1939, Belarus, Communists, Deportees, eastern Europe, Estonia, EU, European Parliament, European Union, Finland, Hitler, Jerzy Buzek, Latvia, Lithuania, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Nazis, Poland, Romania, Russia, Soviet Union, Stalin, USSR, victims, WWII
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (Russia) signed a Treaty of Non-aggression on 23 August 1939, in which they agreed to divide up Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. The Soviet Union invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. The agreement was in place until Hitler launched an attack on the USSR in Eastern Poland on 22 June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov–Ribbentrop_Pact. The Nazis and Soviet Union wiped Poland from the map. This wasn’t the first time.
“Prior to 1918, Poland had been partitioned among its neighbours and wiped off the map of Europe for more than 120 years.” http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/334660,Poland-celebrates-Independence-Day
See more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_evolution_of_Poland
And, of course, for the 80th anniversary of their invasion of Poland, Russia starts military drills. This is either menacing or tasteless and tacky:
“Russia Starts Annual Military Exercises With Six Countries” September 16, 2019 05:49 GMT https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-military-exercises-/30166243.html
Excerpted from a 2009 speech by then President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek:
“70th Anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Brussels – 14/10/2009
Dear Madame Speaker Degutienė,
Dear Mr Speaker Daudze,
Dear Minister Åsenius,
Dear Vytautas Landsbergis,
It is my great privilege to be able to host you in the European Parliament today. I would like to especially thank the three Speakers for their initiative to hold this important conference in Brussels.
In August 1939 when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed to the great shock of the world’s democracies, Time Magazine called it the “Communazi Pact”, perhaps a better name for a deal between two totalitarian regimes who proceeded to divide Central and Eastern Europe between themselves.
Poland was divided between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Finland lost 10% of its territory and 12% of its population, Eastern and Northern Romania, as well as the three Baltic States were directly annexed by the Soviet Union.
Up to 700 000 Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians were deported, from a population of six million. In Poland, some 1,5 million people were deported, of these 760 000 died, many of them children. When we are looking at these figures, we can imagine the scale of the whole tragic story.
One in ten adult males was arrested; many were executed in a policy of decapitating the local elites.
In April, the European Parliament adopted its resolution on “European Conscience and Totalitarianism”, which called for the proclamation of August 23rd as a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, and called on the European public to commemorate these victims with dignity and impartiality.
We can never forget those victims for they are a reminder of where we come from, and show us how much we have achieved.
What happened seventy years ago, that large states talked among themselves about the fate of small nations, has been made impossible by the European Union.
We live in a different Europe today. Today, the essence of the European Union has to be solidarity. Solidarity in all of its forms – economic, social, but also political. More than ever we need to speak with one voice when we talk as the EU to the outside world….
When the new member states joined five years ago, we brought with us, our own history and our own stories, one of those tragic stories was the “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact”.
In Poland we used to say that World War II ended in 1989, as it did in Romania, but it ended in 1990 for the three Baltic States, and if we count the withdrawal of the last Soviet soldier then it was September 1992 in Poland, September 1993 in Lithuania and August 1994 in Estonia and Latvia.
Today we are a reunited and integrated continent because we have learnt the lessons of the Second World War, and the pact that allowed it to happen.
“On 14 July 2009, Buzek was elected President of the European Parliament with 555 votes of the 644 votes cast, the largest majority ever…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerzy_Buzek