German–Estonian Non-Aggression Pact was signed in Berlin on June 7, 1939, by the Estonian and German Ministers of Foreign Affairs Karl Selter and Joachim von Ribbentrop. German–Latvian Non-Aggression Pact was also signed on the same day. Ratifications of the German-Estonian pact were exchanged in Berlin on July 24, 1939 and it became effective on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on August 12, 1939. The pact was intended for a period of ten years.
The pacts were intended to prevent western or Soviet powers from gaining influence in the Baltic States and thus encircling Germany (non-aggression pact with Lithuania was concluded in March after the 1939 German ultimatum to Lithuania regarding the Klaipėda Region). These states were to provide a barrier against any Soviet intervention in a planned German–Polish War.
Nazi Germany offered to sign non-aggression pacts with Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden on April 28, 1939. Sweden, Norway, and Finland rejected the proposal. First drafts were prepared the first week of May, but the signing of the treaties was twice delayed due to Latvia's requests for clarification.
Karl Selter (born 24 June 1898 in Koeru, Estonia – died 31 January 1958 in Geneva, Switzerland) was an Estonian politician and a Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. He served as Minister of Economic Affairs from 1933 to 1938 and as minister of Foreign affairs from 1938 to 1939. His historically most memorable act was to sign a non-aggression and mutual assistance treaty with the Soviet leaders in Moscow in September 1939. This was also his personal and national Estonian most tragic act. It followed a brutal ultimatum from the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov on 24 September. Molotov said to Setler: Estonia gained sovereignty when the Soviet Union was powerless, but you “don’t think that this can last… forever… The Soviet Union is now a great power whose interests need to be taken into consideration. I tell you—the Soviet Union needs enlargement of her security guarantee system; for this purpose she needs an exit to the Baltic Sea … I ask you, do not compel us to use force against Estonia.” The enforced in this manner treaty gave the Soviet army a right to set up military bases in Estonia, and it significantly reduced Estonia's independence until Estonia was formally incorporated into the Soviet Union between June and August 1940. Selter left Estonia in November 1939, resigning both as Foreign Minister and as a member of Parliament. He moved to Geneva, Switzerland as a diplomat. After Germany occupied Estonia between 1941 and 1944, and after it was re-incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1944, he stayed in Switzerland as an exiled diplomat and politician.Non-aggression pact
A non-aggression pact or neutrality pact is a national treaty between two or more states/countries where the signatories promise not to engage in military action against each other.Leeds, Ritter, Mitchell, & Long (2002) have distinguished between the concept of the terms non-aggression pact and neutrality pact. Leeds et al. (2002) posit that the term non-aggression pact is considered to be a pact that includes the promise not to attack the other pact signatories, whereas, according to Leeds et al. (2002), a neutrality pact includes a promise to avoid support of any entity that acts against the interests of any of the pact signatories. The most readily recognized example of the aforementioned entity is another country, nation-state, or sovereign organization that represents a negative consequence towards the advantages held by one or more of the signatory parties.In the 19th century neutrality pacts have historically been used to give permission for one signatory of the pact to attack or attempt to negatively influence an entity not protected by the neutrality pact. The participants of the neutrality pact agree not to attempt to counteract an act of aggression waged by a pact signatory towards an entity not protected under the terms of the pact. Possible motivations for such acts by one or more of the pacts' signatories include a desire to take, or expand, control of, economic resources, militarily important locations, etc.Such pacts were a popular form of international agreement in the 1920s and 1930s, but have largely fallen out of use after the Second World War. Since the implementation of a non-aggression pact necessarily depends on the good faith of the parties, the international community, following the Second World War, adopted the norm of multilateral collective security agreements, such as the treaties establishing NATO, ANZUS, SEATO and Warsaw Pact.An example of non-aggression pact is the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Pact lasted until the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.It has been found that major powers are more likely to start military conflicts against their partners in non-aggression pacts than against states that do not have any sort of alliance with them.Timeline of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
The timeline of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is a chronology of events, including Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations, leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Treaty of Non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was signed in the early hours of August 24, 1939, but was dated August 23.