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Why did the USSR agree to the Nazi-Soviet pact?

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Introduction

Why did the USSR agree to the Nazi-Soviet pact? In this essay, I hope to answer the above question. I will be going back and using evidence and information from Stalin's purges between 1924 and 1938 which filled the Central Committee with bureaucrats who were too afraid to stand up to the Soviet leader, and which crippled the Soviet army almost completely. This events and many others all resulted in the choice that Joseph Stalin had to make between an alliance with Britain and France, or signing away the lives of millions of innocents to make a pact with Germany. During 1924 and 1936, Stalin instituted a series of Party purges, during which the most militant and thinking Communists, who under the course of Joseph Stalin's paranoia and self-serving politics came to be regarded as unreliable, were expelled. In their place were recruited Soviet employees and bureaucrats, who were ready, for the sake of material gain and promotions, to carry out with absolute efficiency, any order of the Central Committee. The process of mass collectivisation - which basically meant gathering up all the serfs and making them work on large farms - gathered momentum throughout the winter of 1929-1930. In late 1929, Stalin decided to call for the liquidation of the kulaks (all peasants opposed to collectivization). This involved the brutal enslavement of about 1,250,000 kulak households, the enforced destitution, deportation and death of more than 10 million1. ...read more.

Middle

Such a weakening of its military command was to be a crucial factor three years later during the Nazi invasion, when the military unprepardness of the Soviet Union became painfully evident. By the end of the purges the labour forces in the NKVD camps and enterprises probably exceeded seven million and may have reached twenty million5. Out of eighty members of the 1934 military soviet only five were left in September 1938. All eleven deputy commissars for defence were eliminated. Every commander of a military district had been executed. Thirteen out of fifteen army commanders, fifty-seven out of eighty-five corps commanders, 110 out of 195 divisional commanders and 220 out of 406 commanders were all liquidated6. David Low: "What, no chair for me?" 30th September 1939 In 1938, when Adolf Hitler, after the seizure of Austria, began to make demands on Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union once again found itself isolated by the other main powers. In the subsequent negotiations with Hitler during the Munich crisis of September 1938, the British and French governments disregarded the Soviet Union. So the Soviet change of heart towards Nazi Germany may perhaps have been linked to the British and French appeasement of Hitler at the time. Both these countries were desperate to stop a Second World War from happening, as both had suffered greatly during, and after, World War One, and were still trying to revive their countries economically and spiritually. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet, when Russia signed up with Germany, both nations reaped many benefits. For Germany, the main asset was that they would not have a war on two fronts and could effectively attack the Baltic States without much opposition. For Russia, the pact gave them eighteen months with which to move factories away from the front line with Germany so their vital industries would still be operational during the eventual war. Also, Russia was able to envelope many Baltic states - including Eastern Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland into the USSR; the Soviet was also able to replenish its army to its full strength both from internally, and from the other countries it had annexed. The Soviet was very opportunistic and took full advantage of the situation presented to it, opened up by the German pact. 1 - Richard Freeborn, A Short History of Modern Russia (1966) 2 - Freeborn, ASHOMR 3 - Freeborn, ASHOMR 4 - Freeborn, ASHOMR 5 - Freeborn, ASHOMR 6 - Alan Clark, Barbarossa (1965) 7 - www.sparatcus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSnazipact.htm B I B L I O G R A P H Y All secondary sources Sources used and quoted: www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSnaziact.htm "A Short History of Modern Russia" by Richard Freeborn (1966) "The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes" by Alexander Orlov (1953) "Barbarossa" by Alan Clark (1965) www.geocities.com/ojoronen/EASTBALT.htm "A Short History of the USSR" by George Hanna (1965) Sources read but not used: "German History since 1800" edited by Mary Fulbrook (1997) "Stalinism and After" by Alec Nove (1975) "The Stalinist Terror in the Thirties" by Borys Levytsky (1974) 5 1 ...read more.

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