OCEANIA HAS NEVER BEEN AT WAR WITH EURASIA: For the first two years of World War II, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were allies; Hitler and Stalin secretly planned and jointly began the war that inflicted such horror and destruction.

There is no denying that a vast number of Soviet citizens lost their lives in World War II. Without the Russian people’s appalling suffering and sacrifice, the Allies might not have triumphed in the end.

But there is also no denying that Moscow was Nazi Germany’s partner in unleashing the war, the deadliest in human history, in the first place. Victory Day is a good opportunity to review the record of Russian culpability in plunging the world into war — a record the Kremlin’s propagandists have been trying to obscure for decades.

World War II is commonly said to have started on Sept. 1, 1939 , when German forces invaded Poland. But it would perhaps be more accurate to date the start of the war nine days earlier. On Aug. 23, 1939, German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signed a treaty of non-aggression, whereby their governments agreed to conquer and divide Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe. It was under the terms of this pact that the Nazi Wehrmacht moved into western Poland on Sept. 1 and Josef Stalin’s Red Army invaded Poland from the east 16 days later.

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(Classical reference in headline.)