Why was the Ribbentrop Molotov Pact signed? jpeg

Why was the Ribbentrop Molotov Pact signed?

­čôü HISTORIA in English
Autor: Cezara Anton

What caused the two countries which seemed most opposed to one another to sign a non-aggression pact? What made Nazi Germany and the USSR come together to divide between themselves the whole of Eastern and Central Europe?

Throughout the 1920s and after he came to power, Hitler was rightly viewed by the West as an anti-Bolshevik, anti-Slav element who would do almost everything to eliminate the threat of German and probably continental communization.  He proved this by standing firm on his anti-Communist stance and went to great lengths to eradicate this threat from its own country by recklessly ordering the beating up and even murdering the left or extreme left party members. Therefore, nobody expected that, at some point, he would lay down the arms and actually sign a pact with Moscow, although the name of the ideology he professed contained the word Socialism and took on many elements from Communism.

In the 2008 documentary entitled the Soviet Story, the producers showcased the connections between Communism and Nazism even before the latter was implemented in Germany. It is already very well known that the Soviets and Germans cooperated militarily during the time of the Weimar Republic, even though Berlin should not have done it under the Versailles Treaty. Moreover, the Nazis learned certain totalitarian practices from the Soviets such as physical torture, oppression and the likes. Also, the historian Ernst Nolte rightfully observed that Communism and Nazism were different in doctrine only, because whereas implementation was concerned, they were quite the same, except for personal property which was nonexistent in the USSR.

Yet, the relations between Berlin and Kremlin grew increasingly colder after 1933 up until the point where even the imports and exports between the two countries were affected. Therefore, Hitler was consistently anti-Communist in his domestic and foreign policy, just as he preached in his Mein Kampf or to the German people. The Nazi propaganda continuously portrayed the Soviets as untermenschen (subhumans) which was the classical tactic of dehumanizing the enemy, in order to make it somehow easier for the people to accept a war against such a ÔÇťsubhumanÔÇŁ country.

Thus, August 23rd, 1939 came as a very big surprise to everybody in Europe and also to Japan and the USA. As wicked as it may seem, Hitler did not deviate from his plan of opposition towards the USSR, he only compromised temporarily and opportunistically, in order to pressure the UK into giving up its support for Poland in the Danzig Crisis. That is why he also gave up the Lithuanian ports Libau and Windau when von Ribbentrop phoned from Moscow to get him to accept it. Hitler did not show signs of good will, but rather of his knowledge that at some point, he would attack the Soviet Union and therefore, there was no need to actually respect the clauses of the treaty.


So, in the end, Berlin neither gave up nor changed its objectives regarding the Soviet soil, however, it temporarily compromised for a greater gain later on. Therefore, the Ribbentrop Molotov pact was signed when Hitler realized he could not determine Great Britain into submission to avoid a two front war. Thus, he decided to silence his Eastern Frontier and begin his attack on the West and he only did so when the Anglo-Franco-Soviet negotiations entered a stalemate and he realized he was the only one who could offer Stalin whatever he desired:Eastern European soil.

The English and the French were unable to do that, since they were the ones who formally assured the Eastern countries of guaranteeing their territorial integrity (Poland, Romania and Greece). This way, when the USSR raised the question of indirect aggression ÔÇô whether the West should not extend a guarantee to Moscow as well, if in the Eastern countries guaranteed by France and the UK, Fascist parties would come to power ÔÇô London and Paris thought it inappropriate and even suggested that the Kremlin should take up matters with Bucharest and Warsaw. So, the West actually tried to avoid another compromise such as the one at Munich, in order to preserve its prestige in front of the smaller powers.

Yet, the USSR could not be swayed and even though, it wanted an alliance with the West and did the best it could to show it, the UK decided to slow down the process of negotiation when Moscow wished to accelerate it. When the USSR asked for a military alliance and talks regarding it, the British and French did not send their top men to discuss, a move which worked against them. When Hitler realized in August 1939 that there was no time to lose since the attack on Poland should be launched on September 1st, he did everything he could to make Stalin agree to sign a mutual non-aggression pact. In fact, in the long run, Germany was the loser and USSR the one who gained.

The Ribbentrop Molotov Pact was the exact geopolitical opposite of the Brest Litovsk Peace which actually brought the Soviets further into Europe and, in the end, they managed to gain even more territories that the Pact offered them. So, for the USSR was about becoming a super power equal to Germany, France and the UK or even bigger, since these three states were the ones who were racing against each other to convince Moscow to sign an alliance with them. Thus, USSR aligned with Germany made it impossible for the Allies to even begin thinking of how to defeat Berlin, but also, it alienated Japan which was the ReichÔÇÖs ally and a member of the Axis and together, they were supposed to carve up the world.


This was also evident in November 1940, when Berlin decided that should the dividing of the world come, the USSR would receive only central Asia and nothing more, whereas Japan was to have Eastern Asia. Thus, paradoxically, Germany signed a treaty with the USSR in 1939 so as to create the best conditions for silencing the West and turning against Moscow at the perfect moment to attack. Thus, Hitler could not resign himself not to go on the path he set out for himself since 1919, because it was his greatest task to create for Germany a European Empire which would extend into the USSR and only then would it be able to take up the biggest challenge:to fight the final hegemonic war with the US.

Winning over the Soviet regime and effectively destroying it were both an objective and an instrument for Berlin which could not be abandoned, since they had in themselves the promise of German Weltmacht. Therefore, the Ribbentrop Molotov Pact was signed in order to ensure that Germany would reach the perfect conditions under which to attack the USSR and place its bid for world hegemony, although Hitler in April 1939 maybe foresaw his and GermanyÔÇÖs end by saying thatÔÇťfor what this cruel bloodshed? In the end, both the winners and the losers would be standing in the same ruins from which only one will benefit ÔÇô the one in Moscow.ÔÇŁ