|Born||25 Feb 1890|
|Died||8 Nov 1986|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseVyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was born in the village of Kukarka to Mr. Skryabin, a shop clerk. He was educated at a secondary school in Kazan, and joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1906. For his political work he took the pseudonym Molotov (from the Russian word for hammer, molot). He was arrested in 1909 and spent two years in exile in Siberia. In 1911 he enrolled at the St Petersburg Polytechnic, and also joined the editorial staff of Pravda, the underground Bolshevik newspaper, of which Joseph Stalin was editor. In 1913 he was again arrested and deported to Irkutsk, but in 1915 he escaped and returned to the capital.
ww2dbaseIn 1916 Molotov became a member of Bolshevik Party's committee in Petrograd, and when the February Revolution broke out in 1917 he was one of the few Bolsheviks of any standing in the capital. As a protĂ©gĂ© of Stalin, he became a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee which was responsible for the October Revolution that pushed Stalin to power. In 1918 Molotov was sent to Ukraine during its civil war, but did little fighting. In 1920 he was recalled to Russia by Stalin to become a member of the party secretariat. In 1921 he became a member of the Central Committee, and in 1926 a member of the Politburo. After Vladmir Lenin's death, Molotov was a stern supporter of Stalin in the subsequent power struggle. In Dec 1930, he became Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, in which role he oversaw the collectivization of agriculture that eventually led to millions of resistant land-owning peasants to labor camps. His Extraordinary Commission for Grain Delivery in Ukraine seized grain from the peasants and eventually caused a famine. Over four million people died as a result of Molotov's collectivization efforts. While his agricultural policies were disastrous, his industrial policies fared better. His first Five-Year Plan brought Russian's industrial capability closer to those of Russia's neighbors to the west. During the Great Purge that lasted from 1935 to 1938, Molotov often signed death warrants against Stalin's political enemies. In 1938, American journalist John Gunther wrote:
ww2dbaseIn May 1939, Stalin decided Russia needed to establish friendly relations with Germany to avoid confrontation with Adolf Hitler's expansionist policies. Stalin removed Maxim Litvinov, a man of Jewish faith, from the position of foreign minister, and installed Molotov instead. On 19 Aug 1939, German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop visited Moscow. On 24 Aug 1939, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed. On the surface, the pact was a ten-year agreement between the two nations to maintain a peaceful status quo, and should conflict arise neutral arbitration was to be employed instead of any act of war. However, within this document was a hidden protocol that would not be revealed until the German defeat in 1945. This hidden protocol detailed the division of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania under each nation's sphere of influence. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact kept Russia and Germany at a fragile peace until Jun 1941 when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa. Following the German invasion, Molotov visited London in 1941 and Washington in 1942, gathering western support against Germany. In 1942 he signed the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of Alliance with Britain and the United States. In the subsequent years, he accompanied Stalin to the major conferences with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. He also attended the San Francisco Conference that created the United Nations.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Molotov survived a renewed purge by Stalin, but fell from his favor. At the 19th Party Congress in 1952, Molotov was elected to the new, expanded Presidium of the Communist Party, but was excluded from the smaller standing committee of the Presidium. After Stalin's death in 1953, Molotov's political position was strengthened once again as he regained the position of Foreign Minister. In this position he made attempts to re-establish relations with Josip Tito's government in Yugoslavia and attended the Geneva Conference of 1955. His political position was challenged once again after Nikita Khrushchev's rise to power. Molotov became the leader of Russian leaders who served under Stalin and were now being attacked by Khrushchev. In Jun 1956, Molotov was removed from his position in the Foreign Ministry, and in Jul 1957 he was denounced by Khrushchev. He was given the position of ambassador to Mongolia so that he was removed from Moscow. In 1960 he was appointed to the International Atomic Energy Agency. In 1961, as a result of the 22nd Party Congress, he was relieved of all his responsibilities and kicked out of the Communist Party. In Mar 1962 he officially announced his retirement from politics. He was allowed to rejoin the party in 1984.
ww2dbaseMolotov died in Moscow in 1986. He now rests in peace at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.
Last Major Revision: Mar 2006
Vyacheslav Molotov Interactive Map
Vyacheslav Molotov Timeline
|25 Feb 1890||Vyacheslav Molotov was born.|
|3 May 1939||Molotov replaced Litvinov as the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.|
|31 May 1939||Vyacheslav Molotov gave his first speech as the Soviet foreign minister before the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union. He called for the Soviet Union to guarantee the borders of neighboring countries in Eastern Europe as means to contain German aggression, but at the same time, friendly relations should be maintained with Germany and Italy as commercial agreements with them were still of interest to the Soviet Union.|
|24 Jul 1939||Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov met with British and French representatives to work out a potential agreement against Germany; the plan Molotov proposed was similar to the 1914 alliance in an attempt to contain the German Empire.|
|9 Sep 1939||In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov informed the German ambassador that Soviet forces would be ready to attack Poland within a few days.|
|31 Oct 1939||Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet Foreign Minister, gloated over the dissolution of Poland, "ugly offspring of the Versailles Treaty", by the combined Soviet-German attack. He also accused the British of aggressive acts.|
|29 Mar 1940||Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov declared the Soviet Union neutral in the on-going European War.|
|17 Jun 1940||Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov sent German Ambassador Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg a message of congratulations for the successful German conquest of France.|
|13 Jul 1940||Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov leaked diplomatic communications between Britain and the Soviet Union, which should had been held confidentially between the two countries per general rules of international diplomacy, to Germany.|
|12 Nov 1940||Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov arrived in Berlin, Germany for discussions about spheres of influence in the Balkan Peninsula and in Finland. In the morning, German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop reassured Molotov that Germany had no further interest in eastern and southern Europe. In the afternoon, Molotov met with Adolf Hitler and relayed Joseph Stalin's request for Hitler to explain the recently formed German-Italian-Japanese military alliance and the recent German move into Romania; before Hitler gave a concrete answer, he noted that as the hour was getting late, the risk of British bombing was getting greater, thus the meeting should be broken up.|
|13 Nov 1940||Hitler, Ribbentrop, and Molotov continued their meeting in Berlin, Germany. Hitler attempted to divert Soviet aggression out of the Balkan Peninsula and Finland, and instead focus, together with Germany, to defeat the United Kingdom, with the ultimate prize being the partition of the British Empire among Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy, and Japan. Molotov, who was not moved, asked Hitler whether Germany would feel comfortable with a Soviet guarantee of Bulgarian borders much like how Germany had recently guaranteed Romanian borders; unable to answer that question, Hitler again broke off the discussion on the excuse of potential British bombings as the hours were getting late. Indeed, having known that Molotov was visiting Berlin, the British RAF launched bombers to attack Berlin as a show of force to convince Molotov that Britain was still in the fight. Ribbentrop and Molotov continued the meeting in a underground bunker amidst the bombing where Ribbentrop failed to entice Molotov with a four-power (Germany, Italy, Japan, and Soviet Union) military alliance proposal.|
|22 May 1941||Vyacheslav Molotov met with Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg in Moscow, Russia. Schulenburg, the German ambassador, reported that Molotov was extremely friendly.|
|22 Jun 1941||Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov announced the German invasion to the Soviet people at 2300 hours.|
|29 Sep 1941||Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, British Minister of Supply Lord Beaverbrook, and American envoy Harriman met in Moscow, Russia to discuss lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union.|
|6 Jan 1942||In the face of over 52,000 murders in Kiev, Ukraine, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov denounced German atrocities in the Soviet Union and began to document incidents of atrocities for future actions.|
|20 May 1942||Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet Minister for Foreign Affairs, met with Winston Churchill in London, England, United Kingdom and demanded to be told the date of the Second Front when British troops would again land in Europe. Churchill tried to explain that the time was not appropriate for an attack against fortress Europe (Dunkirk was still fresh in his mind and he had no desire to repeat the performance) until Britain was strong enough in arm, men and assault craft for such an ambitious operation. Angrily Molotov declared that he was not satisfied with Churchill's excuses and threatened to come to terms with the Germans unless the Allies came to the assistance of the Soviet Union immediately.|
|1 Mar 1946||The Soviet Council of Commissars approved the promotion of Vasiliy Stalin, the son of Joseph Stalin, to the rank of major general; Vyacheslav Molotov personally called Vasiliy Stalin to share the news, but Vasiliy Stalin was too drunk to understand.|
|8 Nov 1986||Vyacheslav Molotov passed away.|
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