Besides, Stalin surely understood that making Hitler his ally – as you yourself seem to verify by quoting Chamberlain – would not hardly lessen the willingness to stand against Hitler even among the most hard-bitten anti-communists and conservatives in France and Britain. So playing with the Devil might pay off quite well for a man who could claim, not only, the legacy of the former greatness of Russian empire, but also, the leadership for the world’s revolutionary cadres in achieving their goals… better than any other contemporary person

    “Not quite. He would have preferred the “Grand Alliance” in 1938, or in 1939. But as a fallback position after those diplomatic efforts failed it wasn’t too bad. Much better than letting Germany conquer all of Poland, occupy the Baltic States, and launch the lunge for Lebensraum against the 1938 Soviet border.”

    The professor writes already about that above, so no need to repeat.

    But one point still. If Stalin’s fears about Hitler seeking “lebensraum” and threatening territorially even the S-U were so fundamental that they downright “forced” the S-U to attack Poland together with Germany (making Poland “the lost cause” even more fast and thus finishing off effectively any plans about direct immediate intervention on the parts of France and Britain to assist Poland), why then, after having defeated Germany together with the Western allies and thus having abolished the Nazi threat for good Stalin kept the three former independent Baltic countries+the half of Poland, but stopped not even there forcing instead communist dictatorships upon practically every nation across the Eastern and Central parts of Europe reaching the Elbe in the West?

    Comment by Dixi — August 27, 2009 @ 5:13 am

  27. “What Hitler thought was surely decisive for Germany’s next steps. Therefore, if that was really what Hitler’s thought (as you seem to KNOW) then, indeed, the M-P pact did make it possible for Hitler to attack Poland without the fear of Western intervention haunting in his mind.”

    Maybe, for a day. But on 25 August, the day after the M-R Pact was signed, something happened that caused Hitler to cancel the attack on Poland, scheduled for 26 August 1939.

    “That is, one major hinder in Hitler’s plans for attacking Poland was abolished by signing the pact.”

    And that hinder returned the very next day, which is why Hitler cancelled the attack on Poland, originally scheduled for 26 August 1939.

    “We will never KNOW whether Germany would have attacked Poland without the M-P pact or whether the attack would have started already in August 1939, but what we KNOW, for sure, is that Germany attacked Poland only after having made it sure that the M-P pact had been signed first…”

    And the confidence Hitler gained from the M-R Pact lasted but a day.

    “On the other hand, as the professor writes above, Stalin knew better by then, i.e. he knew about the France’s and Britain’s stances being hardening during the spring/summer 1939.”

    What Stalin knew from the August 1939 Moscow military staff talks with the British and French military delegations was that the British and French were utterly unprepared to even discuss serious planning for waging war against Germany, let alone to actually wage war against Germany in time to help anyone east of the Rhine.

    “But one point still. If Stalin’s fears about Hitler seeking “lebensraum” and threatening territorially even the S-U were so fundamental that they downright “forced” the S-U to attack Poland together with Germany (making Poland “the lost cause” even more fast and thus finishing off effectively any plans about direct immediate intervention on the parts of France and Britain to assist Poland)”

    In September 1939, what plans the British and French did have did not call for any offensive action against Germany before 1941. Therefore Poland lasting another week or so would not have produced any direct immediate intervention on the parts of France and Britain to assist Poland.

    And before the Soviets lifted a finger, the Polish Army had taken ~50% casualties and had been cut up into 3 major groups incapable of mutual support. German Army casualties to this point were about 2%. Further, both Guderian and von Runstedt were already well over the demarcation line, advancing without impediment further east. You’re just sounding upset that the Soviets didn’t wait until Germany had conquered ALL of Poland.

    “why then, after having defeated Germany together with the Western allies and thus having abolished the Nazi threat for good Stalin kept the three former independent Baltic countries+the half of Poland, but stopped not even there forcing instead communist dictatorships upon practically every nation across the Eastern and Central parts of Europe reaching the Elbe in the West?”

    Because British military planning for a war against the USSR began in early 1944. The Luftwaffe broke a Soviet air force code in April 1944, and the British gained valuable intelligence on the Soviet air force by monitoring Luftwaffe communications. It was decided not to inform the Soviets that their air force communications had been compromised, though increased Soviet losses would result, because the intelligence on the Soviet air force being gained was judged to be of critical importance for the next war. The archives of the British “Post-Hostilities Planning Committee” for 1944-1945 make for very interesting reading.

    Comment by rkka — August 27, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  28. And as for Chamberlain’s opinion that Hitler and Stalin were allies, Hitler did not share it. In October 1939 Adolpf expressed to counterintelligence official Walter Schellenberg his frustration at being locked in a war with the West while “the real enemy” had found a way to stay out of it. Curiously, at the same time, officials close to Chamberlain were of the view that the USSR was a greater danger than Nazi Germany and were concerned to keep open the possibility of joining with Germany to confront the Soviet menace.

    Comment by rkka — August 27, 2009 @ 7:41 pm

  29. Rkka,

    Do you ever get a feeling there might be only two us left here…?
    Any way back to business:

    “Maybe, for a day. But on 25 August, the day after the M-R Pact was signed, something happened that caused Hitler to cancel the attack on Poland, scheduled for 26 August 1939.”

    And what was that something? I mean there are always a multitude of reasons to change the H-day (cf., for example, Operation Barbarossa). So, the burden of proof lies entirely on you to prove that the a few day’s change in the scheduled attack would depend on that “something”? It is more likely to think that apparently Hitler was so unsure till the end that the M-P pact should be signed by 25 August that the planned attack on Poland had to be cancelled for a few days? Of course, what counts here, is that a few days later Germany did attack Poland and the M-P pact was still in force. And of course after having signed the M-P pact Hitler not only KNEW for sure that the S-U would not interfere militarily AGAINST him, but Stalin would in fact could assist Germany even MILITARILY by opening the second front against Poland if necessary. After signing the pact the situation had completely changed: by now it was completely clear that Poland could NOT possibly stand a TWO-FRONT war long enough for France and Britain to have time getting actively involved in the war in order to assist Poland.

    “ In September 1939, what plans the British and French did have did not call for any offensive action against Germany before 1941. Therefore Poland lasting another week or so would not have produced any direct immediate intervention on the parts of France and Britain to assist Poland.

    What plans France and Germany DID have is irrelevant, what is relevant is that Hitler was afraid of getting into a two-front war (as you have yourself said many times)… he surely remembered the WWI. The M-P pact made it sure that at least that the potential war with the west following an attack on Poland would not be similar to the WWI with France and Britain against Germany in the West PLUS Russia against Germany in the East. As you yourself quoted Champerlain, now the M-P pact had made sure that the S-U would not only remain neutral but would actually even be Germany’s ally. Besides, for Hitler the sooner the Poland would become the lost cause the sooner the threat of getting into a two-front war would be over. After the M-P pact France and Britain KNEW that the situation had completely changed the S-U and Germany were allies unlike in 1914. And after signing the M-P pact Hitler KNEW that 1) with his new ally he could be much more surer that Poland would be finished off before Britain and France could take any active counter-measures 2) he could count on his new ally for providing a large quantities of various materials necessary for Germany if the war did happen to start in the West (whether that be 1939, 1940,…).

    “And before the Soviets lifted a finger, the Polish Army had taken ~50% casualties and had been cut up into 3 major groups incapable of mutual support. German Army casualties to this point were about 2%. Further, both Guderian and von Runstedt were already well over the demarcation line, advancing without impediment further east. You’re just sounding upset that the Soviets didn’t wait until Germany had conquered ALL of Poland”

    Hitler was in no position BEFOREHAND to know how long and effectively Poland could resist. So, the M-P pact was a further guarantee for him for the case the Polish army’s resistance would have proved effective enough threatening to protract the war while the threat of two-front war haunted all the time in Hitler’s thoughts. Surely Guderian and Rundstedt (and their field chef at least?) helped the S-U to conquer the half of the independent Poland PLUS saved much Soviet blood. And the country was then shared between Germany and the S-U in full friendship according to the pact with due joint military parades etc….

    “ Because British military planning for a war against the USSR began in early 1944. The Luftwaffe broke a Soviet air force code in April 1944, and the British gained valuable intelligence on the Soviet air force by monitoring Luftwaffe communications. It was decided not to inform the Soviets that their air force communications had been compromised, though increased Soviet losses would result, because the intelligence on the Soviet air force being gained was judged to be of critical importance for the next war. The archives of the British “Post-Hostilities Planning Committee” for 1944-1945 make for very interesting reading.”

    Why a next war would have been inevitable in the case that 1) the NAZI threat would have been abolished for good 2) the S-U would have respected the pre-war frontiers and the pre-war independent nations’ right of continued self-determination? In this case the Western democracies would have been reassured that the S-U, despite its international communism spirited missionary ideas, had showed, by it very actions, that it no longer poses any military threat for any European nation. Or do you really think that even if these two options would have been fulfilled the people of the Western democracies would have still been ready for another devastating war in Europe?

    Comment by Dixi — August 28, 2009 @ 3:25 am

  30. “It is more likely to think that apparently Hitler was so unsure till the end that the M-P pact should be signed by 25 August that the planned attack on Poland had to be cancelled for a few days?”

    As I expected, you lack the basic grounding in the facts of the situation to carry on your end of this discussion. It’s all right, I’m used to this situation, because I understand very well that historical education on this topic amounts to nothing more than the regurgitation of politicized Western Cold War propaganda, and you cannot be blamed if that’s the only thing you’ve ever read or heard. Been there myself.

    I got interested in this topic from my study of the military aspects of the Second World War on the Eastern Front. As a teenager, I thought how the Wehrmacht smote the Commie hordes was So Cool, and if it weren’t for that bonehead Adolph they woulda won! I read the accounts by Guderian, Manstein, von Mellinthin, and then everything about WWII I could get my hands on. Subsequently in my study of the military history of WWII, I found lots of discrepancies in what I was being told at school about WWII. For instance, the Western historiography of the August 1944 Warsaw Uprising blames the Soviets for “just standing by” while the Germans slaughtered the Poles, describes German operations in Warsaw in loving detail down to the actions of individual German assault engineer platoons, and makes no mention at all of the 5 Panzer DIVISIONS which the Germans moved to reinforce the defense of Warsaw and which inflicted severe tactical defeats on Soviet units vicinity Warsaw as the Uprising was going on. The losses to the overextended and logistically exhausted Soviet units vicinity Warsaw in these actions were very high, including the encirclement and annhiliation of an entire Soviet tank corps, but they are not considered worthy of mention in the Western historiography of the Warsaw Uprising.

    This topic is another. Your ungrounded speculation about Hitler’s 25 August 1939 cancellation of the attack on Poland is a clear indication of a mind educated on this particular topic by propaganda rather than by facts. Again, not your fault at all. The reason Hitler cancelled the attack was the British and Polish governments concluded an alliance on 25 August, raising the possibility of Western military intervention. Therefore, by 25 August, Hitler understood that from his perspective, the M-R Pact had completely failed in its intended purpose. From that point on, he conducted his policy knowing that the West might declare war. Of course, that didn’t stop him attacking Poland.

    “And of course after having signed the M-P pact Hitler not only KNEW for sure that the S-U would not interfere militarily AGAINST him, but Stalin would in fact could assist Germany even MILITARILY by opening the second front against Poland if necessary.”

    Hitler did not fear Soviet military intervention. The Germans were fully confident of defeating the Polish armed forces before the Red Army could effectively intervene, and of defeating the Red Army once it did intervene.

    “After signing the pact the situation had completely changed: by now it was completely clear that Poland could NOT possibly stand a TWO-FRONT war long enough for France and Britain to have time getting actively involved in the war in order to assist Poland.”

    That was completely clear before the Pact. Even British admirals correctly estimated that the Polish armed forces would only be effective in resisting the Germans for about two weeks.

    “What plans France and Germany DID have is irrelevant, what is relevant is that Hitler was afraid of getting into a two-front war (as you have yourself said many times)”

    He certainly would have preferred a one-front war, but what I have said many times here is that he was entirely willing to have a two-front war if it would get him Poland. Please quote me correctly.

    “As you yourself quoted Champerlain, now the M-P pact had made sure that the S-U would not only remain neutral but would actually even be Germany’s ally.

    After the M-P pact France and Britain KNEW that the situation had completely changed the S-U and Germany were allies unlike in 1914.”

    As I made clear, Hitler didn’t share Chamberlain’s perception, and Stalin was well aware of Hitler’s opinion on this topic.

    “Hitler was in no position BEFOREHAND to know how long and effectively Poland could resist.”

    He certainly was. He spoke of striking Poland with the full force on a mechanized army “…of which the Poles have no conception.” and believed they would be promptly crushed.

    “So, the M-P pact was a further guarantee for him for the case the Polish army’s resistance would have proved effective enough threatening to protract the war while the threat of two-front war haunted all the time in Hitler’s thoughts.”

    How do you know? You know, it gets tiresome having to provide all the facts for *both sides* of this discussion.

    “Surely Guderian and Rundstedt (and their field chef at least?) helped the S-U to conquer the half of the independent Poland PLUS saved much Soviet blood. And the country was then shared between Germany and the S-U in full friendship according to the pact with due joint military parades etc….”

    So now you’re reading “friendship” into a military parade?? And let me tell you about the place that parade was held. In 1939 Guderian’s panzer group captured it with a single regiment, over the course of a single morning, with trivial losses. They gave it to the Red Army, and the parade you’re making so much of was part of the ceremony in handing it over. In recapturing it again in 1941, the German division conducting the attack suffered 22 officers and 290 soldiers killed in action on the *first day* of that fortress’s prolonged defense. I happen to think that it is a Good Thing that the Germans had to pay in blood twice for the Brest fortress.

    “Surely Guderian and Rundstedt (and their field chef at least?) helped the S-U to conquer the half of the independent Poland PLUS saved much Soviet blood. And the country was then shared between Germany and the S-U in full friendship according to the pact with due joint military parades etc….”

    “And after signing the M-P pact Hitler KNEW that 1) with his new ally he could be much more surer that Poland would be finished off before Britain and France could take any active counter-measures 2) he could count on his new ally for providing a large quantities of various materials necessary for Germany if the war did happen to start in the West (whether that be 1939, 1940,…).”

    Hitler didn’t plan for a war lasting that long. His whole war effort was founded on a short war, because he knew that Germany had no money or credit to finance a long war. While the campaign in Poland was still going on he was pushing for an attack on France in the Fall of 1939.

    “Why a next war would have been inevitable in the case that…”

    To understand answer that, you would have to understand British military perceptions about the “Russian threat” going all the way back to the time immediately after the Napoleonic Wars. And notice that at that time, the Tsar’s army did go home without conquering much territory at all, yet that did not prevent British hostility to Russia.

    Comment by rkka — August 28, 2009 @ 6:08 am

  31. Regarding Napoleon’s downfall, the Tsar’s army did play a lead, if not the lead role in Paris. They were later petitioned by the Hapsburgs for military use (that petition should’ve been refused.)

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 28, 2009 @ 6:41 am

  32. Rkka,

    Heh, Isn’t you even a bit worried that by going “ad hominum” our potential reader might draw his/her conclusions about the outcome of our little argumentation? Besides, regarding what our potential reader might think of all of this, I for my part, feel quite confident. Or do you really think after telling us that you have even read military history (chic! you must be the only one, don’t you think?) the memory and consequences of the M-P pact will be wiped off, just like that, from the minds of tens of millions (East) Europeans. Isn’t it even a little bit embarrassing that they without even having been exposed on “politicized Western Cold War propaganda” at school seem not to share your thoughts on the M-P pact? Furthermore, isn’t it even a little bit weird though they were given the best of the Soviets could provide in the field of history sciences for over 40 years of their lives and still they do not understand? Could it be that experience is much more effective teacher? Or quoting you once again “been there myself”… But I admit my guilty I have studied history at university level in two Western universities. By the way have you ever pondered to publish your theories on the WWII and the M-P pact in some peer-reviewed scientific publication? (Well, I haven’t, my points have being already covered fairly extensively by many professional scholars so no need to bother.)

    It’s alright that you miss the essence of various of my points and still do answer. But, I guess by missing the essence of my argument and still answering (maybe even correctly in some case, but regularly to the point I never actually made…), our potential common reader surely understands what to think of that. For, after all, whether you would convince me or vice versa is not the point here. I mean the outcome of this discussion will be decided in the minds of persons following the discussion. And, I must admit, I feel quite satisfied that once again the M-P pact have been brought out even in our humble discussion. I mean the most important thing is that even the future generations won’t forget…

    And then back to business:

    “ …The reason Hitler cancelled the attack was the British and Polish governments concluded an alliance on 25 August, raising the possibility of Western military intervention. Therefore, by 25 August, Hitler understood that from his perspective, the M-R Pact had completely failed in its intended purpose. From that point on, he conducted his policy knowing that the West might declare war. Of course, that didn’t stop him attacking Poland.”

    “ Therefore, by 25 August, Hitler understood that from his perspective, the M-R Pact had completely failed in its intended purpose. From that point on, he conducted his policy knowing that the West might declare war. Of course, that didn’t stop him attacking Poland.”

    I expected that your “answer” would be precisely that you give above and did not need to disappoint. Now, please explain to me, if Hitler was so determined to attack Poland anyway, what does the cancellation of attack by a few days adds to that picture? What kind of counter-measure was the cancellation of attack by few days to the Polish and the Britons concluding an alliance? Tell me what PROVES that the cancellation depended on what the poles and the Brittons did on 25th August? And remember the synchronicity of two things happening is no proof? And after that, tell me how the situation changed within one week after that so that Hitler decided to attack by then. I mean what did Hitler achieve by a few day’s cancellation of the attack on Poland? Wasn’t the Polish-British alliance still in force? Or do you think that Hitler, for example, decided to wait a few days in case the Poles and the Britons would happen repent and CANCEL their alliance or what?

    Anyway, what DID happen was 1. that the Poles made an alliance with France and Britain and the alliance remained in force even after 1st September 1939, 2. Germany and the S-U made an alliance and that alliance remained in force despite the alliance between Poland, Britain and France. Consequently Germany and the S-U shared the Eastern Europe between them as agreed upon in the M-P pact even though both France and Britain had declared war on Germany. The Russo-Germany alliance remained in force even during Hitler’s attack on France. That is, even after the West having showed its willingness to fight Hitler by declaring war on it, AND, showing that even IN DEEDS in the spring of 1940, Still the S-U chose to remain on Germany’s side. But not for free, oh no, the prize was a large slice of Eastern Europe PLUS Germany paid a good money – among others, in the gold confiscated from the conquered nations’ central banks and Jewish minorities – for all the material provided by the S-U to meet the needs of the German war machine when crushing Western democracies one by one. Things DID seem to go well enough from Stalin’s perspective. Only if France had not collapsed soon…

    “To understand answer that, you would have to understand British military perceptions about the “Russian threat” going all the way back to the time immediately after the Napoleonic Wars. And notice that at that time, the Tsar’s army did go home without conquering much territory at all, yet that did not prevent British hostility to Russia.”

    What hostility by 1815? Yes there was the Crimean war in the 1850’s but then the background was the Russians wanting to conquer the Dardannelles? Besides, if any hostilities that have happened during the last 150 years between any nations had always INEVITABLY led to a new war the human race would have been wiped off from this planet a long time ago… Actually, following your “argumentation” to its bitter end would mean that the greatest threat for all (East)-Europeans is the very existence of Britain! Since after 1815 Russia/the S-U has had any other options to protect itself against the British threat but conquering a half of Europe… And this even fighting an entire world war on the same side with Britain! What if Britain ceased to exist, would it be possible in that case, for the Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and all the rest of the Eastern and Central European nations to live as free independent nations without Russia being “forced” to protect itself on the very territory of all these other smaller nations against the ever aggressive Britons?

    Well now we have ended up with the Wien conference and… the fundamental question of Britain’s right to threaten peace in Europe through its very existence! In case you happened continue by taking up, say, the 1054 year’s division of one common Christian church to the two “hostile” camps, I better save energy for that turn and not touch your various other points about the Warsaw Uprising or what ever…

    Comment by Dixi — August 31, 2009 @ 5:19 am

  33. ‘Heh, Isn’t you even a bit worried that by going “ad hominum” our potential reader might draw his/her conclusions about the outcome of our little argumentation?”

    Pointing out that your points are factually erroneous speculation =/= ad hominem argumentation.

    “I expected that your “answer” would be precisely that you give above and did not need to disappoint. Now, please explain to me, if Hitler was so determined to attack Poland anyway, what does the cancellation of attack by a few days adds to that picture?

    Time to make sure that the West is not preparing to militarily intervene, and to take countermeasures if they were.

    “What kind of counter-measure was the cancellation of attack by few days to the Polish and the Britons concluding an alliance?”

    To gain time to prepare for a possible Western military intervention, if he sees they are serious about militarily assisting Poland.

    “Tell me what PROVES that the cancellation depended on what the poles and the Brittons did on 25th August?”

    The account of Colonel General Franz Halder, Chief of the German General Staff as recorded in his war diary about what the Reich Chancellery told him when at 1930 hrs on 25 August 1939 they conveyed the order to cancel the scheduled attack. This is far more than you provided for your speculation about his alleged uncertainty about the signing of the M-R Pact you provided.

    “And remember the synchronicity of two things happening is no proof?”

    Indeed, which is why I rely on German-sourced accounts for insight into this topic. Now if you would make an effort to factually support the points you accuse me of ignoring this conversation might actually go somewhere.

    “And after that, tell me how the situation changed within one week after that so that Hitler decided to attack by then. I mean what did Hitler achieve by a few day’s cancellation of the attack on Poland? Wasn’t the Polish-British alliance still in force? Or do you think that Hitler, for example, decided to wait a few days in case the Poles and the Britons would happen repent and CANCEL their alliance or what?”

    The extra time allowed him time to see that the British indeed had not grown enough of a backbone to militarily intervene when Germany attacked Poland. Halder’s account shows particular attention to indications of British military preparation to go to Poland’s aid, or to embark a force for the continent.

    And they were scarce indeed, which boosted german confidence substantially.

    “Anyway, what DID happen was 1. that the Poles made an alliance with France and Britain and the alliance remained in force even after 1st September 1939″

    Indeed it remained in force. And the British and French took no action whatever to assist the Polish armed forces. That alliance required French offensive action within two weeks of a German attack on Poland, which did not occur. The French Army did occupy a few square miles of undefended German territory, but they stopped at the first resistance. So that alliance did Poland no good at all in 1939, which was entirely satisfactory from Hitler’s point of view.

    “2. Germany and the S-U made an alliance and that alliance remained in force despite the alliance between Poland, Britain and France. Consequently Germany and the S-U shared the Eastern Europe between them as agreed upon in the M-P pact even though both France and Britain had declared war on Germany. The Russo-Germany alliance remained in force even during Hitler’s attack on France.”

    By this standard, the Baltic States were allied to Nazi Germany as well. After all, they had signed nonaggression pacts with Germany too.

    “That is, even after the West having showed its willingness to fight Hitler by declaring war on it,”

    That DoW was followed by no action to assist the Polish Armed Forces under attack from Germany. During the “Phony War”, Western action was largely confined to hunting German commerce raiders on the high seas to prevent them sinking Allied shipping. Italy provided an ample avenue for nullifying the Allied naval blockade.

    “AND, showing that even IN DEEDS in the spring of 1940,”

    So… the Poles had to wait EIGHT MONTHS for the Western Allies to actually fight Germany, and then mostly because the Germans took the initiative?.

    “Still the S-U chose to remain on Germany’s side.”

    No, the S-U chose to remain on their own side. And the S-U traded with Germany, much like the USA and Great Britain traded with Japan during the 1938-1939 border war the Japanese and the Soviets had.

    “But not for free, oh no, the prize was a large slice of Eastern Europe PLUS Germany paid a good money – among others, in the gold confiscated from the conquered nations’ central banks and Jewish minorities – for all the material provided by the S-U to meet the needs of the German war machine when crushing Western democracies one by one.”

    Plus the Germans provided industrial equipment in return, and even gave the Soviets samples of the Bf-109 for the Soviets to test their new MiGs and Yaks against.

    “Things DID seem to go well enough from Stalin’s perspective. Only if France had not collapsed soon…”

    Indeed, he had considered the French Army “worthy of consideration”. His crystal ball truly was a bit foggy on that point.

    “To understand answer that, you would have to understand British military perceptions about the “Russian threat” going all the way back to the time immediately after the Napoleonic Wars. And notice that at that time, the Tsar’s army did go home without conquering much territory at all, yet that did not prevent British hostility to Russia.”
    What hostility by 1815?”

    The traditional hostility of the world’s greatest sea power for the world’s greatest land power.

    “Yes there was the Crimean war in the 1850’s but then the background was the Russians wanting to conquer the Dardannelles? Besides, if any hostilities that have happened during the last 150 years between any nations had always INEVITABLY led to a new war the human race would have been wiped off from this planet a long time ago… Actually, following your “argumentation” to its bitter end would mean that the greatest threat for all (East)-Europeans is the very existence of Britain!”

    Not my argumentation at all. I merely observed that the Russian Army returned home, and British hostility to Russia grew in spite of that.

    Comment by rkka — August 31, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  34. Rkka,

    “Time to make sure that the West is not preparing to militarily intervene, and to take countermeasures if they were….To gain time to prepare for a possible Western military intervention, if he sees they are serious about militarily assisting Poland.”

    But, according to you, Hitler was to attack Poland anyway and determined that Poland would be finished very quickly. So why wait the Western attack, if so determined to catch Poland anyway? Hitler wanted to wait till being in a two-front war and only then attack Poland or what?

    “The account of Colonel General Franz Halder, Chief of the German General Staff as recorded in his war diary about what the Reich Chancellery told him when at 1930 hrs on 25 August 1939 they conveyed the order to cancel the scheduled attack. This is far more than you provided for your speculation about his alleged uncertainty about the signing of the M-R Pact you provided.”

    Please tell the source and what Halder exactly DID write so we can speculate.

    “The extra time allowed him time to see that the British indeed had not grown enough of a backbone to militarily intervene when Germany attacked Poland. Halder’s account shows particular attention to indications of British military preparation to go to Poland’s aid, or to embark a force for the continent.”

    How to wait for a few days the British and the French coming to aid Poland helped Hitler? Instead, the Poles, being aware about the M-P pact, surely got more time to prepare for German invasion… as were the British too.

    “So that alliance did Poland no good at all in 1939, which was entirely satisfactory from Hitler’s point of view.”

    The point is not whether the alliance made any good for Poland or not. But surely while Britain and France remained fairly inactive after declaring the war on Germany, the S-U didn’t. Instead it made damn sure that the Poland would be the lost cause as soon as possible. And continued the alliance then in the spring to make everything being in its own hands that German war efforts to crunch France would not stop at least because of lacking materials.

    “By this standard, the Baltic States were allied to Nazi Germany as well. After all, they had signed nonaggression pacts with Germany too.”

    Are you serious? I mean you can do better, can’t you. Stalin made alliance with the S-U…Stalin got half of Poland+the Baltic countries. What did the Baltic countries got? Tell me was there even a secret protocol for sharing other independent European countries between Germany and the Baltic countries?

    “That DoW was followed by no action to assist the Polish Armed Forces under attack from Germany. During the “Phony War”, Western action was largely confined to hunting German commerce raiders on the high seas to prevent them sinking Allied shipping. Italy provided an ample avenue for nullifying the Allied naval blockade.”

    Yes the West remained fairly passive, but the Soviets didn’t. The Poland being invaded by Germany and the S-U in alliance, meant that now the militarily unprepared France and Britain would risk to fight both Germany and the S-U in order to free Poland. Having chosen Germany, meant not only that France and Britain could not count on the S-U in a possible military confrontation with Germany ON THEIR SIDE, but even that it might need EVEN to FIGHT the S-U… at least if came to free Poland. And indeed, the spring of 1940 showed effectively that the S-U was prepared to assist German war efforts against the West. And keeping the half of Poland after the war showed effectively that the S-U was there for good no matter what the Poles, the French, the British or the Americans thought or what threat the Nazis posed.

    “No, the S-U chose to remain on their own side. And the S-U traded with Germany, much like the USA and Great Britain traded with Japan during the 1938-1939 border war the Japanese and the Soviets had.”

    Yes, and isn’t it a mere coincidence that remaining on this side secured for the S-U their half of Poland all of the Baltic countries that Germany, unlike France and Britain, were ready to give for the S-U. What territorial conquests the USA and G-B got as a return gift from trading with Japan? By the way, was there no trade between the US and the UK on the one hand and the S-U on the other hand by that time?

    “But not for free, oh no, the prize was a large slice of Eastern Europe PLUS Germany paid a good money – among others, in the gold confiscated from the conquered nations’ central banks and Jewish minorities – for all the material provided by the S-U to meet the needs of the German war machine when crushing Western democracies one by one.”

    “Plus the Germans provided industrial equipment in return, and even gave the Soviets samples of the Bf-109 for the Soviets to test their new MiGs and Yaks against.”

    Full scale military alliance indeed! And very beneficial for both sides (territorial occupations together and economic and military co-operation at the same time…Indeed, why to choose the alliance with the West after such a good bargain with Germany?

    “Things DID seem to go well enough from Stalin’s perspective. Only if France had not collapsed soon…Indeed, he had considered the French Army “worthy of consideration”. His crystal ball truly was a bit foggy on that point.”

    So, as France collapsed so soon meant that Stalin failed too. Germany on one side and France and Britain on the other did not end up to an long-lasting exhausting war with each a’la the WWI Version 2.0…after which there would have been no effective counter-power against the revolution – and surely, at the same time the S-U – expanding to the west.

    “The traditional hostility of the world’s greatest sea power for the world’s greatest land power.”

    Meaning that by 1945 after an entire world war Great Britain with its collapsing empire would have been ready for a new war against the S-U? Which part of the Russia proper the Britons would have captured first?

    “Not my argumentation at all. I merely observed that the Russian Army returned home, and British hostility to Russia grew in spite of that.”

    You DID justify the S-U troops remaining in the half of Europe after the WWII, first by the British aerial threat (chic!) and then by “traditional hostility between Britain towards Russia”. And all of suddenly, we were in the year 1815! So as the Britain seems to be the ever lasting fundamental threat for Russia/the S-U century after century, I simply thought that maybe the non-existence of Britain might be the best guarantee for the Eastern and Central European nations to avoid Russian military occupation even in the future?

    Comment by Dixi — September 1, 2009 @ 3:27 am

  35. “But, according to you, Hitler was to attack Poland anyway and determined that Poland would be finished very quickly.”

    Do you dispute the truth of these points?

    “So why wait the Western attack, if so determined to catch Poland anyway?”

    Do you dispute the truth of the points I have made? If so, where is your contrary evidence?

    “Please tell the source and what Halder exactly DID write so we can speculate.”

    Um, why do I need to support this point any further, since I have provided more evidence to support it than you have provided to support any of yours?

    “How to wait for a few days the British and the French coming to aid Poland helped Hitler? Instead, the Poles, being aware about the M-P pact, surely got more time to prepare for German invasion… as were the British too.”

    So? It isn’t as if the British, French, or Poles put the time to any good use.

    “The point is not whether the alliance made any good for Poland or not. But surely while Britain and France remained fairly inactive after declaring the war on Germany, the S-U didn’t. Instead it made damn sure that the Poland would be the lost cause as soon as possible.”

    Really, if that is so, why didn’t the SU start the attack on 1 September?

    “Yes, and isn’t it a mere coincidence that remaining on this side secured for the S-U their half of Poland all of the Baltic countries that Germany”

    Would you prefer the Germans got them all, since that was well within Germany’s power to do so?

    “The point is not whether the alliance made any good for Poland or not.”

    You may think so, but you have provided no evidence to support your point.

    “But surely while Britain and France remained fairly inactive after declaring the war on Germany, the S-U didn’t. Instead it made damn sure that the Poland would be the lost cause as soon as possible.”

    Didn’t the Poles accomplish this all by themselves?

    “And continued the alliance then in the spring”

    What alliance?

    “to make everything being in its own hands that German war efforts to crunch France would not stop at least because of lacking materials.”

    When did the SU agree not to trade with Germany? Or with GB or France for that matter? As long as the raw materials were paid for, that is.

    “Are you serious?”

    Hey, you’re the one twisting a nonaggression pact into an alliance, not me. If you don’t like people calling you out on dishonest argumentation, then don’t do it.

    “Having chosen Germany, meant not only that France and Britain could not count on the S-U in a possible military confrontation with Germany ON THEIR SIDE, but even that it might need EVEN to FIGHT the S-U… at least if came to free Poland.”

    What makes you think that freeing Poland had any place in Anglo-French 1939 war planning?

    “Yes, and isn’t it a mere coincidence that remaining on this side secured for the S-U their half of Poland all of the Baltic countries that Germany, unlike France and Britain, were ready to give for the S-U.”

    You seem really upset that they weren’t left for Germany to conquer entirely, which was clearly within Germany’s power to do.

    “What territorial conquests the USA and G-B got as a return gift from trading with Japan? ”

    It was economically profitable for both.

    “By the way, was there no trade between the US and the UK on the one hand and the S-U on the other hand by that time?”

    I’ve not seen any figures for it, but I have no doubt that there was such trade.

    “Full scale military alliance indeed!”

    How so?

    “And very beneficial for both sides (territorial occupations together and economic and military co-operation at the same time…Indeed, why to choose the alliance with the West after such a good bargain with Germany?”

    What alliance with the West? Did the West ever offer any alliance to the SU?

    “So, as France collapsed so soon meant that Stalin failed too.”

    So? When did I ever write that Stalin didn’t fail at things???

    “Meaning that by 1945 after an entire world war Great Britain with its collapsing empire would have been ready for a new war against the S-U?”

    That’s what the Post-Hostilities Planning committee was doing from 1944-1947. Central to their plan was reviving and rearming Germany.

    “You DID justify the S-U troops remaining in the half of Europe after the WWII, first by the British aerial threat (chic!)”

    I never said a word about any British aerial threat. But thank you for revealing that you have no idea how the British intended to deal with the SU after the war, and are entirely reliant on me to provide the facts of the matter we are discussing.

    “and then by “traditional hostility between Britain towards Russia”. And all of suddenly, we were in the year 1815!”

    You asked me a question, and I answered it.

    “So as the Britain seems to be the ever lasting fundamental threat for Russia/the S-U century after century, I simply thought that maybe the non-existence of Britain might be the best guarantee for the Eastern and Central European nations to avoid Russian military occupation even in the future?”

    Well, you alone are responsible for the conclusions you draw, and they certainly don’t derive from anything I have told you here.

    Comment by rkka — September 1, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  36. Rkka,

    “Um, why do I need to support this point any further, since I have provided more evidence to support it than you have provided to support any of yours?”

    Heh, you presented a claim and I asked to give the source and the very words Halder used. Well, you didn’t. A claim based on somebody writing something without the source is useless. The only hard FACT offered by you is the Haider’s diary (the rest being your speculations why Hitler waited a few days), but for some reason you don’t want to quote Haider’s VERY words.

    “ So? It isn’t as if the British, French, or Poles put the time to any good use.”

    Yes, but Hitler did not know that BEFOREHAND. He gave them a chance for further preparations. It is irrelevant whether they used it or not…

    “ What makes you think that freeing Poland had any place in Anglo-French 1939 war planning?”

    They had guaranteed Poland’s independence…even militarily if necessary. The necessary prerequisites for freeing Poland AFTER it already being occupied by a common military action of Germany and the Soviets would have been that 1. the S-U would change the side, 2. the S-U would be ready to fight Germany, 3. after the points 1 and 2 being fulfilled the S-U would have been ready for his half remaining a part of free Poland. As history shows none of the prerequisities was fullfilled. The post WWII history shows that even the last option was out of question for the S-U whether the was theNazi threat or not.

    “ What alliance with the West? Did the West ever offer any alliance to the SU?”

    Did the S-U ever offer any alliance that would secure the Baltic countries’ and Poland’s independence in case the Soviet troops would enter and, especially, that they would leave after the Nazi threat would be over? Germany was ready for that and once the the Red Army had entered all these countries as agreed in the M-R pact they DID stay there for 45 years even after the Nazis had been destroyed and, that is, the original threat by which the Soviets had justified 1. the Red Army entering these countries and 2. NOT leaving these countries after the threat was over. But even that was not enough the Baltic Countries and half of Poland were incorporated in the S-U by military force and terror. The West’s doubts about Stalin as a “protector” of these independent countries were confirmed in full.

    “ You seem really upset that they weren’t left for Germany to conquer entirely, which was clearly within Germany’s power to do ”

    I’m upset that these two bloody dictatorships made a pact which meant that Hitler could count on the S-U not only remaining inactive, but actually making sure that the West would have had no time to come to aid Poland. The knowledge that even though they COULD fight the Germans they would need to fight the Soviets too was, say the least, demoralising for the Polish army. By the time of German’s attack the Poles KNEW they were the lost cause…in order to save their independence they would have to meet two dictatorships – one on their Western border and the second on their Eastern border – having agreed upon to share the independent Poland between them. Germany wanted the Western part, the S-U the eastern part. MOT The over-hanging threat of a two-front war against these two dictatorships both wanting one half of Poland was a truly devastating blow for the Poles’ hopes of remaining an independent country. A demoralised army is what any army desires as its opponent in war.

    “It was economically profitable for both.”

    Trade is often economically profitable the Russo-German trade in 1940 being no exception. But what was exceptional was its character consisting of materials fundamnetal for Germany’s war machine to crush France. Besides, the S-U got the half of Poland+the Baltic countries.

    “How so?” (meaning Russo-Germany pact being a full military alliance)

    Common military actions to occupy Poland. The S-U’s material assistance for Germany to help it conquer France. Read the 5th paragraph of NATO’s Charter book and it covers both, that is, possibility of common military actions (though only in order to DEFENCE a member country) and other NECESSARY means (including material aid). Actually, (funny, I’ve never thought that before) the alliance between Germany and the S-U seemed to go even further than that.

    “That’s what the Post-Hostilities Planning committee was doing from 1944-1947. Central to their plan was reviving and rearming Germany.”

    The UK hardly planned to rearm Germany to its former military strength PLUS at the same time putting the Nazis back in power free to start a new war in order to gain “lebensraum” both in the West (the Battle of Britain and being a target for modernised version of V2s was hardly the Brittons wanted the most) as in the East. Actually, thinking the labour government gaining the power in the aftermath of the war with its very ambitious social program+the overwhelming problems the collapsing empire faced roun the world your claims are not from this world. I give you one friendly advice, in order to justify the fact that the S-U kept on occuping a huge part of Europe PLUS forcing communist dictatorships on all these pre-war independent nations you DO need much better arguments. Of course, if you don’t believe me and go public with such “arguments” I can always say to that I DID try to warn you, didn’t I?

    “I never said a word about any British aerial threat. But thank you for revealing that you have no idea how the British intended to deal with the SU after the war, and are entirely reliant on me to provide the facts of the matter we are discussing.”

    You DID justify the S-U troops remaining in the half of Europe after the WWII, first by the British aerial threat (chic!). To my question of what justified the Red Army occupying the Eastern and Central Europe up to Elbe. You answered (direct quote): “ “Because British military planning for a war against the USSR began in early 1944. The Luftwaffe broke a Soviet air force code in April 1944, and the British gained valuable intelligence on the Soviet air force by monitoring Luftwaffe communications. It was decided not to inform the Soviets that their air force communications had been compromised, though increased Soviet losses would result, because the intelligence on the Soviet air force being gained was judged to be of critical importance for the next war. The archives of the British “Post-Hostilities Planning Committee” for 1944-1945 make for very interesting reading.”

    So, if the Soviet air force communications had been compromised it surely would help the RAF. But again trying to justify the Red Army staying all over Europe (after the Nazis being beaten) by the problems of Soviet aerial intelligence is how to say…I don’t even dare to try. Why try it yourself. Go to Poland or the Baltic countries or Rumania or Slovakia or Chech Republic or Hungary etc. and tell people there your “facts” that without those bloody British gaining “valuable intelligence on the Soviet air force” by 1945 you all could have continued as free nations already in 1945 instead of waiting nearby 50 years under a communist dictatorship!

    “You asked me a question, and I answered it.”

    Yes I asked you a question, but not that one you answered.

    “Well, you alone are responsible for the conclusions you draw, and they certainly don’t derive from anything I have told you here.”

    Let’s our one(?) potential reader decide on that…

    Comment by Dixi — September 2, 2009 @ 6:03 am

  37. “Heh, you presented a claim and I asked to give the source and the very words Halder used. Well, you didn’t. A claim based on somebody writing something without the source is useless. The only hard FACT offered by you is the Haider’s diary (the rest being your speculations why Hitler waited a few days), but for some reason you don’t want to quote Haider’s VERY words.”

    Here’s an idea… Look it up yourself. Contribute some facts to this discussion rather than satisfying yourself with sharpshooting mine.

    “Yes, but Hitler did not know that BEFOREHAND. He gave them a chance for further preparations. It is irrelevant whether they used it or not…”

    So what if he judged the wait worth the trivial risk?

    “They had guaranteed Poland’s independence…even militarily if necessary. The necessary prerequisites for freeing Poland AFTER it already being occupied by a common military action of Germany and the Soviets would have been that 1. the S-U would change the side, 2. the S-U would be ready to fight Germany, 3. after the points 1 and 2 being fulfilled the S-U would have been ready for his half remaining a part of free Poland. As history shows none of the prerequisities was fullfilled. The post WWII history shows that even the last option was out of question for the S-U whether the was theNazi threat or not.”

    Past the “They had guaranteed Poland’s independence…” you provide nothing but speculation. There is a total absence of any actual facts of the objectives of Anglo-French war planning in the things you write. And as for your “They had guaranteed Poland’s independence”, both the British and the French had shown themselves entirely willing to ignore committments they had made when they turned out to be inconvenient.

    “Did the S-U ever offer any alliance that would secure the Baltic countries’ and Poland’s independence in case the Soviet troops would enter and, especially, that they would leave after the Nazi threat would be over? Germany was ready for that and once the the Red Army had entered all these countries as agreed in the M-R pact they DID stay there for 45 years even after the Nazis had been destroyed and, that is, the original threat by which the Soviets had justified 1. the Red Army entering these countries and 2. NOT leaving these countries after the threat was over. But even that was not enough the Baltic Countries and half of Poland were incorporated in the S-U by military force and terror. The West’s doubts about Stalin as a “protector” of these independent countries were confirmed in full.”

    You wrote “Indeed, why to choose the alliance with the West after such a good bargain with Germany?”

    I asked you “What alliance with the West? Did the West ever offer any alliance to the SU?”

    In response, you write 141 words that fail to address either of my questions, when either a simple “Yes” or “No” would have entirely sufficed for the second question I asked.

    “I’m upset that these two bloody dictatorships made a pact which meant that Hitler could count on the S-U not only remaining inactive, but actually making sure that the West would have had no time to come to aid Poland.”

    How do you know that the SU had anything to do with that?

    “The knowledge that even though they COULD fight the Germans they would need to fight the Soviets too was, say the least, demoralising for the Polish army.”

    Show me evidence from the time that the Polish Army was demoralized as you say.

    “By the time of German’s attack the Poles KNEW they were the lost cause…”

    Show me evidence from the time that the Poles knew they were a lost cause.

    “Trade is often economically profitable the Russo-German trade in 1940 being no exception. But what was exceptional was its character consisting of materials fundamnetal for Germany’s war machine to crush France.”

    False. Germany’s prewar stockpiles of strategic materials, plus those gained in the acquisition of Czechoslovak reserves, as well as trade with Finland, Sweden, Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary, and Albania, almost entirely sufficed. The only strategic material unavailable from these countries and supplied by the SU was manganese, of which Germany had a 20-month supply stockpiled in 1939. Therefore, Germany already had everything needed for the crushing of Poland and France even without Soviet supplies.

    The Germans were then able to take over vast French stockpiles.

    “Common military actions to occupy Poland.”

    Not true.

    “The S-U’s material assistance for Germany to help it conquer France.”

    German trade with other countries + supplies stockpiled since the German government took charge of foreign trade in 1936 sufficed entirely for the conquest of Poland and France.

    “Read the 5th paragraph of NATO’s Charter book and it covers both, that is, possibility of common military actions (though only in order to DEFENCE a member country) and other NECESSARY means (including material aid). Actually, (funny, I’ve never thought that before) the alliance between Germany and the S-U seemed to go even further than that.”

    If the Western Allies had parried Germany’s attack in 1940, and proceeded with the military conquest of Germany, nothing in the M-R Pact obligates the SU to go to Germany’s aid. Therefore it was not an alliance.

    “The UK hardly planned to rearm Germany to its former military strength”

    How do you know?

    “You DID justify the S-U troops remaining in the half of Europe after the WWII, first by the British aerial threat (chic!).”

    False.

    “To my question of what justified the Red Army occupying the Eastern and Central Europe up to Elbe. You answered (direct quote): “ “Because British military planning for a war against the USSR began in early 1944. The Luftwaffe broke a Soviet air force code in April 1944, and the British gained valuable intelligence on the Soviet air force by monitoring Luftwaffe communications. It was decided not to inform the Soviets that their air force communications had been compromised, though increased Soviet losses would result, because the intelligence on the Soviet air force being gained was judged to be of critical importance for the next war. The archives of the British “Post-Hostilities Planning Committee” for 1944-1945 make for very interesting reading.”
    So, if the Soviet air force communications had been compromised it surely would help the RAF. But again trying to justify the Red Army staying all over Europe (after the Nazis being beaten) by the problems of Soviet aerial intelligence is how to say…I don’t even dare to try. Why try it yourself. Go to Poland or the Baltic countries or Rumania or Slovakia or Chech Republic or Hungary etc. and tell people there your “facts” that without those bloody British gaining “valuable intelligence on the Soviet air force” by 1945 you all could have continued as free nations already in 1945 instead of waiting nearby 50 years under a communist dictatorship!”

    An amusing indication of how you twist my words. My excerpt shows that by April 1943 British planning for a war with the SU was already impacting the conduct of WWII, indicating enduring British hostility to the SU, of such a degree that they were planning the revival of German power. and the rearmament of Germany

    “Yes I asked you a question, but not that one you answered.”

    You feel no obligation to answer the questions I ask.

    Let’s our one(?) potential reader decide on that…

    So… seeking to dodge responsibility for your own conclusions.

    Comment by rkka — September 2, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

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