Pravda, on August 23, 1940:
ANNIVERSARY OF THE SOVIET-GERMAN PACT
A year ago, on August 23, 1939, the Soviet-German nonaggression pact was signed in Moscow. This contract is one of the major documents in the history of the international relations of our era for it marked a sharp change in development of the Soviet-German relations and was "a turning point in the history of Europe and not only of Europe" (Molotov).
Signing of the contract put an end to enmity between Germany and the USSR, an enmity which was artificially inflamed by the provokers of the war whom the friendship between the peoples of the USSR and Germany drove to a deadlock.
By signing the contract, both parties started from such a situation where hostility between both states, as shown in history, never brought advantage neither to the German people, nor to the people of the USSR. Difference in political systems and ideology could not and should not serve as an absolute obstacle to establish peace and genuinely good-neighbourhood between both states.
The position of the Soviet Union was defined by its permanently basic and consistent policy to fight for peace, a policy which was with extreme clarity formulated by Comr. Stalin in the report to the 18th party congress:
"We stand up for peace and for strengthening of due connections with all countries, we stand and we will stand on this position as far as these countries will keep the same relations with the Soviet Union and as far as they will not try to violate the interests of our country".
Establishing friendly, good-neighbourly relations with Germany has been an answer to and is equitable to the basic state interests of the USSR. Therefore, the Soviet Union agreed to Germany's suggestion to begin negotiations on conclusion of the non-aggression pact.
The policy of Germany was defined in the given case in the same way by her fundamental state interests, was based on the sober accounting of huge specific weight of the USSR in the international life, influences of the USSR on all international developments.
The largest historical value of the Soviet-German pact which is inseparably linked with the general international development, is especially distinctly allocated against the major events which occurred in the expired year. The Soviet-German pact was signed during the moment when over Europe hung thunderclouds of an imperialistic war, long before and gradually prepared in the diplomatic chancelleries of London and Paris. The subsequent succession of events completely confirmed the fact that provokers of war made the general staffs to incite hostility between Germany and the USSR, to provoke an armed conflict between these largest states of Europe. Existence of such plans is confirmed also by the contents of a number of diplomatic documents which later have become, against the will of their authors, publicly exposed.
This purpose — provoking of armed conflict between the USSR and Germany — served notorious policy, "non-interference" of the Anglo-French diplomacy, all Munich-type policy at the heart of which lay the aspiration to set Germany against the Soviet Union. To the same purpose served also afterthought Munich trick — policy of involvement of the USSR in the Anglo-French block. At the heart of this policy lays the aspiration to set the USSR against Germany, to create against Germany an "eastern front" in the form of the USSR, to wage war against Germany with the USSR hands.
Plans of provokers, wars were exposed. Comrade Stalin, speaking at the 18th congress, gave a crushing characteristic to so-called policy of non-interference which formed a component in preparations of the imperialistic war in Europe. The Anglo-French imperialists wanted to impose this imperialistic war on the Soviet Union. Comrade Stalin called the Soviet country for vigilance, he urged "to be careful and not to give in to involve our country in the conflicts of provokers of the war, accustomed to pile up fire with other people's hands". Hypocritical, dual game of the Anglo-French block was completely exposed during the negotiations between England and France, on the one hand, and the USSR — with another. These negotiations failed, for the USSR aspired to implement state tasks in regions of the western borders of our country for securing peace, but the Anglo-French diplomacy ignored these tasks of the USSR, in order to instigate war and to involve the Soviet Union in it.
Maneuvers of the Anglo-French imperialists failed both in Moscow and in Berlin. Even the economic negotiations, which begun in the summer of 1939 between Germany and the USSR ended with the conclusion of the trading credit agreement on August 19, 1939, showed that all the possibilities for a peaceful and mutually favorable economic cooperation are available.
After the conclusion of the Soviet-German trading credit agreement there was directly a question of improvement of the political relations between Germany and the USSR.
For negotiations the German Minister of Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop arrived to Moscow, and the nonaggression pact between Germany and the USSR was signed on August 23.
The message on the signing of the Soviet-German pact was met with the most vivid satisfaction by both the people of the USSR and the German people. They justly appreciated this historical document which established the basis for friendship between the peoples of Germany and the USSR, as a victory of the policy directed against incitement of war.
And the valid fact is that two largest states of Europe agreed on peace and excluded the possibility of a military conflict between them, and by it limiting the sphere of operations for the Anglo-French organizers of war, retricting bridgeheads for the second imperialistic war which soon bursted out. As a result of signing of the Soviet-German pact the whole eastern Europe was removed from the threat of being transformed into a battlefield. There is no doubt that securing the peace in the eastern Europe promoted in enormous degree also preservation of peace on the Balkans.
However, consolidation of peace in the eastern Europe, restriction of possible military springboards diminished least of all the palns of those, who prepared this war, who calculated to lure into it as many countries as possible, who up this moment have not left hopes of further expansion of the war, of turning it into a world-wide one. Therefore the imperialistic press of England, France and the USA gave a hostile reception to the conclusion of the Soviet-German pact, raised a malicious howl, launched violent smear campaign against the USSR.
The message about the Soviet-German pact ringed as the last caution to organizers and fomenters of an imperialistic war. This caution, however, did not take any effect. War began. As its first victim fell to the core rotten Polish state, thrown into a military adventure by relying on the notorious "guarantees" of London and Paris.
The Poland of the Pans did not stand the blow and was scattered, collapsed as a house of cards, without experiencing any help from her allies. Despite this setback, the Anglo-French block did not give up their plans. And frankly, the hopes that it will be possible to blow up the Soviet-German friendship still lived in the imperialistic circles of France and England. New disappointment to live through was met by these circles. The Soviet-German relations continued to develop well for both parties. On September 28, 1939 a new Soviet-German agreement was signed: the German-Soviet treaty of friendship and border between the USSR and Germany.
This contract which has settled questions, connected with the disintegration of the Polish state, it created the strong base for a lasting peace in Eastern Europe, created preconditions for further development and strengthening of friendship between Germany and the USSR. On September 28 the Chairman of the Soviet of People's Commissars of the USSR and the People's Commissar for foreign affairs Comrade V.M. Molotov exchanged with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop letters concerning further development of economic relations between both states.
After disintegration of the Polish state Germany offered England and France to stop the war. The Soviet government supported the initiative of Germany. But neither the German offer, nor performance of the USSR did not find response neither in England, nor in France. War continued, bringing ruin, disasters, and sufferings to all those peoples whom the organizers of war had drawn into this slaughtering.
The Soviet-German pact had the largest value in development of the peace policy of the Soviet Union, for securing the safety of Soviet boundaries. The Soviet Union, when a war broke out between England and France on one side and Germany on the other, took a neutrality position.
There is no doubt that the Soviet-German pact facilitated the Soviet Union in preserving the position of neutrality, facilitated the Soviet Union in its implementation of the peace policy.
On the other hand, the existence of the Soviet-German pact, and equally, the treaty of friendship and frontier between Germany and the USSR, provided Germany the confidence for calm in the east.
Development of the Soviet-German friendship found an expression in strengthening and expanding the economic connections between both states. As a result of the pursuit of the Soviet economic delegation which travelled to Germany and that of the German economic delegation coming to the USSR, negotiations on the economic agreement which was signed were successfully completed on February 11, 1940. This agreement provided broad and mutually favorable development of trade between both states.
A year has passed since the moment of signing of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact. The Soviet-German relations, constructed on a new basis, passed the test with honor, especially to be noted, that this test was conducted in a situation, exceptional in its intensity, in conditions launched by the enormous scales of the war, a sharp aggravation of contradictions between the largest states of the capitalist world, in the conditions of new conflicts to be awakened, in the conditions of constant and persistent attempts of known international elements to hammer a wedge into the Soviet-German relations.
Durability of the present Soviet-German relations is accounted for the reason that "its base can be seen in good neighbourly and friendly Soviet-German relations resting not on casual reasons of passing political character, but on fundamental state interests as well of the USSR than those of Germany" (Molotov).
Machine assisted draft translation by Pauli Kruhse.
On the political and legal assessment of the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty (Resolution of the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR 24 December 1989).