🎧 A Faustian Bargain? The Nazi-Soviet Partnership
On 23 August 1939, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signed a pact in Moscow. This pact was perplexing to many at the time, and remains the subject of much discussion, mainly for the fact that it consolidated a partnership between the communist Soviet Union and the Nazis. Who was first to propose the relationship? Why did both the Soviets and the Germans agree to it? And how did it turn out for each of them? In this episode, James sought the answers to some of these questions with Professor Ian Johnson. They discuss the treatment of diplomats in either country during the talks, the possibility that the British and French missed an opportunity to prevent this alliance, and whether the traditional narrative that the Nazis forced Stalin into it should be reconsidered. Ian is a historian of war, diplomacy, and technology at the University of Notre Dame. His new book, Faustian Bargain: The Soviet-German Partnership and the Origins of the Second World War will be released in 2021.