Delayed Commercial Agreement Signing
After Soviet and German officials in Moscow first finalized the terms of a seven-year German-Soviet Commercial Agreement, German officials became nervous that the Soviets were delaying its signing on August 19 for political reasons. When Tass published a report that the Soviet-British-French talks had become snarled over the Far East and "entirely different matters", Germany took it as a signal that there was still time and hope to reach a Soviet-German deal. Hitler himself sent out a coded telegram to Stalin stating that because "Poland has become intolerable," Stalin must receive Ribbentrop in Moscow by August 23 at the latest to sign a Pact. Controversy surrounds a related alleged Stalin's speech on August 19, 1939 asserting that a great war between the Western powers was necessary for the spread of World Revolution. Historians debate whether that speech ever actually occurred.
At 2:00 a.m. on August 20, Germany and the Soviet Union signed a commercial agreement, dated August 19, providing for the trade of certain German military and civilian equipment in exchange for Soviet raw materials. The agreement covered "current" business, which entailed a Soviet obligation to deliver 180 million Reichsmarks in raw materials in response to German orders, while Germany would allow the Soviets to order 120 million Reichsmarks for German industrial goods. Under the agreement, Germany also granted the Soviet Union a merchandise credit of 200 million Reichsmarks over 7 years to buy German manufactured goods at an extremely favorable interest rate.
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