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Yalta Conference

Yalta Conference (1945).In 1945, the “Big Three” of World War IIFranklin D. Roosevelt, Winston S. Churchill, and Josef Stalin—had not met since December 1943. Because of Allied landings in France and the Soviet thrust across Poland and into Germany, by the summer of 1944 a second meeting of the three men was deemed necessary. But arguments over the time and place of their meeting delayed the conference until 4–11 February 1945, when they met at Yalta in the Crimea because Stalin refused to leave the Soviet Union.

Each man traveled to Yalta for different reasons. Roosevelt came because of his desire to create a United Nations before World War II ended. Churchill feared the growing power of the Soviet Union in a devastated Europe. Stalin was intent on protecting the Soviet Union against another German invasion. The major problems facing the three leaders included Poland, Germany, Soviet entry into the war against Japan, and the United Nations.

At Yalta, Roosevelt attained his goal in an agreement for a conference on the United Nations to convene in San Francisco, 25 April 1945. In addition, Stalin accepted the American proposal on the use of the veto in the Security Council and the number of Soviet states represented in the General Assembly.

Much time was spent on Poland because Stalin insisted on a “friendly” Poland. The three men agreed to move the Polish eastern boundary westward to the 1919 Curzon Line and to restore western Byelorussia and the western Ukraine to the Soviet Union. At Stalin's insistence, a Communist Polish provisional government would be reorganized to include primarily Polish leaders from within Poland, but he agreed to some from abroad to placate Roosevelt. Stalin promised free elections there within a month on the basis of universal suffrage and the secret ballot.

Stalin demanded $20 billion in reparations from Germany, half of this sum to be destined for the Soviet Union. Churchill rejected this amount while Roosevelt accepted the sum as a basis for future discussion. Germany would be temporarily divided into three zones of occupation, with France invited to become a fourth occupying power.

Stalin promised that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan after the fighting ended in Europe. Stalin's terms for this were accepted: the southern Sakhalin and adjacent islands to be returned to the Soviet Union; Darien to be internationalized; Port Arthur to be leased as a naval base to the Soviet Union; Chinese‐Soviet companies to operate the Chinese‐Eastern and the South Manchurian railroads; Outer Mongolia to remain independent of China; and the Kurile Islands to be handed over to the Soviet Union. China would be sovereign in Manchuria.

In a Declaration on Liberated Europe, proposed by Roosevelt, the three governments pledged jointly to assist liberated people in forming temporary governments representing all democratic elements and pledged to free, early elections. When the three governments thought action necessary, they would consult together on measures to fulfill their responsibilities. There could be no action without the agreement of all three governments.

Roosevelt probably hoped that in the United States, the Declaration would project an acceptable image of the Yalta Conference as the protector of the rights of liberated peoples. It could also be a standard against which Stalin's policies in Eastern Europe could be judged. However, when put to the test, Declaration proved ineffective. After the Yalta Conference, the Western powers accepted a Polish government in which two‐thirds of the members were Communists. When elections finally came in 1947, they were not democratic.

In the Far East, Soviet armies went to war against Japan two days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The Soviet entry into the war accelerated the Japanese surrender. However, in February 1945, American military planners had expected the war against Japan to drag on into 1946 or even 1947.

As the Cold War heated up, anti‐Communist American critics, particularly in the Republican Party, condemned Yalta as a symbol of appeasement and a diplomatic defeat for the United States. Poland and Eastern Europe had been betrayed. The United States should avoid negotiating with the Soviet Union. Some critics later insisted that China had gone Communist because of the Yalta Conference. The severest claimed that Roosevelt was either too sick to deal with Stalin or was duped by him.

The reality of Yalta was that the location of armies determined the final outcome. Soviet armed forces decided the politics of Eastern Europe; Allied forces influenced politics in Western Europe. China became Communist because the armies of Chiang Kaishek were defeated, not because Roosevelt had abandoned Chiang.

Yalta was an attempt to transform a temporary wartime coalition into a permanent agency for peace. Roosevelt apparently hoped to modify Stalin's behavior through the United Nations and postwar U.S. policies. Agreements had been negotiated while war was in progress when unity was vital. After the enemies were vanquished, however, the victors quarreled and their fundamental disagreements emerged.
[See also Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Bombings of; World War II: Postwar Impact; World War II: Changing Interpretations.]

Bibliography

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. , Roosevelt and the Russians. The Yalta Conference, ed. Walter Johnson, 1949.
Foreign Relations of the United States. Diplomatic Papers. The Conference at Malta and Yalta, 1955.
John L. Snell, ed., The Meaning of Yalta: Big Three Diplomacy and the New Balance of Power, 1955.
Diane Shaver Clemens , Yalta, 1970.
Athan G. Theoharis , The Yalta Myth: An Issue in American Politics, 1945–1955, 1970.
Richard F. Fenno, Jr., ed., The Yalta Conference, 1972.
Russell D. Buhite , Decision at Yalta. An Appraisal of Summit Diplomacy, 1986.

Keith Eubank

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Yalta Conference

YALTA CONFERENCE

YALTA CONFERENCE. In early February 1945, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Marshal Joseph Stalin met in the Black Sea port city of Yalta to discuss the postwar administration of Europe. At the time of the conference, Allied forces had pushed Nazi Germany to the brink of collapse, and all sides recognized that the end of World War II was imminent. Roosevelt hoped to use the conference not only as a planning meeting for the postwar period but also as a forum to establish a warmer personal relationship with Stalin. Although weakened by a deteriorating heart condition that took his life two months later, Roosevelt believed he could use his charm and skills of persuasion to win Stalin's confidence in American goodwill, thereby ensuring a peaceful postwar world order.

Despite Roosevelt's efforts, however, Stalin drove a hard bargain at Yalta. Roosevelt's physical weakness as a dying man and Churchill's political weakness as head of a dying empire left Stalin in the strongest bargaining position of the three. The fact that Soviet forces had numerical superiority over their American and British allies on the continent of Europe further strengthened Stalin's hand. After a week of negotations, the three leaders announced agreement on (1) the occupation of Germany by the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France in four separate zones; (2) a conference of the signatories of the United Nations Declaration to open at San Francisco on 25 April 1945, for the purpose of establishing a world peace organization; (3) a (then-secret) large-power voting formula in the new organization; (4) an eastern boundary of Poland mainly following the Curzon Line (which gave the Soviet Union about one-third of prewar Poland), for which Poland was to be compensated by unspecified German territory in the north and west, and a new, freely elected, democratic Polish government; and (5) freely elected democratic governments for other liberated European nations. A supplementary secret agreement provided for Soviet entry into the war with Japan in two or three months after Germany surrendered, and, in return, British and American acceptance of (1) the status quo of Outer Mongolia; (2) restoration to the Soviet Union of its position in Manchuria before the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), with safeguarding of Soviet


interests in Dairen, Port Arthur, and the Manchurian railways; and (3) the cession to the Soviet Union of the Kurile Islands and the southern half of Sakhalin Island.

Contrary to Roosevelt's hopes, the conference failed to establish a spirit of trust between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the months and years following Germany's capitulation in May 1945, relations between Moscow and Washington steadily deteriorated, and a Cold War developed between the two rival superpowers. The Yalta conference became a major point of friction, as Americans charged the Soviets with systematically violating the Yalta agreements. Although at Yalta Stalin had agreed to support freely elected democratic governments in the liberated territories, he broke his pledges and brutally suppressed incipient democratic movements across Eastern Europe. The establishment of pro-Soviet puppet regimes in Eastern Europe led Churchill in a 1946 speech to accuse Moscow of having divided the continent with an Iron Curtain. In the United States, Republican critics accused the Roosevelt administration of having cravenly capitulated to Stalin's demands at Yalta. The controversy over Roosevelt's diplomacy at Yalta later became a major part of Senator Joe McCarthy's crusade of anticommunism in the early 1950s. The Republicans' accusation that Democratic administrations were "soft" on communism remained a significant feature of American presidential campaigns until the end of the Cold War.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Clemens, Diane Shaver. Yalta. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.

Divine, Robert A. Roosevelt and World War II. New York: Atheneum, 1967.

Gaddis, John Lewis. The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941–1947. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.

Charles S.Campbell/t. g.

See alsoCold War ; Germany, Relations with ; Great Britain, Relations with ; Iron Curtain ; McCarthyism ; Russia, Relations with ; World War II .

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Yalta Conference

YALTA CONFERENCE

The Yalta Conference was the second wartime summit meeting between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin. It met from February 4 through February 11, 1945, in the Crimean city of Yalta. A mood of optimism prevailed at the conference because German armies were in retreat throughout Europe and victory was assured. The principal agenda item was Germany. Although there were sharp policy differences between the three parties, the Yalta Conference reached agreement on most issues, and the Big Three came away convinced that allied unity had been preserved.

Germany, it was agreed, would be divided into three zones of occupation (a fourth zone was carved out of the British and American zones for France). Occupation policy would be made by a Four Power Allied Control Commission to be located in Berlin. Reparations were to be extracted from Germany, with the details to be determined by an Allied Reparations Commission in Moscow. Nazism and German militarism were to be extinguished, and war criminals were to be justly and swiftly punished.

Poland proved to be an intractable problem. Churchill and Roosevelt sought unsuccessfully to persuade Stalin to recognize the London-based government in exile, but he continued to support the government installed by the Soviet Union in Lublin. At most, the Western leaders secured from Stalin a commitment to free and unfettered elections as soon as possible. No decisions were reached regarding

Poland's postwar boundaries, although it was understood that the eastern boundary would be the Curzon line. As to the liberated countries in Eastern Europe, the conferees pledged in a Declaration on Liberated Europe to respect "the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live."

A secret protocol stipulated that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan within three months after Germany's surrender. As compensation, Russia's losses to Japan resulting from the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and 1905 would be restored. These included southern Sakhalin, adjacent islands, and the Kuril Islands. The Soviet Union also received the lease of Port Arthur, internationalization of the port of Dairen, and partial control over the Chinese Eastern and South Manchurian railroads as concessions.

Regarding the United Nations, it was agreed that a United Nations conference would be held in the United States on April 25, 1945. The United States and Britain agreed to accept Ukraine and Belorussia as original members, thus giving the Soviet Union three votes in the General Assembly. Also, important provisions related to the voting rules of the Security Council were formulated, including a provision for the veto power of the five permanent members.

Because Stalin ultimately succeeded in imposing communist regimes on the peoples of Eastern Europe, some critics have accused Roosevelt of "selling out" Eastern Europe. However, the consensus of scholarly opinion is that the superior military position of the Red Army at the end of the war virtually guaranteed Soviet predominance, regardless of the decisions made at Yalta.

See also: potsdam conference; world war ii

bibliography

Buhite, Russell D. (1986). Decisions at Yalta: An Appraisal of Summit Diplomacy. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources.

Clemens, Diane Shaver. (1970). Yalta. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mastny, Vojtech. (1979). Russia's Road to the Cold War: Diplomacy, Warfare, and the Politics of Communism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Snell, John L. (1956). The Meaning of Yalta: Big Three Diplomacy and the New Balance of Power. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Joseph L. Nogee

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Yalta Conference

Yalta Conference, meeting (Feb. 4–11, 1945), at Yalta, Crimea, USSR, of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. Most of the important decisions made remained secret until the end of World War II for military or political reasons; the complete text of all the agreements was not disclosed until 1947. The Yalta conferees confirmed the policy adopted at the Casablanca Conference of demanding Germany's unconditional surrender. Plans were made for dividing Germany into four zones of occupation (American, British, French, and Soviet) under a unified control commission in Berlin, for war crimes trials, and for a study of the reparations question. Agreement was also reached on reorganizing the Polish Lublin government (supported by Stalin) "on a broader democratic basis" that would include members of Poland's London government-in-exile, which the Western Allies had supported. The conferees decided to ask China and France to join them in sponsoring the founding conference of the United Nations to be convened in San Francisco on Apr. 25, 1945; agreement was reached on using the veto system of voting in the projected Security Council. Future meetings of the foreign ministers of the "Big Three" were planned. The USSR secretly agreed to enter the war against Japan within three months of Germany's surrender and was promised S Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and an occupation zone in Korea. The secret agreement respecting the disposal of Japan's holdings also provided that the port of Dalian (Dairen) should be internationalized, that Port Arthur should be restored to its status before the 1904–5 Russo-Japanese War as a Russian naval base, and that the Manchurian railroads should be under joint Chinese-Soviet administration. China later protested that it was not informed of these decisions concerning its territory and that its sovereignty was infringed. The United States and Great Britain also agreed to recognize the autonomy of Outer Mongolia, and to admit Ukraine and Belorussia (Belarus) to the United Nations as full members. The Yalta agreements were disputed even before the Potsdam Conference later in 1945. The subsequent outbreak of the cold war and Soviet successes in Eastern Europe led to much criticism in the United States of the Yalta Conference and of Roosevelt, who was accused of delivering Eastern Europe to Communist domination.

See studies by R. Buhite (1986), F. J. Harbutt (2010), and S. M. Plokhy (2010).

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Yalta conference

Yalta conference, 4–11 February 1945. Churchill was increasingly fearful of the rising power of the USSR, but agreed that she was entitled to a buffer zone in eastern Europe. He agitated for some western influence in the reorganization of the Polish government and strove to promote free elections in the east. He also ensured that France was given an occupation zone in Germany, but was less successful in resisting Stalin's demands for huge reparations. Britain had little say over plans for the Far East, though a proposal to return Hong Kong to China was dropped. Nevertheless, after Yalta Churchill briefly seemed hopeful concerning the future.

C. J. Bartlett

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Yalta Conference

Yalta Conference (February 1945) Meeting of the chief Allied leaders of World War 2 at Yalta in the Crimea, s Ukraine. With victory over Germany imminent, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met to discuss the final campaigns of the war and the post-war settlement. Agreements were reached on the foundation of the United Nations (UN); the territorial division of Europe into ‘spheres of interest’; the occupation of Germany; and support for democracy in liberated countries. Concessions were made to Stalin in the Far East in order to gain Soviet support against Japan.

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Yalta Conference

Yalta Conference a meeting between the Allied leaders Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin in February 1945 at Yalta, a Crimean port on the Black Sea. The leaders planned the final stages of the Second World War and agreed the subsequent territorial division of Europe.

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Yalta Conference

Yalta Conference

The Yalta Conference was held February 4 to 11, 1945, near the end of World War II (1939–45). British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874–1965), Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin (1878–1953), and U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945; served 1933–45) met at Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula in the Soviet Union. As leaders of the Allied powers, they gathered to discuss the political details of Germany's expected surrender and the postwar world.

The conference at Yalta marked the height of cooperation between the Allied leaders. Conflicting aims and personalities, however, strained discussions and required many compromises. The future of Germany and its occupied countries, the Soviet Union's role in the war against Japan, the boundaries of Poland, and details regarding the development of an international security organization were all important topics the leaders discussed. Many other issues went untouched at the conference.

At the time of the conference, Germany had not yet surrendered, but it was expected to do so in the coming weeks. Much of the discussion among the Allied leaders involved the demands they would place on Germany and its allies in the peace process. Stalin wanted a harsh policy that would disable Germany from making war again. He demanded that reparations, or payment of war costs to the Allies, be high. Churchill wanted to preserve a healthy economy in Germany while still disabling its war industries. Roosevelt's position was somewhere in between.

In the end, decisions about reparations were postponed and given to a committee for study. The three leaders agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones of occupation after surrender. Each of the three countries and France would be responsible for one of the zones until a new government could be established. A joint occupation policy would be defined by an Allied Control Council, also called the Four Powers, in Berlin. Other newly liberated European countries were also to have the support and help of the Allies until free elections for new governments could be held.

Whereas the German surrender seemed certain, it was not obvious that Japan would take the same step. By 1945 the Soviet Union had not yet entered the war against Japan. The three leaders established a secret agreement that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan within two to three months after Germany's surrender. In return, the Soviet Union would be awarded certain territory gained by Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5.

Stalin also had great interest in his country's neighbor, Poland. Seeking the security of a friendly government, Stalin hoped to persuade Churchill and Roosevelt to recognize the Polish Committee of National Liberation, a communist government. Both leaders, however, already acknowledged a Polish government in exile in London. With no one willing

to change allegiances, it was decided that both governments together would form a united interim government. Elections were to be held as soon as possible. Stalin proposed a shift in the boundaries of Poland whereby it would regain territory previously lost by the Soviet Union after World War I (1914–18). After much negotiation, the boundary of Poland was changed, and the Soviet Union gained territory from the eastern part of Poland. To compensate for Poland's loss, Germany would be required to move its eastern boundary to give Poland some of its territory.

The concept of an international security organization was first proposed in 1941. By 1944 the foreign ministers of the three countries had established an organizational structure known as the United Nations. During the conference, plans were made for an international conference to be held to form the United Nations. It was scheduled for San Francisco in April 1945.

Prior to formation of the United Nations, there were important issues to be discussed at Yalta. Stalin wanted each of the Soviet republics to be considered independent countries. With such status, he hoped to gain sixteen seats in the General Assembly, the general governing body of the United Nations. He also pushed for veto abilities on all matters before the Security Council, which was to have powers superior to those of the General Assembly. After much discussion, Stalin dropped his demands. Instead he agreed to send a representative to the founding meeting scheduled for San Francisco.

Yalta Agreement

The compromises reached during the Yalta Conference were recorded in the Yalta Agreement accepted by the three leaders. Over time the agreement was criticized in the United States. Stalin's failure to keep his promises earned great condemnation. Rather than allowing free elections of a democratic government in Poland, the Soviet leader established communist governments. Other eastern European countries under Soviet control were reestablished with communist governments as well. The three Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, continued to be occupied by the Soviets and were incorporated into the Soviet bloc.

The Soviet-dominated portions of Germany and Berlin became communist as well, contrasting sharply with the other three quarters overseen by France, Britain, and the United States. The region served as a blatant reminder of Cold War tensions between democratic and Communist states. Although the Yalta Agreement raised high hopes for a postwar world at the time, few of those aspirations were realized. In retrospect, the Yalta Agreement represents the beginning of a crumbling Allied partnership.

Although discussions between the leaders at Yalta were difficult, their compromises made them optimistic about the peace process. The Yalta Conference, however, marked the last meeting of the three Allied leaders, and many issues remained undecided. President Roosevelt was very sick and died only two months later. Churchill would meet again with Stalin at the Potsdam Conference , but in the British elections that occurred during that conference he was voted out of office. Changing leadership, conflicting intentions, and mutual suspicions slowly soured relations between the communist Soviet Union and the other democratic Allies. As promises made at Yalta dissolved in the tensions, the Cold War began.

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