Posts Tagged ‘Ribbontrop-Molotov Pact

17
Sep
08

On This Day: 9-17-2008: Poland Partitioned

September 17, 1939

Soviet Union invades Poland

On this day in 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov declares that the Polish government has ceased to exist, as the U.S.S.R. exercises the “fine print” of the Hitler-Stalin Non-aggression pact-the invasion and occupation of eastern Poland.

Hitler’s troops were already wreaking havoc in Poland, having invaded on the first of the month. The Polish army began retreating and regrouping east, near Lvov, in eastern Galicia, attempting to escape relentless German land and air offensives. But Polish troops had jumped from the frying pan into the fire-as Soviet troops began occupying eastern Poland. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Non-aggression Pact, signed in August, had eliminated any hope Poland had of a Russian ally in a war against Germany. Little did Poles know that a secret clause of that pact, the details of which would not become public until 1990, gave the U.S.S.R. the right to mark off for itself a chunk of Poland’s eastern region. The “reason” given was that Russia had to come to the aid of its “blood brothers,” the Ukrainians and Byelorussians, who were trapped in territory that had been illegally annexed by Poland. Now Poland was squeezed from West and East-trapped between two behemoths. Its forces overwhelmed by the mechanized modern German army, Poland had nothing left with which to fight the Soviets.

As Soviet troops broke into Poland, they unexpectedly met up with German troops who had fought their way that far east in a little more than two weeks. The Germans receded when confronted by the Soviets, handing over their Polish prisoners of war. Thousands of Polish troops were taken into captivity; some Poles simply surrendered to the Soviets to avoid being captured by the Germans.

The Soviet Union would wind up with about three-fifths of Poland and 13 million of its people as a result of the invasion.

“Soviet Union invades Poland.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Sep 2008, 10:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6587

 

The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following agreement:

ARTICLE I

Both High Contracting Parties obligate, themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other powers.

ARTICLE II

Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third power.

ARTICLE III

The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests.

ARTICLE IV

Neither of the two High Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.

ARTICLE V

Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions.

ARTICLE VI

The present treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, with the provision that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties does not denounce it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the validity of this treaty shall automatically be extended for another five years.

ARTICLE VI

The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed.

Done in duplicate, in the German and Russian languages.

MOSCOW, August 23, 1939.

For the Government of the German Reich:

V. RIBBENTROP

With full power of the Government of the U.S.S.R.:

V. MOLOTOV

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/nazsov/nonagres.htm

23
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-23-2008: Ribbontrop-Molotov Pact

The Hitler-Stalin Pact

On this day in 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact, stunning the world, given their diametrically opposed ideologies. But the dictators were, despite appearances, both playing to their own political needs.

After Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Britain had to decide to what extent it would intervene should Hitler continue German expansion. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, at first indifferent to Hitler’s capture of the Sudetenland, the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia, suddenly snapped to life when Poland became threatened. He made it plain that Britain would be obliged to come to the aid of Poland in the event of German invasion. But he wanted, and needed, an ally. The only power large enough to stop Hitler, and with a vested interest in doing so, was the Soviet Union. But Stalin was cool to Britain after its effort to create a political alliance with Britain and France against Germany had been rebuffed a year earlier. Plus, Poland’s leaders were less than thrilled with the prospect of Russia becoming its guardian; to them, it was simply occupation by another monstrous regime.

Hitler believed that Britain would never take him on alone, so he decided to swallow his fear and loathing of communism and cozy up to the Soviet dictator, thereby pulling the rug out from the British initiative. Both sides were extremely suspicious of the other, trying to discern ulterior motives. But Hitler was in a hurry; he knew if he was to invade Poland it had to be done quickly, before the West could create a unified front. Agreeing basically to carve up parts of Eastern Europe-and leave each other alone in the process-Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, flew to Moscow and signed the non-aggression pact with his Soviet counterpart, V.M. Molotov (which is why the pact is often referred to as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact). Supporters of bolshevism around the world had their heretofore romantic view of “international socialism” ruined; they were outraged that Stalin would enter into any kind of league with the fascist dictator.

But once Poland was German-occupied territory, the alliance would not last for long.

“The Hitler-Stalin Pact.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Aug 2008, 04:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6560.

 

On This Day

1838 – The first class was graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, MA. It was one of the first colleges for women.

1839 – Hong Kong was taken by the British in a war with China.

1902 – Fannie Merrit Farmer opened her cooking school, Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, in Boston, MA.

1914 – Tsingtao, China, was bombarded as Japan declared war on Germany in World War I.

1926 – Rudolph Valentino died. He was 31 and had been a silent film star.

1927 – Nicola Sacco and Bartolemeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston, MA, for the murder of two men during a 1920 robbery.

1947 – Margaret Truman, U.S. President Truman’s daughter, gave her first public performance as a singer. The event was at the Hollywood Bowl and had an audience of 15,000.

1959 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Sally debuted as an infant.

1979 – Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defected while the Bolshoi Ballet was on tour in New York City.

1987 – Robert Jarvik and Marilyn Mach vos Savant were married. The event was called the “Union of Great Minds” since Savant had an IQ of 228 and Jarvik was the inventor of the artificial heart.

1998 – Boris Yeltsin dismissed the Russian government again.

2001 – California Congressman Gary Condit gave an interview to ABC’s Connie Chung. Condit denied involvement in Chandra Levy’s disappearance and avoided directly answering questions about whether they had an affair.

 

Dolley Madison saves portrait from British

On this day in 1814, first lady Dolley Madison saves a portrait of George Washington from being looted by British troops during the war of 1812.

According to the White House Historical Society and Dolley’s personal letters, President James Madison left the White House on August 22 to meet with his generals on the battlefield, as British troops threatened to enter the capitol. Before leaving, he asked his wife Dolley if she had the “courage or firmness” to wait for his intended return the next day. He asked her to gather important state papers and be prepared to abandon the White House at any moment. The next day, Dolley and a few servants scanned the horizon with spyglasses waiting for either Madison or the British army to show up. As British troops gathered in the distance, Dolley decided to abandon the couple’s personal belongings and save the full-length portrait of former president and national icon George Washington from desecration by vengeful British soldiers, many of whom would have rejoiced in humiliating England’s former colonists.

Dolley wrote to her sister on the night of August 23 that a friend who came to help her escape was exasperated at her insistence on saving the portrait. Since the painting was screwed to the wall she ordered the frame to be broken and the canvas pulled out and rolled up. Two unidentified “gentlemen from New York” hustled it away for safe-keeping. (Unbeknownst to Dolley, the portrait was actually a copy of Gilbert Stuart’s original). The task complete, Dolley wrote “and now, dear sister, I must leave this house, or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it by filling up the road I am directed to take.” Dolley left the White House and found her husband at their predetermined meeting place in the middle of a thunderstorm.

The next night, August 24, British troops enjoyed feasting on White House food using the president’s silverware and china before burning the building. Although they were able to return to Washington only three days later when British troops moved on, the Madisons were not again able to take up residence in the White House and lived out the rest of his term in the city’s Octagon House. It was not until 1817 that newly elected President James Monroe moved back into the reconstructed building.

“Dolley Madison saves portrait from British.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Aug 2008, 04:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=55386.




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