A grim anniversary
My friend Duncan Weldon reminds us that today is the anniversary of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23 1939. If there was ever a diplomatic decision that inverted prior expectations this was it. It set the stage for the destruction of Poland and freed Germany to make its high-risk blow in the West in May 1940.
Even if you are familiar with the event and with the logics at work, there is something staggering about this image, of Lenin looking down, as Stalin watches Molotov putting his pen to the document.
A few years ago, Duncan made this excellent radio show with interviews with the great expert on the Soviet economy Mark Harrison, the Oxford international history Patricia Clavin and yours truly.
It’s really a good episode. Click here for the podcast.
In fact, the entire series is excellent.
And if you enjoy Duncan as a wonderfully intelligent and well-informed broadcaster, check out his equally excellent new economic history of Britain.
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