The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Section A: Plan of Investigation

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact1, a non-agression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, was signed in Moscow, Aug 23th 1939. This pact included a secret protocol between these two powers to divide Eastern Europe into their spheres of influences. Could it be said that this pact triggered WWII in Europe, if saying that the war began in 1939 when Poland was invaded?

This paper will research and analyze ideas considering this pact as an important short-term, immediate cause of WWII, both from written and electronic sources. Also, the investigation will focus mainly on evaluating significance of short-term factors revolving expansionism, national self-interest, political failures... By assessing the important
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Only in this way can we obtain the living space [lebensraum] we need"

Heinrich Himmler citing Hitler's decree6: "All Poles will disappear from the world.... It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles."

Hitler didn't want to risk a war with USSR7 on his way, so he proposed a non-aggression term with USSR, in which both nations were to be benefited. Stalin understood that Hitler would declare war on USSR sooner or later because of their conflicting ideologies8, and agreed to sign that pact in order to delay the war and buy the Soviet Union more time to prepare the army. He was also interested in regaining Poland by signing this pact and later defeat Germany on Poland's battlefields and win back Poland9.

Britain and France then reacted to Germany's aggression on Poland due to the Anglo-Polish military alliance10 in 31st March 1939, which they had to defend Poland. Hitler was not aware of this as Britain and France remained passive in the 1930s toward his actions, especially his invasion of Czechslovakia11. War was officially declared in
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Hitler avoided risking a war with USSR on his path of expansionism, for good reason: 1.5 million German soldiers in 1939 were inferior to 1.8 million soldiers of the Red Army26; he also didn't want to have another two-fronts war like in WWI, with USSR on the East and Britain and France on the West. Therefore prior to occupying the sensitive Poland, he had to make a peace term with Stalin first. He also considered of using this peace term to approach USSR, building up German forces en route, and eventually attack USSR at Poland-USSR's borderline.

Stalin, on the other hand, was aware that Russian troops, although outnumbering German army even after the purge in 1937 – 1938, mobilized very slowly and ineffectively – experienced in WWI due to poorly developed transports, so he wanted to have times to deploy armed forces as far West as possible (in this case, toward Poland of his interest), before Germany would eventually attack USSR. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was thus signed in 1939, allowing Germany to invade Poland "with Stalin's permission over the secret protocol", which consequently caused Britain and France to react and declared war on Germany. It's reasonable that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had the similar effects that started WWII in Europe by allowing aggressions and getting the Powers involved – bearing

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