My topic today is about the Russians, the Soviets called the Great Patriotic War. And first I will want to talk about the diplomatic background leading up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. Then I want to talk about the military history of the war. And then the next topic will be what the war can tell us about the Soviet people's behavior at war time. And then finally I want to say something about inter-allied diplomacy. In the course of the 1920s, foreign policy was not uppermost in the mind of the Soviet leadership. To be sure some foreign policy issues emerge such as the relationship to the Chinese communists and their interest in world revolution. But their interest in world revolution was nothing more than a supporting communist movements abroad in carrying out subversive efforts. But the idea that the Soviet Union would conduct a state to state level of far reaching diplomatic history has not yet emerged. This would change with Hitlers coming to power. There was something an irony in the relationship of the Soviet Union to the Great Depression abroad. Because their original expectation was that the Great Depression would advance the cause of revolutionary socialist communist movements in Europe. In fact the opposite happened, namely it made possible Hitler to come to power. Note the relationship of the Soviet leadership to the emergence of the Nazis in Germany was that they were not particularly concerned. They regarded the Nazis as the right wing equivalent of what was happening in Russia in 1917 and took it for granted that this would be an interval and ultimately the socialist communist movement would emerge. They did not appreciate the danger and significance of Nazis coming to power. But having said that, we must recognize that there were no political forces in Germany or abroad which appreciated what Hitler would mean. That is the Socialist Soviet point of view, Soviet behavior was no worse than that of other European powers. Up to that point the communist leadership in Soviet Union regarded the socialists as their great competitor and consequently it seemed impossible for them to advocate that the socialist and communist movements in Germany would come together to resist Hitler. It took some time, a couple of years before Stalin and the surrounding advisors, foreign policy experts appreciated the Nazi danger. When Germany started to rearm the Soviet leadership appreciated that it might be something dangerous and very definitely changed their policy line. What came to be called as to popular front. Popular front meant bringing together various left-wing movements, liberal movements in Europe in resistance of Nazism and so the Soviet Communist Party encouraged, for example the French communists to support this policy of a Popular front, which was really a major change in Soviet thinking. Well in the course of the 1930s the goal of Soviet foreign policy was to avoid getting into a war. And this is something which we should keep in mind that Stalin may have been responsible for the death of as many people as Hitler, but of the Soviet foreign policy was not expansionist. There is something of an irony here because after all this was a movement which was internationalist believed in the coming of world socialism but in a state-to-state level the goal of Soviet foreign policy was to avoid danger. That is here is a man, Stalin, who carries out the most brutal policy against his own people, but there's no expansionist goals. This is of course a great contrast with Hitler where it is really an essential feature of Nazi thinking, the desire for war. Stalin was actually a very cautious man, which is again ironic that we are talking about Stalin as a cautious man who is responsible for the death of millions but he undertook projects which he believed he can carry through as opposed to Hitler who we cannot say the same about him. What was going on in the 1930s, the Soviet foreign policy makers became ever more anxious. The West let them know one event after another in European diplomatic history in 1930s was a message to the Soviets that they cannot trust the Western European powers meaning England and France as to be able as to want to resist the Nazis. The first event was that the French did nothing when Germans, the Nazis, contrary to Versailles, rearmed the Rhineland. That is they sent troops into the Rhineland when they were forbidden to do and the French did nothing. In the course of the Spanish Civil War, the British and the French carried out a policy of neutrality, which in effect allowed the Nazis, the Italians and the Germans, to openly support Franco and thereby creating yet another fascist power on the border of France. But the greatest event, which really is the turning point of diplomatic history of the 1930s, was the Czech Crisis of 1938. In as much as Chamberlain in particular, the French policy by that time followed the British lead, allowed the destruction of Czechoslovakia and from the Soviet point of view that meant that the goal of the French and the British in particular was to direct German aggression to the east. And they perceived this as something which inherently was also directed against them. And the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which occurred the year later, one could argue was a direct consequence of the allied behavior at this so-called mini conference when they allowed the destruction of Czechoslovakia. Now to be sure the Russians had a mutual defense agreement with the Czechs but that was made condition on French, in particular French support, and that of course was not to come because of the agreement and consequently the Russians were in no position to defend Czechoslovakia with which they had no common borders and the idea that they would proceed through Polish and Romania territory was simply out of the question. The question emerges. When did Stalin first think about the possibility of coming to an agreement with Hitler? The diplomatic efforts in the course of 1939 were intense. The possibility of the war was on everybody's mind. The Nazi re-armament and Nazi behavior made it very likely that after the destruction of Czechoslovakia, first taking the Sudeten land in 1938, then occupying the rest and establishing a so-called protectorate in Bohemia, made it very likely that the Nazis would not stop. And indeed, after, of course, in the establishment of the protector in Bohemia the British guarantied Polish borders in the early spring of 1939. It was clear that the next move of the Germans would be directed against the Polish state. This was a great great gift to Soviet policymakers because this meant that the only way, since there were no Soviet German borders, the only way the Germans could attack the Soviet Union is going through Poland and the British promised to come to war when Poland is attacked. And that really liberated Soviet policy makers. So, in the course of 1939 there were negotiations with the allies, the British and the French, we were not taken very seriously and feelers between the Russians and the Germans first appeared. The Soviet move was to remove Litvinov as foreign commissar, Litvinov was Jewish, Litvinov who was associated with the idea of a collective response to Nazi re-armament had to be removed and his place was taken by Molotov which was understood by the Germans that it will be possible to negotiate with the Soviets. The remarkable thing is that both the Germans and in particular the British and the French, very much underestimated the strength of the Red Army and that was because of the well known destruction of the officer corps of the Red Army. This would have great significance in the coming war because it made it more likely that the Germans would attack and it made it less likely that the British and the French would want to conclude an agreement with the Soviet Union since the Soviet fighting force was not to be taken very seriously. And so when Hitler was ready for his next move, the destruction of the Polish state, in order to avoid a two front war, because after all the British and the French promised to come to the aid of Poland, we considered their attitude to the Soviet Union, sent foreign minister Ribbentrop to Moscow and on August 23 they were in great hurry because the warplanes called for movement of German troops on September 1. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany concluded the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact which seemed to be on the surface as a mutual non-aggression pact. In reality it was a great deal more.