Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, Protocols, and Clarifications, 23 August 1939–10 January 1941

On 23 August 1939 Count Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister, and V. M. Molotov, his Soviet counterpart, signed a nonaggression pact between their two countries, together with several secret protocols delineating the Soviet and German spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics, including an understanding on the partitioning of Poland between the two signatory powers. Under the agreement, the Soviet Union also provided appreciable quantities of valuable war supplies to Germany. These agreements were subjected to further clarifications on 28 August 1939, 28 September 1939, and, in one case, also on 10 January 1941. They paved the way for Hitler to invade Poland one week later, the event that, in turn, impelled Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany, the beginning of general war in Europe.

Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 23 August 1939

The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, guided by the desire to strengthen the cause of peace between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and taking as a basis the fundamental regulations of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April 1926 between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, have reached the following agreement:

Article 1. The two Contracting Parties bind themselves to refrain from any act of force, any aggressive action and any attack on one another, both singly and also jointly with other Powers.

Article 2. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties becoming the object of warlike action on the part of a third Power, the other Contracting Party shall in no manner support this third Power.

Article 3. The Governments of the two Contracting Parties shall in future remain continuously in touch with one another, by way of consultation, in order to inform one another on questions touching their joint interests.

Article 4. Neither of the two Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers which is directed directly or indirectly against the other Party.

Article 5. In the event of disputes or disagreements arising between the Contracting Parties on questions of this or that kind, both Parties would clarify these disputes or disagreements exclusively by means of friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, by arbitration committees.

Article 6. The present Agreement shall be concluded for a period of ten years on the understanding that, insofar as one of the Contracting Parties does not give notice of termination one year before the end of this period, the period of validity of this Agreement shall automatically be regarded as prolonged for a further period of five years.

Article 7. The present Agreement shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement takes effect immediately after it has been signed.
 

Secret Supplementary Protocol on the Border of the Spheres of Interest of Germany and the USSR, signed by V. M. Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, 23 August 1939

In signing the nonaggression pact between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the undersigned plenipotentiaries of the two sides discussed in strict confidentiality the issue of delimiting the spheres of mutual interest in Eastern Europe. This discussion led to the following result:

1. In the event of territorial-political reorganization of the districts making up the Baltic states (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern border of Lithuania is simultaneously the border of the spheres of interest of Germany and the USSR. The interests of Lithuania with respect to the Vilnius district are recognized by both sides.

2. In the event of territorial-political reorganization of [Page 1798] the districts making up the Polish Republic, the border of the spheres of interest of Germany and the USSR will run approximately along the Pisa, Narew, Vistula, and San rivers. The question of whether it is in the signatories' mutual interest to preserve the independent Polish State and what the borders of that state will be can be ascertained conclusively only in the course of future political development. In any event, both governments will resolve this matter through friendly mutual agreement.

3. Concerning southeastern Europe, the Soviet side emphasizes the interest of the USSR in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterest in these areas.

4. This protocol will be held in strict secrecy by both sides.
 

Clarification of the Secret Supplementary Protocol of 23 August 1939, signed in Moscow by V. M. Molotov and Count F. W. Schulenburg, 28 August 1939

In order to clarify the first paragraph of point 2 of the "Secret Supplementary Protocol" of 23 August 1939, this is to explain that said paragraph is to be read in the following final version, namely:

"2. In the event of the territorial-political reorganization of the districts making up the Polish State, the border of the spheres of interest of Germany and the USSR will run approximately along the Pisa, Narew, Vistula, and San rivers."
 

Confidential Protocol Concerning the Possibility of Resettling the Population Residing within the Spheres of Interest of the Governments of the USSR and Germany, signed by V. M. Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, 28 September 1939

The Government of the USSR will not impede German citizens or other persons of German ancestry residing within its spheres of interest should they desire to move to Germany or to German spheres of interest. It agrees that this resettlement will be conducted by persons authorized by the German Government in accordance with responsible local authorities and that in the process the property rights of the resettled persons will not be infringed.

The German Government assumes the same obligation with respect to persons of Ukrainian or Belorussian ancestry residing within its spheres of interest.
 

Secret Supplementary Protocol on Changing the Soviet-German Agreement of 23 August Concerning the Spheres of Interest of Germany and the USSR, signed by V. M. Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, 28 September 1939

The undersigned plenipotentiaries state the concurrence of the German Government and the Government of the USSR in the following:

Point 1 of the secret supplementary protocol signed on 23 August 1939 is changed so that the territory of the Lithuanian state is included in the sphere of interest of the USSR because, on the other side, Lublin voivodeship and parts of Warsaw voivodeship are included in the sphere of interest of Germany (see map accompanying the Treaty on Friendship and the Border between the USSR and Germany, signed today). As soon as the Government of the USSR takes special measures on Lithuanian territory to protect its interests, the present German-Lithuanian border, with the objective of making it a natural and simple border, will be adjusted so that the Lithuanian territory that lies southwest of the line shown on the map goes to Germany.

It is further stated that economic agreements between Germany and Lithuania now in force must not be broken by the aforementioned measures by the Soviet Union.
 

Secret Supplementary Protocol on Preventing Polish Agitation on the Territory of the Other Treaty Signatory, signed by V. M. Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, 28 September 1939

The undersigned plenipotentiaries, in concluding the Soviet-German treaty on the border and friendship, have stated their concurrence in the following:

Neither side will permit on their territories any sort of Polish agitation affecting the territory of the other country. They will abort such agitation on their own territories and [Page 1799] will inform each other as to effective measures to accomplish this.
 

Secret Protocol of 10 January 1941, Clarifying the Agreements of August 1939

The Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR V. M. Molotov, with the authorization of the Government of the USSR on one side, and German Ambassador Count von der Schulenburg, with the authorization of the Government of Germany on the other side, have concurred on the following:

1. The government of Germany renounces its claims to the part of the territory of Lithuania indicated in the Secret Supplementary Protocol of September 28, 1939, and shown on the map that is attached to this Protocol.

2. The Government of the USSR agrees to compensate the Government of Germany for the territory indicated in point 1 of the present Protocol with a payment to Germany in the amount of 7,500,000 gold dollars, the equivalent of 31,500,000 German marks.
Payment of the sum of 31.5 million German marks will be made as follows: one-eighth, i.e., 3,937,500 German marks, in deliveries of nonferrous metals over a three-month period beginning from the day of signing of the present Protocol, and the remaining seven-eighths, i.e., 27,562,500 German marks, in gold through deductions from German payments of gold that the German side has to make before February 11, 1941, based on an exchange of letters between the People's Commissar of Foreign Trade of the USSR A. I. Mikoyan and the Chairman of the German Economic Delegation Mr. Schnurre that took place in conjunction with the signing of the "Agreement of January l0, 1941, on Mutual Deliveries of Commodities for the Second Treaty Period according to the Economic Agreement of February 11, 1940, between the USSR and Germany."

3. The present Protocol . . . comes into force immediately upon signing.


Further Reading
U.S. Department of State, Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939–1941: Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office, eds. Raymond James Sontag and James Stuart Beddie (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1948), 76–78, 105–107. .
 

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