This Day. The Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, 1939

Official use of disinformation to falsify history and create a climate which will assist the same kind of Hitlerite and fascist forces to rise once again

Great Soviet victory against the Nazis at Stalingrad

On August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union signed what is now known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact with Germany which stipulated that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union would not attack Germany. The formal name for this agreement is the Nonaggression Pact between the USSR and Germany. It is often called the “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact” or “Treaty” after the two foreign ministers who signed it. Ideological anti-communists call it the “Hitler-Stalin Pact”, in furtherance of the goal of associating the USSR to Nazi Germany and Stalin to Hitler.

Future events proved the farsightedness of Stalin in signing the pact. It was the best of all available alternatives. It provided the Soviet Union with 22 months of relative peace so as to prepare herself to withstand the inevitable German invasion and it put an end to the Anglo-American and French policy of egging Hitler toward the East in what would have resulted in a completely isolated Soviet Union facing massive German forces.

Wild claims have long been made by imperialist historians that the Soviet Union believed that signing the Pact would stop the Nazis from attacking them and that, as a result, the Soviets were taken completely by surprise when the Nazis did attack on June 22, 1941. Further claims are made that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were allies and that they had agreed to divide up Poland between them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The preparations the Soviets made attest to this. No less a person than the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936-1938, Joseph Davies, made it clear that the Soviet Union was very well-prepared for a Nazi attack. Davies wrote in an official report to the U.S. Department of State on July 9, 1941:

“The plan of campaign which the war strategists of the Soviet Union had laid out did not contemplate or permit a decisive battle on the western front, as some of the strategists and commentators over here [in the U.S.] seemed to fear. The plan called for a definite strategy of withdrawal to draw the enemy into the interior; extend his line of communication and supply, and gradually to wear him down by making him pay dearly for each advance.”[1]

History has validated the boldness of the Soviet plan.

The Nazis did eventually invade the Soviet Union as expected but not until June 22, 1941 in the largest German military operation of the war.

Panzer units move through Pruzhaney in western Belarus, June 1941, as the Nazi invasion of the USSR begins.

The heroic and protracted Soviet resistance against the Nazis culminated in the great Soviet victory at Stalingrad on February 2, 1943, that concluded with the encirclement and surrender of a German army of 300,000 troops. This was followed by another decisive Soviet victory at Kursk. These triumphs began a powerful counteroffensive that drove the German Hitlerites steadily backward until the final demise of the Third Reich in Berlin. On May 9, 1945 the anti-fascist forces of the world with the Soviet Union and communists of all lands at the head of the Resistance Movement declared victory over the Hitlerite Nazis. Fascist Germany acknowledged defeat and declared unconditional surrender.

Such big lies should not be treated with indifference. They are not harmless and need to be opposed. The aim can only be to create a climate which will assist the same kind of Hitlerite and fascist forces to rise once again. In fact, those carrying out this propaganda today are the descendants of the very same fascist forces.

Completely ignoring these undisputed facts, the reactionaries of today use the anniversary of the non-aggression pact not to once again acclaim the great victory of the world’s people over Nazi Germany but to follow their mentor Goebbels by making such fascist claims as, “On August 25, 1939 the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which led to the second world war, the killing of millions of people and the Holocaust.”[2]

To suggest that Stalin’s signing of the non-aggression pact with Germany was the cause of World War II is the basest infamy. First, it should be noted that Britain and France had already issued a joint declaration of non-aggression with the Germans in 1938. Of all the non-aggressive Great Powers in Europe, the Soviet Union was the last to agree to a pact with the Germans.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact, not an alliance. The claim that the USSR and Hitler’s Germany were “allies” is simply stated over and over again but is never backed up with any evidence.

Second, “The history of events in 1937, both before and after Hitler’s occupation of Austria in March show that the Soviet Union, as it had done in earlier years, made many efforts to persuade Britain and France to maintain collective mutual assistance and in particular to carry out their undertaking to defend Czechoslovakia against aggression….The Soviet Union was not only willing to join forces with France to defend Czechoslovakia, if France would keep her word, but was prepared to defend Czechoslovakia on her own, even if France refused.”[3]

Joseph Stalin at meeting of the Supreme Soviet in 1938

All these efforts failed and the British and French refused to sign the collective mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union. Instead, they signed the September 29, 1938, Munich Pact with Germany. The Britain-French-German Non-aggression Pact with Hitler did “partition” another state – Czechoslovakia. This permitted Germany to incorporate the Sudeten, ordered the Czechs not to resist Nazi aggression and gave the Nazis the green light to launch their attacks across Europe.

Poland also took part in the “partition” of Czechoslovakia. Poland seized a part of the Teschen (Polish: Cieszyn) area of Czechoslovakia, even though only a minority of the population was Polish. This invasion and occupation was not part of the Munich Agreement. Neither France nor Britain did anything about it and thus consented to it. Later, in March 1939 Hitler seized the remaining part of Czechoslovakia. This was not been foreseen in the Munich Agreement either. Once again Britain, France, and Poland did nothing about it.

Of course the reactionaries never want to discuss the Munich Pact because it was such a blatant betrayal of the world’s people that even Winston Churchill accused Prime Minister Chamberlain in the British Parliament: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”

Left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano at signing of sellout Munich Agreement in 1938.

It is indisputable that faced with the British and French betrayal, the Soviet Union had no choice but to take whatever measures it could to defend itself and the cause of peace.

All these facts can be verified. They are all available in reports, speeches, accounts and documents of that time. Just to give one example, Memo #8604, which was sent to Moscow by Russian intelligence from Prague several days before the signing of the Munich Agreement reads:

“On September 19, British Ambassador Newton and French Ambassador De Lacroix conveyed to Milan Hodza (Czechoslovak Prime Minister from 1935 to 1938) the following on behalf of Chamberlain and Daladier, respectfully: ‘Guided by the lofty principles of preserving peace in Europe, they consider it necessary for Germany to incorporate the Sudeten region. A system of mutual aid pacts with other countries should be cancelled.’”[4]

The nefarious actions of the Anglo-Americans and the French, behind the back of the Soviet Union, which had mutual aid agreements with Czechoslovakia and France, destroyed the existing elements of the collective resistance system against Nazi Germany. It was the Munich Pact which was the final cowardly act that led to the Second World War, the killing of millions of people, and the Holocaust. The judgment of history points to the truth about the Anglo-American and French betrayal of the world’s people and to the truth about the heroic role of the Soviet Union and J.V. Stalin in defeating the Nazis. “In the end, the resistance of the Soviet peoples led by Stalin and the Communist Party broke the back of the Nazi aggressors. Some 50 million people died and another 35 million were seriously wounded during the Anti-Fascist War with the peoples of the Soviet Union bearing the brunt of the casualties.”[5]

Red Army soldiers raise the red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin, May 2, 1945, signifying victory over fascism in Europe

Revised from an article originally published by TML Weekly


1. Davies, Joseph (1941). Mission to Moscow. Pocket Book. P. 431.
2. “Stalin ‘planned to send a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed pact’: Stalin was ‘prepared to move more than a million Soviet troops to the German border to deter Hitler’s aggression just before the Second World War,'” Nick Holdsworth, Telegraph UK, October 18, 2008.
3. Hardial Bains. Causes and Lessons of the Second World War. Toronto: MELS, 1990, p. 54.
4. “Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Declassifies Munich Agreement Papers,” Valery Harmolenko, RIA Novosti, September 29, 2008.
5. “The Overthrow of the Imperialist System Is the Only Guarantee for Peace,” TML Daily, May 11, 2010.

Read more

For a detailed discussion of the events that led up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 an excellent account is Bill Bland, “The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939” (1990)


Filed under History

2 responses to “This Day. The Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, 1939

  1. axel

    There are competing narratives about this. Stalin was not blameless, nor a victim. You should read Gerhard Schultze-Rhonhof’s “The War that Had Many Fathers”, and “Icebreaker” by Viktor Suvorov. As for the allies, they threw Poland to the wolves.


  2. Pingback: Historical Review. The Hitlerite pretext of saving the world from communism | Tony Seed's Weblog

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