German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact Facts

German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact Facts
The German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact, often referred to as the Nazi-Soviet Pact, but more accurately was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a neutrality/non-aggression agreement signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939 in Moscow. Named for the Soviet and Germany foreign ministers, Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop respectively, such an agreement seemed impossible at the time due to the ideological differences between the two countries. It is believed that Stalin thought the Western nations would abandon the Soviet Union to Germany anyway, so he went ahead with the agreement to possibly forestall the inevitable. A secret proviso in the agreement essentially gave the Baltic countries to Stalin, which allowed him to expand the growing Soviet Empire. The Germans broke the pact when they invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa.
Interesting German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact Facts:
Molotov (1890-1986) lived a long life, navigating the often dangerous world of Stalin's inner circle. He did so by being extremely loyal to Stalin and by sending the dictator's enemies, real and perceived, to the gulags.
Ribbentrop (1893-1946), like many German men of his generation, had a certain fondness for Russia despite its communist government.
Despite outwardly professing an international ideology, Communist Russia under Stalin took a decidedly nationalist turn. Stalin hoped that the pact would help the Soviet Union retrieve territory it lost during World War I while it was Imperial Russia.
Perhaps somewhat ironically, the German diplomatic contingent was greeted by a Russian band playing the German national anthem and plenty of "hammer and sickle" flags alongside swastika flags.
Most of the agreement was already done before the German diplomats arrived in Moscow.
The Vistula River was agreed to be the dividing line between German and Soviet Poland.
Other countries in eastern Europe were also to be partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union. Most interestingly, Finland was placed in the Soviet sphere of influence. The Soviets invaded Finland in November 1939 and fought that country to a stalemate in February 1941. Finland then attacked the Soviet Union as part of Operation Barbarossa.
Both the Germans and Soviets found justifying the pact to their allies, for obvious reasons, difficult.
The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, while the Soviets invaded on September 17.
Immediately after the two countries portioned Poland, their armies met and conducted parades.
Germany and France immediately declared war on Germany, but not on the Soviet Union.
Almost immediately after conquering Poland, both the Soviets and Germans began rounding up notable intellectuals, government leaders, and military officers. The Germans sent many to concentration camps while the Soviets initiated the notorious Katyn Massacre.
Brest, Poland was jointly occupied by both armies until war broke out between the Soviet Union and Germany.
The Nazi-Soviet Pact later led the Soviet Union to sign a similar neutrality pact with Japan. The pact with Japan lasted until the last days of World War II.
After the war, Ribbentrop was charged, tried, and convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging.

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