While these daring actions were again securing the North African front with the blood of German and Italian soldiers, the threatening clouds of terrible danger were gathering over Europe. Compelled by bitter necessity, I decided in the fall of 1939 to at least try to create the prerequisite conditions for a general peace by eliminating the acute tension between Germany and Soviet Russia [with the German-Soviet non-aggression pact of August 23, 1939]. This was psychologically difficult because of the basic attitude toward Bolshevism of the German people and, above all, of the [National Socialist] Party. Objectively, though, this was a simple matter because in all the countries that Britain said were threatened by us and which were offered military alliances, Germany actually had only economic interests.
I may remind you, deputies and men of the German Reichstag, that throughout the spring and summer of 1939 Britain offered military alliances to a number of countries, claiming that Germany intended to invade them and rob them of their freedom. However, the German Reich and its government could assure them with a clear conscience that these insinuations did not correspond to the truth in any way. Moreover, there was the sober military realization that in case of a war which might be forced upon the German nation by British diplomacy, the struggle could be fought on two fronts only with very great sacrifices. And after the Baltic states, Romania, and so forth, were inclined to accept the British offers of military alliance, and thereby made clear that they also believed themselves to be threatened [by Germany], it was not only the right but also the duty of the German Reich government to delineate the [geographical] limits of German interests [between Germany and the USSR].