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The German Soviet Pact and the Allies


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#1 racgs

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 12:33 AM

This question has frustrated me for many years.  I have asked this question to many "scholars" and have yet to get an answer:  The USSR and Germany make a pact.  Germany invades Poland as does the USSR.  England and France declare war on Germany but not on USSR .  USSR anexes the Baltic states and still no declaration of war by the Allies.  USSR invades Finland and Allies do not declare war....Why did the Allies not declare war on USSR for its aggression against these countries?  You do realize that World War 2 was promulgated by the invasion of Poland...(and sadly it appears that at the end of the war this heady ideal of "defending ' Poland was forgotten....)



#2 McCabe

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 12:41 AM

The Allies weren't even ready for war with Germany. Why would they then decide to take on Stalin, too?


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#3 Takao

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 02:02 AM

As to England, despite the what the "Agreement of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom and Poland" says, there was a "Secret Protocol" that specifically stated that the pact was against Germany

1. (a) By the expression "a European Power" employed in the Agreement is to be understood Germany. (B) In the event of action within the meaning of Article 1 or 2 of the Agreement by a European Power other than Germany, the Contracting Parties will consult together on the measures to be taken in common.

https://en.wikisourc...d-London_(1939)

So, with the invasion of Poland by the USSR, the only action required of the British, is to consult with Poland on measures to be taken.  However, Poland fell to quickly.  Not to mention that the Soviets did not invade Poland until after it was clear that no foreign military help to Poland would be forthcoming.

IIRC, the secret protocol signed between France and Poland in 1939 was also aimed specifically at Germany.

 

WRT, the Allies had made plans to assist Finland in the 'Winter War', but they never came to fruition.

https://en.wikipedia..._the_Winter_War

 

WRT, the Baltic States, France was in the process of complete collapse, and Britain was facing the very distinct prospect of going it alone against Germany.  It was impossible for either Britain or France to do anything.



#4 green slime

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 05:13 AM

There were various "plans" and half-baked ideas, that quite thankfully were not put into place. One of the more "reasonable" ones was fighting the Soviets in Finland. You must note, however, that the world was rather more complicated.

 

Both Sweden and Norway refused to allow British or French troops to pass through their country to Finland. Sailing through the straight between Denmark and Sweden (the Kattegatt) would've been an easy way to lose troops and ships.

 

There was at least one idea to fly in and bomb Southern Russia (Baku?) from bases in the Levant. I'm guessing that it was soon understood to be a logistical nightmare, for little to no benefit. 



#5 Carronade

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 01:44 PM

How many acts of aggression did Hitler get away with before the British and French - not all of them by the way - finally made up their minds to stand up to him?  Democracies depend on public opinion, and public opinion can't just be flipped on like a light switch.  Three weeks earlier the allies had been hoping to enlist the Soviets to help them contain Hitler.  They'd been on the same side in the Spanish Civil War; in fact the Communists did more to try to help the anti-fascist forces than anyone else.  Then on September 17 the British and French governments are supposed to just announce that the Russians are the bad guys now and we're going to war with them?

 

We should also remember that there were substantial leftist, socialist, and Communist parties in both Britain and France, many of which followed the party line as laid down by Stalin.  A lot of people in the 1930s thought the USSR was on the right track.  For that matter there had been considerable support for Hitler and his programs when he first came to power.  It took years for opinion to turn against him even with the blatant acts of aggression and rearmament he committed; the same would be true with regard to Stalin.

 

How exactly would it benefit the Allies to treat Russia as an enemy the same as Germany?  To encourage them to cooperate more closely than they did historically?  As others have pointed out, they had no effective strategy.  The events of 1940 would be no less disasterous.

 

Hitler had several reasons for turning against Stalin, but one of them was the idea that Britain was holding out in hope of getting Russian support.  That's considerably less likely if Britain is at war with Russia, particularly when she was the party declaring war.  Anything that makes the outbreak of German-Russian hostilities less likely could be profoundly harmful to the Allied cause.



#6 OpanaPointer

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 02:02 PM

To me the issue has been proximity. France and England didn't have any immediate threat from the Soviet Union, and they realized that any truce between the two belligerents would not last. The pragmatic decision then was to confront the enemy that shared a border with France and hope things didn't go further south with the Soviets. 

 

BTW, if you want to read what they were saying to each other during the run up to the declarations of war, visit this page and scroll down to "The Color Books". You'll see event unfold on the diplomatic stage as they happened. 


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#7 lwd

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 02:20 PM

The USSR also didn't declare war against Poland from what I recall, they maintained the fiction that they were "helping" Poland.  I don't think anyone really believed it at the time but it did give them a bit more diplomatic cover.



#8 Leif

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 05:44 PM

The collusion between Germany and the Soviet Union in invading Poland simultaneously was very obvious at the time. One must ask how the UK and France could even object to Poland being invaded when they were occupying half the world by force.



#9 green slime

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 05:57 PM

The collusion between Germany and the Soviet Union in invading Poland simultaneously was very obvious at the time. One must ask how the UK and France could even object to Poland being invaded when they were occupying half the world by force.

 

Or not.



#10 Leif

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 06:21 PM

Hitler could only invade Poland if Stalin did as well.



#11 green slime

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 06:58 PM

Hitler could only invade Poland if Stalin did as well.

 

Or not.



#12 Leif

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 07:01 PM

Otherwise he risked fighting a two-front war in 1939.

 

The UK and France committed suicide as world powers by supporting Stalin's invasion of Poland in 1939.



#13 green slime

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 07:12 PM

Otherwise he risked fighting a two-front war in 1939.

 

The UK and France committed suicide as world powers by supporting Stalin's invasion of Poland in 1939.

 

Or not.



#14 Sloniksp

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 08:45 AM

England did declare war on Finland, Hungary and Romania on Dec. 5th, 1941.

Edited by Sloniksp, 10 September 2016 - 08:48 AM.

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#15 OpanaPointer

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 11:28 AM

A man recently got a prison sentence for claiming that the USSR had "invaded" Poland in 1939. They're still adamant that it was to "protect" something or other. 


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#16 LJAd

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 02:49 PM

It was to protect their interests .

On september 1, it was obvious that Germany was attacking the statu quo.

The USSR had 3 options

To remain neutral, which would result ina total occupation of Poland by Germany,something the Kremlin considered as catastrophic :it would result in the liberation of millions of Ukrainians from Polish occupation and this could result in an independent Ukrainian state .

The USSR could intervene to aid Poland, but this was out of the question,as Poland would not admit the entrance of Soviet forces in Poland.This is proved by what happened on 17 september.

The USSR could intervene to protect its interests= to prevent a total German occupation,this is what happened on 17 serptember .

Edited by LJAd, 10 September 2016 - 02:49 PM.


#17 Belasar

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 01:08 AM

It was to protect their interests .

On september 1, it was obvious that Germany was attacking the statu quo.

The USSR had 3 options

To remain neutral, which would result ina total occupation of Poland by Germany,something the Kremlin considered as catastrophic :it would result in the liberation of millions of Ukrainians from Polish occupation and this could result in an independent Ukrainian state .

The USSR could intervene to aid Poland, but this was out of the question,as Poland would not admit the entrance of Soviet forces in Poland.This is proved by what happened on 17 september.

The USSR could intervene to protect its interests= to prevent a total German occupation,this is what happened on 17 serptember .

 

Balderdash, as usual.

 

It was done to promote their interests in expansion of their borders.

 

This one you got half right, it was obvious that Germany was attacking the Status Quo well before 9/1/39.

 

Wrong again, they had 5 options.

 

Option one would not necessarily lead to a full occupation of Poland, nor would it create a independent Ukraine. Hitler needed a assurance of non intervention by the SU to avoid the potential of a protracted two front war. But even if Germany fully occupied Poland there would not be a 'Independent Ukraine' because he would be occupying that ground.

 

Option two was out of the question because Poland understood in the minds of the Soviets, there was no expiration date to a Red Army liberation, but it doesn't mean it wasn't viable. See Option five.

 

Option three only deepend  Western skepticism in the motives of the SU and might of led to no aid/support when attacked by Germany. Worst case, it might have triggered a actual war as England and France looked for options to strike back during the Winter War.

 

Option four. Neutrality might of actually worked best. By moving forward her defenses were in a state of flux during the summer of 1941. Katyn Forest demonstrates that however many Ukrainian's they "liberated" they had to oppress Poles to do it. German's who met up with advancing Red Army troops they were less than impressed, not a good thing where a megalomaniac writes books about expanding in your direction.

 

Option five. Neutrality, followed  by intervention after the beginning of a invasion, but before a Polish collapse (say 9-17-39), could be played as working with the Anglo-French. Possibly the remnants of the Polish military rally to your side, you still get a chance to 'liberate' Ukrainian's and winter will stall German forces before any debacle could take place. This places Germany in a two front war (her Greatest fear) without any of her allies, who would have to think twice before jumping on the Aryan Express. 


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#18 LJAd

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 07:34 AM

You still fail to grasp the situation in Europe at that time and you still fail to understand the essence of communism ,because you are the prisoner of the cold war .

The Ukrainian question was essential for the Kremlin, as the SU( successor of imperial Russia ) was a multicultural state .An Ukrainian state (German puppet or not ) was a deadly threat for the SU .

Option five was out of the question : if there was a war between the West and Germany (which was unlikely for the Kremlin as it was contradicting Marxism) there was no need for the SU to intervene, as the West would win ,which would be a good thing for the SU as the West would be weakened.

If there was no war between the West and Germany (which the Kremlin expected) ,it would be suicidal to fight against Germany without allues,as there were only 2 possible outcomes : Germany marching to Moscow or the SU marching to Berlin,and this would trigger an intervention by the West .

Option four was also out of the question, as it would give Germany the occasion to create a puppet Ukrainian state .

Option one : Hitler did not need an assurance from Moscow, as he knew very well that Moscow could not intervene to help Poland, besides there was no reason for Moscow to help Poland .

The fundamental point is that you fail to understand that

for the SU there was no difference between Hitler and Chamberlain, Daladier, Beck, Roosevelt

the SU expected an attack from the non communist states and that the Kremlin was convinced that the SU was not ready .The Kremlin was scared .

this attack would be started by Germany

Thus the only option was to gain time and hoping that meanwhile there would be a capitalist civil war .The Kremlin was cornered.

#19 Belasar

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 02:34 PM

You still fail to grasp the situation in Europe at that time and you still fail to understand the essence of communism ,because you are the prisoner of the cold war .

The Ukrainian question was essential for the Kremlin, as the SU( successor of imperial Russia ) was a multicultural state .An Ukrainian state (German puppet or not ) was a deadly threat for the SU .

Option five was out of the question : if there was a war between the West and Germany (which was unlikely for the Kremlin as it was contradicting Marxism) there was no need for the SU to intervene, as the West would win ,which would be a good thing for the SU as the West would be weakened.

If there was no war between the West and Germany (which the Kremlin expected) ,it would be suicidal to fight against Germany without allues,as there were only 2 possible outcomes : Germany marching to Moscow or the SU marching to Berlin,and this would trigger an intervention by the West .

Option four was also out of the question, as it would give Germany the occasion to create a puppet Ukrainian state .

Option one : Hitler did not need an assurance from Moscow, as he knew very well that Moscow could not intervene to help Poland, besides there was no reason for Moscow to help Poland .

The fundamental point is that you fail to understand that

for the SU there was no difference between Hitler and Chamberlain, Daladier, Beck, Roosevelt

the SU expected an attack from the non communist states and that the Kremlin was convinced that the SU was not ready .The Kremlin was scared .

this attack would be started by Germany

Thus the only option was to gain time and hoping that meanwhile there would be a capitalist civil war .The Kremlin was cornered.

 

My understanding is just fine and I am a prisoner of no one.

 

All large, and most small, nations are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Indeed the Soviet Union frequently used the excuse of small ethnic minorities (always oppressed) as pretext for forcible border adjustment. Very similar to a central European nation with goosy marching style. Stalin's concern for the welfare of Ukrainian's is all the more remarkable since a few years earlier he allowed 2-7 million Ukrainian's to perish by starvation. 

 

Please explain coherently just how some rump puppet state, assuming Hitler with his race policies would allow, is a deadly threat to a threat to a SU who controlled all forms of media and border access?

 

Option 5 was not only possible, much of it came to pass historically. Marxist-Leninist doctrine held that war was inevitable between bourgeois Democracy's that would in turn lead to the 'World Revolution'. More to the point how could they discount the possibility of war between Germany and the West when they spent weeks in talks to join them in a alliance to defeat Germany in the event of a attack on Poland, and when the West specifically said that any attack on Poland would trigger war?

 

Events in NW Europe during May-June 1940 contradicted that the pre-war thought that a Allied victory was inevitable from a purely European perspective, and came to pass only with both Russian and American entry. Neither was a guarantee absent future German actions. Historically the Western nations were not weakened militarily by victory, but rather strengthened.

 

If you read carefully my Option 5  you would not have a  war without allies as any Soviet intervention would come after a DoW from the Anglo-French on 9/3/39. This grants the SU two allies from the get go, with the possibility that the remnants of the Polish military would add a third. Since the Anglo-French did declare war on 9/3/39, absent a alliance with the Soviet Union and with the Nazi-Soviet Pact a know quantity, the remainder of your statement is totally nonsensical.

 

Again I ask how a puppet Ukrainian state, if it got past Nazi race policy, was a 'grave threat' to a nation that outnumbered Germany in population by better than 2 to 1? 

 

If Hitler did not need/want the Nazi-Soviet Pact, why would he enter in it? It only allowed the Soviet Union to expand closer to the Reich and vital resources like Romanian Oil and potentially put them in a stronger defensive position. It also made for a potentially more difficult invasion of the SU in terms of distance if nothing else.

 

The remainder of your post makes sense only if you buy into Soviet paranoia and postwar Propaganda. None of the western leaders wrote books or gave speeches on how they were going to carve up the Soviet Union. The SU thought she was ready and did not become afraid until the poor showing in Finland and the rapid collapse of the western Allies in 1940. You don't poke the Nazi Wolf (Finland etc.) if you fear your ability to fight the wolf.


Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)


#20 LJAd

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 05:07 PM

An " independent" Ukrainian state, how small it would be, would be as a magnet for Ukrainian nationalism :neither Poland, neither the USSR would accept this . That's why in march 193
9 Hitler did not support the demand for their own state of the Ukrainian nationalists in Czechoslovakia,because this would have as result an approach between Poland and the USSR .

There was no reason at all for the SU to declare war on Germany in behalf of a country that less than 20 years before had invaded the USSR and was marching to Kiew .If France and Britain were serious, there was no need for the SU to join them,because they were strong enough to defeat Germany without the Soviet help .If they were not seriou, the whole thing was only a trick to lure the SU into war with Germany, while the West would remain on the sideline,and Stalin had a lot of reasons to be suspicious ,as

20 years before Churchill exhorted everyone to intervene in the Russian civil war to crush bolchevism and now, he was back .

a few weeks before,during the "negociations " with the West, Stalin said that incase of war, the SU could commit more than 100 divisions, and the British delegate answered that Britain would send 2 divisions and after 6 months another 2 divisions .

The Western declaration of war resulted in .... nothing = the small French Saar offensive,while the BEF arrived at the front at the end of september and the first British KIA in the west happened in december .

All this were for Stalin indications that the West tried to lure him in a war with Germany and that they would abandon him as soon as possible .The past was fortifying Stalin's suspicions : in august 1914, Britain remained impassible when Germany attacked Russia, and France (theoretically a Russian ally ) did the same .

And the most important reason was the essence of Marxism : Marx pontified that capitalism would collaps but that it would first try to defeat the SU .After the crash of 1939 a lot of people were convinced that capitalism was collapsing but that it would try to survive by using Germany to eliminate the USSR; for every communist,the dogma was that Hitler was a puppet of Krupp and the Junkers,and the Kremlin never understood why the West declared war on Germany .Hitler had to be a puppet or
Marxism was wrong ,and noone would say that Marxism was wrong,unless he preferred a long holiday in the Gulag .If Hitler had the support of the German workers, marxism was wrong, thus Hitler had to be a puppet,as were Chamberlain, Daladier and Roosevelt .

#21 Belasar

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 07:03 PM

An " independent" Ukrainian state, how small it would be, would be as a magnet for Ukrainian nationalism :neither Poland, neither the USSR would accept this . That's why in march 193
9 Hitler did not support the demand for their own state of the Ukrainian nationalists in Czechoslovakia,because this would have as result an approach between Poland and the USSR .

There was no reason at all for the SU to declare war on Germany in behalf of a country that less than 20 years before had invaded the USSR and was marching to Kiew .If France and Britain were serious, there was no need for the SU to join them,because they were strong enough to defeat Germany without the Soviet help .If they were not seriou, the whole thing was only a trick to lure the SU into war with Germany, while the West would remain on the sideline,and Stalin had a lot of reasons to be suspicious ,as

20 years before Churchill exhorted everyone to intervene in the Russian civil war to crush bolchevism and now, he was back .

a few weeks before,during the "negociations " with the West, Stalin said that incase of war, the SU could commit more than 100 divisions, and the British delegate answered that Britain would send 2 divisions and after 6 months another 2 divisions .

The Western declaration of war resulted in .... nothing = the small French Saar offensive,while the BEF arrived at the front at the end of september and the first British KIA in the west happened in december .

All this were for Stalin indications that the West tried to lure him in a war with Germany and that they would abandon him as soon as possible .The past was fortifying Stalin's suspicions : in august 1914, Britain remained impassible when Germany attacked Russia, and France (theoretically a Russian ally ) did the same .

And the most important reason was the essence of Marxism : Marx pontified that capitalism would collaps but that it would first try to defeat the SU .After the crash of 1939 a lot of people were convinced that capitalism was collapsing but that it would try to survive by using Germany to eliminate the USSR; for every communist,the dogma was that Hitler was a puppet of Krupp and the Junkers,and the Kremlin never understood why the West declared war on Germany .Hitler had to be a puppet or
Marxism was wrong ,and noone would say that Marxism was wrong,unless he preferred a long holiday in the Gulag .If Hitler had the support of the German workers, marxism was wrong, thus Hitler had to be a puppet,as were Chamberlain, Daladier and Roosevelt .

 

You continue to state as fact something you have still failed to prove, that some mythical puppet Ukrainian state would be a 'deadly threat' to the Soviet Union, and now a similar threat to Poland. More to the point you now concede Hitler refused to create such a beast when he had the chance. To claim a puppet state of 450,000 people in a back water of central Europe is a credible destabilizing factor in the face of Totalitarian states is ludicrous. Was there free border access between Germany, Poland and the SU? Did they have credible free press's? All three counties had well deserved reputation's for nipping any anti-government opposition in the bud, so where is the 'deadly threat'?

 

No reason you say for the SU to come to the aid of Poland, then why enter talks to do that very thing? Stalin concluded the West wasn't serious because they were not prepared to give them the Carte Blanche to do as they please along her borders the way Nazi Germany would.

 

To buy into the rest of your post you have to buy into the  Stalinist Communism paranoia as being logical, which it wasn't. You seem to forget what Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin was saying at the same time Churchill spoke, the whole world revolution thing. Ring any bells? Just how could Stalin know in the late summer of 1939 what the Allies would do in a war not yet declared and how could that inform him to distrust the Anglo-French alliance. Did Stalin somehow forget Britain was a naval power? Really? Of course they aren't going to deploy dozen's of divisions initially. 

 

By the way in 1914 Imperial Russia invaded Germany first, not the other way around and the French offensive began within days of German movements.


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#22 LJAd

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 03:11 AM

NO : in 1914 Germany declared war on Russia and attacked her, France remained impertubable til Germany invaded France .There was also NO French offensive ,but a counter-offensive after the Germans invaded France . The French-Russian treaty stipulated clearly that if Germany declared war on Russia, France should immediately declare war on Germany and attack her, what France didn't .

There was no reason at all for Stalin to join France and Britain (2 countries who had tried to crush communism) in a war against Germany because Germany had attacked Poland (an other country that had invaded Russia to crush communism )

US did not declare war on Germany in september 1939, why should the USSR do it ?

#23 LJAd

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 06:13 AM

In 1938 the Cheka killed Konovalets (one of the leaders of the OUN,organisation of Ukrainian nationalists ) in Rotterdam . This indicates that the Kremlin perceived the OUN as a big danger . Already before the war Poland was losing mastery over the eastern regions and already on 1 september (before the Soviet invasion ) there was a general upraising in these regions
involving anti-Polish pogroms .

#24 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 08:52 AM

In 1938 the Cheka killed Konovalets (one of the leaders of the OUN,organisation of Ukrainian nationalists ) in Rotterdam . This indicates that the Kremlin perceived the OUN as a big danger . Already before the war Poland was losing mastery over the eastern regions and already on 1 september (before the Soviet invasion ) there was a general upraising in these regions
involving anti-Polish pogroms .

The Ukrainian nationalists, mostly from the western part (Galicia) have always been a problem. They are the ones who also fought alongside Poland against the Bolsheviks in Eastern Ukraine and Belarus in 1920. Russia came to their aid. They numbered in the tens of thousands if not more. After WW2, Zhukov himself was sent to Odessa to "clean" up the city of Bonderovtsi. They numbered at around 75k then. These were very dangerous and fanatical individuals. Today they are marching in Kiev with lit torches giving Nazi salutes and their leader is the Mayor of Kiev. The main highway formally the Moscow Prospect has just recently been renamed to the Stepan Bonderov Prospect.... Just amazing.

Edited by Sloniksp, 12 September 2016 - 08:54 AM.

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#25 wm.

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 11:26 AM

There was no reason at all for Stalin to join France and Britain (2 countries who had tried to crush communism) in a war against Germany because Germany had attacked Poland (an other country that had invaded Russia to crush communism )

 

Since when France or Britain were trying to crush communism?

Because it was entirely the other way, the Soviets stated many times that the capitalist system would collapse in a matter of a few years, and were trying to undermine it by terrorist means, through the so called Komintern and their total control of all the communist parties all around the world. 

 

Poland didn't invade Russia to crush communism but to regain some Polish territories occupied by the Bolsheviks,  themselves an illegitimate rebel movement not much different from ISIS today. 

Actually the Poles regarded the USSR a better alternative (because they expected their country would be weak and powerless for many year to come) than the Imperial Russia or even some post-imperial new Russia, and actually supported the Soviets in some ways, for example by refusing to cooperate with the legitimate Russian forces. 

It can be  said with only slight exaggeration that in the end the Poles saved the USSR from destruction. 






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