The MRP: preparing the Soviet occupation (33)
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were forcibly occupied and illegally annexed by the Soviet Union 65 years ago. August 23rd marked the 66th anniversary of the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP), the major Soviet-Nazi conspiratorial precondition to the subsequent 51 years of Soviet-Nazi occupations.
Russia has yet to condemn the MRP and the Kremlin incredulously insists that the pact was unavoidable for the Soviets, that it was a strategic necessity for national defense.
The consequences of the Moscow-Berlin collusion have often been analyzed, but the political climate preceding the August 23rd signing is seldom covered.
In spite of the general international condemnation of the Third Reich's racial policies and its evident geopolitical ambitions, a Soviet-German trade agreement was signed in December 1938. Joseph Stalin was determined to make personal initiatives to improve Nazi-Soviet relations. At the March 1939 Communist Party congress he accused the west of provoking a Russian-German conflict. There was no mention of German aggression.
On March 15, 1939, five days after Stalin's speech at the congress, German troops occupied Czechoslovakia. Adolf Hitler's speech of April 28, attacking Poland, was missing his usual abuse of Russia and Bolshevism. An understanding of reciprocally beneficial aggression had been forged.
The German State Secretary at the time reported that the Russian ambassador to Berlin conveyed Moscow's desire that the Soviet-Nazi relationship become closer and more trustworthy.
A strategic pact with Berlin had been on Moscow's agenda for some time. About 50,000 Polish communists in the USSR, and party leaders arriving there from Poland were killed in anticipation of the MRP being signed. Why? Obviously the pact would affect Poland. Polish communists would certainly object to Poland being carved up by the Soviets and Nazis. These irritants had to be eliminated. Russian leaders to the MRP were also liquidated.
Hitler, planning an attack on Poland for some time, felt the latter had to be crushed before the West could intervene. An assurance of Russian collusion was necessary before attacking and Moscow took full advantage of the situation. Historically foreboding discussions between the Soviets and Nazis ensued. (Moscow was holding parallel talks with western powers.) At issue with the Nazis was not the preservation of peace but the division of Eastern Europe.
The catalyst for WW II hostilities was not only the Moscow-Berlin rapprochement but also the secret protocol of the MRP which saw Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania become Soviet targets and Poland attacked by both.
On August 23, 1939 German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop brought Hitler's message to Moscow that "all the problems of Eastern Europe were to be handled exclusively by Germany and Russia."
After the pact was signed later that night, Stalin in a toast said: "I know how much the German nation loves the Führer; I should like therefore to drink to his health."
The Pact paved the way for immediate aggression and war. Both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany should have borne full responsibility for the destruction and carnage of WW II with over 40 million dead. The Nazis ended up on the scaffold. The Kremlin leadership continued their lives in relative luxury.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania suffered 51 years of military occupation, and Central and Eastern Europe were subjugated for a similar period.
To observe the 65th year since the start of foreign occupations the Estonian Central Council in Canada will hold its first in a series of "Meel ja Mälu" (Mind and Memory) commemorations on September 8, at 1:00 pm at the Toronto Estonian House.
(based on a book by John Kolasky, ex-communist)