Eighty years ago on the 25th of Aug 1939, the foreign ministers of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia signed a non-aggression pact that in its secret protocol agreed on a joint invasion of Poland, and an invasion of surrounding countries, including the Baltic States and Finland. The Pact, therefore amounted to the start of the Second World war, which militarily began a week later with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. In 1939, this pact astounded the world because it seemed to be an alliance of opposites, drawn from the extreme Right and extreme Left, respectively. Today, we can see that it was a natural union of the twin totalitarianisms, established in 1917 and 1933 respectively, against the democracies of Europe and the United States. The Danube Institute is bringing together five distinguished historians and commentators on the meaning and impact of this event.
Geza Jeszenszky, Hungary’s first democratic foreign minister after the change, will introduce the conference.
Andrew Roberts, the distinguished British historian and author of the acclaimed biography of Winston Churchill will deliver the keynote speech on the broad outlines of the event.
David Gress-Wright, the Danish historian and author of “From Plato to Nato”, will discuss the impact of Molotov - Ribbentrop on Western and Left wing politics.
Marek Matraszek, the prominent Polish commentator, will examine the consequences of the Pact for Poland.
Gyorgy Schopflin, formerly a Hungarian MEP and the distinguished political theorist, will analysis how the Pact determined the future of Central and Eastern Europe over the course of many years.
The video of our event is available here: