Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting of the CIS heads of state, presented a number of documents concerning treaties between different countries and Germany before World War II, and read out some of them, including transcripts.
During his speech Putin questioned if the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the only document signed by a European country with fascist Germany. “It turns out it’s not like that at all. I’ll just list them with your permission. So, the declaration on the non-use of force between Germany and Poland… Signed in 1934. In fact, it is a non-aggression treaty,” said Putin.
He went on to name the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935. “The UK granted Hitler the opportunity to have its military fleet, which was forbidden to him in essence or kept to a minimum by the results of World War I. Then the Anglo-German declaration of Chamberlain and Hitler, signed on September 30th 1938, agreed by them on the initiative of Chamberlain,” said the President.
Путин зачитал коллегам рассекреченные документы о Второй Мировой войне: "Я хочу написать статью на этот счет" pic.twitter.com/sp3CcUdqwP— Кремлевский пул РИА (@Kremlinpool_RIA) December 20, 2019
Putin noted that this is not all. “French-German declaration. The declaration was signed on December 6th 1938 in Paris by the Foreign Ministers of France and Germany, Bonnet and Ribbentrop. Finally, a treaty between the Republic of Lithuania and the German Reich. The treaty was signed on March 22nd 1939 in Berlin… So that the Klaipeda region is once again reunited with the German Reich. And the non-aggression treaty between the German Reich and Latvia from June 7th 1939,” listed the Russian president.
“Thus, the treaty between the USSR and Germany was the last in a series of those that were signed by different European countries that were allegedly interested in preserving peace in Europe. At the same time, I would like to note that the USSR went to sign this document only after all possibilities were exhausted, all proposals of the USSR to create a unified security system were rejected … in Europe,” he said.
The president went on to cite excerpts from some archival documents. Thus he quoted the words of the Prime Minister of France: “Not only shouldn’t we rely on Polish support, but there is no confidence that Poland will not hit from the rear”.
Putin further points out that French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier posed a number of questions to the Polish Ambassador. “He asked him if the Poles would let Soviet troops pass. (Józef) Łukasiewicz responded negatively. Daladier asked if they would let Soviet airplanes pass. Łukasiewicz said the Poles would open fire at them. When Łukasiewicz answered negatively and asked if Poland would come to help if… Germany will declare war on France, the Polish representative said that it would not. Daladier replied that he saw no point in the Franco-Polish alliance,” said Putin.
The President of the Russian Federation noted that this indicates that “the USSR was ready to assist Czechoslovakia, which Germany was going to rob”. “But in the Treaty between the USSR and Czechoslovakia it was written that the USSR would do this only if France fulfilled its obligations to Czechoslovakia. France linked its assistance to Czechoslovakia with support from Poland. Poland refused,” he said.
Putin also provided information about what the Polish authorities did when Germany started claiming part of Czechoslovak territory. “They made a demand at the same time, as Germany, for its share of production… They demanded that they, too, be handed over a certain part of Czechoslovakia,” stated Putin.
He pointed out that Poles were ready to use force as well. “There is also a specific document from the archive. From the report … on the preparation of the offensive operation on the Cieszyn region and the training of troops. The Polish authorities prepared and sent fighters to the Czechoslovak territory to carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks, and actively prepared for the partition and occupation of Czechoslovakia,” said the Russian President.
He further cited excerpts from the transcript of the conversation between the Ambassador of Germany to Poland and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland. “In this document the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland expressed hope, I further quote, that ‘in the regions claimed by Poland, there will be no contradiction with German interests’. I.e., there is a division of Czechoslovak territory,” said Putin.
“France and Great Britain did not support Czechoslovakia, which forced it to tolerate this violence,” the President added.
Putin also read quotes from French Ambassador to Germany’s September 22nd report to French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet. The document states that “the proposed rejection of territories would turn into the dismemberment” of Czechoslovakia, and notes that “this is exactly what the Reich needs”.
“France and England, which tried to make concessions and, while satisfying German demands, wanted to save the existence of the Czech state, find themselves facing a united front of the three states seeking the partition of Czechoslovakia. The Reich leaders, who do not make it secret that their goal is to erase Czechoslovakia from the map of Europe, immediately took advantage of the Polish and Hungarian demarche,” said Putin.
He also drew attention to how the agreement between Hitler, Great Britain, and France in 1938 was assessed by major world politicians at the time. “It can be said that with few exceptions they reacted very positively and optimistically. And only Winston Churchill honestly assessed the situation and called a spade a spade,” he noted.
Putin also cited a quote from the speech of the People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs Maksim Litvinov in the League of Nations in September 1938. “To avoid war today and to get a sure and comprehensive war tomorrow, and in addition at the cost of the appetite of insatiable aggressors and the destruction of sovereign states, does not mean acting in the spirit of the pact of the League of Nations. I.e., the Soviet Union condemned this event,” stressed the President of the Russian Federation.
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