Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stalin's pact with Hitler

If I recall correctly, the Communist party line was that Stalin made the pact with Hitler to give the USSR more time to prepare for war. That does sound sort of plausible; however, Davies has this to say on page 57 of No Simple Victory:

“The Third Reich and Fascist Italy faced the Western Powers (Britain, France and Poland), but thanks to the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Hitler and Mussolini were joined by Stalin’s USSR, which emerged as a political partner of the Axis, if not a formal ally. A proposal to bring the USSR into the Tripartite Pact was made, but the terms were never agreed. . . .”

“Having participated in the invasion of Poland, Stalin put the USSR into a state of war with the Polish Republic, but not with France or Britain. Soviet oil flowed to Germany to strengthen Hitler’s war machine, and Soviet propaganda attacked the ‘decadent’, ‘reactionary’ ‘capitalists’ of the West with venom. In this setting, the dictators could attack their neighbours with impunity. With the Reich’s eastern border secure, Hitler was free to turn against the West. Stalin was free to invade Finland, then Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and to threaten Romania. This was the season for international gangsterism.”


I knew the Soviet’s party line on the taking over of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at one time, but I can’t recall it. Knowing how that line worked, I would guess that they argued that they were merely attempting to keep these nations out of the hands of their ally the Germans. Or, they may have argued that Internationalism was still the Soviet goal, so launching these nations on the path toward Socialistic utopia was doing them a good term. However, I like Davies’ term better.

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