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The final preparation for the Second World War - Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact signed exactly 80 years ago

August 24, 2019

When asking my guests if they know the name Molotov, some of them mention the Molotov-Cocktail (petrol bomb). Molotov was the Soviet Foreign Minister shortly before, during, and after WWII. Exactly 80 years ago, on August 23rd-24th 1939, Molotov and Stalin met the German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop in Moscow and signed an agreement that was officially termed a "non-aggression pact". This agreement, however, included a secret protocol that was only revealed to the West in the late 1980s. And the secret protocol was in fact the essence of this pact, namely: A) to divide Poland between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and B) the German approval to incorporate the Baltic States (Eastern Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia), the western parts of Ukraine and Belarus and parts of Romania (Bessarabia) into the Soviet Union. Effectively, Hitler gave Stalin a Green Light to annex all the territories mentioned above and the Soviet Union enabled Nazi Germany to invade Poland without fearing Soviet retaliation. Thus, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact can be seen as the last major development that paved the way for the outbreak of WWII, the Holocaust as well as Soviet expansionism. During a Berlin Cold War tour we can visit a Soviet War Memorial with the inscription: 1941-1945. Indeed, For the Soviet Union the Second World War didn't begin in 1939 but on June 22nd, 1941 when Nazi Germany broke the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and invaded the Soviet Union.

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