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The Czechs were within what Stalin and Hitler agreed was Hitler's sphere.
and of course the Russo-Lithuanian war of 1918-20
In July 1920, Poland was losing the Polish–Soviet War and was in full retreat. The Lithuanians followed retreating Polish troops to secure the territory, assigned to Lithuania by the Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty. The Soviets were the first to enter Vilnius. When Poland achieved a major victory in the Battle of Warsaw and forced the Soviets to retreat in August 1920, Lithuanians defended their new borders. Poland did not recognize the Peace Treaty and claimed that Lithuania had become a Soviet ally. Fighting broke out in the Suwałki Region. During the Battle of the Niemen River, Poland attacked Lithuania on a wide front. The battle drastically altered the military situation and left Vilnius open to an attack. Under pressure from the League of Nations, Poland signed the Suwałki Agreement on October 7, 1920. The agreement drew a new demarcation line, which was incomplete and did not provide protection to Vilnius.
The 1938 Polish ultimatum to Lithuania was an ultimatum delivered to Lithuania by Poland on March 17, 1938. The Lithuanian government had steadfastly refused to have any diplomatic relations with Poland after 1920, protesting the annexation by Poland of the Vilnius Region. As pre-World War II tensions in Europe intensified, Poland perceived the need to secure its northern borders. Five days earlier, Poland, feeling supported by international recognition of the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, decided it was imperative to deliver an ultimatum to Lithuania. The ultimatum demanded that the Lithuanian government unconditionally agree to establish diplomatic relations with Warsaw within 48 hours, and that the terms be finalized before March 31. The establishment of diplomatic relations would mean a de facto renunciation of Lithuanian claims to the region containing its historic capital, Vilnius (known in Polish as Wilno).
Lithuania, preferring peace to war, accepted the ultimatum on March 19. Although diplomatic relations were established as a result of the ultimatum, Lithuania did not agree to recognize the loss of Vilnius de jure. The government of Poland made a similar move against the Czechoslovak government in Prague on September 30, 1938, when it took advantage of the Sudeten Crisis to demand a portion of Zaolzie. On both occasions, Poland used the international crises to address long-standing border disputes.
1939 German ultimatum to Lithuania was an oral ultimatum presented to Juozas Urbšys, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany, on March 20, 1939.
German warships in the port the day after the ultimatum was accepted
Before the treaty was signed, German soldiers had already entered the port of Klaipėda. Adolf Hitler, on board the cruiser Deutschland, personally toured the city and gave a short speech.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk lasted only eight and a half months. Germany renounced the treaty and broke diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia on 5 November 1918. Turkey broke the treaty after just two months by invading the newly created First Republic of Armenia in May 1918. In the Armistice with Germany that ended World War I, one of the first conditions was the complete abrogation of the Brest-Litovsk treaty. Following the German capitulation, the Bolshevik legislature (VTsIK) (ВЦИК, Центральный Исполнительный Комитет) annulled the treaty on 13 November 1918, and the text of the VTsIK Decision was printed in Pravda newspaper the next day. In the year after the Armistice, the German Army withdrew its occupying forces from the lands gained in Brest-Litovsk, leaving behind a power vacuum that various forces subsequently attempted to fill. In the Treaty of Rapallo, concluded in April 1922, Germany accepted the Treaty's nullification, and the two powers agreed to abandon all war-related territorial and financial claims against each other.
The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty, also known as the Moscow Peace Treaty, was signed between Lithuania and Soviet Russia on July 12, 1920. In exchange for Lithuania's neutrality and permission to freely move its troops in the recognized territory during its war against Poland, Soviet Russia recognized the sovereignty of Lithuania. The treaty was a major milestone in Lithuania's struggle for international recognition. It also recognized Lithuania's eastern borders. Interwar Lithuania officially maintained that its de jure borders were those delineated by the treaty despite the fact that a large territory, the Vilnius Region, was in fact controlled by Poland.
It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels and under varying labels that they were in a position to be able to build up their main organ Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow base of their party.
Von Kühlmann, minister of foreign affairs, to the kaiser, December 3, 1917
In April 1917 Lenin and a party of 32 Russian revolutionaries, mostly Bolsheviks, journeyed by train from Switzerland across Germany through Sweden to Petrograd, Russia. They were on their way to join Leon Trotsky to "complete the revolution." Their trans-Germany transit was approved, facilitated, and financed by the German General Staff. Lenin's transit to Russia was part of a plan approved by the German Supreme Command, apparently not immediately known to the kaiser, to aid in the disintegration of the Russian army and so eliminate Russia from World War I. The possibility that the Bolsheviks might be turned against Germany and Europe did not occur to the German General Staff. Major General Hoffman has written, "We neither knew nor foresaw the danger to humanity from the consequences of this journey of the Bolsheviks to Russia.
At that moment of chaos and civil war in Russia, the Poles struck. In February 1919, Pilsudski sent his troops northeast, occupying as much territory as possible for the purpose of presenting a fait accompli to the Allied Supreme Council. That body would then be forced to recognize Poland's expanded eastern boundaries.
The Polish forces encountered little resistance and advanced rapidly, soon capturing Wilno (Vilius), a historically Polish city, from the Lithuanians, who had proclaimed it the capital of their new republic. By the autumn of 1919, the Polish red-and-white banner was flying over large sections of Belorussia and the western Galician part of the Ukraine was well.
Pilsudski ordered a halt at that point, his intelligence service having informed him that the Whites under General Denikin were pressuring Moscow from the south and could possibly capture the seat of the Bolshevik regime. The Poles surmised that a White government bent on the reconstruction of the old empire would prove more recalcitrant than the hard-pressed Bolsheviks. Denikin was willing to allow Poland to exist up to the borders of Privislanski Kaj, a former Russian province carved from Poland, in exchange for Polish participation in an anti-Communist crusade, but since those terms would deprive Poland of half the territory Pilsudski wanted, the Polish commander in chief rejected that and other White offers. Although Pilsudski secretly negotiated with the Reds for an acceptable eastern frontier, he was by no means convinced of Lenin's sincerity.
In December, the British foreign minister, Lord George Nathaniel Curzon, proposed a frontier that roughly corresponded to the ethnic limits of Poland but failed to include the two predominantly Polish cities of Lwow and Wilno. Ironically, the 'Curzon Line,' as it was later dubbed, was to become the eastern border of post-World War II Poland. The border proposed by the British, although never meant to be a final frontier, was rejected by the Poles, for they had already pushed beyond it.
When it became evident to Pilsudski that the Bolsheviks had turned the tide in the civil war and the Whites appeared doomed, Polish-Soviet negotiations were broken off and the Poles prepared for another thrust into Belorussia and the Ukraine. Such an action, the Poles knew, would be tantamount to a full-blown anti-Soviet war.
Before pressing forward,d Pilsudski shopped around for an ally and found one in the anti-Bolshevik Ukrainian Ataman Semyon Pelyura, whose bedraggled troops had fought both Denikin's Whites and Trotsky's Reds for possession of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Nothing loess than complete Ukrainian independence was Petlyura's goal, but he concluded the Poles were decidedly the lesser evil compared to either the White or Red Russians. Overcoming severe objections of several of his nationalist associates, the Ukrainian leader came to Poland to ask Pilsudski's help and, on December 2, 1919, signed a treaty granting eastern Galicia and western Volhynia to Poland in return for Polish support of Petlyura's efforts to recapture Kiev and extend the Ukraine's borders to the western bank of the Dnieper River.
Immediately after the collapse of the Polish-Soviet negotiations, Pilsudski ordered several Polish divisions to move north and assist Latvian troops in dislodging the Bolsheviks from the banks of the Dvina River. The campaign resulted in the capture of the crucial fortress of Dvinski on January 3, 1920, and frightened the Soviets into resuming negotiations with the Poles.
Pilsudski rejected Lenin's offer of a frontier settlement that corresponded somewhat to the existing front line; he deliberately dragged his feet, convinced that the Red offer was insincere, a ploy masking Moscow's real intentions — a transfer of troops from the crumbling White fronts to the Polish line. As a gesture of good faith, Pilsudski insisted that the peace talks should be conducted at Borissov, a small Belorussian town near the front. The Soviets' insistent rejection of that demand apparently convinced the Polish leader that an attack on his position was imminent.
While playing the Bolshevik negotiating game throughout the winter months, Pilsudski prepared for battle. Determined to strike first, he managed to station 100,000 Polish troops on the front, but they were spread out a line more than 600 miles long. Meanwhile, Warsaw's intelligence service kept Pilsudski informed of every detail of Soviet troops movements toward the front while the talks continued.
By that time, London and Paris were greatly alarmed at the reports they were getting of the Polish war preparations. Foreign Secretary Curzon fired a sharply worded telegram to Pilsudski on February 9, warning him that Poland should expect 'neither help nor support' from Great Britain. The Allied Supreme Council followed suit two weeks later with a stern admonition. Pilsudski ignored both messages.
Polish spies reported to Warsaw that more Red troops, fresh from victory over the Whites, were transferring west to the front every day. By spring, Pilsudski could wait no longer. On April 21, the Polish chief of state signed a military agreement with Peltyura and his Ukrainian National Council for a pre-emptive expedition against the Bolsheviks. Should the campaign prove successful, the Ukrainians were pledged to enter a federal union with Poland. Four days after the pact was signed, Pilsudski launched a daring offensive deep into the Ukraine.
This article was written by Robert Szymczak and originally published in the February 1995 issue of Military History magazine.
originally posted by: Xcathdra
a reply to: PonderingSceptic
It is difficult to violate something when you are not a signatory to the treaty in question.
Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
Art. 51. The Occupying Power may not compel protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces. No pressure or propaganda which aims at securing voluntary enlistment is permitted.