Little Bits of History

Yalta Conference

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 4, 2014
Yalta Conference attendees

Yalta Conference attendees

February 4, 1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta. The Yalta Conference is also known as the Crimea Conference and was codenamed the Argonaut Conference. It lasted from February 4 through the 11, 1945. The President of the US, the Prime Minister of the UK, and the premier of the Soviet Union met to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of post-World War II Europe. This was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three. The Tehran Conference took place in 1943 and the Potsdam Conference followed in July 1945. At the July meeting, Harry Truman and Clement Attlee met with Stalin.

Roosevelt wanted the meeting to take place near the Mediterranean but Stalin claimed his doctors opposed the long trip. Instead, they met at Yalta to appease Stalin. It should be noted that Roosevelt was dead within a couple months while Stalin lived until 1953. However, at the time, the Soviet Union was pushing the Nazi armies back to Berlin and Stalin felt he had the right to dictate terms. Each of the leaders arrived with an agenda. Roosevelt wanted support in the Pacific theater and hoped to convince Stalin to invade Japan. He also hoped to have the Soviet Union join the United Nations. Churchill was hoping for free elections and democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe. Stalin wanted political influence in the same region.

The Big Three agreed upon seeking an unconditional surrender from Nazi Germany after which Berlin would be split into four zones. Each of the Big Three as well as France would control a zone. Germany would undergo demilitarization as well as a purging of the Nazi regime. Reparations from Germany would in part be in the form of forced labor which would repair some of the damage caused by the war. The borders of Poland were a huge debate. Stalin felt the USSR had earned the right to keep areas they had already conquered but would allow a free and democratic election in the area. The western border would be pushed into German territory to make up for the loss of ground on the east. These elections would never take place.

Citizens of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia would be returned to their respective countries even if they did not wish to return. Stalin agreed to participate in the UN but he also wanted all 16 of the Soviet Socialist Republics to be given entry and only two were permitted. Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific theater 90 days after Germany’s defeat. Nazi war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice. The division of Germany into various countries was discussed and many plans were proposed. It would take further negotiations to officially end the war.

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. – Joseph Stalin

The United States never lost a war or won a conference. – Will Rogers

Also on this day: 20,000 Leagues – In 1957, the USS Nautilus reaches 60,000 nautical miles, like her namesake.
Winter Sports – In 1932, the Third Winter Olympic Games began.
Codex Sinaiticus – In 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered.
Victimized – In 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped.

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