Lead: On the 23rd of August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression treaty defining their mutual spheres of operation in Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, within 10 days the world was at war.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The pact, which obviously had been in preparation for months, was signed within days of being proposed by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. To say that it shocked the diplomatic world would be an understatement, but, in retrospect, it made perfect sense. From Hitler’s point of view, not having to worry about an eastern front war with his bitter ideological antagonist in the east meant that his armies would face only England and France should they finally call his hand in the game of bluster and bluff he had been playing. Germany had absorbed Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia in previous months and the Treaty meant easy pickings should the two giant signatories turn their attention to Poland.


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