Talk:Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

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MRP = Stalin's childish pleasure (Overy)[edit]

@Paul, it seems that the first half of the paragraph you quoted rather seals the primary purpose of MRP, that is, to divide Europe and reconstitute the Russian empire:

Above all Germany offered something the Soviet Union could only dream about in 1939: the possibility of rebuilding the old Tsarist empire in Europe. The fact that it came with German approval did not diminish the offer. The fact that it would bring a common German-Soviet border, instead of the network of small buffer states, was bearable. Stalin saw only profit. The photographs of the historic meeting with Ribbentrop show Stalin beaming with an unconcealed and childish pleasure.

It appears Overy fully supports my contention that Stalin's primary intent with regard to purpose and implementation of the pact was the restoration of imperial Russia's territory. I'm always gratified whenever I have the opportunity to purchase a source someone else quotes in opposition to my contentions and I find it ultimately agrees with my viewpoint, after all. VєсrumЬа TALK 03:23, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Exactly. When you buy a car and the dealer offers you a built in Bluetooth for free, something you could only dream about, then, indeed, you came to the dealership for bluetooth, not for the car...
Please, don't cite the source selectively, try to catch the main idea.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:38, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
(ec) @Paul, so it's also quite silly to contend that WWII came first, and that the division of Eastern Europe was executed--and therefore conceived--afterwards. That's what you're really contending above, put in plain English. And I think my point is quite persuasive on who (ummm, not me) is citing selectively and ignoring the main idea as your response was to reduce the discussion to issues of my scholarly incompetence. VєсrumЬа TALK 03:45, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
If that is silly, why reliable sources say that? Overy says: "What followed in Eastern Europe was a consequence of the pact only in an indirect sense. The secret protocol drawn up in August only delimited spheres of interest; it did not arrange partition or control. ". I already presented this quote, and it allows no ambiguous interpretation.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:32, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Paul, the creation of "spheres of influence" was one of the primary foreign policy goals of the USSR and the vehicle for the establishment of it was an alliance with Nazi Germany via the M-R pact. As Geoffrey Roberts writes in Ideology, calculation, and improvisation: spheres of influence and Soviet foreign policy 1939–1945 (Review of International Studies (1999), 25, 655–673):
"Politically and militarily, however, the war presented Moscow with a series of opportunities to achieve one of the main foreign goals of the Soviet state: the security of the socialist system. The chosen means to achieve this goal was the establishment of a sphere of influence in Eastern and Central Europe—a zone of Soviet strategic and political predominance unchallenged by any other great power. If there was one single underlying and persistent theme of Soviet foreign policy during the war it was to create a series of friendly regimes on the USSR’s western flank. Initially this goal was sought in the context of an alliance with Nazi Germany."
So it is clearly Roberts believes the M-R Pact represented an alliance, and we should make this view clear in the article. --Nug (talk) 06:11, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Your logic is totally obscure for me: does it mean that by adopting Monroe doctrine the US decided to occupy and annex Latin America? Or, let's take more recent example: when modern US declare some territory a "zone of their strategic interests", does it mean they have an intention to occupy this territory?
Regarding "alliance", yes, this word is being used by some authors, and Roberts also uses it occasionally. However, he never called it "military alliance". Moreover, it is not clear from the context if Roberts speaks about MRP or about some broader agreement that had never been signed...--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:29, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
PS I looked through the article, and it is clear that Roberts speaks about creation of friendly regimes in Soviet sphere of influence, which has no relation to territorial expansion. In any event, thank you for finding interesting source. Nice find. The most interesting piece of text is the second page (you probably limited yourself with reading of just the first page):
"But there were a number of different phases of Soviet spheres of influence policy, each with a distinctive character and motivation. In the first phase (1939–40) the policy was one of a limited spheres of influence agreement with Nazi Germany designed to meet immediate and urgent security needs (mainly, staying out of the war and limiting German eastern expansion). In the second phase (1940–41) there was a Soviet striving for the negotiation and construction of a security bloc in the Balkans as a counter to German hegemony in Europe following the fall of France in June 1940. In the third phase (1941–42) the emphasis was on reaffirming the right to territory gained as a result of the Nazi-Soviet pact as well as arriving at postwar security arrangements with Britain (and the United States). In the fourth phase (1943–44)—what might be called the Grand Alliance phase—the construction of a sphere of influence across Eastern Europe became bound up with, and in some respects subordinated to, a much larger project of Soviet-British-American global trilateralism. The fifth and final phase, at the war’s end, was characterised by the unilateral imposition of a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe."
Clearly, what is relevant to this concrete article is the first phase. Roberts describes Soviet goal during this phase as "staying out of the war and limiting German eastern expansion". In other words, the most important for the USSR was (i) neutrality (non-aggression) and (ii) preventing German expansion (in that order). Therefore, the source found by you (thank you again for that) serves as an additional, and very strong argument in favour of the viewpoint I am trying to add to the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:31, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Oddly you seemed to have overlooked "In the third phase (1941–42) the emphasis was on reaffirming the right to territory gained as a result of the Nazi-Soviet pact as well as arriving at postwar security arrangements with Britain (and the United States)." --Nug (talk) 08:02, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I didn't overlook it, but you seem to totally forget the main idea of this talk page section. Vecrumba said: "It appears Overy fully supports my contention that Stalin's primary intent with regard to purpose and implementation of the pact was the restoration of imperial Russia's territory." However, your source states that the primary purpose of Soviet sphere of interest policy was Soviet neutrality and prevention of German expansionism. What happened in 1941-42 had little relation to the subject of this article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:19, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
No, my source states that the primary purpose of Soviet sphere of interest policy was security of the Soviet system, if it was merely Soviet neutrality and prevention of German expansionism then why didn't Stalin restore the independence of these states after the threat of German expansionism was defeated in 1945? You appear to be cherry picking Overy, on one hand highlighting his comment "What followed in Eastern Europe was a consequence of the pact only in an indirect sense. The secret protocol drawn up in August only delimited spheres of interest; it did not arrange partition or control." yet seemingly dismissing his quote "Above all Germany offered something the Soviet Union could only dream about in 1939: the possibility of rebuilding the old Tsarist empire in Europe." where Overy is implying Stalin's intent with regard to purpose and implementation of the pact was the restoration of imperial Russia's territory. You appear to be doing the same with Roberts, despite him asserting that a major part of Soviet policy in 1941-1942 was the affirming of territorial gains as a result of the Nazi-Soviet pact, you state 1941-1942 has little to do with the Nazi-Soviet pact. --Nug (talk) 19:56, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I think, in each case the reasons were different. The territory of Eastern Poland was conquered by the Poles, and, taking into account that they had predominantly Ukrainian and Belorussian population it seemed quite logical for Stalin that these lands, as soon as they fallen under Soviet control, should remain within the USSR. Regarding Bessarabia, the USSR never recognized its annexation by Romania (and many states, including the US, didn't recognise it either). Regarding the Baltic states, I think the most plausible explanation is that, taking into account deep hostility of local population, the only way to keep them under strict control was to incorporate them into the USSR. These are just my hypotheses, however. In any event, as Roberts asserts, Soviet policy in late 1939 was reactive and opportunistic. They got an opportunity to expand a sphere of influence, and they decided to use it. When they decided that it was a good time to annex/occupy some territory, they decided to do that, and so on. No evidences exists that all those actions were made according to long existing plans.
Regarding "asserting that a major part of Soviet policy in 1941-1942 was the affirming of territorial gains as a result of the Nazi-Soviet pact", I beg you... The major part of Soviet policy in 1941-42 was survival of the USSR as a state, and creation of anti-Nazi alliance. Roberts is discussing "a major part of Soviet sphere of influence policy", which by no means was among top Soviet priorities.--20:50, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Re "Overy is implying Stalin's intent with regard to purpose and implementation of the pact was the restoration of imperial Russia's territory," please, read my response to Vecrumba: if you have been offered, above all, a free carpet if you buy a car, that doesn't necessarily mean your real intent was to obtain a carpet.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:07, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
If your real intention is not just to pick some quote from Overy/Roberts to support your POV, you should try to grasp the main author's idea. Overy writes that collective security was a genuine Soviet goal in mid-1930s;
"Under Litvinov’s influence the Soviet Foreign Commissariat remained rigidly committed to the letter of collective security in the struggle against aggression and fascism. Most foreign observers assumed that this was a front for a more devious and self-interested policy, but the revelations since the 1980s have not yet exposed it, if one ever existed. In the mid-1930s collective security was in Russia’s self-interest. "
In connection to that, the question is when the idea of collective security was abandoned, and when expansionism became a major Stalin's goal? Let's see. Overy thinks that the USSR abandoned collective security doctrine after Munich:
"The Czech crisis forced the Soviet Union to rethink its position in Europe. Stalin’s distrust of the Western powers intensified. The Soviet Union had been deliberately kept at arm’s length in the Czech negotiations, and, despite its status as one of the major powers, was not invited to the Munich conference. "
However, did Stalin switch to expansionism at that point? No.
"It is tempting to see this as the point where Stalin decided to try the German gambit once again, to win a peace from Hitler rather than fight a war allied with the West. The Soviet Union appeared to be in a strong position. Both sides, Hitler and the West, stood to gain by having Stalin on their side. Stalin stood to gain from whichever side could offer him immunity from war. The Nazi-Soviet Pact, concluded in August 1939, can, on this account, be regarded as the logical conclusion of the Munich crisis. " (emphasis is mine)
Moreover, Overy believed that Stalin even did not believe more or less significant expansion was possible:
"Far from being the arbiter of Europe, the Soviet Union saw itself as isolated and vulnerable; Soviet leaders did not believe that an agreement with Germany was possible, but they had no confidence that an agreement with Britain and France was worth very much. "
"The search for greater security occasioned by the failure of collective action over the Czech crisis was renewed in the spring of 1939. "
Never in his narrative did Overy mention expansionism as (one of) driving forces of Stalin's foreign policy. Security, security and security - what he was obsessed with in 1939. Obviously, a possibility to expand Soviet territory came as an additional prize, not as a primary goal Stalin was looking for. Only in mid August a possibility of territorial expansion was mentioned first - as one of German cards they laid on the table:
"There was a non-aggression pact; the possibility of a secret protocol on the territorial dismemberment of Eastern Europe; a top-level German mission to Moscow to sign an immediate agreement; generous trade settlements."
Again, an opportunity for expansion was just one of several cards laid by the Germans. It was one of possible benefits, but didn't play a decisive role. And we should reflect that in the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:53, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── We know of the failure of Anglo-French-Soviet negotiations in 1939. Peter Duncan writes in Soviet-British Relations since the 1970s:
"step by step the British and French negotiators conceded virtually every Soviet requirement in relation to the main treaty, preserving only a thin cover against a Soviet right of intervention to prevent 'indirect aggression' through any border states, a right which in effect would have authorised the Soviet Union to move forces into those states at its own discretion and regardless of the wishes of their Governments "
The negotiations failed because of the reluctance of Britain to accept this. Keith Neilson writes in Britain, Soviet Russia and the Collapse of the Versailles Order, 1919-1939:
"neither Seeds nor London was willing to accept Molotov's demands that 'guarantees of protection' could be forced on countries - particularly the Baltic states and Finland - that did not desire them"
Therefore the Soviets concluded the pact with Hitler instead because Hitler offered something Britain would not, a free hand in the Baltics.
So your car/carpet analogy needs to be modified. There were two car salesmen, the customer went to the first car salesman and demanded a free carpet, when that was refused the customer then bought a car from the second car salesman because he did not refuse a free carpet. The free carpet played a decisive role. --Nug (talk) 10:30, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
The source you use is (i) old (does not take into account fresh evidences), (ii) irrelevant (it is focused mostly on post-war British-Soviet relations). Instead of that source we should use the sources that are devoted to this particular issue. Michael Jabara Carley is one of the best authors, who got very positive (I would say laudatory, e.g. Nelson, 2001, Diplomacy and Statecraft) reviews. He writes:
"The study of Soviet archives, which are beginning to open, may prove or disprove this view, but for now Soviet deceitfulness-though Stalin was certainly proficient in it-appears no worse than that of France and Great Britain. The published Soviet documents, which have not been extensively used by historians, show a commissariat for foreign affairs (Narkomindel) anxious for agreement with the West and angered by continued Western rebuffs. Narkomindel officials appear on the whole to have been astute political observers and good at their job. However, other evidence to confirm Soviet earnestness comes not from farsighted Soviet diplomats, as opposed to their pudding-headedA nglo-Frenchc ounterpartsb, ut from Anglo-French diplomats,p oliticians, or soldiers, ignored by those who held ultimate power in London and Paris. The Western 'pragmatic' view-regarded as 'fatuous' by Chamberlain and his retinue-is sometimes reported and sometimes not in the historical literature. It may be found in British and French archival sources and Soviet published documents available now for some time. The papers of Paul-Emile Naggiar, the French ambassador in Moscow, have not been hitherto cited in this context, but are useful because they represent a virtually complete set of the Paris-Moscow cable traffic during the crucial months of 1939-important in view of the destruction of French archives during the war-and because Naggiar left many contemporary and post facto marginal comments critical of the Anglo-French conduct of negotiations with the Soviet government. His comments, as well as those of other French and British pragmatists are here reported, and corroborate the evidence of the Soviet published papers"
"The failure of Franco-Soviet staff talks in 1937 was a prelude to the Anglo-Franco-Soviet negotiations in 1939. The same questions were on the table: passage of the Red Army across Poland and Romania, fear of provoking Germany or driving Poland into the arms of Hitler, hostility from the Baltic states, among other factors"
"On 2 June Molotov countered with proposals for ironclad, well defined commitments and in effect returned to Litvinov's initiative of 17 April guaranteeing all the states between the Baltic and Black Seas.124 The Soviet counter-offer specified a list of countries to be guaranteed, including the Baltics, and, unlike the previous Anglo-French proposal, it did not condition assistance on the consent of affected third states. Moreover, Molotov's proposal, like Litvinov's, called for the conclusion of a military agreement 'within the shortest possible time' specifying in detail the commitments of the contracting parties"
"The key issues were over guarantees of the Baltic states, a definition of 'indirect aggression', and negotiations for a military convention tied to the political agreement. The British feared giving the Soviet government licence to threaten Baltic independence. The Soviet Union feared German aggression through the Baltic with or without consent. Meanwhile, the Baltic states looked on nervously. They preferred a year of Nazi occupation to a day of Soviet-which was what worried the Soviet government.' The Baltic ambassadors made regular inquiries at the Foreign Office; British ambassadors reported Baltic anxiety and anti-Soviet hostility. In early June Estonia and Latvia signed non-aggression pacts with Germany; German officers supervised the building of their fortifications." (Carley, End of long dishonest decade)
In other words, according to Carley, the Soviets were not more deceitful then their Western vis-a-vis, and their concern was security. Importantly, the Baltic states did their best to reinforce Soviet anxiety, and to make any agreement impossible. In any event, there is no proof that the USSR had expansionist intentions in 1939, according to Carley.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:26, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I cited two sources, the second titled Britain, Soviet Russia and the Collapse of the Versailles Order, 1919-1939 published in 2005, which is newer than your Carley source and focused specifically on pre-war British-Soviet relations, so your dismissal is groundless, though unsurprising. The Soviet Union held special interest in the Baltic states, let's quote the eminent scholar Kristina Spohr Readman in Germany and The Baltic Problem After the Cold War:
"With both Germany and Russia defeated at the end of the (First World) war, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania appeared for the first time as independent states on the map of Europe. The Baltic states were part of what can be called 'Zwischeneuropa' (the Europe in between: the Europe between the Soviet Union and Germany), which was considered a zone of buffer states, a cordon sanitaire between the Reich and the Soviet Union.
It was here that the two great powers were to seek territorial revisions, since both continued to consider the Baltic states, of major strategic importance for controlling the Baltic Sea, as an area of special interest. However, the eastern policies Hitler was to conduct must not be seen as a direct continuation of those of Weimar. The 1920s were a decade when the Weimar Republic sought to develop its economic - not military - influence in the newly independent Baltic states; and this also helped to sustain their independence in the early years. At the same time however, the apparent Soviet-German conciliation during the interwar period was to prove fatal to the Baltic states' existence. The Treaty of Rapallo in 1922 stood for the restrengthening of German and Soviet military might - pointing towards revisionism and potential conflict that was most likely to be detrimental for 'Zwischeneuropa' once Hitler had acceded to power. In this vein, indeed, the Hitler-Stalin Pact in 1939, supposed to prevent aggression between Nazi-Germany and Soviet Union, regulated both powers' expansionist aims. It included the settlement of their spheres of interest in the Baltic area through its secret complementary protocols of 23 August and 28 September 1939. These secret protocols authorised the absorption of the Baltic states into the Soviet empire and their disappearance from the European map. Stalin implemented the pact and occupied the Baltic states after the fall of France in June 1940."
In other words, according to Readman, both the Soviet Union and Germany had a revisionist and expansionist agenda to undo the consequences of the First World War. --Nug (talk) 11:08, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd say that's a fair and accurate summary focused on objectives and policy. This is where I think Overy by comparison falls short, he has to ignore the big picture at critical junctures to suit his vision of events and purported as purely after the fact reactions. That is, viewing MRP and the partition of Eastern Europe starting with Poland yields, after dealing with the common recounting of events, one account based on a policy-based view, another account based on an event-driven view. VєсrumЬа TALK 15:26, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Indeed Overy seems not to consider the wider historical context of pre-war German-Soviet relations and the consequences of WW1, which both Stalin and Hitler were participants in. --Nug (talk) 20:09, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, only the sources dealing with the Baltic states specifically consider wider aspect.
Speaking seriously, this article should not be based on the works devoted to the Baltic states. Instead, it should rely on the works of such authors as Overy, who is focused not only on Soviet-German relations, but on the relations between all major players (Germany, Britain, France, Poland, the USSR, etc). Among good sources are Carley (op. cit), Watson, Resis, Haslam, Gorodetsky, Roberts. In his 1993 article, Carley does not mention expansionist consideration at all among the reasons that lead to signing MRP:
"Is it any wonder that the Soviet leaders mistrusted the French and British governments? If the Anglo-French were ready to let Poland be crushed, would they have done more for the USSR? Volkogonov says that both sides lacked statesmen to overcome mutual distrusta nd be patient enough to work out an agreement. This is undoubtedly so; perhaps in another week the Poles might have been compelled to yield. But would it have made the French more willing to take the offensive? Thinking not, the Soviet government saw a no-win situation: fight now, or fight later. Stalin preferred to fight later. It was not a question of whether Stalin trusted Hitler more than the Anglo-French; Stalin trusted no one. It was a question of buying time, or of sauve qui peut. His decision was akin to that of the Anglo-French in 1938 not to go to war over Czechoslovakia. This was a tit-for-tat policy, encouraging the 'crocodile' to stalk other prey. Stalin's policy was perhapsu nderstandableb, ut it was not that of Volkogonov's statesman. In hindsight, Stalin gravely miscalculated; he should have been ready to fight at once because even a French army standing on the defensive would have been a far greater asset than no French army at all, as he would discover in June 1941 when the well-blooded, far more powerful Nazi armies invaded the USSR."
You can read through the whole section devoted to Stalin's motives, but you will not be able to find any serious discussion of his expansionism. That is how mainstream sources represent a story of MRP signing.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:46, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Ofcourse, let's dismiss sources that concern the Baltic states in an article related to the Baltics states because the conclusions do not support the POV you wish to promote, instead let's only select sources that support your argument however obliquely and call them mainstream. Here is another source you can dismiss; Anna Cienciala presents a paper title "The Nazi-Sobiet Pact of August 23, 1939: When Did Stalin Decide to Align with Hitler, and Was Poland the Culprit?" in the book Ideology, Politics, and Diplomacy in East Central Europe published by University Rochester Press, which convincingly demonstrates that most of the available evidence indicates Stalin always preferred a pact with Germany, and that he used negotiations with the Western powers to pressure Hitler into an agreement with the USSR, nor that Poland played any significant role in Stalin's decision to sign the non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. --Nug (talk) 11:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
No demagogy, please. I do not propose to dismiss it completely. However, your approach - to rely mostly on that type sources - is not acceptable. This article is not about your lovely Baltic states, it is about the USSR, Germany, and other major players, so the article should not and cannot be written from Baltic perspective. Your persistent refusal to cooperate does not allow me to work on this article. Of course, I plan to reflect the Baltic position, and the position of the "German school" (whose proponents believe Stalin's genuine desire was an alliance with Hitler). I mean such authors as Raack, Nekrich and some others. However, if you read Haslam's comparative discussion of Roberts' and Raack's views, you will see that, whereas he sees some problems with Roberts' conclusions, he sees even more problems with Raack. The truth is somewhere in the middle, closer to Roberts, and your position (to negate what Roberts, Overy, Gorodetsky, Watson, Carley and others say) is a pure POV pushing. Please, stop it and let's cooperate.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:06, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
You start with a request with "No demagogy, please" and end with your own demagogy claiming "your position (to negate what Roberts, Overy, Gorodetsky, Watson, Carley and others say) is a pure POV pushing". The discussion is about whether the actions in EE were a consequence of the pact, and you have only provided one source Overy that states that what "followed in Eastern Europe was a consequence of the pact only in an indirect sense", then cite other authors on a some what unrelated issue of whether the Soviets had expansionist intent. If a person A shoots person B, the consequence that person B was injured by A remains, regardless of whether A intended to shoot B or not. Unless you can provide more specific material directly related to EE I don't see how you can assert that the events in EE were not a consequence of the pact. --Nug (talk) 18:58, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Which subject, in your opinion, are we discussing in this section? (I got slightly confused...)--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:27, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Quote Paul Siebert: "This article is not about your lovely Baltic states, it is about the USSR, Germany, and other major players, so the article should not and cannot be written from Baltic perspective. Your persistent refusal to cooperate does not allow me to work on this article."

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had a profound effect on the whole of Northern, Eastern and Central Europe and countries like Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. A modest estimate is that we are talking about the odd 70 million people. By all means, none of them were probably a "major player" in the eyes of the almighty Paul Siebert, but still, they were human beings.

How on Earth can a POV-charceter like Paul Siebert ever be trusted with editing anything supposedly objective? His whole citation reeks with some kind of Kremlin-perspective on history. The profile of "Paul Siebert" claims that he has a PhD... The biased and unscientific approach begs the question - from where?

It is sad to see Wikipedia turn into some kind of propaganda-site under the tutorship of people like "Paul Siebert". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.124.176.108 (talk) 22:22, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

"What followed..." (Overy)[edit]

Once again we're not quoting the entire paragraph...

What followed in Eastern Europe was a consequence of the pact only in an indirect sense. The secret protocol drawn up in August only delimited spheres of interest; it did not arrange partition or control. The Soviet advance in Europe rode on the back of German military successes. Stalin waited until he was sure of his ground before moving. The rapid advance of German troops promised swift Polish defeat. Stalin did not want Germany to drive on to the Soviet border, disregarding the secret protocol entirely. On September 9, after much hesitation, Molotov agreed to German requests to invade Poland from the east. Little had been prepared, and not until September 17, shortly before the Polish surrender, did the Red Army begin rolling across the frontier. For public consumption Molotov announced that the Soviet invasion had come about because of the ‘internal bankruptcy of the Polish state’ and the dangers this posed to Russia’s blood brothers, the Ukrainians and Belorussians living under Polish rule, who had been ‘abandoned to their fate’

This is where Overy betrays his Stalin-as-victim Stalin-as-not-hatching-plans-from-the-start despite Stalin's aforementioned childish joy. On the one hand, Overy implies some apparent panic on the part of Stalin that Hitler would keep going. Yet, all along, Hitler was inviting Stalin to invade Poland from the east. These two accounts are incompatible. Indeed, records show that Molotov held off German requests for the USSR to invade from the very start until the Soviets could play out the "protection" scenario. That wasn't an off-the-cuff scenario hatched to cover the Soviet invasion at the time of invasion. Overy ignores documented factual sequences of event to pursue a POV which those events do not support. Overy is at his best when he sticks to the facts. When he branches into motivations and planning versus reacting, he's on shakier ground. VєсrumЬа TALK 02:32, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

But, speaking of facts, Overy does confirm Hitler and Stalin were "allies." VєсrumЬа TALK 02:36, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
And perhaps we can also use Overy for Hitler and Stalin "carving up the states of Eastern Europe" for what the MRP formalized. VєсrumЬа TALK 02:54, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
In other words, when some source supports your POV, you insist on sticking with this concrete source; when source directly contradicts to your POV, you suggest us to dismiss it and to use facts (i.e., primary evidences) to do synthesis.
How could you conclude he was speaking about any "alliance", when he clearly writes: "Stalin did not want Germany to drive on to the Soviet border, disregarding the secret protocol entirely"? If there was a danger that one of the "allies" would disregard the pact after three weeks of its signing, how can you speak about any alliance? Please, stop your POV pushing.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:28, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
You utterly and completely misrepresent my position. What I state is that Overy gets the facts right, but that his interpretation of those facts with regard to Stalin's forethought and planning (or lack thereof) is biased. There is no picking on my part, it is your position which represents the POV position here. For example, with regard to Overy, in an entire book on Russia's conduct in WWII, including its barbaric treatment of the territories it invaded prior to Germany invading the USSR, there is nothing on MRP freeing Stalin to deal with Japan--something you feel is more important, in content placement, than details on dividing ("carving" up per Overy, your latest pet source) Eastern Europe. On the other hand, Overy himself uses the word "ally" with regard to the German-Soviet relationship and goes into some detail. Please don't attack me for the word Overy uses. You would seem to prefer finding spot quotes to suit your POV than to digest a source in its entirety for its historical facts and perspective--two different things. You should digest a source in its entirety instead of accusing me of POV-interpreting passages of the book--when (IMO) it is you who are POV-intepreting those passages to suit your long-ago self-described pro-Soviet bias, supposedly (you maintained) to counter the evil anti-Stalinist nationalists. Attack others as biased and blame them for your needing to be a biased combatant. A classic Soviet/Russian propaganda victim-blaming tactic. For all I know, you're an Eskimo, I'm just commenting on your tactics since you seem to be free to discuss mine. Someone else's perception on the sidelines might be different. Oh well, so much for hoping 2013 would be an improvement over 2012, 2011, 2010,.... VєсrumЬа TALK 13:53, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
No. I did not misinterpret you. By saying "that Overy gets the facts right, but that his interpretation...is biased" means exactly what I said: that you are ready to accept the sources when they support your POV, but you claim the author is biased if his interpretation does not satisfy you. Remember, we a writing based on secondary sources, which are interpretations of some facts by reputable authors. We cannot take facts from and reject interpretations. What you say is a double violation of our policy: (i) you propose to take facts and draw conclusions based on that (OR violation); (ii) you reject conclusions and interpretations made by the mainstream author (V and NPOV violation). In other words, in one sentence you managed to make a claim that violated all three core content policies...--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:59, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Of course you misinterpreted me. You refuse to discuss the merits of sources or the viewpoints they espouse and accuse me of POV. You either refuse to, or fail to, grasp the difference between the relating of historical facts and the ascribing of motivations as you conflate the two in order in apparent pursuit of your POV. You label me a nationalist and accuse me of a WP policy violation trifecta rather than engage in any discussion other than warring spot quotes where only one can be right, and where only your interpretation is NPOV one. Me, WP:OR? That's rich. Look at your quoting a passage from Overy that Hitler and Stalin could not be allies and denouncing me, when Overy uses the word "ally" himself, only elsewhere in the source. Your reading of sources is more tasseography than summary. VєсrumЬа TALK 03:12, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean under I "refuse to discuss the merits of sources or the viewpoints they espouse"? Such discussion can be about just three things: (i) is the source mainstream, minority or fringe (per NPOV)? (ii) is the source reliable (per V)? (iii) does the source support the proposed edit (per NOR)? Instead, you started an odd discussion about Overy's bias and about his mistakes. That is not what you are allowed to do. Please, stop.
I didn't label you as nationalist, I wrote you are having some strong POV, which you are trying to defend by selective citing reliable sources and rejecting what other sources say. However, I don't remember I used a words "nationalism".--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:36, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Not today (on nationalist), but you've certainly told me I smack of nationalism.
The last I checked we're attempting to build quality content which fairly and accurately represents reliable sources. If we don't appreciate the perspective a source brings to a historical account then our debate is superficial and unproductive. You don't appear to wish to differentiate between facts and their interpretation and consequently (and to the detriment of the discussion here) conflate them in pursuing your editorial POV. You attack editors who recognize that difference and who believe that discussing and understanding that difference is essential to creating objective narrative.
I don't have a strong POV at all, there are a good many things about which I've changed my perspective in debating matters on WP and searching out the best sources in the process. You mistake me for someone who searches for spot quotes to support their POV. If you only look for what you believe, you'll never be better informed tomorrow than you were yesterday; and you won't be reinforcing your position, you'll be calcifying it. Turn the XOR off and engage in meaningful discussion, not arguing only one of us can be right. VєсrumЬа TALK 01:10, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Let's switch from discussion of your person (if you want, we can continue that on your talk page) to the article. I fully agree that we have to appreciate perspective etc. In connection to that, please explain me how the quote provided by you supports your POV? Overy clearly says that Stalin decided to invade Poland only after he realized that Hitler can move beyond the line delimited in the secret protocol ("Stalin did not want Germany to drive on to the Soviet border, disregarding the secret protocol entirely."). Overy does not question the fact that Stalin did have some expansionist plans (and I agree with him), however, Overy does not claim those plans were the primary reason for signing MRP. Overy clearly says that Stalin was willing to sign any treaty which can postpone a war with Germany, and he definitely didn't want a situation when Soviet Union had to fight Germany alone. Roberts, Carley and other authors cited by me fully support this view, and, if you are really have no strong POV, you should stop arguing, instead, try to propose a way to represent these views in the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:39, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Overy does not clearly that Stalin decided to invade Poland only after he realized that Hitler can move beyond the line delimited in the secret protocol. Overy does not go into much detail at all. Stalin had already decided to invade Poland but not at a time dictated by Hitler. The Soviets never expected that the Germans would advance so quickly. While Hitler hoped that Stalin would send in troops straight away to give the appearance that the two powers jointly invaded so as to dissuade Britain from invoking its defence pace with Poland, and the Germans were constantly sending telegrams to the Soviets to hurry up. On the other hand Stalin purposely delayed his advance to make it appear that the dismemberment of Poland was not a joint effort:
"The Wehrmacht rolled across Poland, approaching the secretly agreed-upon Soviet-German border along the Vistula River. Schulenburg kept telling Molotov to move in Soviet troops to claim Russia'a share of Poland. But Stalin was not yet ready to issue marching orders. He was aware that in the eyes of the civilized world his partnership with Hitler in the division of Poland would be seen as a criminal act and, as usual, was looking for ways to hide responsibility for it and to create the impression that he had nothing to do with the destruction of the Polish states."
--Nug (talk) 19:43, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Being that Overy underscores that it was the completion of the secret protocols which set Germany and the USSR and WWII in motion, there is no basis for contending that Overy states Stalin's decision to invade Poland was a complete afterthought following Hitler's invasion. These discussions are always good to expand awareness of scholarly materials but unsatisfactory in terms of accomplishing anything useful on content. VєсrumЬа TALK 03:59, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the second secret protocol which finalized the deal, Overy writes:
"In a second secret protocol Hitler now gave up his claim to Lithuania as part of the German sphere. It was this second pact that formally divided the spoils. Stalin now had a free hand to extend the fruits of his revolution to the peoples of Belorussia and the western Ukraine who had escaped Soviet rule following the Polish victory in 1920."
I do appreciate Overy's rather pointed sarcasm here. I trust Overy won't be described as contending that Stalin was bringing Soviet beneficence to the invaded territories. VєсrumЬа TALK 04:08, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
(Sorry for delayed response, I didn't notice your posts).
@Nug. Could you please point at the concrete Overy's statement (that describes pre Sept 1st events) where Overy said that Stalin decided to invade Poland? You correctly wrote that Hitler wanted to create "the appearance that the two powers jointly invaded" Poland, and these words precisely describe a situation: Hitler pretended the USSR was his ally, Stalin pretended the USSR was neutral. But the truth was somewhere in between: the USSR was neither an ally of Germany, nor it was fully neutral. Similarly, the pact did not stipulate occupation of Poland, but it created prerequisites for that. The pact allowed double interpretations, and that is why Ribbentrop's cables were so nervous.
The above quote from Overy does not say Ribbentrop referred to any obligations MRP imposed on the USSR. In contrast, Roberts analysed Ribbentrop cables in details, and he concludes that by no means was Ribbentrop certain the USSR is going to invade. Roberts clearly concludes the decision to invade Poland was made by Stalin after the MRP was signed.
And, finally, I provided many sources that discuss MRP's global effect without devoting significant attention to the division of EE. Therefore, the primary aspect of the MRP is Soviet neutrality in the European war, so I see no reason to mention this division in the first paragraph. We have a quite logical structure: (i) MRP was a non-aggression pact; (ii) it stipulated Soviet neutrality in European WWII; (iii) it secretly divided EE. Most sources discussing WWII in general put emphasis on (i) and (ii), and I see no reason for not doing that in this article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:16, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
PS. Even if my interpretation of Overy is incorrect, he definitely puts more emphasis on the non-aggression aspect of MRP (at least, when he discusses summer 1939 events he mentions no Soviet expansionist plans). Therefore, we have no reason to repeat the same info twice (in the first and third paragraphs). I removed it. Please, do not revert me until you provide several mainstream sources that explicitly say that the primary reason for signing MRP was Germano-Soviet decision to divide EE, not Hitler's (and Stalin's) desire to provide Soviet neutrality in the European war.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:25, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
Mentioning EE twice is ovekill, I agree; however, there is no source I've read that states Stalin's primary objective with Germany was Japan and not Eastern Europe. Japan comes second to the division of Eastern Europe. Your treatment of intent and impact where Stalin is concerned is utterly lopsided. VєсrumЬа TALK 19:36, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, regarding Japan I agree. I think it is necessary to rewrite this paragraph of the lede to focus more on Europe. I think Khalkhin Gol deserves just very brief mentioning.
Regarding Stalin's intents, maybe, my choice of sources is biased. Let's try, together, to identify sources on that subject, following the procedure outlined on the MKuCR talk page. I propose this search phrase. Do you see any problems with this search, and if you see any reasons why this search may be biased, what search phrase (or what modification of my search phrase) do you propose? --Paul Siebert (talk) 21:44, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps, akin to my suggestion elsewhere on another article, we might add sources based on their acknowledged worth, for example ones which other scholars cite. Of course, sources can be cited in agreement or disagreement. That said, I think this is a better place to start than dueling Google searches. Your proposition is bound to come up with more of a "non-aggression" slant than say, a search including the "Nazi-Soviet partition of Poland".
Vizulis' "The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939" is an oft-mentioned source dedicated to the M-R pact, yet it isn't used here at all. VєсrumЬа TALK 23:25, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Unfortunately, I was not talking about adding sources, what I propose is to identify core mainstream sources. In other words, we need to create a set of sources that more or less fully reflect mainstream view(s) on MRP story.
If I correctly understand you, you object against the word "non-aggression" and propose to include "Nazi-Soviet partition of Poland". I agree with the first part, because this search gives more results, so "non-aggression" lead to exclusion of some potentially valuable sources. However, I disagree with addition of the phrase "Nazi-Soviet partition of Poland", because it may lead to some bias (for example, the sources discussing "Soviet-German partition ..." are excluded). To use this phrase alone would be even more unacceptable: it gives just 28 results, and we have no guaranty that that set is not biased. Therefore, if you don't mind, let's start with this.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:20, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
PS. Regarding your edit summary, I strongly disagree: this topic is controversial, and we know that at least two conflicting viewpoints exist on that account (MRP). Therefore, we need at least three sources (two extreme views and one "centrist" one), although I think about ten sources would be better. --Paul Siebert (talk) 00:28, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Vizulis et al.[edit]

(ec) Continuing from above... @Paul Siebert...

It seems you miss my point by a wide margin.

Your continued preoccupation with Google searches is most unfortunate.

Your view of relative importance of parts of MRP favors the public articles of non-aggression whereas more careful studies place foremost emphasis on the secret protocol, that is, what was really going on under the covers: that which remained secret until the end of the war, and which the Soviet Union subsequently mercilessly denounced as fake, viz. their post-war propaganda tome "Falsifiers of History."

I did not propose an alternate search (which appears to match double the sources yours does), apologies if I was unclear on that. I still have to note that your postulation in response that searching for the partition of Poland is unacceptably biased (did I misunderstand?) is, itself, a touchstone of your bias. After all, the secret protocol devotes an entire Article to the partition of Poland, along what boundary, the extinguishing of the sovereign Polish state to be determined as developments dictate:

Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San. The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments. In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.

If you're not talking about adding sources, then what is the point of a search? When you're willing and/or ready to offer an opinion on my proposal that the Vizulis source be utilized in future refinements to the article, let me know your thoughts. VєсrumЬа TALK 00:54, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Peters, it seems to me that it was you who missed my point: what you propose is a way to an impasse. You say "Your view of relative importance of parts of MRP favors the public articles of non-aggression whereas more careful studies place foremost emphasis on the secret protocol...", however, why did you decide that the public articles make a stress on non-aggression, and the studies that are focused on territorial changes are "more careful"? Which criteria did you use to discriminate "more focused" studies from "public oriented" ones?
Your procedure of selection of sources (and their separation onto "more focused" and "less focused") is not transparent for me. In contrast, I propose absolutely transparent procedure. Actually, that is how scientists and scholars work: I myself is a scientist in my real life, and I, as well as my colleagues use gscholar widely to identify mainstream viewpoint on some subject. Therefore, my proposal to use a search engine and some mutually acceptable search phrase is neutral and transparent. In contrast, I have absolutely no guaranty that the source provided by you was not found simply by accident, during random rambling on the Internet. Again, you like one source, I like another, and we can argue ad nauseum whose source is good and whose is bad.
Instead, I propose to forget everything you know about MRP, and jointly perform a search for the most cited scholarly sources about MRP. You write that idea is bad, but I see absolutely no reason why. Because Vizulis is not among the results? But who said this source is good and indispensable? You? What facts this your statement is based on?
Again, if you really want to write a neutral content, let's follow some neutral procedure.--01:22, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Re your "If you're not talking about adding sources, then what is the point of a search?", I thought the reason was clear. We need to put an end to the endless arguments about weight: by selecting about 20 well cited modern scholarly sources about MRP we will approximately know what majority views on this subject are. That will allow us to speak more objectively, and then we can decide is additional sources are needed. If Vizulis will be among the search results, good for you. My only requirement is that the search phrase must be devoid of intrinsic bias. Thus, the phrase """The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939" world war II" is not neutral, because it contains a title of Vizulis' book, and it is quite logical that he goes first. Similarly, the phrase ""Stalin's wars" molotov-ribbentrop pact" is also biased, because it contains a part of the title of Roberts' book. The search phrase should be reasonable. If you want, we can do independent search, however, I need to know your search phrase, and I'll tell you mine one.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Paul, I am increasingly dismayed by your application of your scientific training to the area of history. To your questions and points:
  1. impasse - Really, I don't see what the issue is, I have asked you for your thoughts on a source (Vizulis) on MRP cited in other works, and which is dedicated to the MRP and circumstances surrounding; I'm considering buying it as a source to contribute to the article, but it's $100+ with shipping; the only impasse here is your unwillingness to investigate a source and offer an opinion; the source is currently listed in the article as further reading but not used for specific content.
  2. public versus secret - Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could be; the MRP had two parts, the pact proper and the secret protocol; focusing on the pact proper as communicating its primary purpose (non-aggression, Soviet neutrality,...) and contentions this made things easy for Stalin regarding Japan (as a primary motivator) utterly discount the main purpose (we know it is the main purpose because it had to be hidden in a secret protocol) of laying out the landscape of Eastern Europe divided between two powers. It is the organization of the MRP (the need for a secret protocol) itself which tells us which parts were most important (contained the "prize") to its signatories.
  3. google scholar, random and not random, transparent and not transparent - I suggest Vizulis because he is cited in other works. Really, what is random is your approach, as it includes no measures of relative quality or even applicability of results returned, that is, you rely on a Google search algorithm which is proprietary and non-transparent; furthermore, being a scientist, you would know that "transparency" of process in and of itself is not a barometer of either accuracy or precision as it does not inform us of the validity of the process itself.
  4. anointing 20 sources - The more you seek to limit sources, the more you limit the potential to take this article to the next level; this focuses discussion on which to include or not include and away from what do sources say and what is said about them.
You remind me of a co-worker who decided, in the end, that he could not purchase a particular car. It was a Ford Fairlane, in very good condition and ostensibly low mileage. He thought, "Surely, the odometer has been tampered with. How can I check?" He contacted Ford's engineering division for measures of material wear which correlated to total vehicle mileage. He went back to the dealer, had them put it up on a lift, take wheels off, etc., and took a series of measurements with his micrometer. He determined that the measurements indicated the odometer had been tampered with. That he had a transparent, reproducible process didn't matter since he proceeded from the premise of guilty (tampered with) until proven innocent and did not consider alternate explanations for his readings, that is, he was guilty of the same "XOR" logic you apply to history: given "A", the result can only be "B XOR C" (B and C mutually exclusive). My coworker was quite proud in relating his experience of applying his technical XOR reasoning and uncovering the (he thought) fraud. I didn't have the heart to tell him that he had not considered all the variables.
Similarly, you proceed from a premise, i.e., POV. Once you do so, from a deductive standpoint, "blind selection" (you suggest elsewhere in an area of contention) and "transparency" can only obfuscate the original (potentially flawed) premise. I do not suggest intent, only the result. You simply cannot treat history the way you treat mathematics or science. There is no equation to uncover or to apply. I've done some studying on the topic of writing about history—it's a non-linear process to say the least.
I should probably mention I was studying topics in advanced physics and a teaching assistant to our Dean of Engineering when you were likely not even a zygote. The sooner you abandon the notion that your credentials and methods transfer to writing about history, the happier and more productive an editor you will be.
Let me know when you're ready to discuss Vizulis. VєсrumЬа TALK 05:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, if you don't see what the issue is, I can explain it using Vizulis as an example. This work is rather old (1990). You write that you selected Vizulis because he is cited in other works, however that is not an argument: most history booka are cited by others. What in the Vizulis' citation list is so outstanding that makes you think this old source is so valuable? let's see. Vizulis was cited 21 times. The analysis of citations shows that it was cited mostly in a context of post-war and post-USSR events, and mostly in a context ob the Baltic states, so this source is hardly regarded by specialists as a good, or important source about the MRP itself. In contrast, if you look at the citation list of the book published by Roberts in 2007, you will see that it is being cited by other historians who study WWII and preceding events. However, that my conclusion can be biased or amateurish. To test that, let's see what the scholars say. I found four reviews on the Roberts' "Stalin's wars" in jstor: one highly positive (Warner), one negative (Miner), and two (Haslam and Stone) contain balanced criticism: they note both strengths and weaknesses of this book. In contrast, I found just one review on Vizulis' book, which says:
"This is neither a detailed nor a disinterested analysis of history. Since the book covers more than fifty years, the treatment is necessarily sketchy and selective. For example, there is more discussion of the Soviet refusal to admit the existence of the secret protocols than on the protocols themselves. Furthermore, there are numerous signs of hasty composition. Even so, some of the material and arguments have already been dated by the speed of events in 1989 and 1990.(...)Despite its problem, this book introduces the reader to many aspects of Baltic history and politics and provides a bibliography for further investigation. Vizulis uses materials from Baltic sources not available in most libraries, and he offers a passionate presentation of the Baltic case for independence."(Ewing)
In other words, we can safely conclude that Vizulis' book is (i) devoted to the Baltic (local) issues; (ii) is generally ignored by the scholars writing about WWII history (interestingly, Haslam published his review on some other book in the same issue of Russian review; that is a good indication that Haslam was disinterested in reviewing of Vizulis); (iii) is superficial and biased (see the underlined sentence); (iv) outdated. Therefore, there is no obvious reasons to chose Vizulis. In connection to that, I have a following question: what is your choice of Vizulis was dictated by? Why this source is better then, e.g., Roberts?
In other words, we have a situation when you propose a source you chosen based on unknown criteria, and which is (as you believe) better than the source proposed by me. Let's suppose I'll disagree. Doesn't it mean we are in an impasse? If you see no problem with that situation, please, explain, which criteria should be used to objectively resolve this issue. You seem to carefully avoid answering this question.
You blame me in proceeding from a premise of someone's POV. That is not true. I assume that every good faith user realises their limitations, and tries to be as neutral as possible. The above analysis shows an example of how that could be achieved: by looking at the citations, at the type of works that cite the source we are analysing, and by looking at the reviews by peers (or the lack thereof). My transparent and unbiased (I hope) analysis shows that Roberts should be used (although with cautions) in this article, and Vizulis should not be used at all (except probably for some specific aspects related to the Baltic states only). I honestly described my procedure, and you can see by yourself how did I find Roberts for the first time, by typing an absolutely neutral phrase (Roberts is a second in this list, just after old Mastny). In other words, I just did what every neutral user would do to start to work on this issue. Again, I didn't do anything that could be considered as a deliberate screening of sources to find one that support my POV; in contrast, my POV was formed after I read what I was able to find using gscholar and jstor.
In contrast, I see absolutely no reasonable way to explain how could you find the sources you use. How did you find Vizulis? Which criteria did you use? Did you subject this source to the check of its reliability, mainstreamness and relevance to the MRP (in its global aspect)? I don't know. Peters, I made a good faith effort to understand what procedure did you use to find Vizulis, and I failed. Only after that I came to a conclusion that that source was found by you in a deliberate attempt to support your POV. In other words, POV is not my premise, that is a conclusion I made when all other explanations didn't work.
Nevertheless, if you provide reasonable explanations, I am ready to concede I was wrong. the problem is that you provide no articulated explanations, and your persistent refusal to resort to some neutral procedure to resolve this problem just reinforces my suspicions.
Regarding your other arguments, they are not satisfactory. You write that the secret protocol was more important because it was secret, however, that does not work. following your logic, the main purpose of Anglo-Polish agreement was not the guarantees to Poland, but British non-involvement in a possible war against the USSR (a secret protocol specifically stipulated that British guarantees work only in a case of German attack). Obviously, that makes no sense. Regarding prize, that is a big question if moderate territorial gains is a bigger price that the gain of time, which, as Stalin (possibly) believed was tantamount to survival of his power as whole (and probably even his own physical survival).
Regarding "The more you seek to limit sources, the more you limit the potential to take this article to the next level", you misinterpreted my position. I do not propose to limit ourselves with just 20 sources. I propose to select a limited amount of core sources to determine which views are mainstream (after that we can include all sources, but we will be able to properly weight them). In contrast, what you propose is to random inclusion of sources of unknown mainstrweamness without any attempt to adequately represent what the most serious sources say. Your attempt to add Vizulis (an outdated, poor, sketchy and hastily composed source written from the local Baltic perspective, which was essentially ignored by serious WWII historians) is a good demonstration of intrinsic flaws of your approach.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:21, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
I owe you a response once I can track down a copy of Warner's review. VєсrumЬа TALK 00:40, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Warner's opening sentence is:
"This hugely impressive volume is a culmination of many years of research and publications by Professor Roberts...".
Two criticisms are:
A minor
"Although Roberts wisely avoids 'the blame game', many readers will see in his book an attempt to place the greater share of responsibility for the Cold War on the shoulders of the West. This, however, would be mistaken. Excellent historian that he is, Roberts impartially provides the evidence which challenges such an interpretation"
A major
"My only major criticism of Roberts's approach is that, despite its excellent coverage of Soviet policy towards Japan and the Korean War, it is too Eurocentric."
Stone's concluding paragraph:
"Roberts's book does have real strengths. He is certainly correct that Stalin's management of the Soviet war effort improved steadily from 1941 to 1945, though few serious historians have denied that. Roberts's relentless refusal to think teleologically, to see the Cold War as preordained, means that his discussion of the dynamics of the Grand Alliance is excellent in tracing its twists and turns, peaks and valleys, in particular in his discussion of Stalin's striking evocations of Pan-Slav notions of Slavic unity for post-war Europe. Those insights would have emerged better in a book devoid of special pleading for Stalin's statesmanship."
Haslam:
"The reader will find much of interest in this volume, but Roberts’s account cannot be relied upon to tell anything like the entire story. For that, readers will have to look elsewhere."
Miner's conclusion:
"In interviews, Roberts claims that the chief distinction between apologists for Hitler and defenders of Stalin is that the former are forced to distort the historical record, whereas he claims to have delivered a portrait "warts and all," validated by Soviet records. He has done nothing of the sort."
Legvold:
"This is not Cold War revisionist history that whitewashes the pathologies and extreme cruelty of Stalin's leadership. On the contrary. Still, in the end, it glosses over the question of whether, if largely on Stalin's terms, peace-that is, no Cold War-really had much chance."
That is all I found (5 reviews). You can e-mail Martin, he has an access to jstor. I could e-mail it to you too, however, after a notorious attempt of some members of some e-mail list to establish my identity (I am not sure if that is true but I was told that there was a discussion of how this info could be used against me), I would prefer not to send pdf files with a stamp of my university.
The problem, however, is not with Roberts. You again avoid answering my direct question: whereas I can easily explain how did I find the sources I use (by looking in gscholar and jstor, and by selecting first top relevant sources from the list), it is still unclear how do you select your sources. You can easily reproduce my search procedure, and, following the rules I used, you can find the same sources I did. That is a clear demonstration that I do not select sources to support my POV. In contrast, you provided no evidences that you didn't cherry pick your sources to support some POV. Please, explain the selection procedure you use.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:52, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

I'll just ignore the ludicrous accusation that I'm cherry picking when I ask for an opinion on a source I don't have[edit]

@Paul Siebert, and here I was going to thank you for taking the time to find a review and to replying on Vizulis. I take your response as indicating it could be useful for filling any historical gaps specific to the Baltic states but is somewhat parochial and dated when it comes to the larger MRP picture. There is no secret agenda on my part. There is no plot to introduce sources selected via some sinister plot. Nor should you turn around and ask me about my surely sinister intents. (If the shoe were on the other foot, you'd threaten me with administrative actions for a personal attack.) Quite frankly, you waste time and energy arguing with a label you have hung on me.

Now, did it also not feel better to simply discuss Roberts dispassionately rather than picking some content point, insisting his is the alpha et omega scholarly opinion on it, after all his is informed by Russian archives, and then our arguing endlessly over it? The next step is not to prove the google-superiority of Roberts but to rather discuss his (we'll stick to Stalin's Wars per the reviews you found) merits as a source. You've tracked down some reviews, which you (before your latest attack) characterized as follows:

  • "one highly positive (Warner),
  • one negative (Miner),
  • and two (Haslam and Stone) contain balanced criticism: they note both strengths and weaknesses of this book"

Let's have a look-see, then.

  • Geoffrey Warner (appears to be a regular Chatham House contributor, I haven't found any university affiliation): In this and other reviews, Warner is an effusive fan of Roberts' work. First and penultimate paragraphs (last paragraph simply states Warner wanted more on Asia):

    "This hugely impressive book is the culmination of many years of research and publication by Professor Roberts on Soviet foreign policy during the Stalin era. The difficulties inherent in such research are in a different league from those encountered by scholars working on, say, British and American foreign policy during the same period. Although some archive material is available-and Professor Roberts has made good use of it-his article in the March 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the British International History Group points out its limitations and he understandably relies more upon the ever growing output of published documents from both Russia and other former communist states. This can occasionally lead to problems of authenticity which do not normally confront scholars working on the policies of western governments. Thus, some historians have cited an alleged speech by Stalin to the Politburo on 23 August 1939 as an indication of his policy at the time of the signature of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, while Professor Roberts argues that it is a forgery (p. 35). He concedes, indeed, that 'there is still limited evidence of Stalin's most private thoughts and calculations' (p. 8), which makes his own achievement all the more remarkable. He has given us a book which skilfully integrates the study of Soviet foreign policy, military strategy and domestic politics, which addresses the relationship between ideology and realpolitik and which demonstrates a mastery of the main historiographical debates, not least inside Russia itself.

    ". . .

    "Although Roberts wisely avoids 'the blame game', many readers will see in his book an attempt to place the greater share of responsibility for the Cold War on the shoulders of the West. This, however, would be mistaken. Excellent historian that he is, Roberts impartially provides the evidence which challenges such an interpretation. Thus, he shows that Stalin regarded Britain and the United States, as well as Germany and Japan, as the enemy as early as 1945 (pp. 236, 302), that the Soviet internal campaign against 'the modern bourgeois culture of the West' began long before the Marshall Plan (p. 333) and that 'the process of transforming people's democracy into full-blown communist regimes on the Soviet model was far advanced in several countries' by 1947 (p. 319). He has simply, and justifiably, sought to restore some balance to the argument."
    Unlike the rest of the reviews, which follow, Warner applies no litmus test of facts versus conclusions. Indeed, the only time he does, he notes that Roberts labels Stalin's "alleged" by "some historians" Politburo speech of August 23, 1939 to be a forgery. He lauds Roberts for not believing in the inevitability of the Cold War, followed by the entire remainder of the paragraph devoted to quoting Roberts sans any further evaluation or insight. A reviewer examines a work, not parrots it. I'm forced to conclude that Warner's review is more a study in the congruence of Warner's and Roberts' belief systems than a critical examination of Roberts' work. Given Roberts' fringe views on Stalin's speech at the time of the MRP—more than just ignoring, declaring it an outright forgery—even Warner's cloying ode, more Cliff Notes® than scholarly review, confirms Roberts is unsuitable as a source for the MRP article.
  • Steven Merritt Miner (Ohio University): "It is the chief virtue of this account that Roberts mines this new documentation [new documents from Soviet archives], most of which is inaccessible to the non-Russian reader; the chief defect is his jarringly selective reading of this evidence... Roberts claims that the chief distinction between apologists for Hitler and defenders of Stalin is that the former are forced to distort the historical record, whereas he claims to have delivered a portrait "warts and all." validated by Soviet records. He has done nothing of the sort.
  • Jonathan Haslam (Cambridge University): Haslam goes through a host of examples, faulting Roberts for "insinuation" and "bold supposition" with "no documentary evidence, Russian or otherwise," to support his conclusions and for "dramatic assertions, but none supported by fact . . . . The reader will find much of interest in this volume, but Roberts’s account cannot be relied upon to tell anything like the entire story."
  • David Stone (Kansas State University): Stone spends the review trashing Roberts' tactics, methods, and conclusions regarding Stalin, opening the review by damning Roberts' portrayals of Stalin as unsupported by historical fact, then moving on: "In other cases, Roberts makes claims and assertions which are difficult to reconcile with the historical record," using the Winter War and Korean War as examples. Only in the last paragraph—not a summary, it is clear where Stone stands on Roberts' work—does Stone throw Roberts a bone purely out of civility for his work on Stalin with respect to a vision of post-war Pan-Slav Eastern Europe.

So we have, in fact, is one unsubstantiated endorsement and three substantiated pannings of Roberts' opus.

And what have I said regarding Roberts? That he's good for indicating bits and pieces in "newly revealed" archives but that his subsequent interpretation of history intentionally ignores the inconvenient in pursuit of his by his own free admission fringe POV. My impression is that you sincerely believe Roberts merits inclusion, even representing the new mainstream informed by Russian archives. No. The overwhelming scholarly consensus is that Roberts all too eagerly and all too frequently sacrifices historical facts at the altar of his opinion.

And now back to source identification methodology.

There is no Google-random-keyword-directed-search-method to apply to history sources which generates any useful ranked collection of potential references. Google can only inform us of the existence of a source or reviews of a source. You appear to maintain that judicious use of keywords, frequency of appearances associated with keywords, et al. can be used to anticipate the value of a source or to downselect to a subject-matter-appropriate (by implication, better than random) collection, viz. your request for a neutral search term counter proposal. No. Using a search result for any inference of applicability or value of a source without a full and complete review of that source is the purest form of WP:SYNTHESIS.

Your proposed transparency of process is but a Rube Goldbergesque machination at best. If pursuing numerical analyses applied to permutations of Google search term results is your preferred methodology to generate a list of sources for the editorial community to review, feel free by all means. But inviting editors to debate search terms a priori and to attach value or applicability to said search terms, methods, and results is an utterly inappropriate undertaking. The only bar for further consideration of a source for this article, regardless of how any editor brings it to the table, is that that MRP can't just be an ancillary mention in the source. The benefit of my approach is that it doesn't matter who or how a source is suggested, and it eliminates debating editors' motivations in bringing a source to the table. Really, who cares? If someone suggests a source which discusses the MRP in suitable depth, that is, more than the typical obligatory half page to a page or two, we review it and come to a collective decision for whether or not to use it for the article. That is how transparency and consensus-building work.

Summing up, then, for Vizulis and Roberts:

  1. Vizulis = parochial and somewhat dated; but useful for Baltic historical detail regarding and surrounding MRP (I would note that I am taking Paul Siebert's quotation of the review he mentions at face value as being representative of the whole, I don't have access to that review at the moment)
  2. Roberts = obviously and repeatedly sacrifices historical facts in pursuit of his narrative; interesting for archival factoids (their existence) but not useful for his subsequent narrative (Roberts' interpretation and ensuing supposition of history)

My interest has been piqued enough that I might read Roberts' Stalin's Wars if the e-book is cheap enough. I do have a particular fondness for the historical fiction genre (the best I ever read was actually about Russia). Other than that, next source? VєсrumЬа TALK 02:00, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your thoughtful responce. My responce will consist on two parts, first part about the search procedure, and the second about the two sources. I propose not to split a discussion, so let's finish with the procedure issue first.
Unfortunately, I still cannot understand from your post why and how did you decide to select Vizulis as a source. Whereas I explained to you how did I find Roberts, you refuse to explain how did you find Vizulis. Since I provided logical arguments in support of my selection procedure, you simply declare my procedure is flawed, and your (undisclosed) procedure is good. Since you do not disclose your procedure of source selection, I conclude this procedure either is not possible to describe (i.e., you found this source by random rambling on the Internet), or you do not want to describe it (i.e. it was a chrry-picking). I see no other explanation, therefore, I have no other choice but to conclude you are cherry picking.
Under "unbiased and transparent" I means the procedure that allows two persons who have no previous knowledge about some issue to identify essentially similar sources on the subject. Let me demonstrate it using this example. Before we started let me assure you that your opinion on gscholar is totally wrong. Not only it is a good search engine, its ability to rank scientific and scholarly publications according to relevance and prominence has been demonstrated many times. See, e.g. Harzing & van der Wal (2008); Maslov & Redner (The Journal of Neuroscience, October 29, 2008 • 28(44):11103–11105) demonstrated that ranking not only by the bare number of citations, but giving higher weight to publications that are cited by important papers (which is the essence of the Google PageRank algorithm) allows easy identification of "a large number of scientific “gems”: modestly cited articles that contain groundbreaking results". In other words, I have reliable sources that confirm that the list arranged according PageRank (Google) algorithm contain more relevant and good sources on the top. And what is your responce on this my argument?! Just bare "No, that is unacceptable"?!
Going back to the selection issue, let's imagine two new users, TrespassersW and Piglet, joined our discussion. Being good faith and well educated persons, they decided to familiarize themselves with the field. TrespassersW chose the following search phrase, and he selected the following sources from the list (I am doing that in a real time, and I myself do not know what the experiment will lead to):
  1. . RL Schweller - International Studies Quarterly, 1993 - JSTOR. Good source, cited 56 times, mostly by peer-reviewed sources.
  2. . Ignore. Judging by the title, seems to be irrelevant.
  3. . Bellamy (2008) Good book, cited 34 times, seems to be well accepted (judging by the reviews found in jstor)
  4. . Resis (1981) Seems to be somewhat outdated. Will throw away if newer sources on "spheres of influence" will be found.
  5. . G Ginsburgs - American Journal of International Law, 1958. Old. However, since the article deals with legal issues, it is hardly outdated.
  6. . G Roberts - Europe‐Asia Studies, 1992 - Taylor & Francis. Cited 18 times, mostly by scholars. Not bad. I'll take it.
  7. . TJ Uldricks - Slavic Review, 1999. "The Icebreaker Controversy: Did Stalin Plan to Attack Hitler?" Hardly relevant. Skip.
  8. . HH Herwig - The Journal of Strategic Studies, 1999. Judging by the title, mostly about Hitler's lebensraum. Skip.
  9. . G Roberts' "Stalin's Wars". TresspassersW sees no formal reasons to skip it.
Well, now it is Piglet's turn. He decided to rely mostly on Jstor, and uses gscholar just to check the number of citations. He uses the following keywords: molotov ribbentrop chamberlain hitler pact war poland estonia france.

(Actually, the Piglet's list looks different, because he is working from his university's IP, so the lists contains just 15 items (no books), and starts with Doerr (#2 in the above list)). Piglet chooses:

  1. Doerr ("'Frigid but Unprovocative': British Policy towards the USSR from the Nazi-Soviet Pact to the Winter War, 1939")
  2. Watson ("Molotov's Apprenticeship in Foreign Policy: The Triple Alliance Negotiations in 1939")
  3. Resis ("The Fall of Litvinov: Harbinger of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact")
  4. Skips Kuikel ("Poland and British parliament"...)
  5. Herman ("Soviet Peace Efforts on the Eve of World War Two: A Review of the Soviet Documents") conditionally keep (outdated)
  6. (Skip next three items, one book review and two very old articles)
  7. Weinberg 1989 - probably keep.
  8. Carley ("End of the 'Low, Dishonest Decade': Failure of the Anglo-Franco-Soviet Alliance in 1939")
Just to check, Piglet put the same search phrase into the gscholar search and find the following. He throws away the two first results and takes:
  1. H Reichman - Radical History Review, 1991 (Btw, it contains an extended review on three books, one of them authored by Roberts, I haven't read it yes, but it seems to be an interesting reading)
  2. (skipped fer other old or irrelevant results)
  3. Herman again. Probably keep (if relevant).
  4. (skip Uldrick's criticism of Taylor, few reviews, and similar results documents)
  5. Roberts again! Keep.
  6. (Skip old sources)
  7. Weinberg again. Keep.
  8. (again, Piglet skips non-peer-reviewed publications, encyclopedias)
  9. Resis.
  10. Skip Pinkus ("The war aims and strategies of Adolf Hitler" doesn't look totally relevant)
  11. Dullin (2012) A fresh source, but of uncertain reliability. Need to look closer.
  12. Dyukov. Looks interesting.
  13. Watson
  14. Doerr.
As you can see, Piglet's and TrespassersW's sets are not dramatically different. Will there two users come to roughly the same conclusion on the subject upon having read the selected documents? Although the lengths of both lists are insufficient (I usually do not limit myself with searching through just two first pages), I am pretty certain they will. Will this conclusion reflect mainstream views? I think, not, but it will be close enough.
You mentioned you worked as a TA, so you have some relation to exact science. Therefore, you should have known what does "control" means. TresspassersW and Piglet are good control for each other. If you want, you can try to do similar experiment by yourself.
Peters, the advantage of this procedure is obvious: instead of discussing the tastes of some particular user ("why did you choose the source X and ignored the source Y") we discuss his search phrase: if the phrase has obvious flaws, that can be easily seen by all parties.
To conclude: if one uses a neutral and transparent search procedure, it is highly likely he will identify the sources that reflect scholarly consensus on some subject, and it is very easy to see if this procedure is neutral and transparent.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:29, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the second part (Roberts vs Vizulis), let's return to that later.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:29, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
I see you are active. Judging by the absence of your responce I conclude you recognised I was right in this case. Let's consider this part of the discussion closed, and start the second part. I'll present my arguments soon.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:46, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I've been too busy to write the thoughtful and lengthy response other editors here deserve so we don't simply appear to be squabbling. If we can agree that I disagree with you unless I specifically state otherwise, that will avoid misunderstandings such as yours here in the future.
The short version is that you treat Google results as an end, as something more than merely defining one of many possible starting point in further researching a topic and developing an informed understanding. That you even postulate that some congruence between Google results lists has additional scholarly value is at the basis of your total misconception (your methodology as described by you to others here) of how scholarship works. "Dyukov. Looks interesting.", for example, screams as to your approach failing to differentiate between scholarly dross and gold. VєсrumЬа TALK 20:49, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
You write "misconception", which implies I have at least some concept. In contrast, I was unable to understand your concept to select sources. Could you please describe it briefly? Otherwise, I'll have to come to a conclusion that you have no concept at all.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:57, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Alas, Paul, I explained quite clearly that anything Google returns is only something that might be worth looking at. You wish for it to have more significance. You wish for something mechanical and reproducible. Neither of those qualities of execution impart any academic rigor or quality to results so obtained.
My concept is quite clear, keep looking until you find sources considered to be seminal in their field. Then read those sources cover to cover, each one more than once, before even considering yourself informed enough to contribute to a topic area. VєсrumЬа TALK 01:16, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
How can we be sure the source is "seminal"? Which criteria should it meet, in your opinion? More concretely, if you say the source A is seminal, and I say the source B is seminal, how can we come into agreement in a situation when A and B express quite different opinia, and put accents quite differently?--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:24, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Re Dyukov, please, keep in mind that I wrote that on behalf of Piglet, not myself. In other words, I consider a person without previous knowledge; remember, this is an experiment aimed to test an unbiased procedure to find sources. You should have noticed that I never use Dyukov, although I am perfectly aware of who he is. However, if his writings are published by reputable publisher, pass peer-reviewing procedure and are widely cited, I see no reason for not using it. Let's check is that is the case. If Dyukov is a crap, then this particular Piglet's search is most likely just a result of poor keywords ("molotov ribbentrop chamberlain hitler pact war poland estonia france" is really not the most optimal). If poor keywords are chosen you always can say: "Look, Piglet, what the weird keywords did you take? I don't think your sources are good. Please, make more reasonable search, and then we can return to this dispute."
--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:38, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
It would be sources we both agree we respect as reliable stating that another source is "seminal", even using that word. For example, search for "seminal" and "Magocsi" (obviously not how I identified Magocsi originally, simply to demonstrate the use of "seminal" with regard to an author).
Regarding Dyukov, that he appears at all gives evidence to the unreliability as to sources which may be reliable. Google does not differentiate sources which state X versus sources which state X with reliability. VєсrumЬа TALK 19:32, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Odd talk[edit]

Talk about a non-involvement in a European war is very odd. The whole passage is odd. Stalin could easily invade the Far East and Poland at the same time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.123.215.180 (talk) 17:36, 8 November 2013 (UTC)