Stalin's speech on Aug 19, 1939

From Academic Kids

Stalin's speech on Aug 19, 1939 is argued to have been a secret speech of Stalin to Soviet leaders, wherein he supposedly described the strategy of the Soviet Union in the eve of WW2. Published allegations on the content of this speech, aswell as opposing views, have been suspect of being propaganda and disinformation.



Stalin expressed an expectation that the war would be the best opportunity to weaken both the Western nations and Nazi Germany, and make Germany suitable for "Sovietization". The Soviet Union also expected territorial expansion to the Baltic countries (including Finland) and Poland with the approval of either the Western powers or Germany.

The opinions voiced by Stalin formed the base for the Nazi-Soviet pact of non-aggression (also known as Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact).


The very fact that this speech was ever given is still being widely disputed by historians. No positive record exists of this speech or of a Politburo meeting taking place on August 19, 1939.

The first version of this speech was published on November 28, 1939, in the Swiss journal Revue de Droit International. Since then several versions, varying in content, have been in circulation.

In Pravda of November 30, 1939, the day of the outbreak of the Winter War, Stalin was asked for his opinion of the report of "the speech" allegedly made "by Stalin to the Politburo on August 19", in which he is said to have expressed the thought that the war should go on as long as possible, so that the belligerents are exhausted." Stalin does deny this tactics. Pravda then quotes Stalin[1] (

  1. that it cannot be denied that it was France and England that attacked Germany and consequently they are responsible for the present war;
  2. that Germany made peace proposals to France and England, proposals supported by the Soviet Union on the grounds that a quick end to the war would ease the situation of all countries and peoples;
  3. that the ruling circles of England and France rudely rejected Germany's peace proposals.

Some Kremlinologists would interpret this as Stalin's implicit acceptance of the context of the question, i.e. the thoughts of the speech.

In 1994, Russian publicist T. S. Bushuyeva published the alleged archival reference of the Speech in an article printed in the Novy Mir magazine (#12, 1994), based on what she claimed was recent findings in Soviet Special Archives of a text that according to her was supposedly recorded by a Comintern member present at the meeting. However the actual original text is not available yet. Bushuyeva also printed a Russian translation of a version available in French language. This caused another surge of speculations on the issue. It turned out that the referred archival record is from the stock related to the documents of General Staff of French Army, a fact omitted by Bushuyeva.

An article in the Otechestvennaya Istoriya (History of the Fatherland), Отечественная история, 2004, № 1) by Sergey Sluch (С.З. Случ) critically reviews the history of the "Stalin's Speech", its textologial analysis, and possible reasons and sources of the possible forgery.

At the same time, proofs of non-existence of the "Speech" are also being met with scepticism, in view of a similar vigorous denial of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.


  • Revue de Droit International, de Sciences Diplomatiques et Politiques (The International Law Review), 1939, Nr. 3, Juillet-Septembre. P. 247-249.
  • Otechestvennaya Istoriya Отечественная история, 2004, № 1, pp. 113-139.

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