Russia Releases Never Before Seen Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, But Are They Authentic?
One of the most historic documents leading up to World War II was recently released by Russia.
In a historic move, Russia released the original copy of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which was a pre-WWII agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany. This supposed “non-aggression” agreement was signed by the two superpowers on August 23, 1939. It was released by the historical Russian group HistoryFoundation.ru on Tuesday.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed on August 23, 1939, and was an agreement that both parties (Russia and Germany) would not to attack each other and instead remain neutral if one side became embroiled in military operations involving third parties. Furthermore, it included the sharing of information pertaining to each side’s direct interests.
Nevertheless, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact dissolved, along with all other agreements, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. It is speculated by many historians that the agreement actually made World War II a reality and aided in hastening its start by ending a collective security understanding within Europe. The agreement included a supplementary protocol which called for including Finland and Eastern Poland into the sphere of Soviet interests, ultimately to be absorbed into the U.S.S.R. Lithuania and additional regions in Poland were to fall under German interests. Germany attacked Poland on September 1st, 1939. The Russian army entered Poland from the east on September 17, 1939, just sixteen days after Germany invaded from the west.
Information from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was previously posted in the 1990s, but actual visual copies of the pact only became available the previous week. Questions remain about whether the documents are true originals given that German classified protocols only exist on microfilm in the “Von Schleicher collection.” The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as published by Germany is viewable here.
If you compare the copies on the German site to the Russian site you will notice the page boundaries do not match up with the Russian site’s publication of the pact. The Russian pact documents can be found here http://historyfoundation.ru/2019/05/31/pakt/.
Carefully comparing the published documents in Germany and the ones released by Russia shows discrepancies. Hence the question of whether the documents were doctored by Germans or Soviets or doctored together in a joint decision. Russia posted the documents claiming they are reproductions of the originals. The German documentation seems to be Xeroxed used copies.
In 1948 copies of the pact were published by the U.S. State Department based on German originals, but the Soviet Union continued to deny that such a pact ever existed.
Nevertheless, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact became absolute, as did all other previous agreements between the two nations, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.