Prehistory of the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact


Periodisation of the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact: Having ratified at 11:55 pm of August 31, 1939, the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, the USSR avoided being drawn into a total disaster on September 1st. The new military-political landscape, however, promised no good news to Moscow – not even in the mid-term. The residual freedom for maneuver evaporated before it could generate sizable benefits, and the only practical result left to the Soviet Union was the delay which it desperately needed for its preparation for the imminent war. There were no doubts left that the inevitable was unavoidable. An unbiased scholar can draw certain conclusions from Molotov’s August 31, 1939 speech at the session of the USSR Supreme Soviet. The chief of the Soviet diplomacy said: “The decision to sign the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany was made after the military talks with Great Britain and France ended in a stalemate. Since the talks showed that there was no hope of signing a mutual assistance pact, we had no other choice but to look into other possibilities for maintaining peace and eliminating the threat of war between Germany and the USSR”. Molotov’s interpretation of the August 23rd deal was that “the USSR is under no obligation to get involved in a war against Germany on Great Britain’s side, or against Great Britain on Germany’s side”.