The Aftermath of the Hitler – Stalin Pact

The Aftermath of the Hitler – Stalin Pact
On 1 September 1939, and on 17 September, Germany and the USSR respectively, attacked Poland and totally subjugated it. In the autumn of 1939, the USSR pressured Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to sign mutual defence agreements thus allowing for the establishment of Soviet military bases in their territories, thereby effectively delimiting the sovereignty of these countries and reducing them to the status of protectorates of the  USSR.

Finland rejected similar demands with the result that the Soviet Army attacked it on 30 November 1939. The "Winter Campaign" continued until March 1940. Finland lost some of its territory, but retained its independence. In April 1940, Germany commenced acts of military aggression in Western Europe as well as in Scandinavia, occupying several countries. In June 1940, while the essential attention of Western Europe was focused on the German invasion of France, the USSR took advantage of the moment and occupied the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and subsequently staged "socialistic" revolutions.

The mutual assistance pact between the two aggressors lasted for 22 months – nearly a third of the duration of World War II – ending on 22 June 1941 withtheGerman invasion of the occupied Western front of the USSR.  The USSR denied the existence of any secret protocol for 50 years.