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On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact whereby the parties divided the independent countries of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania into spheres of interest, with Finland falling to the Soviet sphere of interest. Shortly afterward, Germany invaded Poland and as a result the United Kingdom and France declared war against Germany. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland on 17 September. Next, Moscow demanded that the Baltic states allow the establishment of Soviet military bases and the stationing of troops on their soil. The Baltic governments accepted these ultimatums, signing corresponding agreements in September and October 1939.
In October 1939, the Soviet Union attempted to negotiate with Finland for the transfer of Finnish territories on the Karelian Isthmus and the islands of the Gulf of Finland to the Soviet Union and for the establishment of a Soviet military base near the Finnish capital Helsinki. The Finnish government refused, and the Red Army attacked Finland on 30 November 1939. Condemnation of the Soviets by the League of Nations and by countries all over the world had no effect on Soviet policy. International help for Finland was planned, but very little actual help materialized, except from Sweden. The Moscow Peace Treaty, which was signed on 12 March 1940, ended the Winter War. By the terms of the treaty, Finland lost one eleventh of its national territory and about 13% of its economic capacity. However, Finland had avoided having the Soviet Union annex the whole country.
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