Nazi-Soviet Pact

1. The treaty was signed on August 23rd, 1939. Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1st shortly after. This pact was the final step the Nazi’s had to pursue in order to execute their expansionist agenda. Hitler knew if he had to fight a two front war, he would undoubtedly lose.

2. The treaty does not only take into consideration the emphasis on the non-violence/aggression aspects that were very important to avoiding a two front war, but considered the possibility of inadvertent war as a product of alternative foreign pacts.

3. The secret aspect of the treaty is the most significant aspect to understanding the motives behind its mutual signing. With a wink and a nod, the Russian’s signed this treaty with the secret hopes that they would regain territory in Poland and south east European nations. Germany would also gain Baltic lands and a portion of Europe as well.

Two questions

1. What could have been a potential result of World War II, had the Nazi’s not broken the pact by invading Russia in 1941?

2. Should Russia be held more liable for the invasion of Poland due to their acceptance of the Treaties obvious intentions?

It is interesting to think about how the two nations put aside their rivaling political ideologies in order to gain land. Would Russia rather have national socialism expand at the same time communism did than democracy?

Fleeing Franco

Fleeing Franco is a book written by Welsh historian Hywel Davies in 2011. It deals with the Welsh repatriation of Basque children during the Spanish Civil War. While the book is well researched, and presents an uplifting thesis about the largely uniform acceptance of the Spanish children in an already poverty-stricken nation, Davies does seem to present a slightly biased view on the matter. For example, he makes a point of vilifying the leading Welsh politicians, by stating their pro-Fascist attitudes, in favor of returning the children to Spain after the War, while stressing his opinion that those working with the children were following a humanitarian call rather than a political opportunity. However, Davies’ hero Maria Fernandez, an extraordinary warden at a childrens home, quotes that her political support of the Spanish Republic played a large role in her decision to join the cause (140). While this does not mean that she would have turned her back on the orphans had the Spanish government not been socialist, Davies’ lack of analysis and research into this statement raises questions about his own objectiveness.

Additionally, in my opinion Davies’ structure is not very good. He starts coherently with a description of the similarities of Wales and the Basque region, but seemingly continues neither thematically nor chronologically. He describes the good sentiment of the Welsh, a few examples of bad behavior by the Spanish children, then continues with the good sentiment of the Welsh. All the while his chronology floats between before and after the fall of Bilbao. While his thesis is fairly clear, I found his structure to be slightly confusing.