World War Ii: Behind Closed Doors

Season 1, Episode 1 of 2

This episode tells a history of secret allegiances with the Nazis that Stalin wanted to hide. Before he was allied with Churchill and Roosevelt, Stalin offered help to Hitler and the Nazis. In 1939, less than two weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War, the foreign minister of Nazi Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, visited the Soviet Union to negotiate an agreement with Stalin. The signing of a non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union surprised many - Soviet Communists and German Fascists alike. Though the two nations were careful to convey to the world that they had merely signed a pact, they were allies in all but name. After waging war on Poland, Ribbentrop and Stalin would meet again and it was in this meeting that Stalin made a statement that remained a secret until it was discovered in the Nineties. He promised to support the Germans and not to allow their defeat, which went well beyond anything that the Soviet Union later admitted had been said at these meetings. In a bid to keep his secret ally happy, Stalin allowed the Nazis a base in a remote part of the North of the Soviet Union and helped them with a clandestine Naval voyage to the Pacific. Only in June 1941, when reality hit, and the Soviet Union was betrayed by the Nazis, did Stalin turn his attention to a new ally, Winston Churchill.

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