Presentation on theme: "MRP The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact August 23, 1939. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact The non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union was signed on."— Presentation transcript:
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact The non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union was signed on August 23, 1939, in Moscow, by the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, Vyacheslav Molotov. The parties pledged to avoid aggression against each other and any unions or agreement against the other party. www.estonica.org/en/Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact_MRP/
Molotov signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Moscow, Russia, August 23, 1939. Ribbentrop and Stalin are in the back row. Photograph courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Signature Pages of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact The Secret Agreement Signature Page
The Secret Protocol The secret protocol of the treaty divided Northern and Eastern Europe into Soviet and German spheres of influence. Finland and the Baltic countries, plus Bessarabia that belonged to Romania – belonged in the Soviet sphere, while Poland was divided between the Soviets and the Germans. The treaty enabled Germany to attack Poland, which happened on September 1, 1939, now considered the beginning of World War II. The Soviets used Germany’s attack on Poland to coerce the Baltic countries to accept and sign agreements of mutual assistance. Finland refused to sign such an agreement. The Soviet Union attacked Finland, starting the Winter War, and was declared an aggressor by the League of Nations and expelled. In the summer of 1940 the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic countries and Bessarabia.
Below is a translated transcript of the full negotiations leading up to the Soviet occupation of Estonia. Since they are so long, a few key comments have been excerpted. Negotiation Excerpts: Molotov: (into the telephone) Comrade Stalin, come here. Mr. Selter and the other Estonian gentlemen are here with me. He and his associates argue against our new proposal. They call it occupation and other dreadful names. Come and help me to persuade them of the necessity of our proposal. __________________ Stalin: The measures we provided in this pact are absolutely necessary. To these measures belong also the garrisons of our troops in Estonia totaling 25,000. Do not force us to look for other possibilities ‘for the security of the Soviet Union’. Do not be afraid of these garrisons. We assure you again as we did before, that the Soviet Union does not want in any way to harm either the Estonian sovereignty, government, economic system, or the internal life of Estonia, or her foreign policy. __________________ Stalin: The agreement has been achieved. I can tell you that the Estonian government acted well and wisely in the interests of the Estonian people by concluding the agreement with the Soviet Union. It could have happened to you what happened to Poland. Poland was a great country. Yet, where is Poland now? Where is Moscicki, Rydz-Smigly, Beck? Yes, I am telling you frankly—you acted well and in the interests of your people, Selter: This is also the opinion of my government, my colleagues and myself. There remains one more matter for me to touch upon. In the last days your warplanes have been repeatedly violating Estonian borders and flying over Estonian territory. So far, we have been abstaining from shooting at them. But I lodged protests with your Minister in Tallinn and with Mr. Molotov. These flights are inappropriate, especially now, during the time of our negotiations. We know that you have plenty of planes, many more than those that have been flying: over Estonia in demonstration. We know that the Soviet Union is strong. What is the purpose of overdoing the demonstration of your power? Stalin: Well, these were young inexperienced airmen. They make errors. They are not attentive enough to their orders. But we can make an end to that. That will not happen again. ________________________________________________ Minutes of 1939 Estonian-Soviet Negotiations
German Aggression Germany invades Poland in September 1939. Germany begins bombing Britain in July 1940 and continues through Sept. 15, 1940. July 1940: Hitler plans the invasion of Britain, as Churchill refuses to negotiate. Sept. 15th, the Royal Air Force of Britain shoots down 61 German planes placing the air dominance of Germany in question. Hitler postpones the invasion of Britain on Sept. 17, 1940. Hitler prepares to invade Russia on June 22, 1941 thus breaking the MRP non-aggression pact. Hitler’s hatred of communism fueled his plan to dominate the Soviets.
The Atlantic Charter August 9-12, 1941: Roosevelt and Churchill proclaim the Atlantic Charter the basis for allied resistance. The Atlantic Charter would later become the basis for the United Nations in June of 1945. The basic premise was to allow “a peace that will afford all nations the means of dwelling in safety inside their own boundaries.” Roosevelt and Churchill assumed a “Germans First” strategy as they proclaimed the Nazi movement the main problem.
The De-Facto Ally The Axis Powers were Germany, Italy, and Japan. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and brings the United States into the conflict. On June 22, 1941, Germany attacks the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union becomes a de-facto ally of the United States and Britain. Germany becomes the common enemy of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The Soviets agree to fight with the United States against Japan once Germany is defeated.
The Soviet Union vs. Germany The Soviets fought tirelessly and took on millions of casualties until the winter season arrived. “General Winter” was a term used to describe the conditions that acted as a military advantage for the Soviets. The German army literally froze in their tracks. On January 15, 1942, Hitler authorized the first German retreat of the war. The Germans could not contend with the Soviet winter. The Soviets begin their counter assault as they move towards Berlin.
Germany Falls In February, 1945, the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union began to plan for a postwar Europe. This conference at Yalta would produce decisions that would have major implications into the 20th century. On May 1, 1945, the Germans announced that Hitler had committed suicide. Seven days later, on May 8, Germany surrendered.
The Yalta Conference Crimean Conference -- Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Marshal Joseph Stalin at the palace in Yalta, where the Big Three met. Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress
February, 1945: The conference at Yalta produced decisions that were decidedly among the most important of the 20th century, perhaps of modern history. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin carved up much of the modern world and set into motion the creation of the foundation of the world's first real world government, the United Nations. During this conference, Stalin convinced Roosevelt and Churchill that he would control Eastern Europe for security reasons so that the Soviet Union would never be threatened by Germany again. He also promised to allow for the people of the occupied nations to have elections and allow the people to choose their own type of government, especially Poland. Formerly independent countries believed that Stalin would follow the Atlantic Charter, after all, he was an ally of the United States and Britain. Stalin used the MRP along with the pacts of mutual assistance signed by the Baltic countries in 1939 to convince Roosevelt and Churchill that he should be responsible for the Eastern European transition. Churchill, while wary of Stalin and his motives, recognized the non-aggression pact as a valid document and that the Baltic States should remain under Soviet control. The Yalta Conference
Play Disc 2 1939-1956: The Soviet & Nazi Occupations: Comments on the Atlantic Charter/ Yalta/Hungarian Uprising Please go to Marju Lauristin’s comments at 3:45 - 4:29 in the video
Soviet Self-Preservation After losing more than 20 million of its own people in WWII, the Soviets were determined to protect their own self interests. One way to do this was to establish “satellite nations” that would be subject to Soviet domination. They would set up governments that would be friendly to communist goals. The Soviets moved quickly to silence anti-communist leaders in these “satellite nations.” These “satellite nations” created a buffer for the Soviet Union against any further Nazi or German aggression.
Estonia’s 50 Years For the next 50 years the Estonians, among others, would remain under the strict control of the Soviet Communist system. During that time, the people held on to their culture through folk song and the study of Estonian history. The people had to be creative in their efforts because of the constant political pressures placed upon them by the Soviet central command. It was essential that the Estonian people exposed the MRP as an illegal document so that it could be voided on the international level.
Play Disc 3 1987-1991: The Singing Revolution Details on the 1987 Hirve Park Demonstration Total Time 10:54
Play Disc 3 1987-1991: The Singing Revolution The Baltic Bloc - MRP Acknowledged in Moscow Total Time 8:57
The Secret Protocol Is Exposed In 1989 the secret protocols of the MRP were made public. The Soviets could no longer deny the secret agreement between the Germans and themselves and their plan to divide up Eastern Europe before the start of WWII. The Soviet Union denied the existence of the secret protocol until 1989, when the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union declared the MRP and its secret addenda null and void. Over 50 years later, the secret protocols became the basis for the Estonian legal challenge against the Soviet Union. They used this new information to make the legal argument that the Soviets had occupied their country as a result of the secret protocols of the MRP. From 1940 until 11:03am on August 20, 1991, the Soviets ruled the Estonian people. This challenge won the recognition of other countries that Estonia was now a sovereign country. Iceland recognized Estonia as an independent state. Russia followed suit 2 days later as Boris Yeltsin’s Russia recognized Estonia on August 24, 1991. The United States waited until September 4, 1991, to declare formal recognition. On September 17, 1991, Estonia was admitted to the United Nations.
The Document of Occupation and Liberation The Soviet military finally left Estonia in 1994, three years after the restoration of Estonian independence. Many Estonians believed that this was the “real” end of WWII for them and their country. Had the secret protocol of the MRP been kept secret, it may have postponed the eventual freedom of the Estonian people and the fall of the Soviet Union.