by Yaroslav RENKAS, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Yevgeny Multykh, Candidate of Historical Sciences
For years and years historians have been pondering over the Second World War and its outcome, the rout of Nazi Germany in 1945. Many new works are off the press now, what with the 60th anniversary of Great Victory. For one, a monumental two-volume edition of War and Society, 1941 - 1945 (Nauka Publishers, Moscow, 2004) giving a wide panorama of hostilities waged by the armed forces of the USSR against the German Wehrmacht up until its total defeat, and of our people's mass heroism in the stern test of war. A team of authors under Acad. G. Sevostyanov have promulgated an array of hitherto unknown documents shedding light on the war chronicle the way it was, without any ideological blinkers or bias. This study illumines the true source of our people's strength and staunchness in defending their Fatherland.
The initial part of the book dealing with the period just before the outbreak of the war offers a new view of many events.
The author of the first chapter (A. Orlov, "On the Eve: Calculations and Miscalculations") cites documents known to few, if any, and takes a fresh look at the two Soviet-German treaties of 1939. The first one, the Non-Aggression Treaty known as the "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact", was signed on August 23, 1939. It contained the Secret Additional Protocol which delineated "the spheres of interest" both of Germany and of the U.S.S.R. The German side recognized the Soviet interest in the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), in Eastern Poland, in Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina; Germany declared its "complete political desinteressement in the territories" of Southeastern Europe. The other treaty signed at the end of September 1939 ("On Friendship and Borders") delimited the Soviet-German border roughly along the Curzon Line. Meanwhile the German Reich overran a larger part of Poland, while the Soviet Union occup ... Read more