Significance of the Non-Aggression Pact signed by the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany

Aim of falsifications of the origins of the Second World War | Dougal MacDonald

Great Soviet victory against the Nazis at Stalingrad

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

On August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union signed what is now known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact with Germany. The agreement stipulated that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union would not attack Germany. Future events proved the farsightedness of Stalin in signing the pact which was the best of all available alternatives. It provided the Soviet Union with 22 months of peace so as to prepare herself to withstand the inevitable German invasion which Hitler had foreshadowed in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf, when he openly declared that Germany needed to “turn our gaze to the lands in the east.” The pact also put an end to the Anglo-American and French policy of egging Hitler toward the East so that an isolated Soviet Union would end up facing massive German forces.

The Nazis did eventually invade the Soviet Union as expected but not until June 22, 1941. It was the largest German military operation of the war. The heroic and protracted Soviet resistance against the Nazi hordes for almost two years 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. That was the turning point of the entire war. Stalingrad was followed by another decisive Soviet victory in a tank battle 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 allied 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.

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

Completely ignoring these undisputed facts, the reactionaries of today use the anniversary of the non-aggression pact to promote self-serving disinformation which presents Russia as their enemy and seeks to invite the peoples of what are called the Western democracies to once again engage in a campaign to isolate Russia, as well as China. They present themselves as the architects of the great victory of the world’s people over Nazi Germany. Again and again, they slander the great deeds of the Soviet Union by making the same claims that Goebbels made in 1939. One of the main ways this is done is by ignoring what the British and French, supported by the U.S. industrialists, did at Munich and instead declaring: “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.” This big lie that blames the Soviet Union for the war is aimed at concealing the real facts, which are that the two main factors leading to the world war were the huge U.S. investments in the German economy, beginning with the 1924 U.S. Dawes Plan, which financed the rebuilding of their industries, especially their war industries, and the policy of appeasement of Germany by renouncing collective security that was consummated in Munich on September 29, 1938.

The big lies about the so-called Soviet-German alliance began in January 1948 with the U.S. publication of material from the diaries of Hitlerite officials, in collaboration with the British and French foreign offices, which left out any mention of what happened in Munich! This began a fresh wave of slander and lies in connection with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact. The German documents were all written from the standpoint of the Hitler government without the documents seized by the Soviets or the Soviet documents. They were published as a deliberate Cold War campaign against the Soviet Union on the part of the Anglo-American imperialists. The Soviet Information Bureau immediately published a very important document titled Falsificators of History to refute them.[1] These same lies about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact are repeated including by the government of Canada, which in 1939 used them  to vilify the Canadian communists it had interned. By declaring the Soviet Union an enemy, it began treating the interned communists as agents of an enemy of Canada. Today, the aim of propaganda about foreign interference in elections is to create a climate which will assist a foreign policy which does not favour the people of Canada or the world. It is no accident that some of those carrying out this propaganda today are descendants of the very same Nazi collaborators that spread death and destruction across Europe in the Second World War.

One specific falsification is the suggestion that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was not a non-aggression pact but a “military alliance.” This deliberately tries to convey the lie that the pact included an agreement that under certain conditions the communist Soviet Union and the anti-communist Nazi Germany could take joint military action against some third country. But the pact contained no such agreement. As previously stated, the agreement was only that the two countries would not attack each other. Even hard-core reactionaries are now forced to admit that “the Soviet Union eventually played a major role in helping defeat the Nazis.” Nonetheless, they still allege that prior to joining the war on the Allied side, Stalin was “helping Hitler.” This is said to divert attention from the fact that the British and French were “helping Hitler “ when they signed such pacts a year earlier and refused to sign a collective security pact with the Soviet Union. It is also significant that these same official circles never once mention how U.S. corporations, such as General Motors, Ford, and Standard Oil, supplied the Nazi war machine with essential materials that enabled their invasion of Europe.

As for the lie that Stalin’s signing of the non-aggression pact with Germany was the cause of the Second World War, it should be noted that Britain and France had already issued a joint declaration of non-aggression with Germany in 1938, not to mention signed a “Pact of Accord and Cooperation” in 1933 when Hitler came to power. Poland signed a non-aggression pact with the Nazis in 1934, five years before the Soviet Union did. Of all the non-aggressive Great Powers in Europe, the Soviet Union was forced into a pact with the Germans as a result of the rejection of collective security by Britain and France:

“The history of events in 1938, 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.”[2]

Joseph Stalin at meeting of the Supreme Soviet in 1938.

All the efforts by the Soviet Union to build collective security failed. The British and French refused to sign any collective mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union. Instead, they signed the September 29, 1938, Munich Pact with Germany and Italy which 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. 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 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the British Parliament: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”

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.

Just to give one example of the policy of appeasement of Hitler, 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 in 1935-1938) 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.’“[3] They claimed that this betrayal of the Czech people which led to German occupation was “guided by the lofty principles of peace.” Yet, within a year of marching into Czechoslovakia, Germany had invaded Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, France, and Britain.

Another oft-repeated lie is that in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany agreed to “divide Poland,” again falsely implying that the pact included a commitment to joint military action against a third country. While it is true that the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, committing one of the worst war crimes the world has ever seen by killing about 6 million people including most of the Polish intelligentsia and sending its workers who were not killed into slave labour camps, the role of the Soviet Union was entirely different. The Soviet Army marched into the territory of Poland on September 17 after the Polish state had collapsed, the Polish army had disintegrated, the government had ceased to function and its aristocratic leaders had fled. Further, also to protect itself and the people of these countries the Soviet Union marched into the territories of the Ukraine and Byelorussia that Poland had forcibly annexed from the Soviet Union during the Polish-Russian War of 1919-20, when Poland was one of the 14 invading imperialist countries that attempted but failed to strangle the newborn Soviet socialist republic. Only about eight per cent of the people in the Ukraine and Byelorussia were of Polish origin.

What was the result of the Soviet Army marching into Poland?

“As a result of the Soviet Union’s timely entry into what had been territories of the Polish state, Hitler was forced to accept a line of demarcation between his troops and the Red Army, a long way west of the then Polish-Russian frontier.”[4] The Red Army saved millions of people inhabiting the Ukraine and Byelorussia from the fate which Hitler reserved for the Polish people. Even Winston Churchill publicly justified the Soviet march into eastern Poland as necessary not only for the safety of the people of Poland and the Soviet Union but also of the people of the Baltic states and Ukraine. 

On October 1, 1939, Churchill said in a public radio broadcast: “That the Russian armies should stand on this line (Curzon) was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace. At any rate, the line is there, and an Eastern Front has been created which Nazi Germany does not dare assail. When Herr von Ribbentrop was summoned to Moscow last week it was to learn the fact, and accept the fact, that the Nazi designs upon the Baltic states and upon the Ukraine must come to a dead stop.”

The nefarious actions of the Anglo-Americans and the French behind the back of the Soviet Union destroyed the existing elements of the collective resistance system against Nazi Germany. It was the Munich Pact signed by Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy which was the final cowardly act that triggered the Second World War, the killing of millions of people, and the European 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. No falsifiers of history can change those facts.

“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]

For Canadian officials to promote lies about the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, to the extent that the Parliament of Canada declared August 23 “Black Ribbon Day,” is unacceptable. Anti-fascist Canadians will never accept warmongering in the name of peace.


1. Soviet Information Bureau, Falsificators of History (Moscow, 1948).

2. Stalin “planned to send a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed to the 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, October 18, 2008.

3. Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Declassifies Munich Agreement Papers, Valery Harmolenko, RIA Novosti, September 29, 2008.

4. Bains, Hardial, Causes and Lessons of the Second World War (Toronto: MELS, 1990).

5. “The overthrow of the imperialist system is the only guarantee for peace,” The Marxist-Leninist Daily, May 11, 2010.

TML Weekly, August 31, 2019 – No. 251.

1 Comment

Filed under Europe, History

One response to “Significance of the Non-Aggression Pact signed by the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany

  1. LM

    I will bookmark Feb 2 to celebrate. Excellent article. 22 months if peace Stalins foresight indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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