The recent actions taken by Russia against Ukraine are reminiscent of how they treated the countries of Eastern Europe for nearly 50 years after the end of World War II in 1945. I think especially of Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). The Prime Ministers of those countries began a process of allowing people to utilize their talents in a way beneficial to themselves and to society as a whole. Human and civil rights which had been suppressed under communist dictatorship were being gradually restored. This situation did not please Moscow. They sent in their forces with tanks to crush the movement towards free enterprise. The two prime ministers were replaced with their own puppets and in Budapest the tanks rolled over unarmed civilians in the streets and the evil communist regimes were restored. The stranglehold which communist Russia held over all of Eastern Europe was allowed to happen by the weak-kneed agreement which the USA, the UK and France made with the USSR in 1945.
On 23 August 1939, a Nazi-Soviet non-aggression treaty was signed in Moscow by German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs Molotov. It secured the benevolent neutrality of the Soviet Union towards Germany's approaching attack on Poland. On 28 Sept 1939, a secret protocol partitioned Poland between the two powers and placed Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in addition to the Romanian territory of Bessarabia, within the Soviet sphere of influence. The treaty remained in force until 22 June 1941 when Germany invaded Russia without warning.
The German troops moved rapidly through Russia and were soon surrounding Moscow. Stalin appealed to the USA for support. On 7 December 1941, the USA entered the war after Japanese bombers destroyed two-thirds of its naval fleet anchored at Pearl Harbour in the Pacific Ocean. With the Japanese diverted from its eastern flank and the Nazis preoccupied in North Africa, Italy and France, the extreme Russian Winter allowed the Red Army to regroup and drive the enemy back. The war left Germany divided with a large part of the country east of the river Elbe falling under communist control.
Berlin was divided into four sections controlled by the USA, UK, France and the USSR. East Germany became one of the most brutal of the Communist satellite states. Between 1949 and 1961, during which free movement was allowed, 2,700,000 crossed from East Germany into West Berlin and never returned. In August 1961, a year in which more than 3,000 a day were crossing into the west, on the instructions of Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev, a 96 mile wall was erected to halt the outflow. Many lost their lives from communist rifles in attempting to escape; many others succeeded. The present Russian president, Mr. Putin, was head of the KGB, the Russian secret police, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.
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