Soviet-Polish Non-Aggression Pact
The Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Pact was an international treaty
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 of non-aggression
Non-aggression pact
A non-aggression pact is an international treaty between two or more states/countries agreeing to avoid war or armed conflict between them and resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations...

 signed in 1932 by representatives of Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and the USSR. The pact was unilaterally broken by the Soviet Union on September 17, 1939, during the Nazi and Soviet invasion of Poland.


After the Polish–Soviet War, the Polish authorities pursued a policy of "equal distance" between Germany and the Soviet Union. Most of Polish politicians, both leftist and rightist, believed that Poland should rely mostly on the crucial alliance with France
Franco-Polish Military Alliance
The Franco-Polish alliance was the military alliance between Poland and France that was active between 1921 and 1940.-Background:Already during the France-Habsburg rivalry that started in the 16th century, France had tried to find allies to the east of Austria, namely hoping to ally with Poland...

 dating back to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and should not support either Germany or the Soviet Union.

To normalize the bilateral contacts with the Soviet Union, talks were started in January 1926 to prepare a non-aggression treaty. The treaty was to fortify the Polish gains of the Peace of Riga
Peace of Riga
The Peace of Riga, also known as the Treaty of Riga; was signed in Riga on 18 March 1921, between Poland, Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine. The treaty ended the Polish-Soviet War....

 and was to be balanced by a similar pact signed with Germany. However, the talks with Germany were not started, and the Polish–Soviet talks were interrupted in June 1927, after Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 broke diplomatic relations with the USSR and Soviet plenipotentiary Pyotr Voykov was murdered in Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

. Instead, Poland applied to the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928. The Polish-Soviet negotiations were resumed in Moscow, in 1931. The pact was finally signed on July 25, 1932, effective for a three-year period. Ratifications were exchanged in Warsaw on December 23, 1932, and it went into effect on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on January 9, 1933. On May 5, 1934 it was extended to December 31, 1945 without amendment. Among other topics, both sides agreed to renounce violence in bilateral relations, to resolve their problems through negotiations and to forgo any armed conflict or alliances aimed at the other side.

On September 23, 1938, the Soviet Union sent a note to the Polish government informing it that the pact will be considered null and void in the case of Poland's participation in the occupation of Czechoslovakia However, this threat was not carried out, as the Soviet government stated on October 31, after Poland occupied Zaolzie
Zaolzie is the Polish name for an area now in the Czech Republic which was disputed between interwar Poland and Czechoslovakia. The name means "lands beyond the Olza River"; it is also called Śląsk zaolziański, meaning "trans-Olza Silesia". Equivalent terms in other languages include Zaolší in...

 area, that the pact remained in force and it was reaffirmed by the two powers on November 26, 1938 (see Finally the pact was broken by the Soviets on September 17, 1939, when the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 joined Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's forces in their invasion of Poland, in accordance with the secret protocols of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

The pact was considered at the time as a major success of the Polish diplomacy, much weakened by the toll war with Germany, renouncement of parts of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 and loosened links with France. It also reinforced the Polish negotiating position with Germany, which resulted in signing of the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact eighteen months later.

See also

  • Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact
  • Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance
    Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance
    The Franco–Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance was a bilateral pact between the two countries with the aim of containing Nazi Germany's aggression in 1935. It was pursued by Louis Barthou, who was the French Foreign Minister but he was assassinated before negotiations were finished...

  • German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact
  • Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact

External links

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