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The USSR had a decisive role not only in defeating Germany and Japan, but also in shaping the very outburst of the war. E.g., Pearl Harbor was arguably a consequence of the battle of Khalkin-Gol:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol#Afterma...

And Hitler would have never invaded Poland if it wasn't for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact...




>And Hitler would have never invaded Poland if it wasn't for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

It is not true ..

"In 1934, Hitler himself had spoken of an inescapable battle against both Pan-Slavism and Neo-Slavism, the victory in which would lead to "permanent mastery of the world", though he stated that they would "walk part of the road with the Russians, if that will help us."" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact...

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What he said in 1934 and what actually happened though are two different things. You can't equate the one which happened to what would have happened if that had not been the case.

History only happens once, alternative branches are ruthlessly pruned by the things that actually happen and we have no way of knowing what would have happened for any of the other branches.

The fact that he said it in 1934 but waited until one week after the signing of the pact gives some doubt about whether or not he would have done it if the Russians hadn't signed.

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He had good history of attacking places without Russian approval, so most likely he would have attacked Poland either way. The pact with USSR was tactically advantageous, but unlikely deciding.

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The German invasion of Poland is commonly seen as the start of World War II, which other places do you refer to?

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I used past tense relative to our times, sorry. Does it really matter though that France turn wasn't before Poland?

Anyway, in 1938 Germany and Poland partitioned Czechoslovakia in the same way Poland would be handled year later. At this event Polish minister Beck said that Czechoslovakia is not a real country anyway, giving tacit approval to total German occupation. No one however would claim German incursion could be avoided if not Polish participation.

It was nearly identical situation in 1939, only the scale was bigger and some shots finally fired.

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I don't think we're going to agree on that one. Poland was desperately trying to avoid being crushed by either Germany or Russia at that point and tried to save its own hide at the expense of Czechoslovakia. It's not as though Poland would have invaded Czechoslovakia itself, the way Germany and Russia made their pact.

Not quite idential.

Incidentally, I was in Prague 2 days ago, what a beautiful city it is.

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Right, we then have to agree to disagree. The domestic excuse for Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in USSR was also, to recite my schoolbook, "an attempt to postpone inevitable war with Nazi Germany", politicians don't really have much imagination anywhere. Poland's role in Czechoslovakia was marginal, however military contribution of USSR in Polish campaign was also insignificant. To me it's almost as if Hitler used cookie-cutter strategy both times, and both adversaries fell for it.

Never been to Czech yet, but I've spent three fine days in Krakow last month. Beautiful town, fortunately left mostly intact in the war.

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Krakow has the most beautiful town center set in the dirtiest town I've ever been too, though in recent years they've cleaned it up quite a bit from when it was at it's worst (late 1980's).

There are lots of nice cities in Poland.

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