Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

The Rise of Fascism

Europe 1939.0823

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

The Rise of Fascism in Italy, National Socialism in Germany, the Spanish Civil War, and the expansion of Nazi Germany (23 August 1939)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

In August 1939, Germany surprised the world by signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact with the Soviet Union. Formally, this was a non-aggression pact between two ideological enemies. However a secret clause agreed to the division of eastern Europe, in particular Poland.

Main Events

Slovakia accepts German protection

Lithuania cedes Memel to Germany

On 20 March 1939, Germany presented an ultimatum to Lithuania to retrocede the Memel/Klaipeda region to Germany or face invasion by the Wehrmacht. Lithuania complied, and cede the area to Germany on 22 March.

Slovak-Hungarian War

The Kingdom of Hungary invaded the Slovak Republic from Carpatho-Ukraine without any declaration of war. The attack was timed to preempt Nazi Germany's countersigning of its Treaty of Protection with Slovakia, which the Germans used as an excuse not to intervene. As a result, the Slovaks were forced to cede a strip of eastern Slovakia to Hungary.

Spanish Nationalists launch final offensive

Franco declares end of Spanish Civil War

Italy seizes Albania

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov, his Soviet counterpart, signed the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Moscow. The pact provided a guarantee that neither of the two powers would take up arms against the other, as well as secretly dividing eastern Europe between them.

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