Europe 1939: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
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.
16 Mar 1939 Slovakia accepts German protection▲
Slovakia accepts German protection
21 Mar 1939 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.
23-31 Mar 1939 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.
26 Mar 1939 Spanish Nationalists launch final offensive▲
Spanish Nationalists launch final offensive
1 Apr 1939 Franco declares end of Spanish Civil War▲
Franco declares end of Spanish Civil War
7 Apr 1939 Italy seizes Albania▲
Italy seizes Albania
23 Aug 1939 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.