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Where do we start? The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending World War I hostilities between Russia and Germany.

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Presentation on theme: "Where do we start? The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending World War I hostilities between Russia and Germany."— Presentation transcript:

1 Where do we start? The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending World War I hostilities between Russia and Germany

2 Relations not so good German ambassador to Moscow, Wilhelm von Mirbach, was shot dead by Russian Left Socialist-Revolutionaries entire Soviet embassy under Adolph Joffe was deported from Germany

3 Both Germany and the Soviets into international outcasts, French Third Republic which at the time was thought to possess the greatest military strength in Europe common threat Second Polish Republic, French ally former territory of both

4 Cooperation ended 1933, Hitler comes to power Nazi Germany countries' economic relationship dwindled at the beginning of the Nazi Era some diplomatic initiatives continued through the 1930s culmination with Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 & various trade agreements

5 Variety of competing & contradictory thesis exist Soviet leadership actively sought another great war in Europe to further weaken the capitalist nations USSR pursued a purely defensive policy USSR tried to avoid becoming entangled in a war

6 So how did they go from one to the other? Were they enemies the entire time? If yes, then why did they trade with one another? What was the effect of a strong French military? What were their aims toward Poland?

7 Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany Soviet leadership hoped for a successful socialist revolution in Germany as part of the "world revolution" put down by the right-wing freikorps Bolsheviks became embroiled in the Soviet war with Poland of Poland traditional enemy of Germany & Soviet state was isolated internationally

8 seeking closer relationships Soviet government started adopting a much less hostile attitude towards Germany This line was consistently pursued under People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs & others that followed Soviet Ambassador Nikolay Krestinsky through Adolph Joffe

9 leadership of Weimar Germany interested in cooperation with the Soviet Union 1. to avert any threat from the Second Polish Republic, backed by the French Third Republic, 2. to prevent any possible Soviet-British alliance

10 German aims full rearmament of the Reichswehr, explicitly prohibited an alliance against Poland

11 Early as On April 15, 1920, Victor Kopp, the RSFSR's special representative to Berlin, asked the German Foreign Office whether "there was any possibility of combining the German & the Red Army for a joint war on Poland a special group in the Reichswehr Ministry devoted to Soviet affairs set up

12 Treaty of Versailles limited & forbade Weimar Germany's army to 100,000 men Germans not to have aircraft, tanks, submarines, heavy artillery, poison gas, anti-tank weapons or many anti-aircraft guns

13 Treaty of Rapallo 1. annulling all mutual claims 2. restoring full diplomatic relations 3. establishing the beginnings of close trade relationships making Weimar Germany main trade & diplomatic partner of the Soviet Union

14 secret military supplement The Soviets offered Weimar Germany facilities deep inside the USSR for building & testing arms and for military training, well away from Treaty inspectors' eyes. In return, the Soviets asked for access to German technical developments, & for assistance in creating a Red Army General Staff

15 Co-operation 1. first German officers went to the Soviets 2. Germans building aircraft at Fili, outside Moscow 3. Krupp artillery manufacturer active in the south of the USSR 4. flying school was established at Vivupal 5. Reichswehr had been able to use a tank school at Kazan

16 What did the Soviets get? Red Army gained access to these training facilities military technology and theory from Weimar Germany

17 Relations in the 1920s Germany has few natural resources relied heavily upon Russian imports of raw materials Pre-World War I, imported 1.5 billion Rechsmarks of raw materials mid-1920s, trade had increased to 433 million Reichsmarks

18 German assistance Late 1920s, Germany helped Soviet industry begin to modernize assisted in the establishment of tank production facilities at the Leningrad Bolshevik Factory & the Kharkov Locomotive Factory.

19 German Navy Soviets offered submarine-building facilities at a port on the Black Sea German Navy did take up a later offer of a base near Murmansk, where German vessels could hide from the British During the Cold War, this base at Polanyi (which had been built especially for the Germans) became the largest weapons store in the world

20 Who knew what Polish & French intelligence communities of the 1920s were remarkably well-informed regarding the cooperation

21 Political ties & aims Poland was to be partitioned once again German Foreign Office knew Soviet Russia wanted "a common frontier with Germany, south of Lithuania, approximately on a line with Bialystok" foreign policy objectives not influenced by ideology

22 Germany to the League of Nations problematic Could be seen as an anti-Soviet move German Ambassador Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau to cooperate against the Second Polish Republic Weimar Republic rejected any venture into war

23 Germany's fear of international isolation possible Soviet rapprochement with France Drove the acceleration of economic negotiations, commercial agreement between the two nations was concluded 1925

24 Soviet Union saw détente as deepening political isolation Germany broke their European diplomatic isolation & took part in the Locarno Treaties with France and Belgium Germany became less dependent on the Soviet Union = less tolerance subversive Comintern interference

25 Treaty of Berlin 1926 Weimar Germany & Soviet Union parties' adherence to the Treaty of Rapallo & neutrality for five years treaty was perceived as an imminent threat by Poland France also voiced concerns in regards to the Locarno Agreements & Germany's expected membership in the League of Nations.

26 Change Executive Committee of the Comintern 6th Congress in Moscow favored Stalin's program Rejected the line pursued by Comintern Secretary General Nikolay Bukharin Stalin believed that a deep crisis in western capitalism was imminent denounced the cooperation of international communist parties with social democratic movements

27 Communist Party of Germany (KPD) The policy of (KPD) under Ernst Thälmann was altered accordingly independent KPD early 1920s underwent an almost complete subordination to Soviets

28 Early 1930s The most intensive period of Soviet military collaboration with Weimar Germany June 24, 1931 an extension of the 1926 Berlin Treaty was signed Not ratified by the Reichstag due to internal political struggles until 1933

29 Problems emerge Soviet mistrust arose during the Lausanne Conference of 1932, when it was rumored that German Chancellor had offered French Prime Minister a military alliance Soviets quickly developed their own relations with France & its ally Poland

30 Results culminated in the conclusion of the Soviet- Polish Non-Aggression Pact on July 25, 1932 Soviet-French non-aggression pact on November 29, 1932

31 Demise of the Weimar Republic conflict between Communist Party of Germany & Social Democratic Party of Germany major factor During this period, the countries' economic relationship fell as the more isolationist Soviet imports fell to 223 million Reichsmarks by 1934

32 The Soviet Union & Nazi Germany before World War II After Adolf Hitler came to power 1933 Nazis at times took police measures against Soviet trade missions, companies, press representatives, & individual citizens in Germany launched an anti-Soviet propaganda campaign coupled with a lack of good will in diplomatic relations

33 Unsure footing the German Foreign Ministry under Konstantin von Neurath ( ) was vigorously opposed to the impending breakup Mein Kampf presented the Communists as Jews destroying a great nation Lebensraum would put a clear danger to the security of the Soviet Union

34 Moscow's reaction initially restrained Eventually the Soviets unleashed their own propaganda campaign against the Nazis by May (1933) the possibility of conflict appeared to have receded In August 1933, Molotov assured German ambassador Herbert von Dirksen that Soviet-German relations would depend exclusively on the position of Germany towards the Soviet Union

35 Conflict increases However, Reichswehr access to the three military training and testing sites (Lipetsk, Kama, and Tomka) was abruptly terminated by the Soviet Union the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact broke the political ties for this time between Germany & Soviets

36 Maxim Litvinov Foreign Minister of the USSR considered Nazi Germany to be the greatest threat to the Soviet Union Red Army was perceived as not strong enough, & the USSR sought to avoid becoming embroiled in a general European war Litvinov began pursuing a policy of collective security

37 Contain Nazi Germany via cooperation Soviet attitude to the League of Nations and international peace had changed. In the Soviet Union was diplo- matically recognized the first time by Spain, United States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, & ultimately joined the League of Nations in September 1934

38 Hitler's assumption of power triggered Soviet foreign policy change that happened around Soviet turn towards the French Third Republic in 1932 could also have been a part of the policy change.

39 Relations in the mid-1930s May 2, 1935, the five-year Soviet-French Treaty of Mutual Assistance was signed ratification of the treaty by France was one reason why Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland on March 7, 1936

40 Popular Front strategy The 7th World Congress of the Comintern in 1935 officially endorsed the Popular Front strategy of forming broad alliances with parties willing to oppose the fascists a policy pursued by the Communist parties since 1934 nevertheless7th Congress of Soviets, Molotov stressed the need for good relations with Berlin

41 Anti-Comintern Pact On November 25, 1936, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan concluded joined by Fascist Italy in 1937

42 Economically Soviet Union made repeated efforts to reestablish closer contacts with Germany in the mid-1930s, the countries signed a credit agreement in 1935 By 1936, raw material and foodstuff crises forced Hitler to decree a Four Year Plan for rearmament "without regard to costs

43 Litvinov's strategy ideological & political obstacles The Soviet Union continued to be per- ceived as no less threat Nazi Germany Soviet Union in the midst of the Great Purge, was not perceived to be a valuable ally by the West

44 Purges hurt elsewhere purge of the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, forced the Soviet Union to close down quite a number of embassies abroad purges made the signing of an economic deal with Germany less likely by disrupting the already confused Soviet administrative structure necessary for negotiations

45 Collective security failures Litvinov's policy of containing Germany via collective security failed utterly with the conclusion of the Munich Agreement on September 29, 1938 before Munich, the Soviet Union would actually have fulfilled its guarantees to Czechoslovakia

46 Litvinov attempted a tripartite alliance Litvinov launched negotiations with the new British and French ambassadors, (William Seeds, assisted by William Strang, and Paul-Emile Naggiar), in an attempt to contain Germany Western powers believed that war could still be avoided

47 Western powers believed the USSR, much weakened by the purges, could not act as a main military participant USSR disagreed with them on both issues USSR approached the negotiations with caution because of the traditional hostility of the capitalist powers Soviet Union also engaged in secret talks with Nazi Germany

48 Germanys economic needs Late 1930s Germany lacks oil, & could only supply 25 % of its own needs Soviet Union was required for numerous key raw materials, such as ores including iron & manganese, rubber & food fat and oils

49 Germanys economic needs Soviet imports into Germany had fallen to 52.8 million Reichsmarks in 1937 massive armament production increases & critical raw material shortages caused Germany to reverse their prior attitude German planners in 1939 feared that, w/o Russian supplies the need would fall critically short of manganese, oil & rubber

50 May 1939 Litvinov dismissed Vyacheslav Molotov replaces Litvinov Molotov had always been sympathetic towards Germany head of foreign affairs The Foreign Affairs Commissariat purged of Litvinov's supporters & Jews signal to the British & French that Moscow should be taken more seriously in the tripartite alliance negotiations

51 Role of appeasement in Russias decision? Molotov continued the talks with Britain & France to stimulate Germans into making offer of a non-aggression treaty the strive for the triple alliance was sincere & that the Soviet government turned to Germany only when an alliance with the Western powers proved impossible

52 Soviet Union rapprochement with Germany non-aggression pact between Germany, Latvia & Estonia on June 7, 1939 threat from Imperial Japan in the East with the Battle of Khalkin Gol

53 Soviet-German trade negotiations Late July & early August, talks turned on potential deal Soviet negotiators made clear an economic deal must first be worked out After Germany scheduled its invasion of Poland on Aug. 25, & prepared for the resulting war with France, German war planners estimated British naval blockade would exacerbate critical German raw material shortages Soviets Union only potential supplier.

54 August 5 Soviet officials stated that the completion of the trading credit agreement was crucial for further political talks. Hitler himself telephoned to interrupt economic talks, pushing for a settlement.

55 August 10 The countries worked out the last minor technical details Soviets delayed signing the agreement for almost 10 days until sure they had also reached a political agreement Soviets were also negotiating with British, but did not trust the British

56 What Germans thought every internal German military & economic study argued that Germany was doomed to defeat without at least Soviet neutrality Wehrmacht High Command issued a report that Germany could only be safe from a blockade on the basis of close economic cooperation with the Soviet Union

57 Economic deal August 19, the Soviets announced that they could not sign it that day German officials worried the Soviets were delaying for political reasons When TASS published a report that the Soviet–British–French talks had become snarled over the Far East August 20, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the trade agreement

58 Economic deal The agreement covered "current" business, entailed Soviet obligations to deliver 180 million Reichsmarks in raw materials & German commitment to provide the Soviets with 120 million Reichsmarks of German industrial goods

59 Soviet invasion of Poland late 1930s, Soviet Union tried to form an anti-German alliance with the Britain, France & Poland negotiations, however, proved difficult Soviets insisted on a sphere of influence stretching from Finland to Romania asked for military support not only against anyone who attacked them directly but against anyone who attacked the countries in their proposed sphere of influence

60 Soviet intentions it was clear that Soviet Union demanded the right to occupy the Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) Finland was to be included in the Soviet sphere of influence as well Soviets finally demanded right to enter the Baltic States, Poland, & Romania if they felt their security was threatened

61 Who thought what governments of those countries rejected the proposal they feared that once the Red Army entered their territories, it might never leave Soviets did not trust the British & French to honor collective security they had failed to assist Spain against the Fascists or protect Czechoslovakia from the Nazis

62 Soviet concerns Soviets also suspected the Western Allies would prefer they fight Germany alone Soviet Union abandoned the talks & instead negotiated with Germany

63 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany, taking the allies by surprise two governments announced the agreement merely as a non-aggression treaty The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which has been described as a license for war, was a key factor in Hitlers decision to invade Poland

64 "Second Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact" of 28 September 1939


66 Soviets gained treaty provided the Soviets with extra defensive space in the west offered them a chance to regain territories ceded to Poland twenty years earlier It unite the eastern & western Ukrainian & Belarusian peoples under the Soviets Stalin saw advantages in a war in western Europe

67 Germans Germans invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 Nazi leaders urged the Soviets to play their agreed part & attack Poland from the east Soviets delayed their intervention for several reasons

68 Soviets distracted by crucial events in their border disputes with Japan needed time to mobilize the Red Army saw a diplomatic advantage in waiting until Poland had disintegrated before making their move

69 Soviets On 17 September 1939, Molotov declared on the radio that all treaties between the Soviet Union and Poland were now void Same day, the Red Army crossed the border into Poland

70 Soviet invasion of Poland Soviet invasion of Poland was a military operation that started without a formal declaration of war It ended in a decisive victory for the Soviet Union's Red Army

71 Soviet claim Soviet government announced it was acting to protect the Ukrainians & Belarusians who lived in the eastern part of Poland the Polish state had collapsed in the face of the German attack & could no longer guarantee the security of its own citizens

72 Red Army quickly achieved its targets vastly outnumbering Polish resistance 230,000 Polish soldiers or more (452,500) were taken prisoners of war Red Army entered the eastern regions of Poland with seven field armies and between 450,000 & 1,000,000 troops

73 Two fronts Belarusian Front & Ukrainian Front By this time, the Poles had failed to defend their western borders response to German incursions had launched a major counter-offensive Polish commanders had sent most of their troops west to face the Germans

74 Polish defensive plan The Polish Army originally had a well- developed defensive plan to deal with the threat of the Soviet Union they were unprepared to face two invasions at once There had been a non-aggression treaty

75 Polish response At first, the Polish commander-in-chief ordered the border forces to resist the Soviets He then changed his mind after consulting with Prime Minister & ordered them to fall back & engage Soviets only self-defense The two conflicting sets of orders led to confusion

76 response of non-ethnic Poles In some cases, Ukrainians, Belarusians & Jews welcomed the invading troops as liberators Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists rose against the Poles, & communist partisans organised local revolts for example in Skidel

77 Polish military's original fall-back plan Retreat ®roup along the Romanian Bridgehead, an area near the border with Romania adopt defensive positions there & wait for promised French & British attack in the west Plan assumed that Germany would have to reduce its operations in Poland to fight on second front Allies expected Polish forces to hold out for up to several months, but the Soviet attack made this strategy obsolete

78 Polish political & military leaders knew that they were losing the war against Germany even before the Soviet invasion They refused to surrender or negotiate a peace with Germany Polish government ordered all military units to evacuate Poland & reassemble in France. Government itself crossed into Romania midnight on 17 Sept Polish units proceeded to maneuver towards Romanian bridgehead area German attacks on one flank & occasionally clashing Soviet troops on the other

79 Soviet - German notable examples of co-operation occurred between the two armies in the field Wehrmacht passed the Brest Fortress, which had been seized after the Battle of Brześć Litewski, to the Soviet 29th Tank Brigade on 17 September held a joint parade in the town

80 Soviet - German Lwów (Lviv) surrendered on 22 September, days after the Germans handed the siege operations over to the Soviets By 28 September, the Red Army had reached the line of the rivers Narew, Western Bug, Vistula and Santhe border agreed in advance with the Germans

81 Allied reaction reaction of France & Britain to Poland's plight was muted neither wanted a confrontation with the Soviets the terms of the Anglo-Polish Agreement of 25 Aug. 1939, the British had promised Poland assistance if attacked by a European power British Foreign Secretary bluntly told Polish Minister it was Britain's business whether to declare war on the Soviet Union

82 French The French had also made promises including the provision of air support, & these were not honored Soviets moved into Poland, the French & British decided there was nothing they could do for Poland in the short term & began planning a long-term victory instead

83 French French had advanced tentatively into the Saar in early Sept. After the Polish defeat, they retreated behind the Maginot Line on 4 Oct. Many Poles resented this lack of support from their western allies, aroused a lasting sense of betrayal

84 Aftermath Oct. 1939, Molotov reported to the Supreme Soviet Soviets had suffered 737 deaths & 1,862 casualties during the campaign, though Polish specialists claim up to 3,000 deaths & 8,000 to 10,000 wounded On the Polish side, between 6,000 & 7,000 soldiers died fighting the Red Army, with 230,000 to 450,000 taken prisoner

85 Aftermath Soviets failed to honor terms of surrender they promised Polish soldiers freedom & arrested them when they laid down their arms Soviet Union had ceased to recognize the Polish state at the start of the invasion result the two governments never officially declared war on each other

86 Aftermath Soviets therefore did not classify Polish military prisoners as prisoners of war but as rebels against the new legal govt. of Western Ukraine & Western Byelorussia Soviets killed tens of thousands of Polish prisoners of war Soviets killed forty-two staff & patients at Polish military hospital in the village of Grabowiec

87 Aftermath Over 20,000 Polish military personnel & civilians perished in the Katyn massacre 300 Poles were executed after the Battle of Grodno

88 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact On 28 September 1939, the Soviet Union & Germany had changed the secret terms moved Lithuania into the Soviet sphere & shifted the border in Poland to the east giving Germany more territory By this arrangement, the Soviet Union secured almost all Polish territory east of the line of the rivers Pisa, Narew, Western Bug & San

89 Red Army had originally sown confusion among the locals by claiming that they were arriving to save Poland from the Nazis Their advance surprised Polish communities & their leaders, who had not been advised how to respond to a Soviet invasion Polish & Jewish citizens at first have preferred Soviet regime to a German one

90 Soviets in Poland Soviets were quick to impose their ideology Soviets quickly began confiscating, nationalizing & redistributing all private & state-owned Polish property During the two years following the annexation, the Soviets also arrested approximately 100,000 Polish citizens & deported between 350,000 & 1,500,000, of whom between 250,000 and 1,000,000 died, mostly civilians

91 Territories of Second Polish Republic annexed by Soviet Union Of the 13.5 million civilians living in the newly annexed territories, Poles were the largest single ethnic group Belarusians & Ukrainians together made up over 50% of the population annexation did not give the Soviet Union control of all the areas where Belarusians or Ukrainians lived

92 it did unite the vast majority of the two peoples within the expanded Soviet Byelorussian & Ukrainian republics On 26 Oct. 1939, "elections" to Byelorussian & Ukrainian assemblies were held the annexation an appearance of validity

93 Reaction in Poland Belarusians & Ukrainians in Poland had been increasingly alienated by Polonization policies of the Polish government & its repression of their separatist movements they felt little loyalty towards the Polish state Not all Belarusians & Ukrainians, trusted the Soviet regime responsible for the Ukrainian Famine of 1932–33 The poor generally welcomed the Soviets, & the elites tended to join the opposition, despite supporting the reunification itself

94 Soviets in Poland Soviets quickly introduced Sovietization policies in Western Byelorussia & Western Ukraine compulsory collectivization of the whole region ruthlessly broke up political parties & public associations & imprisoned or executed their leaders as "enemies of the people"

95 Soviets in Poland authorities even suppressed the anti-Polish Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists It had actively resisted the Polish regime since the 1920s Ukrainian nationalists continued to aim for an independent, undivided Ukrainian state unifications of 1939 were nevertheless a decisive event in the history of Ukraine & Belarus

96 Soviets in Poland they produced two republics which eventually achieved independence in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union

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