How important was the Nazi Soviet Pact?
After Czechoslovakia, it was obvious that Poland would be next. Germany had some obvious claims on Polish territory, such as the Polish Corridor which had been taken from Germany in the Treaty of Versailles.
Despite this, Poland enjoyed a friendly relationship with Hitler's Germany until 1939. This was because the Polish government sympathised with the Nazi's authoritarian and anti-semitic policies. At first Poland found it hard to take Hitler's demands and increasing threats towards them seriously, thinking their best hope of survival was to avoid making commitments to either of their two powerful neighbours, Germany and the Soviet Union.
Britain's promise to preserve the independence of Poland made the Poles feel safer than they actually were. There was little that Britain and France could do to stop a German invasion of Poland, it was too far away to help them. This meant the attitude of the Soviet Union would be crucial.
Talks between Britain, France and the Soviet Union took place throughout early August 1939 but collapsed because of distrust between the two sides. They also collapsed because the Poles refused to let Soviet troops enter their territory in advance of an attack by Germany. The Soviets thought that Britain and France would be happy to see the Soviet Union doing…