The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact included a secret agreement to divide Europe between Germany and USSR. I'm wondering if this secret agreement included timetables for those takeovers, or if they were allowed at any time they wanted.

Hitler invaded West Poland 1939 Sep 01. Stalin invaded East Poland 1939 Sep 17, then Finland 1939 Nov 30, then Lithuania 1940 Jun 15 followed by the remaining Baltics.

Was this timetable agreed upon? Was the general order of invasion agreed upon? Or was it just left up to whenever they wanted?

  • No, there was none.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 10:06
  • 2
    @Anixx Thanks but if you have a source and make it an answer, i'll accept it.
    – DrZ214
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 10:07

3 Answers 3


No, there were no dates formally agreed upon.

Some historians (ref. Victor Suvorov's "Icebreaker") speculate that there is indirect evidence suggesting that along with the "Communazi Pact", the specific date of joint German/Russian invasion on 1 September was agreed, but Suvorov did not provide with any documental evidence.

Moreover, it is known that German invasion to Poland was postponed at least once. German plan was to start the invasion on 26 August, but a day before, on 25 August, Britain entered into a defense pact with Poland, forcing Hitler to postpone the invasion of Poland to 1 September.

The full text of the secret protocol is short enough to be quoted here.

Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.

Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San.

The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments.

In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.

Article III. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinteredness in these areas.

Article IV. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret.

Moscow, August 23, 1939.

For the Government of the German Reich v. Ribbentrop

Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R. V. Molotov

(English translation from here)


My understanding of the Russian response to the 3rd Reich's "November Campaign" as I think it is known in German History was a shock at the speed with which Germany took "their half" (including Warsaw.)

most historians believe this caused the Red Army to dramatically move up the time table for their "part."

Whether or not the notable and bloodless success of the Red Army emboldened them to behave more aggressively towards the West is an interesting point of inquiry.

The premeditated invasion of Finland was the end of the League of Nations as neither a feckless Britain or weak France came to the defense of what spelled the demise of the only organization left where the Peace of Europe could be discussed openly and harmoniously.

To my knowledge nothing has appeared in the archives after the collapse of the USSR that corroborates an "accelerated time table thesis" as it relates to the Red Army towards the West at it related towards Germany which had a far from bloodless campaign against Poland in 1939 albeit a very brief one.

Stalin did want the entire Polish people exterminated in the Russian sector however and not just stop at the Katyn Massacre...so clearly Stalin saw a threat coming from the West again.


There were a number of supplementary proposals to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, that went beyond the original subjects, Poland, the Baltic states, and Finland. The timetable for this group was "catch as catch can." But the second group of proposals for the division of Europe (and more) did not contain timetables for two reasons:

1) They included proposals to divide the British Empire's holdings in the Middle East and India and beyond. The idea was that the rest of the division of the spoils would take place after these areas were seized from Britain, but there was no timetable for this seizure, hence no timetable for the whole.

2) Germany and the Soviet Union could not agree on the division of southeast Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East, even subject to 1), above. Both countries wanted the Balkans and the Straits of Turkey, and were also interested in Persia. Because they could not agree on the underlying division of these areas, they could not agree on a timetable. In fact, these disagreements led to war in 1941.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.