• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did Stalin opt for the pact with Hitler in 1939?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did Stalin opt for the pact with Hitler in 1939? Darshan Sanghrajka Matriculation number: 010000962 21st March 2003 Words: 1,900 In August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Why would Stalin opt for a Pact with Hitler, whilst knowing that Hitler had aims to invade the USSR? Soviet historians have argued that Russia simply did not have the military capabilities to defend herself against a German attack and this pact would provide Russia with time to prepare for the inevitable. However, since the opening of the archives in 1989, it is clear that Stalin had other motives, mainly expansionist aims. Although this alliance between the anti-Nazi Soviet Union and the anti-Communist Germany seemed unlikely, there was a long history of cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union. This essay will aim to show that Stalin did not just opt for the Pact because it bought him time to prepare for an inevitable war but mainly because it provided him with the territory that he wanted and the basis to create a World War, which would destroy capitalism. All three provide us with a more realistic reason as to why Stalin would abandon communist ideology. The Nazi-Soviet Pact included a non-aggression pact and an economic agreement, which committed the Soviet Union to provide food products and raw materials to Germany in return for finished goods such as machinery from Germany. Secret protocols divided Eastern Europe into two spheres of interest, one for the Soviet Union and one for Germany. ...read more.

Middle

Pact was signed and he argued that the Pact was inevitable, given the circumstances and the rewards available to the Soviet Union. "It was like a gambit in chess; if we hadn't made that move, the war would have started earlier, much to our disadvantage. It was very hard for us - as Communists, as anti-fascists - to accept the idea of joining forces with Germany."3 Soviet historians argue that "subsequent events revealed that this step was the only correct one under the circumstances. By taking it, the USSR was able to continue peaceful construction for nearly two years and to strengthen its defences".4 This was no doubt a motive behind Stalin's decision but as mentioned, there was greater reasoning behind such a move. After 1989, when the Soviet archives were opened up during Gorbarchev's period of Glasnost, historians have been able to delve deeper into answering this question. With respect to these other motives, Viktor Suvorov, a former Soviet army officer, challenges the Soviet historians and argues that the Nazi-Soviet pact was actually part of Stalin's Marxist strategy for revolutionary victory in Europe. Marx had argued that conflicts between Capitalist nations would create an opportunity to transform the war into a class war and establish socialism. Of course, he still advocated Socialism in one country but he also believed that revolution would occur eventually. In December 1927, Stalin announced that capitalism had become unstable and argued that the "world economic crisis will turn into a political crisis in a number of countries"5 Therefore, the idea was to wait for this to occur, whilst also industrialising and rearming the country. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, it is a more realistic portrayal of Stalin and disproves Soviet historians who have argued that the Pact was solely, a temporary and necessary measure to delay the Germans until Russia was militarily strong. Two aspects of the Pact support the argument that Stalin had expansionist aims in Eastern Europe; first, the dealings with the Baltic states and secondly, Lithuania. The Soviets had been insistent about gaining the Baltic states in the early negotiations with Britain and France, however only Germany could offer them to the USSR. The negotiations with Lithuania show that Stalin actively aimed to broaden Soviet borders. On 10th January 1941, Germany and the Soviet Union signed another protocol, in which USSR would pay Germany, $7,500,000 for Lithuania. The secret protocols had all been demanded by the Soviets rather than being offered by Hitler. This theory is also supported by events after the Pact; The Soviets wanted Finland to sign a similar pact to the ones signed by the Baltic states. However, Finland refused and the Red Army invaded it on 29th November. The motive behind the Pact was to regain pre-World War 1 territory rather than simply buying time. In conclusion, Stalin's act of realpolitik allowed him time to remodel his arm from an defensive archaic one to a offensive force. "Of course, it's all a game to see who can fool whom. I know what Hitler's up to. He thinks he's outsmarted me, but actually it's I who have tricked him." This is Stalin's explanation for opting for the Pact, to Lavrenti Beria, his Commissioner for Internal Affairs. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Hitlers Germany

    were traded for cigarettes, often measured not by the carton or even by the pack, but by the single cigarette. There came the Stummel period when foreign soldiers and civilians found themselves followed by Germans waiting to pick up discarded cigarette butts.

  2. Causes of show trials + purges of 1930s.

    disliked defensive military strategies.[53] The final show trial of this period, took place in March 1938 and was dubbed the Trial of Twenty-One. On trial were three former members of the politburo Bukharin, Rykov and Krestinsky, a former chief of the secret police, Yagoda, and many leaders of the medical

  1. Evaluate historical comparisons of Hitler and Stalin and their regimes

    Ernst Nolte, a leading German historian then reopened the Hitler/Stalin debate in 1986. Nolte attempted to do a comparison with controversial affects. He famously is responsible for the "Historikerstreit," a historical debate attempting to remove German guilt over the Nazis.

  2. Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1924

    bad example, by doing stuff like drinking and taking drugs * The white generals did not trust each other and would not re-ordinate their attacks. This then allowed the reds to pick of the white army one by one. * The whites had problems inside their armies too.

  1. Evaluate the Nazis economic policies from 1933 - 1939. To what extent were the ...

    Within four years the German economy must be ready for war.18 At any rate, the first task is to obtain adequate supplies of raw materials. The Nazi leaders did stress a lot on increasing foodstuffs and industrial material productions, especially on steel, oil, and rubber.

  2. Discuss Hitler’s eventual gaining of Lebensraum. Was it merely opportunistic or astutely ...

    It is in these documents and sources that his critics mostly draw fuel to attack his personal conclusions. Mr Taylor's opportunist opinion arises from his assessment of Hitler as an individual. Hitler is presented by Mr Taylor as a man with objectives an a great deal of patience.

  1. The Impact of Stalins Leadership in the USSR, 1924 1941. Extensive notes

    In the 1920s, communist organisations were relatively new and not well established in the countryside. Collectivisation meant that the party now had an official at each collective and all the peasants were in one place, ready to be influenced. 2.

  2. The Somme Offensive Failure - analysis of the sources.

    They manufactured exceedingly poor shells, leaving around one third of the 1,732,873 used in the eight-day bombardment failing to explode. Source 1.4 (Adrian 1986, p. 78). Literal mountains of empty shells piled up as the British strived to improve their regime.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work