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The issue of Soviet guilt as jumped upon by Mr Wear is actually quite a good one and is an issue that caused a great deal of unease in the Allied camp during the Nuremberg Trials. The Molotov/Ribbentrop pact of 1939 was an embarrassment to the Soviets and reference to the pact was avoided as much as possible.

The Pact with Germany was signed because Stalin did not trust Britain or France to uphold their treaty with Poland if Germany invaded. Stalin knew Hitler had his eyes firmly set on lands in the east, and that the Soviet Union was a target for the future. Signing a pact would give the Soviets a breathing space and the acquisition of eastern Poland and the Baltic states would create a buffer zone.

Had Hitler not had aspirations for land in the east, the Soviet Union would not have felt the need for a pact with Germany. Contrary to popular belief in denier land, by the mid 1920s the Soviet Union was more concerned about maintaining what it had and not on world domination. As Gabriel Gorodetsky states in the introduction to his book, “Grand Delusion“:

“…it is perhaps difficult to recall that up to the outbreak of the war the fear of renewed capitalist intervention was widespread. The new Russian military doctrine, devised after 1928 was marked by the recognition of the various threats facing the Soviet Union rather than by an expansionist drive. Rather than anticipating a war among the imperialist states, the fear was one of an armed crusade against the Russian Revolution.”

The reason for the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact was quite clear:

“Stalin was haunted by the suspicion that, despite the guarantees, Britain would abandon Poland as she had done Czechoslovakia, thereby fostering German aggression on the eastern front. These apprehensions dictated an alignment with Germany. On the other hand, in the event of a British failure to respond to Germany’s invasion of Poland, Germany was likely to violate such an agreement and continue the push eastward. This prognosis led to desperate Soviet efforts to replace the unilateral guarantees with a contractual military alliance.”

It was German military aggression that pushed Stalin into an alliance with Hitler. Without Hitler, there would have been no need by the Soviets to enter Poland or the other Baltic States in 1939.

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