The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (also known as the Nazi-Soviet
, German-Soviet Treaty Of Nonaggression
, and the
) was an agreement between Nazi Germany
which stated that both countries would not engage in a
war with each other. The pact was signed on August 23, 1939 by Soviet
Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
and German Foreign Minister
Joachim von Ribbentrop
In the years preceding World War II, Britain and France engaged
in several security agreements against the rising powers of the Nazi
regime. The Soviet Union also faced the threat of an expanding Germany,
but Britain and France ignored its attempts to enter the security
agreement on several occasions (most notably the Munich Pact).
Ultimately, Stalin would fire Foreign Minister Maksim
Litvinov, and replace him with Vyacheslav Molotov.
Molotov started negotiating with Nazi Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop. Stalin's strategy was to gain time for
strengthening the weak Soviet army by keeping peace with Germany. Hitler was also interested in a nonaggression pact with the
Soviet Union to invade Poland with minimal forces, and maintain a
low occupancy. This would then allow Hitler to use more troops against
France and Britain, without having to fight on two fronts
The terms of the pact stated that the two countries would not
attack each other, nor support a third power to attack the other
party. Furthermore, the countries would consult each other with
respect to their common interests, and to solve all differences
between the two parties by negotiation or arbitration. The pact was
to last 10 years, with an automatic extension of 5 years unless either
party gave notice to terminate the agreement 1 year before expiration.
Appended to the public protocol was a secret
protocol, dividing up the entire Eastern Europe between Germany and
the Soviet Union. Both Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland
shortly after announcing the pact (September 1, 1939 and September 17,
1939 respectively), thus marking the beginning of World War II. The
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was no longer honored after Operation
Barbarossa, on June 22, 1941.
The Government of the German Reich and The Government of the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics
Desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the
U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the
Neutrality Agreement concluded in April, 1926 between Germany and the
U.S.S.R., have reached the following Agreement:
Article I. Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist
from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each
other, either individually or jointly with other Powers.
Article II. Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object
of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party
shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power.
Article III. The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall
in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the
purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems
affecting their common interests.
Article IV. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High
Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers
whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.
Article V. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High
Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties
shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly
exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of
Article VI. The present Treaty is concluded for a period of ten years,
with the proviso that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties
does not advance it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the
validity of this Treaty shall automatically be extended for another five
Article VII. The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest
possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The
Agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed.
Secret Additional Protocol.
(not published at the time the above was announced)
Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in
the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the
boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this
connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by
Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of
the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of
Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of
the rivers Narev, Vistula and San.
The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the
maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should
be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further
In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a
Article III. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by
the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares
its complete political disinteredness in these areas.
Article IV. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly
Moscow, August 23, 1939.
For the Government of the German Reich v. Ribbentrop
Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R. V. Molotov