Talk:Estonia in World War II

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collaboration[edit]

There seems to be an extremely low profile given to the issue of collaboration. This is strange considering it is by far the most notorious and controversial aspect of Estonia's experience in World War II. For this reason, from my point of view, collaboration should at the very least be mentioned in the introduction and given a full section of its own.Nwe 17:12, 10 July 2007 (UTC)


Thank you for your opinion, Nwe. Definitely, any properly sourced and referenced facts about collaboration with the occupying powers could be more detailedly listed somewhere. But in general, since the scope of this article is an enormous already, I'd suggest starting and expanding the spreads, main articles and addressing the facts, case by case with appropriate refs more in detail over there.
Regarding the article here, I agree that during the soviet occupations there is only one name and one political party mentioned at the moment that were working closely with the Soviet occupying powers. That there could be lists in much more detail like the 7 native Estonians that have been accused of crimes against humanity and are listed one by one under the German occupation in the article The Estonian Self-Administration during the German occupation could have a section here perhaps.
But since this article is a bit over loaded already, the last but not least, the article has survived the listing on the front page of WP and therefore should be in a good condition overall. More detailed collaboration facts with the occupying powers would be much better off if those had closer coverage on the spreads. There is Occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany already listed as the main article and Occupation of Estonia by USSR coming out any time soon so I would narrow the current article down instead as the threads are getting expanded.
Please note though that listing anybody by name as a collaborator without a properly referenced court order is not a fact but an opinion. Further on, it would be illegal and therefore can't be used in WP , specially if it's about living persons. I'm sure you're aware of it:
Thanks--Termer 06:45, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Historical Soviet Sources[edit]

Please stop edit warring and engage in a discussion instead. Since its a fact that the authenticity and actual dates of those images is questioned, I have requested comments from the Estonian Film Archives to sort out the political comments added to the images. Please also familiarize yourself with the history according to the Soviet Sources and stop pushing alternative viewpoints like de jure recognition under it. Even the current Russian government doesn't admit to it, therefore other than the historical soviet viewpoints that are clearly sourced shouldn't be used under this section. So, meanwhile I'm going to revert the article to a previous clean state and thereafter, please feel free to discuss the issues here and go on with editing the section after a consensus is met. Thanks!--Termer 15:56, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Soviet sources on modern history are far from reliable, and they fail several parts of 'reliable' definition at WP:RS. That said, they certainly can be used to describe Soviet POV, as long as it is clearly noted in the article for what it is.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  19:45, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Piotrus. Soviet history sources are not reliable, but they can stay in the article - but their unreliability should be pointed out. As for the pictures - without proper explanation, they represent POV view - that Estonia voluntarily joined Soviet Union. My comment to the first picture was sourced and correct, to the second, it should be added that participating in those marches was not voluntary. Sander Säde 20:29, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks User:Petri_Krohn for making it clear that you're not interested in a discussion for finding a consensus but are just after your own agenda. Calling lets say Katyn massacre during the Soviet invasion of Poland "very little hostilities" explained it all. Since you have shown a pattern of similar disruptive edits driven by a political agenda also elsewhere, I'm calling for all editors ASAP to revert any edits done my User:Petri_Krohn here until he/she comes to respect a policy that's called Consensus.--Termer 04:43, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi Sander Säde. I personally don't share your concerns regarding the “POV that Estonia voluntarily joined the Soviet Union”. Since such a POV can only be common to rapists that could claim the victim has asked for it. It's very common that it happens in rape cases in general so such a POV shouldn't surprise anybody. It would be against common sense though to suggest that a sovereign country that had fought a war against it's former master just about 20 years ago, would ask for getting rid of its gained sovereignty in benefit to the historical oppressor. Therefore please lets leave any bystanders an ability to make the judgments if needed. I think those staged images from the era under the discussion can be tolerated in case none of the political comments are used as an addition. --Termer 08:33, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I do like the pictures, although I do not understand why Petri didn't pick one from June meetings - where the double line of Soviet seamen around the meeting is visible... or, come to think of it, I do understand why Petri didn't pick one of these, very well.
Problem is that Wikipedia must be written for "Joe Average", if you will, and therefore that section needs to mention how flawed the Soviet sources are when it comes to history. Otherwise that section describes how happy Estonians were to join Soviet Union, like it was taught at schools during occupation. None of those meetings were voluntary... heh, I remember when my older sisters were forced to go to Victory Day parade - or their grade for behavior would get lowered and they would have to repeat the class - and that was early eighties. Sander Säde 09:09, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

OK, got the pic up there with the facts, including the way it's listed in the archives.--Termer 10:56, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Edit warring[edit]

OK, we have an edit warrior here who doesn't like the pictography in the article that has gone through the front page of WP. Please anybody feel free to revert his/her edit since he/she has chosen to just go ahead explaining the actions and opinions with WP:IDONTLIKEIT. I'm going to restore "the pictography" every second day until a consensus has been met on this. Thanks--Termer 21:08, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Please do not slander me or you will be promptly reported for a WP:CIV violation. The pictograms are absurd, and plenty of sub-par stuff has gotten by DYK (which passes nearly all nominations). Biruitorul 00:30, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
You are talking about those flag icons in text? :) You guys have found a thing to fight about. Actually WP style guidelines tell you to NOT use flags like that and I have to agree. It's not of very good taste. Cool down everyone, no point to get upset for small things like that. Владимир И. Сува Чего? 07:43, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
  • I personally prefer the version with flags. As WP:FLAG notes, the flags can harm continuity and overuse should be avoided, but this is a somewhat special case since the flag images have higher-than-usual relevance to the surrounding text. It's really just a trade-off; I prefer the version which includes the flags, but there's really no "correct" side to the discussion. — xDanielx T/C 10:42, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
  • I'd have to say I prefer the text without the flags. It appears that the flag icons are being used to notate occupation and/or sovereignty? If that's the case, maybe a subsection can be created in a time-line format to help illustrate the struggle:
Date
Sovereign (flag)

Just an idea. Yngvarr (t) (c) 14:15, 17 September 2007 (UTC)


Hi Biruitorul, do not slander? Ha-ha:-D ,I'm sorry, moa sub-literate according to you, know nothing civil. Therefore please feel free to report me for WP:CIV violation. I almost wish that I could give you a better reason to do so since I think that someone who believes him/herself to be smarter than tons of other editors that have been over this article before and didn't have any problems with the pictography, should get some more pleasure out of this -found a thing to fight about. I agree it's a silly fight although there was a good reason to include these flags, it helped to tell the story. So I hope Biruitorul , you could show some good faith here, actually both of you 2 nativ al limbii române guys, (good cooperation BTW in reverting job!) restore the pics and take my word that I'll come up with a better solution to illustrate the story. And Wikipedia:Use of flags in articles, first of all, it's not a policy. The second it was fully in compliance with Flag icons should be useful, rather than just decorative, therefore as far as I'm concerned, you have no case here. Specially because the flipping of the flags on top of that tower is a core of the story. Thanks!--Termer 22:16, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
PS.Or should we make an infobox out of it?
PPS. A picture tells a hundred words!

(no) third opinion.[edit]

Hello.

Sorry, but I will not respond to the request placed at Third opinion, since more than two people are involved in the dispute. — Coren (talk) 02:41, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

That's because a couple of us already saw the third opinion request. ;) If you don't want to participate we can't stop you, but I don't see any harm in pitching in your two cents to make consensus a little less foggy. — xDanielx T/C 00:05, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
nth opinion then: off with the flags; they have no place there. — Coren (talk) 03:14, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Flag icons[edit]

Why were the flag icons removed? They made the article a lot easier. I understand, that this is not common to Wikipedia (See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (flags)), but the flag at the top of Pikk Hermann tower basically shows who rules in the city at the moment. I think the flag icons should be brought back. Any other opinions? H2ppyme 19:49, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Introduction[edit]

"The fate of Estonia in World War II was decided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact and its Secret Additional Protocol of August 1939."

Really? I thought the fate of Estonia in World War II would have been decided by the outcomes of various battles... after all, Pacts, Protocols, and plans cannot predict the outcome of military efforts. In any case, though it may be a semantic argument, I think the article intro should focus more on the role of Estonia in the war, rather than its fate. Otherwise, an excellent, long, detailed, thorough, and well-cited piece. LordAmeth (talk) 13:19, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Estonia as a country had no role in the war, only fate that was decided by how the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany divided the countries inbetween them and that was it. The only battle there was between Estonian forces and Soviets in 1940, at Raua street mentioned in the article. Later in 1944 Estonian admiral Johan Pitka tried to form Estonian forces but it was too late. And there wouldn't have much they could have done anyway. Perhaps you missed the fact that it's a country of 1 million people we're talking about here. Population of just a bit more than twice of Luxembourg nowadays. So what kind of outcomes of various battles would you have predicted in case the leaders of Estonia instead of fully surrendering would have put their bets on going into war and battles with overwhelming Soviet forces in 1940 at the time when Germans just marched into Paris?--Termer (talk) 05:35, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Help with another article[edit]

In this article it says "World War II losses in Estonia, estimated at around 25%". In the article World War II casualties however, the deaths as % of 1939 population are shown 3.62% of population. This does not mention any military deaths, just as noone died. They are instead, counted for the Soviet Union and the Nazi Germany. The "owner" of this article doesn't let anyone to change things on that page and reverts all edits, that add information to the tables. Anyone, who knows more about WW2 could try to change something in that article.

Also, a suggestion for this article. Could there be summarized tables for the number of mobilised, deported, emigrees and the number of deaths? Right now it's like searching a needle in a haystack when searching for numbers. H2ppyme (talk) 11:23, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Everything seems to be in sync for my eyes. total deaths says 81,000 over there up to 90,000 over here. And the 25% population losses include Baltic Germans that left to Germany, the Estonian Swedes escaping to Sweden and Estonians that escaped all over the World.--Termer (talk) 00:23, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Deportation of jews: a crime or good deed?[edit]

The pharse: During the first Soviet occupation of 1940-41 about 500 Jews were deported to Siberia. is completely misleading. Probably, those jews were the luckiest jews in Estonia. My mother's stepfather was a private in the Polish Army. After Soviet occupation of westen Bielorussia he was deported to Ural and served in auxilliary battalion until 1944. Then he was sent to Eastern Front, wounded and finished the War in Germany. Upon returning home he found his whole family to be killed by Nazies. I personally knew several other jews who survived exclusivelly because they were deported to Ural. Therefore, I propose to remove this phrase or to provide a proper commentary.
Best regards, --Paul Siebert (talk) 23:03, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

No, this is not misleading, this is a fact. They were deported. It is another issue that this eventually turned out to be the luckiest way for them to survive the war (however, neither the Jews nor the Soviets could know this back in 1940 and it was not the purpose of the population transfer anyway). Feel free to clarify the things, but the information should stay. Colchicum (talk) 23:13, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
This would only be relevant, if there is evidence that Jews were deported to siberia because soviet occupiers wanted to move them to somewhere safe. Eventually yes it turned out that Stalins punishment for being a jew was not as bad as Hitlers punishment, but from the historic context at the time of deportations there was no difference 91.154.101.244 (talk) 08:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC).

The 500 Jews that were deported to Siberia in 1940 along with other "enemies of the Soviet people", because they were either rich or held significant positions in the society most likely were not "the luckiest". The luckiest back then I'd bet were the few that made it to the West and perhaps to certain extent the ones that had communist sympathies and evacuated together with the Soviets before the Nazis arrived in 1941. The rest out of total 2000 Estonian Jews about 1000 got trapped and were killed by the Nazis. --Termer (talk) 00:04, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

That is exactly what I mean. If those 500 were not deported, the amount of Jews killed by Nazis would be 1,500. As regards to facts, it is misleading because they were deported not for national reason. If someone whant to give an exact amount of Estonian, ethnic Germans, ethnic Russians, ethnic Jews arrested by NKVD, I have no objections. However, the facts represented in such a way create a wrong impression that NKVD tried to exterminate Jews deliberatelly. Although Stalin had such an intention just before his death, for the pre-war period it wasn't the case.
Once again. The fact is correct, but it's representation is misleading. --Paul Siebert (talk) 03:09, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, If those 500 were not deported, the amount of Jews killed by Nazis would be 1,500. is a speculation and not any different from if I'd say If those 500 were not deported, they would have escaped to Sweden.
And there are ethnic Russians arrested by NKVD listed in the article. Regarding Germans than their faith should be clear too. No Germans were arrested by NKVD because Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were allies at that point and all the Germans were free to leave to Germany. So the article should be pretty clear about the facts, so sorry that you find the part misleading. But feel free to clarify if you think it's necessary to point out that they were deported not because they were Jews but because the Soviet regime repressed everybody that have had either some economical or political significance in the society.--Termer (talk) 04:54, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Somehow missed this thread earlier. In Latvia, at least, more Jews were deported by Stalin than any other ethnicity by percentage. And they were deported to particularly brutal conditions, even worse than suffered by the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, as Stalin had a particular hatred for Jews. Of course the NKVD was exterminating Jews the same as anyone else, if not with even more force of purpose. That Stalin deported people who happened to be lucky enough to survive does not put Stalin in the PLUS humanity column while leaving Hitler in the MINUS humanity column. The correct narrative is that owing to both Stalin and Hitler, there were virtually no Jews left in Estonia at the end of the war. My relatives survived 15 to 20 years in Siberia while my wife's family's best friend (Jewish) was beheaded by the Nazis. = Stalin kinder gentler than Hitler? I think not.
   It is understandable, but completely erroneous, to project family history to contend as to the NKVD's motivations or goals. That is why the account of the actions of the Soviets and Nazis in the Baltics are such a mess as accounts of eyewitness and other personal experiences make for the most compelling narrative, but inevitably those accounts make observations about others that are all too easily taken as fact when they are only personal opinion. PetersV       TALK 22:56, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I am not inclined to trust accounts of eyewitness, because, although factually correct, they frequently create a wrong general picture. I agree that it would be a fundamental mistake to project family history to the world history. I just gave it as an example that, to my opinion, fits into the more general picture.
Let's stick to sources. Wheatcroft devoted a separate article to the comparison of Stalin's and Hitler's policy. He analyzed Hitler and Stalin using the same scientific approach, therefore, his conclusion seem to be highly reliable. He concludes:

"The Stalinist regime was consequently responsible for about a million purposive killings, and through its criminal neglect and irresponsibility it was probably responsible for the premature deaths of about another two million more victims amongst the repressed population, i.e. in the camps, colonies, prisons, exile, in transit and in the POW camps for Germans. These are clearly much lower figures than those for whom Hitler's regime was responsible."Weathcroft The Scale and Nature of German and Soviet Repression and Mass Killings 1930-45 Author(s): Stephen Wheatcroft Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 48, No. 8 (Dec., 1996), pp. 1319-1353

— page 1334.

Of course, millions of Soviet people who died as a result of famines etc. are not included into these figure. However, let me point out that the latter is hardly relevant to Estonia.
Wheatcroft clearly distinguish "between purposive killing and deaths from criminal neglect and irresponsibility", so his overall conclusion is.

"The nature of Soviet repression and mass killing was clearly far more complex than normally assumed. Mass purposive killings in terms of executions were probably in the order of one million and probably as large as the total number of recorded deaths in the Gulag. In this narrowest category of purposefully caused deaths, the situation is exactly the opposite to that generally accepted. Hitler caused the murder of at least 5 million innocent people largely, it would appear, because he did not like Jews and communists. Stalin by contrast can be charged with causing the purposive death of something in the order of a million people. Furthermore the purposive deaths caused by Hitler fit more closely into the category of 'murder', while those caused by Stalin fit more closely the category of 'execution'. Stalin undoubtedly caused many innocent people to be executed, but it seems likely that he thought many of them guilty of crimes against the state and felt that the execution of others would act as a deterent to the guilty. He signed the papers and insisted on documentation. Hitler, by contrast, wanted to be rid of the Jews and communists simply because they were Jews and communists. He was not concerned about making any pretence at legality. He was careful not to sign anything on this matter and was equally insistent on no documentation.

It is only when we get into the broader categories of causing death by criminal neglect and ruthlessness that Stalin probably exceeds Hitler, but here we have to remember that the USSR was much larger than Germany and that death rates in the best of times had always been significantly higher in Russia than in Germany.

The Gulag was neither as large nor as deadly as it is often presented, it was not a death camp, although in cases of general food shortage (1932-33 and 1942-43) it would suffer significantly more than the population at large. There were not 12 million deaths in the camps as suggested by Maier; and it seems highly unlikely that there were as many as 7 million deaths between 1935 and 1941 as claimed by Conquest citing Mikoyan's son. With a maximum number of inmates of 1.5 million in 1941 the Gulag was nevertheless of demographic significance and more than twenty times as large as the prewar Nazi concentration camp system at its peak following Kristallnacht. But all the same, twenty times as large as pre-war Nazi concentration camps does not make anything like Auschwitz"
— ibid

I fully realise that people from the Baltic countries had much more problems with Stalin than with Hitler, however, to my opinion, it is necessary to keep all presented above in mind.
Best regards,
--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:29, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Wheatcroft is just one author. I've read similar thoughts before, and I wasn't impressed. The Western author I read 2 years ago might have been the very Wheatcroft, but I can't bet. To say that “The Stalinist regime was consequently responsible for about a million purposive killings, and through its criminal neglect and irresponsibility it was probably responsible for the premature deaths of about another two million more victims amongst the repressed population” is in my opinion about as far away from truth as the claims of some pro-Nazi revisionists that, well, there were some deaths in Auschwitz due to criminal neglect (typhus and other diseases), but surely Hitler didn't murder many million people etc. I personally resent the statements that “Stalin undoubtedly caused many innocent people to be executed, but it seems likely that he thought many of them guilty of crimes against the state and felt that the execution of others would act as a deterent to the guilty.″ which seems to imply that, after all, it is not very evil to kill people if you believe they are just of the wrong opinion. --Pan Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 20:09, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I am personally very surprised by the enormosly POVish statements that deporting Jews was a good thing and that Gulag was not a [system of] death camps. The prisoners of the both systems claimed that Soviet Gulag was worse than Auschwitz, because it replaced fast death by slow and painful death, and that NKVD was worse than Gestapo because Gestapo was hunting for actual enemies of the regime (and even let some people go), whereas NKVD did not care at all if someone was really an enemy of the Soviet state.Biophys (talk) 00:29, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Dear Biophys,
Let me remind you that on the Gulag talk page we had a long discussion where I (to my opinion) presented persuasive evidences that:
  1. Majority scholarly sources strictly separate death camps from concentration camps.
  2. Official and corrected mortality numbers (close to those presented above) are available in scholarly sources and, after "archival revolution" majority western scholars corrected their estimations to significantly lower values.
  3. Far not all deported persons were imprisoned in camps.
  4. Most of these arguments had been put forward during our previous discussion, and, to my understanding, you accepted it (at least, you agreed with corresponding modifications of the Gulag page).
    Based on the said above, your assertion seems unclear for me.
    best regards,
    --Paul Siebert (talk) 05:02, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I generally agree with Paul that the statement is disturbing in its vagueness. First of all, an unknown proportion of the Jews were taken to Siberia as a geographic region. If they were taken to GULAG, it should say so. The reader can get the rest from the GULAG article. --Erikupoeg (talk) 16:29, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:German Soviet.jpg[edit]

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FeelSunny[edit]

OK FeelSunny, this has gone a bit too far! Please stop inserting your personal commentaries into this article [1] [2] [3] [4]. Please note that "half and half" and/or 50/50 is an expression in English and the citation in the article is a figurative speech that doesn't have anything to do with any countries.--Termer (talk) 03:57, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

No, I don't think I want this discussion. If a "majority of editors" thinks like this, have it as you like it. FeelSunny (talk) 17:12, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Importance of MRP[edit]

If the first sentence says "The fate of Estonia in World War II was decided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact", it is not true. MRP only pushed things to move, but did not completely decide Estonia's fate, because most of Estonian people did not want to belong into Soviet Union and gave Soviets heavy resistance in 1941-1945. I think that battles in 1944 decided Estonia's fate much more than Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Two men in Moscow had no right to decide over fate of other states and they could not prohibit resistance of Estonian people. DJ Sturm (talk) 17:44, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

While we can discuss, whether the sentence “The fate of Estonia in World War II was decided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact" is necessary in the lead section, I cannot really say that I relate to your idea “that battles in 1944 decided Estonia's fate much more than Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact″.Pan Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 19:12, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Anything on Wikipedia is based on citing WP:Reliable sources, and the fact that "the fate of the Baltic counties was decided by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact" has been pointed out so again and again in relevant textbooks dealing with the subject. Just added few sources to the sentence including Encyclopaedia Britannica. Now, in case there are sources out there that back up your opinions DJ Sturm, such statements could be added to the article. Other than that I agree with Miacek, never heard or seen any sources saying that Battle of Narva (1944) changed anything much what was to come. Only after USSR had condemned the 1939 secret protocol between Nazi Germany and itself [5] changed the "faith of Estonia" and the country became independent again. The bottom line, anything you DJ Sturm want to add to any article in WP has to be based on citing WP:RS.--Termer (talk) 20:36, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Contending it was the Battle of Narva (1944) that decided the fate of Estonia is certainly a personal POV. The fate of Estonia was decided when the Soviet Union first invaded and annexed Estonia. Stalin already knew the Allies would not rush to support the Baltics; his agreement with Germany insured his free hand.
   Then again, Hitler did say as part of justifying his invasion of the USSR that by sphere of influence he did not mean "invade"; in fact, Stalin's invasion of the Baltics, by removing the buffer zone between the USSR and Germany, was a major influence on Hitler's decision to invade the USSR. But another topic.
And P.S. The Courland Pocket held out to the end of the war, that did Latvia no good whatsoever--Stalin having been told by a laughing Roosevelt that the U.S. wouldn't go to war over the Baltics. PetersV       TALK

But if Estonia had not knuckle under Soviets in 1939 or 1940 and fight against them, as Finland did, then it's very possible Estonia would stood free. DJ Sturm (talk) 23:32, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Anything is and would have been possible. Just that Wikipedia as an encyclopedia doesn't deal with possibilities and speculations. again, only with anything according to WP:Reliable sources. Also, please take your time and read the Five pillars of Wikipedia.--Termer (talk) 03:36, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Resistance = far more likely the Baltics would have been slaughtered. This sort of "knuckled under" contention caters to the (frankly) fantasy that the Baltics were left a choice in the matter--and, worse, to the continuing Russian fiction that "knuckling under" if you will was a friendly invitation in (can't occupy someone if you're not at war, blah, blah, blah...) Finland had the inhospitableness of its territory in winter and the expanse to support a retreat if needed. The Baltics had neither such luxury. PetersV       TALK 21:19, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-664-6758-33A[edit]

Just wondering, the image [6] added by DJ Sturm, it says "Soldiers with Tiger I during the Battle of Narva", but nothing in the image description on Commons [7] connects it with the place and the time. It says "Russland, Panzer VI (Tiger I), Soldaten im Schnee", meaning "Russia, Panzer VI (Tiger I), Soldiers in Snow". And the additional description -Extra information: "Sowjetunion.- Panzer VI "Tiger I" auf Straße, Infanterie-Kolonne mit weißen Tarnanzügen auf dem Marsch auf verschneiter Straße; Eins Kp Lw zbV". Meaning "Soviet Union. - Panzer VI "Tiger I" on the street, Infantry platoon wearing white camouflage suits march on the snowy road.".. So what has that to do with the Battle of Narva? In case such a connection can't be established that the image has anything to do with Estonia in WW II, the pic should be removed.--Termer (talk) 18:00, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

This photo is taken in 1944, and as we can see there snow and Tiger I, it must be near to Narva. In Finland no Tigers were used and in south of "Heeresgruppe Nord" front, there is no so much snow at winter as seen on the picture. DJ Sturm (talk) 12:38, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

That's bullshit - it could be anywhere in Pskov Oblast. --Erikupoeg (talk) 12:54, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Estonians on both sides[edit]

The deportations and "occupational deaths" figures appear many times in the article, but I can't seem to find the number of Estonians that fought in the Germany and Red Armies. The article could use that kind of info. --Tavrian 19:33, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Take a closer look. The article presents 50,000-60,000 as serving in the Estonian SS Division and 20,000 as the number of Estonians in the 8th Rifle Corps--Erikupoeg (talk) 20:39, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure there were many Estonians that served outside those two formations...and how can a divison have 50,000-60,000 soldiers - or is this the number that enlisted? --Tavrian 01:49, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
There were practically no native Estonians serving on the Soviet side outside the 8th Rifle Corps. 50,000-60,000 was the number of the Estonians enlisted in the Estonian SS Division. The total number of the Estonians serving in the German forces was 70,000. --Erikupoeg (talk) 08:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Does anyone know if there are any photos available of Estonian soldiers in the Red Army? About everyday life or fighting? Oth (talk) 20:59, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I tried google.images search with the Russian name [8]. Not much, it seems. --Pan Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 21:08, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Just making a note that according to the sources and facts provided in the article and multiple sources out there the Estonians wearing German uniform during WWII at it's peak was up to 100.000 men [9] [10]; Other sources I've come across also have given figures between 75,000-80,000. Ethnic Estonians wearing the Soviet Uniform during the war, at it's peaks was about 18.000. the estimate according to Lembit Pärn. [11].--Termer (talk) 04:58, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

The source [12] says 100,000 Balts, not Estonians. It's impossible to tell, where does Hannes Walter get his figures. A study specifically dealing with the Estonians in the German forces - Nõmm, Toe. Eesti üksustest Saksa sõjaväes: Formeerimine ja isikkoosseis. (On Estonian units within German army: Formation and personnel. In Estonian) // Akadeemia 1, 1990 - estimates 70,000 Estonians serving within the German forces.--Erikupoeg (talk) 09:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I recall seeing an image of some Estonian soldiers in the red army next to a T34 tank which had some slogan written in both Estonian and Russian on the turret, but I can't recall where. I have found an unrelated image from 1939 which shows Estonia making preparations to defend itself . As you can see, Estonia didn't have much to work with. [13] Martintg (talk) 02:34, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

@Martin. Did you mean this image? --Miacek and his crime-fighting dogM. se fâche(woof!) 08:42, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that is it. I have no idea what formation they are. Martintg (talk) 12:51, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
The description of the photo in Russian says: "The "For Soviet Estonia" tank column handed over to Estonian Rifle Corps". --Erikupoeg (talk) 15:10, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Estonia and WWII[edit]

Baltic nations use to position themselves mostly as victims of their larger neighbours. However, some sources tell that sometimes their role in the world history was more active. It is well known that after occupation of Czech republic the USSR (in response to British proposal) initiated triple (Anglo-Franco-Soviet) negotiations aimed to prevent further German expansion. Historians disagree about real Stalin's motives: it is unclear if he really feared Hitler expansion, or he played his own game, however, some western scholars point out that in June 1939 the Soviet, French and British negotiatiors were almost ready to sign the political anti-German alliance that could possibly prevent an outbreak of WWII. The sticky point was Estonia and Latvia. They took a strong anti-Soviet and mild pro-German stance (that is quite understandable for me, btw), however, that gave the argument to Stalin about a possibility of German attack of the Soviet territory through these two countries (that could become German allies at any moment). The historians disagree if it was a real Stalin's concern, or he just used that as an legal pretext for the intervention into Estonian and Latvian domestic affair. However, the fact is that the Estonia and Latvia appeared to be a sticky point during the triple negotiations, and, possibly, their positions contributed to the WWII outbreak.
I am not intended to do any changes in the article, that seems to be dominated by Baltic editors, but if you guys feel comfortable to include some of these facts into the article, I am ready to provide reputable academic sources and facts for that.
Looking forward to see your comments.
Best regards,--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:53, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi Paul, the only comment I have, any such soapboxing is simply going to be removed from this talk page in the future. However, in case you are aware of any additional WP:Reliable sources that cover the subject, please do not hesitate to bring those forward. Thanks!--Termer (talk) 06:39, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, Estonia and Germany signed a non-aggression pact on 7 June 1939. If there was a reliable source that concluded on the pact (and possibly a friendly athmosphere surrounding it) being a motive for the subsequent Soviet aggression, it should be included here. --Erikupoeg (talk) 13:05, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi Termer. There is nothing about soapboxing or propaganda, at least it wasn't my intention. Although I wrote that "I am ready to provide reputable academic sources and facts for that", I probably didn't make myself clear enough. Let me try again. My text above is supported by several articles:
1. Michael Jabara Carley, End of the 'Low, Dishonest Decade': Failure of the Anglo-Franco-Soviet Alliance in 1939. Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 45, No. 2 (1993), pp. 303-341.
2. Derek Watson. Molotov's Apprenticeship in Foreign Policy: The Triple Alliance Negotiations in 1939 Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Jun., 2000), pp. 695-722.
3. Geoffrey Roberts. The Soviet Decision for a Pact with Nazi Germany Source: Soviet Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1 (1992), pp. 57-78
and some others.
I can provide large citations from these articles on the talk page (that demonstrate my point of view and that should be removed aftervards to avoid accusations in copyright violations), and I don't want to do any changes in the article until a consensus is achieved.
Dear Eric. You write: "If there was a reliable source that concluded on the pact (and possibly a friendly athmosphere surrounding it) being a motive for the subsequent Soviet aggression, it should be included here." This perfectly demonstrate my point. You (and, probably, some other Estonians) are too focused on the effect WWII had on Estonia, however, you leave beyond the scope the question of the effect Estonia had on the WWII course (in particular, on the WWII outbreak). My proposal is to fill this gap.
BTW, I do not accuse pre-war Estonians in egoism or stupidity. They were not more egoistic and stupid than larger nations were during that "dishonest decade". However, it would be interesting to include this material to demonstrate that even a small nation may have a huge impact on the world history.
My proposal is to write a section "Estonia and WWII outbreak".--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:58, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Truth be told, the MR pact was never intended to mean the Soviets could occupy and annex the Baltics, while in the Soviet "sphere" they were intended as a mutual buffer between the Reich and USSR. Hitler made his sentiments regarding the bases established under the pacts of mutual assistance and subsequent invasions and annexations clear: "Moscow has not only broken the agreement of friendship, but betrayed it...". What it comes down to is: Had Stalin not broken the MR pact by invading the Baltics (at a time when Hitler was in no position to respond militarily) Hitler may not have invaded the USSR. Stalin would have gotten his wish to be the surviving superpower at the end of the war. But no, he just HAD to have the Baltics. PetersV       TALK 02:56, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
The references listed by Paul are not available for me, so let's see the citations. I'll have to check whether the impact of Estonia (and Latvia and Finland for that matter) on the outbreak of WWII is discussed in Carley's "1939 : the alliance that never was and the coming of World War II" or in Estonian sources. I can already say that the definitive Estonian reference "Estonia 1940-1945" does not mention the connection. Call it a bias if you like. --Erikupoeg (talk) 10:55, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Dear Eric. There is nothing about your bias. I myself also have problems in accepting new facts that contradict to my belief. However, when the opponent's arguments look solid, I used to accept them (although without enthusiasm :)).
The fragments from the Carley's article are below:
"Auden's 'low, dishonest decade' began with the Great Depression and unfolded as Nazism and Stalinism oppressed Europe and Soviet Asia. The Anglo-French policy of appeasement led to the abandonment of Abyssinia, Austria and Spain and the betrayal of Czechoslovakia. Yet in spite of all this, the decade was not without moments of hope. The USSR, and especially its commissar for foreign affairs, Maxim Maximovich Litvinov, offered 'collective security', or an anti-Nazi alliance, to France and Great Britain. Paradoxically, Stalin's blood-drenched wickedness did not mean that Soviet foreign policy was wicked also. But in France and Great Britain the determination to resist fascism was sapped by hatred of bolshevism, fear of socialist revolution, and sneaking admiration for Hitler's repression of the left. Inter-war anti-bolshevism was in fact so like anti-communism after 1945 that it poses the question of when the Cold War began and whether it was a cause or an effect of war in 1939. Anti-bolshevism inspired illusions that Nazi Germany could be encouraged to expand eastward-peaceably, economically, to be sure-to run up against the USSR. The two scorpions' parlous embrace would leave France and Great Britain out of harm's way."
"Maisky, assessing British opinion, correctly reported its anti-German mood to Moscow, but he, like Harvey, also noted the resurgence of appeasement.16 On 8 May Molotov commented unfavourably to Seeds on the British delay in responding to Litvinov's proposals: the 'Soviet government had always replied ... within three days, instead of three weeks'. Seeds answered drily, 'I [take] off my hat to Soviet efficiency'. In mid-May Molotov laid out the Soviet minimum position: a tripartite mutual assistance pact, guarantee of the central and east European states including the Baltics, and a concrete military accord. When Molotov spoke of the Baltic guarantee, Seeds 'uttered deprecatory noises', tapping his fingers on the paper which explained the Soviet proposals. But the 'slab-faced' Molotov would not be put off."
"In June the Foreign Office sent Strang to Moscow to assist in negotiations. Strang told Naggiar that his instructions were not to move toward the Soviet position, but in fact to try to take back concessions made in previous Anglo-French proposals.128 No wonder 'the Soviet' mistrusted Chamberlain and Bonnet; the British and French anti-appeasement opposition did not trust them either. In June Churchill questioned the Chamberlain government's good faith. In early July Mandel, the last of the Clemencists, told Surits that the Soviet government 'had every right' to be mistrustful, and he urged Surits to insist on a 'clear and explicit' agreement, so arch appeaser Bonnet could not rat.129 In this atmosphere is it any surprise that Stalin-suspicious, ruthless and com- pletely unscrupulous-began to contemplate the possibility of an agreement with Nazi Germany? If the Anglo-French could pursue such a policy, so could he. In April 1939 the Soviet ambassador in Berlin, A. F. Merekalov, went to the German foreign ministry to discuss the fulfilment of Soviet contracts in defunct Czechoslovakia. The meeting focused on economic relations but, as Litvinov had reminded Payart in March, 'there was a close interdependence between political and economic rela- tions. . .,130 The German government thought there might be a political opening in this initiative. Merekalov disappeared from the scene, eventually purged but not shot; and the Soviet charge d'affaires, G. A. Astakhov, took up the parley before he too disappeared in September. Talks continued in May and June on economic matters. Political questions remained at the level of generalities. At the end of June Molotov still appeared more interested in the Anglo-French negotiations.131 The discussions with the French and British dragged on in June and July, haggling over endless wordings of a political agreement. In early July Sargent admitted to Corbin that the British guarantees to Poland and Romania had been a mistake. The Soviet leaders, having thus obtained a measure of security, could hold out for their own terms. And they did: Molotov stuck tenaciously to the basic Soviet position laid out by Litvinov in April. The French and British had to negotiate or their guarantees would be worthless. Sargent's admission is 'a little late', noted Naggiar; 'to correct this error, Russia's price has to be paid'.132 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 indepen- dence. 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 govern- ment.'33 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."
"The French government became more impatient and more willing to make concessions to the Soviet point of view, especially on the Baltic issue. But no sooner did Bonnet send a trumpeting cable to London which insisted on the importance of an immediate agreement than he sent further word that he would defer to the British.34 In Moscow Naggiar observed this and became increasingly angry and alarmed. He and Seeds complained repeatedly about press leaks revealing important details of the negotiations. The Soviet authorities-or the Germans for that matter- did not need agents in the Foreign Office; all they had to do was read the London or Paris papers.'35 Naggiar reported that the Soviet government was complaining again about delays and public statements by Chamberlain and others on British willingness to conciliate Germany. Increasingly impatient, Naggiar asked for what amounted to plenipotentiary powers to conclude an agreement; if the cabinet did not like it, the Quai d'Orsay could disavow him. Bonnet queried the Foreign Office, but the British were reticent and Bonnet did not insist."
The next fragment tells about military negotiations that started after the political ones stalled (and that were generally aimed to fill the pause):"Making a military agreement conditional on Soviet acceptance of the British definition of 'indirect aggression' led to instructions for British representatives 'to go very slowly' in the military negotiations. If there were no agreement, at least time would be gained until the autumn or winter, delaying the outbreak of war.149 Complacency was reflected in different ways. As is well known, the British govern- ment opted to send its mission to the USSR by a slow merchant ship, its modem flying boats being tied up by routine fleet manoeuvres.150 The talks seemed of so little import that Halifax had 'scarcely perused' British instructions. Concerns about Soviet impatience if the British dragged out the talks were shrugged off. And the British delegation was instructed to avoid discussion of Soviet aid to Poland and Romania; the Soviet Union would have to negotiate directly with the Polish and Romanian governments.".
Probably, some explanations are needed. The term:"indirect aggression" meant, according to Molotov, any political changes in Baltic states that would make them de facto Germany's allies. The USSR requested free hands in Baltics in that case. There is no consensus among historians what was the primary Stalin's motive: real concern about the USSR'a security, or his desire to restore Russian Empire (or, probably, both). The British definition gave much less freedom to the Soviet Union.
Watson writes:
"Molotov's behaviour throughout the negotiations supports the argument that an alliance with Britain and France was the first choice, strengthening the case of those who consider that the decision to sign a pact with Germany was taken late, more a consequence than a cause of the failure of the Triple Alliance negotiations.15 From the time of his appointment as Commissar for Foreign Affairs on 3 May 1939 Molotov was immediately active in communicating with, and receiving information from, his ambassadors in Britain and France, indicating his intention to pursue the negotiations seriously. The earnestness of Narkomindel officials, as noted by Western diplomats, confirms this.16 In 1940 a Soviet diplomatic defector told the British Foreign Office that the need for an agreement with Britain and France had become a lower priority for the USSR by the time that Molotov took office, because the guarantees of the two Western powers to Poland and Romania had persuaded Stalin and Molotov that, if Hitler attacked Poland, these countries would go to war without the need for the USSR to give any undertakings.17 But if Molotov did not have to rush into an alliance and could hold out for his own terms, the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, the focus of difficulties, were of vital strategic importance to the USSR. If there was no ambition to re-establish the former tsarist frontiers, the Soviet Union was particularly sensitive to the question of their independence, especially when Hitler occupied Memel in March 1939, after which the USSR considered it necessary to issue an unsolicited guarantee of independence to Latvia and Estonia which was resented by those powers. Increasingly afraid of German economic and political influence in the Baltic states, the USSR feared that Hitler's ambitions had been diverted in that direction.18 The reluctance of the Western powers to offer guarantees to those countries made Molotov and Stalin suspicious that they were opening the door for an attack on the USSR by Germany through them. The signing of a non-aggression pact between Germany, Latvia and Estonia on 7 June 1939 may have been an important factor driving the USSR towards an understanding with Germany when it could not secure an alliance with France and Britain."
....
"
"Strang claimed that Molotov realised the 'impropriety' of his previous definition of 'indirect aggression' when, on 8 July, he suggested defining it as 'the use by a European Power of the territory of one of the undermentioned states for purposes of aggression either against that state or against one of the three contracting countries'. Seeds believed that Molotov put forward this formula spontaneously, in an effort to be helpful. This was a high point in the negotiations; Strang describes Molotov as 'affable and cooperative' and there was now some chance of agreement.' This change in Molotov's attitude may have been caused by alarm over the warm reception of a German military mission to Finland, Latvia and Estonia in late June,10 or he could have been lulling the Western negotiators into a false sense of confidence to secure more concessions. On the next day he had refined the definition to
action accepted by any of the [listed] states under threat of force by another Power, or without any such threat, involving the use of territory and forces of the state in question for purposes of aggression against that state or against one of the contracting parties
The British government objected to the phrase 'without any such threat', fearing that this permitted the USSR to interfere in the domestic affairs of the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Finland; and also 'against that state', which might allow Soviet intervention in the event of a coup d'6tat overthrowing an existing government. Molotov was now prepared to accept the Netherlands and Switzerland in the list of countries, on the conditions he had already specified, but he ruled out Luxembourg, perhaps justifiably, as of 'too little importance to merit a special mention'. Now, possibly because of the deteriorating European situation, he made the military agreement the priority, insisting that this should be signed simultaneously with the political one, saying the Soviet government was unanimous on this.14 Keeping Soviet interests in the Baltic countries bordering the USSR uppermost, whilst driving the British and French to discuss the vital military compact, Molotov may also have been aiming to put pressure on Hitler to offer a treaty, by forcing the pace on military staff talks with the two Western powers."
Please tell me if additional quotes are needed and I will gladly provide them.
Best regards,
--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:36, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. For me, it was a big surprise to read this. I never realized how great was the role of the Baltic issue in the WWII outbreak.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:36, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

It seems we have a case. Here's some sources, I found. First of all, John Hiden, professor of Modern European History at Bradford University in his "The Baltic and the outbreak of the Second World War" (1992) says:"... the Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia in particular because of their common border with the Soviet Union held the centre stage, strategically speaking, by 1939," and:"Both Germany and the Soviet Union acted until the last moment as if they were primarily concerned with exploiting Baltic footholds against each other. Yet the impasse in the Allied-Soviet talks on the one hand and, on the other, Hitler's mounting anxiety to keep to his military timetable to attack Poland, dictated alternative strategies. The British Government in particular continued to reject the Soviet case for being able to move troops into the Baltic countries to meet an anticipated attack from Hitler's Germany." Eero Medijainen, professor of Modern History at the University of Tartu, in his "1939: possibilities and options (the viewpoint of the Baltic States)" in Ajalooline Ajakiri journal (2000) citing Hiden, agrees with him stating that it is possible that the Baltics had an impact on the outbreak of the WWII. However he says:"The balance of force in international relationships since May 1939 was best controlled by Stalin," and "In 1939, Hitler had no war designs against the Soviet Union [...] Moscow's accusations against Baltic countries to the effect that these might be used as a basis for Germany in its assault upon the Soviet Union were mainly a propaganda speech addressed to western powers and meant to motivate the Soviets' demands." He also argues that Estonian Foreign Ministery did not change its political concept in 1920-1939, not towards Germany nor to any other nation, it merely took the offer of a non-aggression pact from Germany (which Britain never offered). Still, Soviet Union was out of the question as an ally. So there's some food for thought. --Erikupoeg (talk) 14:43, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

If we forget about blatant pro-Soviet writers and revisionists of Suvorov's type, two schools of thought on pre-war Soviet policy exist: (i) the Soviets were cautious appeasers, or (ii) they played their own game to expand the sphere of Soviet dominance. However, one way or the another, the triple talks started in June 1939 and they could lead (at least, theoretically) to anti-German political alliance. The sticky point was the Baltic issue. If Stalin's primary desire was to stop Hitler (as the appeacement's school thinks), the position of the Baltic states was the real reason of the negotiation's failure. If Stalin's main goal was territorial expansion, then the Baltic issue gave Stalin a formal excuse for not signing the treaty. In any case, the Baltic story contributed into WWII outbreak. To my opinion, both point of view can be presented, however, we definitely have enough material for a separate section.
With regards to occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the question of Stalin's primary motives also exists. According to Roberts (I can provide a reference if needed), occupation of Baltic countries was a Stalin's responce on the Hitler's overwhelmingly successfull campaing in France (as a result Stalin faced a prospect to deal with the victorious Germans, the sole masters of Europe). Of course, that is only one interpretation, but, since it belongs to a reputable historian, it deserves mentioning (to my opinion).--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:41, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't see anything new up there. It's common in Soviet historiography to claim that the non-Agression pacts made between Nazi Germany and Estonia, Latvia, Denmark at the time was the reason of Soviet occupation of Baltic states. Well, Baltic states were occupied according to the Nazi-Soviet pact, there is nothing more to it. Regarding the UK-France-Soviet negotiations where Baltic states were bargaining chips, and once Stalin didn't get free hands from UK-France , Soviets turned to Nazis from where they got the deal what they were after. So what's up with this? --Termer (talk) 00:26, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
PS.About the role Baltic states and outbreak of WWII, sure, thre is nothing new to that either. The Baltic states are located at one of the most important strategic crossroads, there have been many wars broken out because of it, Starting with Livonian crusade, Livonian War, the Great Northern War. That's all common knowldge. So definitely, the strategic location of Baltic states had a role to play. But to suggest that control over Baltic states was one of the major reasons for the outbreak of WWII, sorry that's just too far out. only thing there was, who controls the territory of Baltic states, can control the Baltic sea, the crossroads between East and West and that was the reason the Soviets were after it...--Termer (talk) 00:56, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Termer, let's forget about Soviet historiography. We are in a realm of neutrality, therefore we use only western sources, and we give more weight to the articles published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. They are the most reliable sources according to WP:RS.
As regards to your other agrument, do I understand you correct that you think that Estonia played no active role in 1939, so it deserves no mentioning in a context of the WWII outbreak?--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:28, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Paul, in regard to your proposal to write a section "Estonia and WWII outbreak", I think you need to look at the role Estonia played within the context of the Baltic states (including Finland which was considered a Baltic state back in the 1930's) within Stalin's and Hitler's strategic thinking. Thus I think a new separate article may be in order here. I don't believe we can treat this interesting topic within the confines of this article. Martintg (talk) 03:43, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

RE:Paul. The article is written according to WP:RS: Wikipedia articles should rely primarily on reliable, third-party, published sources. In no place WP:RS says that published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals are the most reliable sources. It says Academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources when available. However, some scholarly material may be outdated, superseded by more recent research, in competition with alternate theories, or controversial within the relevant field. No further comment needed to that. Regarding what I think, it's irrelevant. I edit articles according to reliable, third-party, published sources. In case you have a source, I haven't seen it so far, that puts forward a case showing that lets say Estonia had an active role in the the WWII outbreak. Estonia with a population of about 1 million people and it's active role in the outbreak of WWII would be interesting topic indeed. I'm with Martintg on that one.--Termer (talk) 05:33, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Some comments are still needed. The fact that some sources may be outdated cannot be a reason to disregard the sources arbitrarily. With regards to that concrete article, it is not outdated for two reasons: (i) it had been written as a result of the "archival revolution" (mass release of de-classified Soviet archives as a result of Perestroika), and no new evidences become available since those time. (ii) New Roberts' book and articles support his early claims.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:56, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. However, if you have a concrete evidence that this source is outdated, please, present it here.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps Paul could create a new article Baltic states and WWII outbreak? Martintg (talk) 05:52, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, there is a whole book written on the subject, The Baltic and the Outbreak of the Second World War that's based on a related conference held at the University of Bradford.--Termer (talk) 06:35, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
That is a great find. This new article will have to be on the to-do list. Martintg (talk) 11:15, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

It definitely deserves a statement in the Estonian in World War II article. Something like:"The Baltic question played a major part in the British-French-Soviet negotiations of 1939, where the Soviet side argued, that Estonia might take Germany's side in a possible assault at the Soviet Union and thus become a favourable basis for attacking Leningrad." --Erikupoeg (talk) 11:28, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

The idea above is speculative, nothing more. And anybody familiar with Estonian history knows why Estonia and Nazi Germany couldn't have become allies until one year of Soviet occupation turned everything around. Other than historical reasons, there were personal reasons. The mother of the President of Estonia K. Päts was ethnic Russian, [14].--Termer (talk) 01:20, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

The idea of Estonia as a German ally was a deliberately false or simply erroneous statement presented by Molotov and the rest of the Soviet propaganda in the 1930s. However, the fact that reputable sources claim the issue had a major impact on the outbreak of WWII deserves mentioning. --Erikupoeg (talk) 01:45, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I haven't seen any sources so far claiming such thing that the issue had a major impact on the outbreak of WWII. WWII started on September 1. 1939 with the German attack on Poland. What has that to do with USSR speculating about Estonia's possible alliance with Nazi Germany? Estonia declared neutrality and after the Orzeł incident USSR basically accused Estonia braking this neutrality and siding with Poland in the war. The only logic I can see in this speculation is that if only UK and France would have given free hands to USSR in Baltic states, there would have been alliance between UK-France and USSR that might have prevented Nazi Germany attacking Poland. So basically what this "what if" theory is saying is that in case USSR got go ahead for taking over Baltic states from UK and France, the Molotov Ripendrop pact would have never happened and Germany and USSR wouldn't have attacked Poland.--Termer (talk) 03:14, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
John Hiden, professor of Modern European History at Bradford University in his "The Baltic and the outbreak of the Second World War" (1992) says:"... the Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia in particular because of their common border with the Soviet Union held the centre stage, strategically speaking, by 1939," and:"Both Germany and the Soviet Union acted until the last moment as if they were primarily concerned with exploiting Baltic footholds against each other. Yet the impasse in the Allied-Soviet talks on the one hand and, on the other, Hitler's mounting anxiety to keep to his military timetable to attack Poland, dictated alternative strategies. The British Government in particular continued to reject the Soviet case for being able to move troops into the Baltic countries to meet an anticipated attack from Hitler's Germany." Eero Medijainen, professor of Modern History at the University of Tartu, in his "1939: possibilities and options (the viewpoint of the Baltic States)" in Ajalooline Ajakiri journal (2000) citing Hiden, agrees with him stating that it is possible that the Baltics had an impact on the outbreak of the WWII. Along with Medijainen's:"In 1939, Hitler had no war designs against the Soviet Union [...] Moscow's accusations against Baltic countries to the effect that these might be used as a basis for Germany in its assault upon the Soviet Union were mainly a propaganda speech addressed to western powers and meant to motivate the Soviets' demands," these facts are relevant in the Estonia in WWII article.

--Erikupoeg (talk) 08:27, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, probably not major, but definitely direct. That is not "what if" theory, just facts. The triple negotiations started, reached its high point and stalled. During the pause, Germany made the proposal that Stalin accepted. The sticking point of the triple negotiations was the Baltic issue, that was additionally complicated by the Baltic countries' stance. There is nothing here about speculations, just facts.
The second question is how these facts are interpreted. Some scholars argue that Stalin kept in mind an alliance with Hitler from very beginning, so the triple negotiations were being conducted just pro forma, to gain additional points in the bargain with Hitler. Others conclude that the USSR's primary intention was the anti-Nazi alliance ("The signing of a non-aggression pact between Germany, Latvia and Estonia on 7 June 1939 may have been an important factor driving the USSR towards an understanding with Germany when it could not secure an alliance with France and Britain", see above). However, in both cases the role of Estonia was substantial. Why do you mind to tell in the article that Estonia was not only a victim during WWII, but also an active player?--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:36, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I still don't see any sources saying the issue had a major impact on the outbreak of WWII. What I read up there though: it is possible that the Baltics had an impact.... Anything is possible. And a possibility is not a fact but an opinionated "what if theory". --Termer (talk) 13:41, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. non-aggression pacts at the time were signed by Germany not only with Estonia and Latvia but also with Denmark.--Termer (talk) 13:44, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

True. Can we agree on the facts then: the Baltics were a major issue in the triple negotiations, as Molotov claimed, Estonia had changed her orientation towards Germany, opening the country as a favourable basis for an attack against the Soviet Union? --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:18, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Anything according to WP:RS is fine by me. meaning as long as an opinion it is possible that the Baltics had an impact... is not getting transformed into statements like the issue had a major impact and etc. Anything saying "major" in this context is clearly owerblown. The stratedical location of Baltic states was an issue like the source above says ...held the center stage, strategically speaking--Termer (talk) 02:22, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Joint military operation?[edit]

To my opinion, it is incorrect to say that WWII started as a result of the Nazi-Soviet joint military operation.
First, such a statement contradicts to the chronology of the events: the war started on 1 September 1939, whereas the USSR invaded Poland only on 17 September. Second, there is no consensus among historians about the degree of the Nazi-Soviet cooperation. There even no evidences that the Soviets and Germans discussed their military plans before 1 September, it is even unknown if Stalin knew about exact Hitler's plans to attack Poland.
As regards to Soviet radio transmissions directly supporting the Luftwaffe invasion of Poland, the German request for these transmissions was made on 1 September. This request was made by Hilger (German embassy official), and this had been done on 1 Sept 1939 only, during the his meeting with the Narkomindel official. This request came simultaneously with information about the German attack of Poland (АВП СССР, ф. 06, оп. 1, п. 8, д. 74, л. 20. л. 26.), so it is hard to speak about even coordination. In addition, Hilger didn't explain a real reason behind his request (according to him, such a transmission was needed for "urgent aeronautical experiments"). Of course, it would be hypocritical to state that the Soviet authorities didn't understand what these radio transmissions were intended for, however, the fact of such a transmission is insufficient to call the invasion a joint operation.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:49, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. Formally speaking, the mentioning of the USSR should be removed at all, because neither the USSR nor Poland declared a war on each other (and no other country declared a war on the USSR in Setember 1939), however, complete omission of the USSR would also be not completely correct....--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:53, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. For sources supporting the claim, see: Geoffrey Roberts. The Soviet Decision for a Pact with Nazi Germany Soviet Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1 (1992), pp. 57-78--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:00, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Re: "Formally speaking, the mentioning of the USSR should be removed"
--You You must be joking. Remove the invasion because they didn't declare war? Roberts himself describes the invasion.
--Also, whether it was "joint" or not, coordination clearly occurred.Mosedschurte (talk) 22:05, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
The question is different. How extensive this coordination (not even collaboration) was? And was it sufficient to speak about joint invasion? Some scholars say "yes", others say "no". We must take both points of view into account.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:14, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Just making a note of this that recent edits [15],[16] by Paul are going to be reverted ASAP with 10's of more sources provided in case necessary. Poland was partitioned according to the Molotov-Rippentrop pact and there is nothing much more to it.--Termer (talk) 00:19, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
others argue that the decision to invade Poland was made by the USSR only after the war started...was one of the most ridiculous claims inserted into this article. The Soviet and Nazi troops met on the line like agreed according to the Soviet-Nazi pact, the joint zi-Soviet military parade after the end of the joint invasion was held in Brzesc-nad-Bugiem, on Sep. 22, 1939. The movie about the event is in public domain from this year on, it seems it's time to upload it to commons, since a picture tells a better story than thousand words.--Termer (talk) 00:42, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, Termer, for reminding you so obvious things, but MRP told nothing concrete about partitioning of Poland. The secret protocol just defined the "spheres of influence" and mentioned "possible future rearrangement" of the Polish border. The source cited above, as well as many other sources confirm that my statement. Even after signing MRP, and even after WWII outbreak Stalin still had an opportunity to avoid participation in any dirty affairs, because formally he committed no crime (in foreign arena, I mean) so far. However, he didn't use that chance. He decided not to help Poland (that changed her mind and now - too late - expected a help from the USSR), and, apprehensive of fast collapse of the Polish state he decided to take control of "his" part of Poland. In actuality, the division of Poland was done as a result of a second MRP, a september agreement between Germany and the USSR. I don't think it can be considered a Stalin's apology, however.
One more thing. It was not my intention to include this material here, because this article is about Estonia, not Poland. Therefore, I see absolutely no problem to remove everything leaving just a first sentence. However, it is incorrect to speak about a joint operation, because not all sources agree with that (see the above explanation).--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:46, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
The quote from the Roberts' article demonstrate my point:
"The foregoing evidence can also be read as demonstrating German anxiety about whether the Soviet Union would keep to its side of the partition bargain. However, and this is the third documentary clue, on 3 September Ribbentrop telegraphed the following instruction to Schulenburg:
We definitely expect to have beaten the Polish army decisively in a few weeks. We would then keep the territory that was fixed at Moscow as a German sphere of interest under military occupation. We would naturally, however, for military reasons, also have to proceed further against such Polish military forces as are at that time located in the Polish area belonging to the Russian sphere of interest. Please discuss this at once with Molotov and see if the Soviet Union does not consider it desirable for Russian forces to move at the proper time against Polish forces in the Russian sphere of interest and, for their part, to occupy this territory. In our estimation this would not only be a relief for us, but also, in the sense of the Moscow agreements, in the Soviet interest as well.
Clearer evidence that there was no explicit prior agreement to partition Poland militarily would be difficult to find. What other explanation can there be for Ribbentrop's evident need to interpret the 'sense' of the Moscow agreements of 23 August?
The partition of Poland in September 1939 was not the direct result of the Nazi-Soviet pact but of the unforeseen rapidity of the Polish military collapse. This was the circumstance in which Berlin offered and Moscow opportunistically accepted a share of the spoils of war."--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:50, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Termer, by the way I don't agree with Paul's "In actuality, the division of Poland was done as a result of a second MRP, a september agreement between Germany and the USSR" (and by the way, he's selectively quoting from an old 1992 Roberts article above).
However, separately, in the mass revert, you seemed to have accidentally deleted the Molotov-Ribbentrop subsection in the section prior to the WWII section. I don't think anyone was disputing that it was signed and contained the secret protocols.Mosedschurte (talk) 00:53, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
It is not a big surprise for me that Mosedschurte disagree. However, I cannot quote the Robert's work unselectively because it would be a copyright violation. Could you Mosedschurte please describe us, concretely and concisely, what concrete crusial Roberts' statements I omited that change a picture?--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
This Robert guy can have his opinion, so Paul please feel free add it to relevant article Invasion of Poland (1939). In case it's not taken straight to WP:FTN we can add this WP:UNDUE opinion to this article later on in case you insist.--Termer (talk) 01:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Roberts is a reputable western historian, and he provided documentary evidences (for instance, see above) that demonstrate his point of view. And, note please, I do not want to include a new material, I just remove the statement that seems questionable (and, as you correctly pointed out, only indirectly relevant to Estonia).--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:07, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Paul, you have no news for me once again. It was common standard claim in Soviet historiography that the decision to invade Poland was made by the USSR only after the war started. However, after the Soviet-Nazi pact become public, such claims are nothing much more than ridiculous.--Termer (talk) 01:14, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Please, read the text above. It has been written by the western historian and published in the western peer-reviewed journal. No sources exist that could be more reliable. And this source states that even after the WWII started Ribbentrop was nor sure if Stalin was going to attack Poland. Therefore, I simply don't understand your arguments.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:19, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

No sources exist that could be more reliable is a joke at best..Again, if you insist we can take it to WP:FTN and later perhaps include in related articles as an alternative WP:UNDUE theory. Like I said, Roberts is free to have his opinions. but facts speak of something different. Open up any history book written on the subject: Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

So it seems the scholars have agreed it was a joint operation? --Erikupoeg (talk) 11:31, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
You just provided some sources that mention the invasion of Poland as a joint operation. According to you, it is sufficient to support the claim: "WWII started with a joint invasion of Poland by Germany and the USSR". The arguments seems to be not convincing for two reasons:
1. I never stated that the coordination, and even collaboration between the USSR and Germany never took place. My point is that by the moment WWII started no such a cooperation (except the agreement on "spheres of influence") existed. Therefore, WWII couldn't start with a joint operation.
BTW, the position of Germany may serve a proof for that. You should know that the occupation of the Baltic states served as one of legal excuses for Barbarossa: Hitler claimed that "spheres of influence" never meant "occupation", therefore, according to him, the USSR violated the MRP's secret protocol...
2. WP:SOURCES states: "In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses;" It further states: "As a rule of thumb, the greater the degree of scrutiny involved in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the evidence and arguments of a particular work, the more reliable the source is." Therefore, the Roberts' article must be taken very seriously for at least two reasons: (i) it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, and, therefore, belongs to the most reliable sources (according to WP policy), and (ii) the Nazi-Soviet relations had been dissected by Roberts meticulously, including the analysis of a vast amount of old and new archival documents, e.g., the de-classified Soviet diplomatic archives. Therefore, even a single Roberts' article has at least as equal weight as the sources you provided. I can provide additional sources, however, I see no sense to do that, because not only a number, but "the degree of scrutiny involved in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the evidence and arguments of a particular work" matters. Note, that is a WP policy, not guidelines.
We are amateur historians, so we cannot present our original research here. However, we must read and analyse the sources we are going to use. WP is not a democracy, and that equally works for the sources: not a number, but a quality of sources matters.
Therefore, let's speak concretely. Roberts (i) cited the Ribbentrop's telegram and concluded that even on 3 Sept 1939, when the war already started, Ribbentrop wasn't sure if the USSR was really intended to attack Poland. Based on that and other documents, Roberts' concluded that the decision to attack Poland was made by Stalin later. (ii) He analyzed the secret protocol and concluded that nothing concrete has been said in its text about military operation against Poland, or other Eastern European state.
My question is: why, to your opinion, this analysis deserves no or just a little attention, whereas, separate phrases, taken from various sources, that payed much less attention to the analysis of the subject weight more?--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:45, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. I removed mentioning of joint invasion in a context of WWII outbreak. Such a statement is both controversial and redundant: the Soviet invasion is mentioned below. Maybe, few words about later Nazi-Soviet collaboration have to be included there.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:10, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
PPS. I read both Roberts' and Raak's articles and I have to say that the works of the latter contain more speculations and less primary sources, so I am inclined to trust Roberts more. However, without any doubts, both points of view deserve mentioning.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:35, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Do you know Paul what they call removing sourced and verified facts from wikipedia without reaching consensus? Nothing justifies it and sooner or later the material you have removed from this article is going to be restored. In case you think the facts might be controversial, that's fine. you should feel free to add alternative viewpoints to the existing ones according to WP:YESPOV. but once again, nothing justifies simply replacing sourced facts with alternative opinions.--Termer (talk) 01:10, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Before I started to make changes in the article, the section contained 8 sources. Now it cites 12. The piece of text I worked with contained no sources by the moment I started to edit it. Please, let me know which source I removed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:21, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
For the record, I think both of the historical points are correct and not mutually exclusive. I.e., the Soviet Union didn't make clear at the day of the signing when or if it was necessarily going to militarily invade his half of Poland, though it was conveyed to Germany only eight days after the German invasion. At the same time, coordination after the Soviets rolled in clearly took place. Some also discuss providing bomber navigation signals to the German starting on 9/1/39, but I don't know whether that happened.Mosedschurte (talk) 01:44, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Mosedschurte. As regards with navigation signals to the German starting on 9/1/39, it was partially correct. The original source (the account of Pavlov, a Molotov's translator and assistant) states the following :
"Докладная записка сотрудника Народного комиссариата иностранных дел СССР В. Н. Павлова народному комиссару иностранных дел СССР В. М. Молотову

1 сентября 1939 г.

В[ячеслав] М[ихайлович],

В 11 часов 1 сентября явился Хильгер и передал мне для Вас несколько сообщений.

1. Хильгер сообщил, что ввиду отклонения Польшей предложения Гитлера о мирном урегулировании всех вопросов при посредничестве Англии, сделанного Польше им 29 августа, Гитлер 1 сентября издал приказ войскам. Перевод приказа прилагается (see: Dokumentarische Zeitehronik 1939. Chronologische Übersicht der wichtigsten Daten und Ereignisse des Zeitgeschehens mit urkundigen Zeugnissen. Ebenhausen bei München, 1943. S. 130.. Затем Хильгер просил передать Вам, что позвонивший сегодня Шуленбургу Риббентроп чрезвычайно обрадован содержанием речи (Имеется в виду речь В. М. Молотова на сессии Верховного Совета СССР 31 августа 1939 г. См. док. 617.). Риббентроп горячо приветствует сказанное Вами и очень доволен предельной ясностью Вашей речи.

2. Сегодня, сообщил далее Хильгер, Гитлер, к которому обратился с соответствующим воззванием от имени населения глава Данцигского государства Форстер, принял Данциг в лоно германской империи. (Воззвание Форстера к населению Данцига прилагается (see см.: Dokumente der deutschen Politik. Das Werden des Reiches 1939. Band VII/2. Berlin, 1940. S. 593-594. .)

Хильгер от имени Шуленбурга просил Вашего разрешения на опубликование в германских газетах прилагаемого сообщения о приезде военного атташе в Берлин.

Он спросил также, когда вылетают наши военные, так как ввиду запрещения полетов гражданских самолетов над Германией из Берлина должен быть выслан специальный самолет в Стокгольм.

Я сказал Хильгеру, что военные вылетают 2 сентября.

4. Хильгер просил также передать Вам просьбу начальника генштаба германских военно-воздушных сил (прилагается. речь шла о просьбе, чтобы радиостанция в Минске в свободное от передачи время передавала для срочных воздухоплавательных опытов непрерывную линию с вкрапленными позывными знаками: «Рихард Вильгельм 1.0», а кроме того, во время передачи своей программы по возможности часто слово «Минск». Из резолюции В. М. Молотова на документе следует, что было дано согласие передавать только слово «Минск». АВП СССР, ф. 06, оп. 1, п. 7, д. 74.)

Павлов

В 13.00 1 сентября Хильгер сообщил, что сегодня в 5.45 начались военные действия между Польшей и Германией .

АВП СССР, ф. 06, оп. 1, п. 8, д. 74, л. 20. л. 26."

The item 4 of this document states: "Hilger asked to pass the request of the German Air forces' Chief of Staff. (the Germans wanted the radio station in Minsk, when it is idle, to start a continuous broadcast needed for urgent aeronautical experiments. This translation should contain the embedded call signs "Richard Wilhelm 1.0", and, in addition to that, to broadcast the word "Minsk" as frequent as possible. The Molotov's resolution on that document authorised broadcasting of the word "Minsk" only). On Sept 1, 13 00 Hilger reported that the hostilities between Poland and Germany started today in 5.45."
This is a primary source, so I cannot draw any conclusion from it in the article. However, since this is a talk page, let me point you attention at the fact that even on Sept 1, when the war had already started, the German didn't disclose a real purpose of the requested broadcast ("for aeronautical experiments"). Of course, the real destination of this broadcast was a polychinelle's secret, however, such a collaboration is unusual between real allies...--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:04, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Also, on "My point is that by the moment WWII started no such a cooperation (except the agreement on "spheres of influence") existed.", that statement is clearly unsupported by the facts. It's not coincidence that Stalin wound up with 51% of Poland, that the Soviets directly supported the Luftwaffe invasion, that an over-jubilant Moscow sent Berlin a telegram of congratulations on the fall of Warsaw--prematurely. To Mosedschurte, yes, absolutely, those signals were sent. PetersV       TALK 02:54, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, facts can't be more straight forward than that: the two zones of conquest for Germany and Soviet Russia were arranged twice in Moscow prior to the invasion of Poland. If this is not a joint operation like the sources said , I don't know what is. The fact has been removed from the article. Like I said, sooner or later it's going to be restored. And again, alternative takes are always welcome as long as those stay side by side with opposing viewpoints.--Termer (talk) 03:03, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I provided the sources that demonstrate my point, and I explained what concrete facts allowed the author to draw his conclusion. The facts seem reliable and the conclusion seems logically consistent. You replied that it is not true because it is not the case. I am not sure it to be a good way to conduct the discussion.
Your sources demonstrate that the USSR and Germany collaborated during the invasion of Poland. No one argue about that fact. The question is: when did this collaboration start? The sources I provide tell that it started after the German attacked Poland. You didn't provide unequivocal proof of the reverse. --Paul Siebert (talk) 03:23, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

When did this collaboration start? August 23 1939![17] I don't mind repeating the facts according to the sources:. The generals of the two invading armies went over the details of the prearranged line that would mark the two zones of conquest for Germany and Soviet Russia, subsequently to be rearranged one more time in Moscow.[18]. "the prearranged line" was agreed in Moscow on August 23 1939: see The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939 Secret Additional Protocol. 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. [19].--Termer (talk) 03:52, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Good. However, let me remind you that the source discusses the events that happened after 17 September. From the another hand, on 3 Sept Ribbentrop wrote (see above):
"We definitely expect to have beaten the Polish army decisively in a few weeks. We would then keep the territory that was fixed at Moscow as a German sphere of interest under military occupation. We would naturally, however, for military reasons, also have to proceed further against such Polish military forces as are at that time located in the Polish area belonging to the Russian sphere of interest. Please discuss this at once with Molotov and see if the Soviet Union does not consider it desirable for Russian forces to move at the proper time against Polish forces in the Russian sphere of interest and, for their part, to occupy this territory. In our estimation this would not only be a relief for us, but also, in the sense of the Moscow agreements, in the Soviet interest as well."
The Roberts' (not my) interpretation of that document is: even on 3 Sept Ribbentrop didn't know if the Soviets were going to do anything it their sphere of influence.
The "prearranged line" your source mention was a border of spheres of influence, not a military plan of the partition of Poland. With regards to the partition of Poland the MRP's secret protocol stated:"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 State 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." Roberts' analyzed that, as well as other documents and concluded: "There was no specific agreement or intention on 23 August to partition Poland." Note, I don't claim this point of view to be an ultimate truth. I just poin your attention at the fact that such a point of view exists, it is based on solid documentary evidences and it should be represented. In that concrete case I don't propose to add anything inth the article, I just respectfully requested to remove the opposite point of view. BTW, the section in its present form is satisfactory.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:07, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

"There was no specific agreement or intention on 23 August to partition Poland" by Roberts is in conflict with majority of sources written on the subject. And again, you have no case to have "the opposite point of view removed", the only thing that would have been justified, adding the opposite interpretation to the existing one. Also, in order to have such interpretation like Roberts included in any articles, it needs to be shown that it's not a single opinion.--Termer (talk) 06:35, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

This belongs to the article about Poland. For this concrete article, it is sufficient to remove the questionable statement, that has no direct relation to the subject.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:17, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Again, the only one who questions those commonly known facts so far is Roberts. As long as it's not proven that Roberts has any supporters in his theories, any such questionable interpretations shouldn't be used in any articles on WP.--Termer (talk) 13:48, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
No. Those "commonly known facts" you refer to are: (i) MRP with secret protocol (ii) cooperation between the USSR and Germany during the invasion of Poland (that in actuality started later. The Soviets learned about the German attack post factum). No one (including myself) dispute that. However, the words "the WWII started on 1 September 1939 with German and Soviet attack of Poland" is either OR or the minority point of view. To demonstrate my point, let me remind you that, although Germany and Japan were true allies, no one states that on 7 December 1941 the USA were attacked by Germany and Japan...--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:25, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Why do you Paul ignore what the sources say Paul? Contrary your ideas the books written on the subject say exact opposite. Lets take one of the books I left for you to study above: Crucible of Power By Howard Jones, p. 157. On August 23, 1939 Gemany and Soviet Union shocked the world by announcing a nonaggression pact in Moscow that achived the inconceivable: An alliance between fascists and Communits...the act contained a secret protocol...the Soviet Union would claim eastern Poland, Finland, Bessarabia, and the two Baltic states. Germany was free to attack western Poland and then focus on France and Britain.--Termer (talk) 02:34, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Duplicated info[edit]

The "The Beginning of World War" appeared to contain the information that repeated twice: first time in a context of WWII outbreak, and the second time when the Soviet invasion of Poland is mentioned:
First time: "World War II began with the invasion and subsequent partition of an important regional ally of Estonia — Poland, by Germany. Although some coordination existed between Germany and the USSR early the war,[1] the Soviet Union communicated to Nazi Germany its decision to launch its own invasion seven days after Germany's invasion later, as a result, in part, of the unforeseen rapidity of the Polish military collapse. [2] "
And again:"On September 17, the Soviet Union invaded its part of Poland under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact's secret protocol[20]. During this invasion, a close coordination of German and Soviet military activity took place.[3][4]"
That seems redundant in the article about Estonia. I propose to remove one of these fragments. In addition, it is not completely correct: Germany invaded Poland alone, and that event marked a start of WWII. However, partition of Poland was done by Germany and the USSR together.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:27, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Agree --Erikupoeg (talk) 14:42, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
As long as Germany "invaded" includes "directly supported by the USSR." No one is arguing that Stalin's invasion of Poland did not occur chronologically after Hitler's invasion. That does not mean it was a Stalinesque post-Hitlerian invasion afterthought. PetersV       TALK 02:59, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
--I would nix the second coordination mention (in the 9/17 bullet) because it's repetitive.
--Re "directly supporting" the German invasion, I wouldn't put a time frame on that. There is agreement that there was coordination after both were in (9/17), but prior to Sept. 17, the only support might have been the 9/1/39 radio signals (however the source works out on that) and the August 19, 1939 Commercial agreement where the Soviets agreed to supply materials for the German war machine (oil, manganese, etc.), but there were no shipments prior to the 9/1/39 German invasion anyway.Mosedschurte (talk) 05:26, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Mosedschurte. In addition the level of collaboration between Germany and the USSR during the first half of September didn't exceed the level of collaboration between the USA and the UK before 7 December 1941. However, everyone agree that the US didn't participate in WWII until Perl Harbour, and before 22 June 1941 Britain fought alone.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:17, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Dublicated info should be cleaned up of curce. Other than that, on the collaboration between Germany and the USSR, unfortunately Wikipedia is not based on editorial opinions but on WP:RS and WP:verify. And in that respect the collaboration between USSR and Nazi Germany started on August 23. 1939 when the Soviet-Nazi alliance was made in Moscow. Just left a source and a citation up there [21]. Also, in case anybody has missed such a book like Conflict, catastrophe and continuity By Frank Biess, Mark Roseman, Hanna Schissler; Chapter 8 Nazi-Soviet Collaboration 1939-1941. In total Google books gives 115 returns on the subject Soviet-Nazi collaboration.--Termer (talk) 03:08, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not trying to play the part of annoyingly-neutral-guy, but I think that this is one of those rare Wikipedia instances where there is probable agreement on the facts here, and it is terminology and characterization that is at issue. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think the agreed upon facts would be:
  • Pre-8/23 - During negotiations, Germany makes it clear they will invade Poland (even pretty clear in a telegram from Hitler himself)
  • 8/23-8/24 (early morning) - Pact signed with secret protocol partitioning eastern Europe into "spheres of influence"
  • 8/25 - the shocked Brits (and they don't know about the secret protocol) surprise Hitler by not accepting German demands re Poland even after the Pact, causing Germany to delay the 8/26 ("Day X") invasion to 9/1
  • 8/31 - after Hitler demands that the Supreme Soviet ratify the Pact before the 9/1 invasion, on 8/31, they do so. They also promulgate a law permitting massive military mobilization and the preparation of all citizens for potential military action.
  • 9/1 - Germany invades their part.
  • 9/1 - Perhaps the Soviet Union aids bomber navigation with a Minsk radio signal (by the way, this is also stated in Nekrich, Ulam & Freeze, p. 125, and I'm not sure anyone denies it, but I don't know).
  • 9/9 - Soviets tell Germany they are about to invade their half of Poland. Re the delay after 9/1, there are a lot of reasons for this, including that while the Wermacht had been preparing for this for four months, the Soviets had just signed the pact 6 days before the German invasion. A mutual invasion on 9/1 could have meant excessive casualties in the east, especially with a then fresh Polish military (not that Poland would have had any shot to win anyway). In addition, the Soviets wanted to see the UK/France reaction after 9/1.
  • 9/10-9/15 - Soviets inform Germany that they are going to publish the excuse that they need to enter eastern Poland to protect their ethnic Ukrainian and Byelorussian brethren, which they stated they had to do politically becaue of the prior public antagonism between Germany and the USSR. As stated, an article is then published in Soviet papers about this. Germany told the Soviets that it was miffed by the characterization, and an additional public statement was added by Stalin that, with the collapse of the Polish government, the Soviets did not think that their prior agreements with Poland were still valid.
  • 9/17 - Soviets invade their part, with coordination to prevent catastrophies.
  • 9/21 - Formal military treaty signed regarding coordination.Mosedschurte (talk) 03:18, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Here is some interesting reading on the question, why it took USSR 17 days to join Germany in the war that was agreed on in Moscow on August 23. The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler By Eugene Davidson p.396 Stalin had cautiously waited until mid-September before ordering his troops into Poland. Despite German pressure to begin the invasion promptly, he had no intention of finding the Soviet Union fighting France and Britain and waited until their nonintervention was certain before giving orders to cross the frontier.--Termer (talk) 03:21, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it's fairly obvious when they signed the pact that the unwritten understanding was that, eventually (with timing left uncertain), the Soviets would enter their half, as Germany was not going to sit on half of a country and let the other half attack it via guerilla forces, etc. with no response (the thought alone woudld be pretty silly). Frankly, to be blunt, the entire idea that the Soviets were ever not going to invade was pretty laughable if not just for that reason, but because many of the rail lines needed for the massive Soviet-German trading in the 8/19 Commercial Agreement run right through Poland (and there was massive rail car switching at the USSR-Poland border and later inside Poland because of differing gauges).
HOWEVER, I'm not sure that it can be said that the 9/1 invasion was "joint" on at least that date, mostly just because some might feel that the word "joint invasion" implies that both actively participated. And besides maybe some nice radio signal bumps out of Minsk, that probably wasn't the case. Re timing and intentions, the Soviets may have been taking at least a wait-and-see attitude (this is basicaly the Roberts 1992 take, though he doesn't quite state it this way in his later characterizations).Mosedschurte (talk) 03:36, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think your facts (but not interpretations) contradict to what I say. Definitely, some unwritten agreements existed, however we can only guess what had been discussed concretely. With regards to the radio broadcast, I presented exact text of the primary source: the request was submitted on 1 sept, and true reason was not explained. With regards to coordination, you forgot to mention the Ribbentrop telegram shown above: on Sept 3 he wasn't sure when the Soviet planned to attack Poland, and if they are intended to do that. If I understand the secondary sources correct, Stalin tried to provide a freedom of manoeuvre for himself until the very last moment: imagine that Polish resistance was cucsessful and France attacked Germany from the west. In that case he had an opporunity to remain neutral and to avoid a conflict with all major participants of the big European war. He attacked Poland only at the very last moment, when he realized that it was completely safe. It was a covardly position, and I don't see here no Stalin's apology.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:42, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
PS. After having written that text I realized that it almost completely coincided with what Termer wrote. Interestingly, we use the same facts to support opposite ideas: I argue that the attack was not joint because Stalin procrastinated to allow Germany to do all dirty job (or to decide which side to support), whereas Termer's maintains that the attack was joint although Stalin attacked later...--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:49, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I think you're correct that the facts don't contradict what you're saying. We really just don't know what was said or understood. The secondary sources (in all directions) all have to speculate as well. We know there was a secret protocol partitioning spheres of influence and we know that everyone knew that the Germans were going to invade, but we really don't know the Soviets' intent on timing or invasion before around 9/9 (when they officially told the Germans they were going in and the pretext they would give for it). I think, and this is speculation, that the Soviets knew that Germany thought that the Soviets would invade their half roughly simultaneously (days or weeks difference maybe) -- and perhaps this was even stated off the record -- and that Germany was becoming concerned in early September that the Soviets might delay rolling tanks across the eastern border. At the same time, the Soviets weren't really ready to invade on 9/1 against a then unsmashed Polish army. Plus, let's be honest, why not wait for Germany to blast the Poles' main forces and then stroll to the Curzon line with a few skirmishes? I'm not sure that's "cowardice", but perhaps just strategic thinking. Again, it's all speculation because we don't really know what they were thinking.Mosedschurte (talk) 05:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

All this is getting into semantics and we should put an end to this meaningless discussion. The facts are straight forward. How Poland was to be divided between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union was agreed on August 23. 1939. And that was the line where the Soviet and Nazi troops met one month later and had their joint parade on Sep. 22, 1939 to celebrate the successful invasion, and call it "joint" or not, the facts speak for themselves.--Termer (talk) 04:53, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

There is another idea for you, it was not a joint operation not only because it took USSR more than 2 weeks to get it's act together but also Germany invaded from west but USSR from the east. Therefore, since the directions of the invasions were opposite, it couldn't have been "joint invasion" despite that there are sources out there that say so.--Termer (talk) 05:00, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

An update to this discussion: no matter if it was a joint operation or not, a related fact says that The parliament of the pan-European security body passed a resolution equating the roles of the USSR and Nazi Germany in starting World War II --Termer (talk) 05:27, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

A "belligerents" section[edit]

I am wondering who introduced Estonian flag into the Belligerent sections? Wasn't Estonia neutral during WWII?--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:48, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Someone has indeed added this. With the footnote attached to it, works for me. Estonia declared neutrality in the war, yet there were attempts to restore independence using military force, see Bulletin of international news, Volume 21 By Royal Institute of International Affairs. Information Dept--Termer (talk) 02:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
The footnote is meant to clear the complicated matter. The battle groups partly led by Johan Pitka were organised in order to defend the Government of Estonia declared in 18 September 1944. Indeed, the government declared neutrality but when the German forces defending Toompea refused to leave, the battle groups attacked them. When the Soviets approached Tallinn, the Estonian forces set up defences against them and were beaten. So talking about Estonia in WWII, there were forces involved in Sept. 1944 that were neither pro-German, pro-Soviet nor paramilitary but pro-independence Estonian. However, Estonia as a state never formally declared war. Does it not work for you, Paul? --Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:21, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Sure, it does. I am aware of the Estonian contribution. However, AFAIK, the belligerents section should reflect formal rather that actual state of things. Since majority sources tell about Estonian neutrality, showing Estonian flag in the belligerents section may fit OR criteria. I will be glad if someone proved I was wrong.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:00, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
If that indeed is the policy, I will support removing the flag and the title 'Estonia' and replacing it with 'pro-independence Estonian forces'. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 14:17, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Jaan Pärn's solution would be the most appropriate. Estonia did redeclare its sovereignty between the Nazi retreat and Sovuet re-invasion and Estonian troops were engaged against both forces at the same time. Unfortunately, the Belligerent box is simply not set up to capture that sort of nuance. As an invaded neutral party, Estonia (official, flag, etc.) was not a belligerent in the sense/purpose of the infobox. VЄСRUМВА  ♪  14:26, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
That was exactly what I mean. Since peoples used not to read footnotes, the info box creates an impression that Estonia was a third party during WWII. I believe, the fact that Estonia was neutral during whole WWII but few days (and even during these days it remained neutral de jure) should be reflected in the info box more clearly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:26, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Finnish-Estonian cooperation[edit]

There could be a mentioned, that the Soviets used military bases in Estonia against Finland during the Winter War. And also, a mention of the Finnish–Estonian defense cooperation, where the Estonians gave a top secret information of the Red Army movements to the Finns, as the Estonian had decrypted the Soviet radio code. Peltimikko (talk) 06:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Should we just copy the Finnish–Estonian defense cooperation#Radio intelligence and the Winter War to the article? --Jaan Pärn (talk) 12:21, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Infobox?[edit]

I personally have some doubts if such article should have an infobox. Most articles about general WW II histories of specific countries don't seem to use it.--Staberinde (talk) 22:04, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I would agree to removing it. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 11:20, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

The entire 'Summer War' section is POV.[edit]

After Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Finland sided with Germany in the Continuation War. On July 3, Stalin made his public statement over the radio calling for a scorched earth policy in the areas to be abandoned. In North Estonia, the Soviet destruction battalions had the greatest impact, being the last Baltic territory captured from the Soviets. Pro-independence Forest Brothers, numbering about 50,000, attacked the forces of the NKVD and the 8th Army (Major General Ljubovtsev), killing 4,800 and capturing 14,000.

After the German 18th Army crossed the Estonian southern border on July 7–9, the Forest Brothers organized themselves into bigger units. They took on the Red Army units and Extermination Battalions in Võrumaa at Antsla on July 5, 1941. The next day a larger offensive happened in Vasteliina where the Forest Brothers prevented Russian destruction of the town and trapped the Russians, the extermination battalion chiefs and local communist administrators. On July 7 the Forest Brothers were able to hoist the Estonian flag in Vasteliina. Võru was subsequently liberated and by the time the German army arrived the blue-black-white flags were already at full mast and the Forest Brothers had organised into Omakaitse – self defense units.[60]

The battle of Tartu lasted for two weeks, and destroyed a large part of the city. In the fires of 12 and 13 July, the headquarters of the Estonian Defence League, the campus of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agriculture of the University of Tartu and more university buildings were burnt down. Several libraries of the University and 135 major private libraries were destroyed, totalling at 465,000 books, many archive materials and 2,500 pieces of art lost. Among them were the libraries of Aino and Gustav Suits and Aurora and Johannes Semper.[61]

Under the leadership of Friedrich Kurg, the Forest Brothers drove out the Soviets from Tartu, driving the Soviet troops behind the Pärnu River – the Emajõgi line and securing South Estonia under Estonian control by July 10.[62] The NKVD murdered 193 people in Tartu Prison on their retreat on July 8.

Soviet Extermination Battalions wrought havoc on the countryside while combating the national partisans. Formed in Estonia on June 27, 1941 in face of the advancing German Army. Ostensibly to fight against saboteurs and traitors, they were given wide mandate by the Soviet authorities to summarily execute any suspicious person. Thousands of people including a large proportion of women and children were killed, while dozens of villages, schools and public buildings were burned to the ground. A school boy Tullio Lindsaar had all bones in his hands broken then was bayoneted for hoisting the Estonian tri-colour. Mauricius Parts, son of the Estonian War of Independence hero Karl Parts, was doused in acid. In August 1941, all residents of the village Viru-Kabala were killed including a two-year old child and a six-day old infant. A partisan war broke out in response to the atrocities of the destruction battalions, with tens of thousands of men forming the Forest Brothers to protect the local population from these battalions.[63]

Etc.--SergeiXXX (talk) 22:25, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

In case it reads like a POV for you, you must be aware of an alternative POV? Please do not hesitate to dig up the sources that represent the POV you're talking about and it can be added to the article.--Termer (talk) 07:49, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Edits by Igny[edit]

I had to revert the undiscussed edits by Igny. An entire section + some sourced facts were removed for some reason? also what was this all about [22] "According to Estonian point of view". What is this "Estonian POV" exactly, what kind of source speaks about it? The same goes for [23] "partially supporting Estonia's position"? Who has said Estonia's position is supported and even better "partially"? I mean, if you're talking about "Estonia's position" first that comes to my mind is geography. In the context was it suppose to be a position, an opinion of somebody from Estonia? As I can't imagine an entire country has the same opinion about something. In case there is where is the source that says so?--Termer (talk) 07:45, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Nekrich, Aleksandr Moiseevich; Ulam, Adam Bruno; Freeze, Gregory L. (1997), Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German-Soviet Relations, 1922-1941, Columbia University Press, p. 130-1, ISBN 0231106769 
  2. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey The Soviet Decision for a Pact with Nazi Germany Soviet Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1 (1992), pp. 57-78)
  3. ^ Kitchen, Martin (1990). A World in Flames: A Short History of the Second World War. Longman. p. 74. ISBN 0582034086. The joint invasion of Poland was celebrated with a parade by the Wehrmacht and the Red Army in Brest Litovsk  line feed character in |quote= at position 79 (help)
  4. ^ Raack, Richard (1995). Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0804724156. The generals of the two invading armies went over the details of the prearranged line that would mark the two zones of conquest for Germany and Soviet Russia, subsequently to be rearranged one more time in Moscow. The military parade that followd was recorded by nazi cameras and celebrated in the German newsreel: German and Soviet generals cheek by jowl n military homage to each other's armies and victories.