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This Day in History- Yalta Conference

04 February, 2015

On this day in 1945 the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom met to discuss the fate of Europe. The Yalta Conference, otherwise known as the Crimean Conference, began at a palace in Yalta, Crimea on February 4th, lasting a week. Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill met during this time to negotiate the reorganization of Europe after what would soon be the end of World War II.

At this point in time, Europe was devastated. Countries needed to be reestablished, new borders had to be drawn, and reparations needed to be planned. At the time Germany had yet to unconditionally surrender, which was the first priority. However, what was to happen next was up for debate. Each power had an agenda, and a power struggle was bound to occur.

Roosevelt wanted Stalin’s assistance in the Pacific War, invading Japan, and the USSR’s participation in the UN. Churchill wanted Polish independence and free elections across Europe. Stalin wanted Eastern Poland and political influence in Eastern Europe. Что делать?

The conference is still regarded as a highly controversial topic. It was thought at the time to be the beginning of peace and international cooperation. On the surface, the outcomes of the conference were the establishment of an independence and democratic Poland, the demilitarization and partitioning of Germany, and ultimately the creation of an international peace keeping organization.

However, it can be said that Yalta was where the first seeds of the Cold War began to sprout. The US and the UK kept secret the project of inventing the atomic bomb, due to fear of the USSR having too much power and information. Additionally, the amount of benefits that the USSR gained from the conference was kept secret from the public until 1946, particularly regarding  the Polish question and the amount of incentive the US gave the USSR to assist in the Pacific War. It is true that the US and the UK had their hands tied, as the USSR was very powerful at the time. Due to this, the decisions made at the conference eventually led to the establishment of communism in Poland, and thus a feeling of betrayal by the Allies in Poland.

Although on the surface the Big Three powers were creating closer relations, the Yalta conferences proved to only strain the relationship. With the closing of one chapter in history comes the opening of another. And so the Cold War begins.


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