Live revision! Join us for our free exam revision livestreams Watch now

Study Notes

The Nazi-Soviet Pact, August 1939


Last updated 3 Sept 2018

The Nazi-Soviet Pact was an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It was unusual as Nazi Germany had made no secret of the fact they hated communism and wished to destroy the Soviet Union. Stalin and Hitler, therefore, detested each other.

Stalin was keen to protect the Soviet Union and sought agreements of support from countries such as Britain and France. Stalin was not impressed by Britain and France who were often supportive of Hitler in his mission to destroy communism. Appeasement had not helped this suspicion and made it difficult for the Soviet Union, Britain and France to do a deal. Whilst Stalin was meeting with representatives from Britain and France he was also meeting with Nazis. Stalin decided to sign the Nazi Soviet Pact in August 1939. The details were simple, they would not attack each other. In secret, however, both the USSR and Nazi Germany agreed to divide up Poland.

It may seem odd that two arch enemies would sign an agreement promising not to attach each other, but Stalin may have been acting as pragmatically as possible. He did not trust Britain and France to keep the USSR safe, after all they had not kept Czechoslovakia safe from the Nazis. He was also keen to buy time to increase the size of the Soviet armed forces and a peace with Germany would help this. Stalin also wanted parts of Poland too, as some of their territory used to belong to the Russian Empire before the First World War.

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.