Search our Website

Russian Invasion of Poland

« Previous | Index | Next »

Soviet WWII poster: Our army is an army that liberates workers, signed J. Stalin. Date 1939, WWII

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Russo-German Treaty of Non-Aggression

With the signing of the Treaty of Non-Aggression, the Nazis were able to secure a neutral position from the Soviets as they planned a Polish invasion. The two countries agreed to neutrality if the other was attacked by a third country; the pact also included a secret arrangement to divide Northern and Eastern Europe between Germany and Russia.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded western Poland. Sixteen days later, the Soviets invaded eastern Poland, claiming that the Belarusians and Ukrainians of eastern Poland needed protection from a German attack.

The Soviets also invaded and claimed the eastern part of Finland as well as the states of   Bessarabia (part of Moldova and the Ukraine), Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

In the areas conquered by the Soviet Union, a policy of Sovietization was instituted which forced the people of Poland to adopt Soviet cultural patterns and government institutions. This policy included forced resettlement, confiscation of private property, nationalization of industry, imprisonment in labor camps, terror, and even murder. Propaganda was used to speed up the process of Sovietization. “... during the Soviet occupation, between 1.2 and 1.7 million Polish citizens (resident civilians, refugees from western and central Poland, civilian prisoners, Red Army recruits, and prisoners of war) were deported to the Soviet Union where many of the died,” Poland's Holocaust, Tadeusz Piotrowski. (p13).

After six months of secret planning, Germany invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) June 1941, ending the non-aggression pact between the two countries and diplomatic relations were initiated between Russia and Poland. The exiled government of Poland (in London), asked Stalin for the return of the Polish soldiers who had surrendered during the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland. It was later discovered that thousands of them had been executed.

Poster reads: “Our army is an army that liberates workers, J. Stalin”. It shows a Polish peasant kissing a soldier of the “Army of Liberation” implying the Soviets invaded Poland to liberate and protect the people.

*Disclaimer: World War II posters, insignias and documents of Nazi Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, are displayed on this website as historical documents of the time period. They are not intended to promote or condone any political, racial, military, religious, or social views and/or actions. This website does not condone genecide.