Nazi-Soviet talks: Molotov in Berlin

Molotov meets Ribbentrop in Berlin

Vyacheslav Molotov, centre, the Soviet Foreign Minister was in Berlin for talks with Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop on 12th November 1940

The Russian Foreign Minister Molotov, visited Berlin for talks on the continued Nazi-Soviet pact. Hitler was to claim:

The war had … led to complications which were not intended by Germany, but which had compelled her from time to time to react militarily to certain events. The Führer then outlined to Molotov the course of military operations up to the present, which had led to the fact that England no longer had an ally on the continent. He described in detail the military operations now being carried out against England, and he stressed the influence of atmospheric conditions on these operations.

The English retaliatory measures were ridiculous, and the Russian gentlemen could convince themselves at first hand of the fiction of alleged destruction in Berlin. As soon as atmospheric conditions improved, Germany would be poised for the great and final blow against England. At the moment, then, it was her aim to try not only to make military preparations for this final struggle, but also to clarify the political issues which would be of importance during and after this showdown.

He had, therefore, reexamined the relations with Russia, and not in a negative spirit, but with the intention of organizing them positively-if possible, for a long period of time.

See the full text of the ‘Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Führer and the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars and People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov’ at World Future Fund.

Yet at the very same time the secret planning for the German invasion of Russia was at an advanced stage, and details would be released to army commanders in the following month. The meeting was just a smokescreen. Germany was receiving substantial supplies and raw materials from Russia, and would continue to do so until just hours before she invaded Russia in June 1941. She just needed to keep orderly relations with the Soviets for the present. It was not surprising that Molotov found all of Hitler’s talk about the New World Order to be very vague.

Later Molotov continued his talks with the German Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop. Their meeting was interrupted with an air raid on Berlin by the RAF. They moved to Ribbentrop’s private air raid shelter to continue the meeting. Allegedly Molotov was treated to a long monologue by Ribbentrop on why the British were ‘finished’, leading Molotov to comment:

If that is so – then why are we in this shelter – and whose are those bombs that are falling?

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