23 August 1939
23 August: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact concluded by the Third Reich and USSR
The world was surprised by that pact on non-aggression and truly the division of spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. Instead of a pact with France and Great Britain, the Kremlin concluded an accord with war-hungry Germany keen to make territorial gains. The agreement opened the way for Hitler to the assault on Poland on 1 September 1939, joined by the USSR 16 days later. Soon, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany yet failed to meet their ally’s commitments towards Poland.
Remember. August 23 - European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes
On 23 August, on the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes is observed. It was on that day in 1939 that an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union opened a road towards the tragedy of the second world war and its consequences: concentration camps, gulags, Holocaust, crematoria, labour camps, and many years of the cold war and further criminal regimes.