2-Minute History — Hitler & Stalin
Anne Nelson’s two-minute explainer on the relationship between Hitler and Stalin
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Lessons from Anne Nelson
While spending time with Shadow Network — Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right author Anne Nelson last week — celebrating the world premiere of the new film Bad Faith based on her book — I learned so much from her in our conversations driving through the desert.
Today is one of those days where past is prologue, and I thought it was important to share a 2-minute history lesson from the award-winning journalist and author on the relationship between Hitler and Stalin.
Hitler and Stalin —
After World War I, both Germany and the Soviet Union were considered pariahs by the Western world. The Western nations even waged a failed, limited war against the Bolsheviks, and they instituted extreme, punitive measures against Germany under the Versailles Treaty, stripping the country of some of its most productive territory and demanding impossibly high reparations that crippled the economy. They also prohibited Germany from rearming.
In 1922 Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Rapallo, in which Germany recognized the Soviet Union and opened economic relations. The German military secretly purchased weaponry from the Soviets, and engaged in joint training. Over the 1930s, both countries were engaged in internal transformations: Stalin, consolidating his absolute power and purging all possible opposition, Hitler doing the same. In August 1939 they signed a secret non-agression pact, right before they invaded Poland from the east and the west respectively.
Officially, this was a declaration that Hitler and Stalin "trusted" each other to abide by the pact. Many historians believe that neither acted in good faith. But Hitler was the first to break his word, with the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The Soviet forces were utterly unprepared, and the initial phase of the invasion was a massive success. Stalin was stunned and disbelieving — even though he had received a number of warnings from his own intelligence services and others.—Anne Nelson, Jan. 14, 2024
In reading the Nuremberg transcripts, that’s when I learned how Germany’s economy had been crippled by reparations, opening the door for an ‘only I can fix it’ strongman.
In Russia, it’s illegal to write about this piece of history between Hitler and Stalin.
Thankfully, we are not Russia.
I am glad I could bring you this two-minute history briefing.
Here are two more reports for Bette members that offer interesting history lessons:
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