Its clauses offered a written guarantee of peace from each side to the other and a commitment that no government would ally with or help an enemy of the other. In addition to the publicly announced non-aggression provisions, the treaty contained the secret protocol that established the borders of the Soviet and German spheres of influence in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. The secret protocol also recognized Lithuania`s interest in the Vilnius region, and Germany declared its total disinterest in Bessarabia. The rumor about the existence of the secret protocol was only proven when it was published at the Nuremberg trials.  Did you know ? Hitler did not like the photo taken when the German-Soviet non-aggression pact was signed in the Kremlin because it showed Stalin with a cigarette in his hand. Hitler felt that the cigarette was not suitable for the historical occasion and had it removed from the photo when it was published in Germany. On August 23, 1939 – four days after the signing of the economic agreement and just over a week before the start of World War II – Ribbentrop and Molotov signed the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact. On 22 August 1939, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893–1946) flies from Berlin to Moscow. He was soon in the Kremlin, face to face with Stalin and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986), who had worked with von Ribbentrop to negotiate a deal. (The Soviet minister is also the namesake of the incendiary device known as the Molotov cocktail.) Ribbentrop brought with him a proposal from Hitler that the two countries should commit to a non-aggression pact that would last 100 years. Stalin replied that 10 years would be enough. The proposal also provided that neither country would help a third party attacking either signatory. Finally, the proposal contained a secret protocol that established the spheres of influence in Eastern Europe that both sides would accept after Hitler`s conquest of Poland.
The Soviet Union would acquire the eastern half of Poland along with Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. From April to July, Soviet and German officials issued statements on the possibility of starting political negotiations, but no real negotiations took place.  “The Soviet Union had wanted good relations with Germany for years and was happy that this feeling was finally reciprocal,” wrote historian Gerhard L. Weinberg.  The subsequent discussion of a possible political agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union had to be integrated into the framework of economic negotiations between the two countries, as close military and diplomatic relations, as was the case before the mid-1930s, had been largely severed.  In May, Stalin replaced his foreign minister from 1930 to 1939, Maxim Litvinov, who had advocated rapprochement with the West and was also Jewish, with Vyacheslav Molotov, in order to give the Soviet Union more leeway in talks with more parties, rather than with Britain and France.  When anti-German protests broke out in Prague, Czechoslovakia, the Comintern ordered the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to use all its forces to paralyze “chauvinist elements.”  Moscow quickly forced the French Communist Party and the Communist Party of Britain to take anti-war positions. On September 7, Stalin called Georgi Dimitrov, who sketched out a new Comintern line on the war, declaring that the war was unjust and imperialist, which was approved by the Comintern Secretariat on September 9. Thus, the Western communist parties now had to oppose the war and vote against war credits. Although the French Communists voted unanimously in parliament for the war credits on September 2 and declared their “unwavering will” to defend the country on September 19, the Comintern officially ordered the Party to condemn the war as imperialist on September 27. On October 1, the French Communists pleaded for a listening to German peace proposals, and the leader Maurice Thorez deserted on October 4. == References ===== External links ===* Official website  Other communists also deserted from the army. On September 21, the Soviets and Germans signed a formal agreement to coordinate military movements in Poland, including the “purge” of saboteurs.  Joint German-Soviet parades were held in Lvov and Brest-Litovsk, and the countries` military commanders gathered in the latter city.  Stalin had decided in August to liquidate the Polish state, and a German-Soviet meeting in September dealt with the future structure of the “Polish region.”  The Soviet authorities immediately began a campaign to Sovietize the newly acquired territories. The Soviets held elections in stages, the result of which was to legitimize the Soviet annexation of eastern Poland.  Communism would then easily spread to the Atlantic in the ruins of European capitalism. Unlike Tsarist Russia in 1914, this time the Soviets wanted to stay out of a German war. Instead, Stalin rearmed with Hitler during the Non-Aggression Pact. At that time, after several Gestapo-NKVD conferences, Soviet NKVD officers also conducted lengthy interrogations of 300,000 Polish prisoners of war in camps, which were a selection process to determine who would be killed.  On March 5, 1940, during the subsequent Katyn massacre, 22,000 military and intellectuals were executed, labeled “nationalists and counter-revolutionaries,” or held in camps and prisons in western Ukraine and Belarus. [Citation needed] The world was shocked – and frightened – by the deal. The Western democracies of the 1930s had relied on communist Russia`s vast resources and hostility to the Nazis to curb Adolf Hitler`s Western ambitions. Britain and other Western European democracies had assumed that the Nazis would never invade them as long as a hostile Soviet Union threatened the German hinterland. In any case, the two governments will resolve this issue through an amicable agreement. On August 23, 1939, representatives of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union met and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (also known as the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact), a mutual promise between the two leaders that guaranteed that neither would attack the other. The Finnish and Baltic invasions began a deterioration in relations between the Soviets and Germany.  Stalin`s invasions were a serious nuisance to Berlin, as the intention to complete them had not been communicated to the Germans before, and they raised fears that Stalin would attempt to form an anti-German bloc.  Molotov`s assurances to the Germans only increased distrust of the Germans. On June 16, when the Soviets invaded Lithuania but before invading Latvia and Estonia, Ribbentrop ordered his staff to “submit as soon as possible a report on the tendency in the Baltic states to seek the support of the Reich or whether an attempt to form a bloc has been made.”  Shortly after the Pact, Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, a day after a Soviet-Japanese armistice came into effect after the battles of Khalkhin Gol.  After the invasions, the new border between the two countries was confirmed by the Additional Protocol of the German-Soviet Border Treaty.
In March 1940, parts of the Karelia and Salla regions of Finland were annexed by the Soviet Union after the Winter War. This was followed by the Soviet annexation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and parts of Romania (Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and Hertza region). Interest in ethnic Ukrainians and Belarusians had been used as a pretext for the Soviet invasion of Poland. Stalin`s invasion of Bukovina in 1940 violated the pact because it went beyond the Soviet sphere of influence agreed with the Axis.  About 80 years ago, on August 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, officially known as the “Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” The secret protocol contained an agreement between the Nazis and the Soviets that greatly influenced Eastern Europe. .