Yalta Conference
Overview
 
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed
Code name
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. Code names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage...

 the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, represented by President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, and General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe's post-war reorganization. The conference convened in the Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimea in southern Ukraine. The Yalta Conference was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation...

 near Yalta
Yalta
Yalta is a city in Crimea, southern Ukraine, on the north coast of the Black Sea.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black...

, in the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

.

The meeting was intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe.
Encyclopedia
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed
Code name
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. Code names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage...

 the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, represented by President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, and General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, respectively, for the purpose of discussing Europe's post-war reorganization. The conference convened in the Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimea in southern Ukraine. The Yalta Conference was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation...

 near Yalta
Yalta
Yalta is a city in Crimea, southern Ukraine, on the north coast of the Black Sea.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black...

, in the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

.

The meeting was intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. Within a few years, with the Cold War dividing the continent, Yalta became a subject of intense controversy. To some extent, it has remained controversial.

Yalta was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three
Allied leaders of World War II
The Allied leaders of World War II listed below comprise the important political and military figures who fought for or supported the Allies during World War II...

 (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin). It had been preceded by the Tehran Conference
Tehran Conference
The Tehran Conference was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst the Big Three in which Stalin was present...

 in 1943, and it was followed by the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 in July 1945, which was attended by Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 in place of the late Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill, with Churchill replaced mid-point by the newly elected Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS was a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955...

.

The conference

All three leaders were trying to establish an agenda for governing post-war Germany. Churchill's attitude towards the Soviet Union differed vastly from that of Roosevelt, with the former believing Stalin to be a "devil"-like tyrant leading a vile system. In 1942, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union William Christian Bullitt, Jr.'s thesis prophesied the "flow of the Red amoeba into Europe". Roosevelt responded to Bullitt, Jr., with a statement summarizing his rationale for wartime relations with Stalin:

On the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, the front line at the end of December 1943 remained in the Soviet Union, but, by August 1944, Soviet forces were inside Poland and parts of Romania in their relentless drive West. By the time of the Conference, Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

's forces were 65 km (40.4 mi) from Berlin. Stalin's position at the conference was one which he felt was so strong that he could dictate terms. As U.S. delegation member and future Secretary of State James F. Byrnes
James F. Byrnes
James Francis Byrnes was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives , as a Senator , as Justice of the Supreme Court , as Secretary of State , and as the 104th Governor of South Carolina...

 commented, "[i]t was not a question of what we [the West] would let the Russians do, but what we could get the Russians to do." Moreover, Roosevelt had hoped for Stalin's commitment to participate in the UN.

Premier Stalin, insisting that his doctors opposed any long trips, rejected Roosevelt's suggestion to meet on the Mediterranean. He offered, instead, to meet at the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 resort of Yalta, in the Crimea. Each leader had an agenda for the Yalta Conference: Roosevelt asked for Soviet support in the U.S. Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 against Japan, specifically invading Japan; Churchill pressed for free elections and democratic governments in Eastern
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and Central Europe (specifically Poland); and Stalin demanded a Soviet sphere of political influence in Eastern and Central Europe, an essential aspect of the USSR's national security strategy
National Security Strategy
National Security Strategy may refer to—* National Security Strategy * National Security Strategy * National Security Strategy...

.

Poland was the first item on the Soviet agenda. Stalin stated that "[f]or the Soviet government, the question of Poland was one of honor" and security because Poland had served as a historical corridor for forces attempting to invade Russia. In addition, Stalin stated regarding history that "because the Russians had greatly sinned against Poland", "the Soviet government was trying to atone for those sins." Stalin concluded that "Poland must be strong" and that "the Soviet Union is interested in the creation of a mighty, free and independent Poland." Accordingly, Stalin stipulated that Polish government-in-exile demands were not negotiable: the Soviet Union would keep the territory of eastern Poland they had already annexed in 1939
Soviet invasion of Poland
Soviet invasion of Poland can refer to:* the second phase of the Polish-Soviet War of 1920 when Soviet armies marched on Warsaw, Poland* Soviet invasion of Poland of 1939 when Soviet Union allied with Nazi Germany attacked Second Polish Republic...

, and Poland was to be compensated for that by extending its Western borders at the expense of Germany. Comporting with his prior statement, Stalin promised free elections in Poland despite the Soviet sponsored provisional government
Polish Committee of National Liberation
The Polish Committee of National Liberation , also known as the Lublin Committee, was a provisional government of Poland, officially proclaimed 21 July 1944 in Chełm under the direction of State National Council in opposition to the Polish government in exile...

 recently installed by him in Polish territories occupied by the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

.

Roosevelt wanted the USSR to enter the Pacific War with the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

. One Soviet precondition for a declaration of war against Japan was an American recognition of Mongolian independence from China, and a recognition of Soviet interests in the Manchurian railways and Port Arthur
Lüshunkou
Lüshunkou is a district in the municipality of Dalian, Liaoning province, China. Also called Lüshun City or Lüshun Port, it was formerly known as both Port Arthur and Ryojun....

; these were agreed without Chinese representation or consent. Stalin agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the Pacific War three months after the defeat of Germany.
Roosevelt met Stalin's price, hoping the USSR could be dealt with via the United Nations. Later, many Americans considered the agreements of the Yalta Conference were a "sellout", encouraging Soviet expansion of influence to Japan and Asia, and because Stalin eventually violated the agreements in forming the Soviet bloc. Furthermore, the Soviets had agreed to join the United Nations, given the secret understanding of a voting formula with a veto power for permanent members of the Security Council, thus ensuring that each country could block unwanted decisions.

At the time, the Red Army had occupied and held much of Eastern Europe with military three times greater than Allied forces in the West. The Declaration of Liberated Europe did little to dispel the sphere of influence agreements that had been incorporated into armistice agreements.

All three leaders ratified previous agreements about the post-war occupation zones for Germany: three zones of occupation, one for each of the three principal Allies: The Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States (France later received one also, when the US and the UK ceded parts of their zones). Berlin itself, although in the Russian zone, would also be divided into three sectors (and eventually became a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 symbol because of the division's realization via the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

, built and manned by the Soviet-backed East German government).

Also, the Big Three agreed that all original governments would be restored to the invaded countries (with the exception of the French government, which was regarded as collaborationist; in Romania and Bulgaria, where the Soviets had already liquidated most of the governments; the Polish government-in-exile was also excluded by Stalin) and that all civilians would be repatriated.

Key points

Key points of the meeting are as follows:
  • Agreement to the priority of the unconditional surrender
    Unconditional surrender
    Unconditional surrender is a surrender without conditions, in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological...

     of Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

    . After the war, Germany and Berlin would be split into four occupied zones.
  • Stalin agreed that France might have a fourth occupation zone in Germany and in Austria but it would have to be formed out of the American and British zones.
  • Germany would undergo demilitarization and denazification
    Denazification
    Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology. It was carried out specifically by removing those involved from positions of influence and by disbanding or rendering...

    .
  • German reparations
    War reparations
    War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

     were partly to be in the form of forced labor. (see also Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union
    Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union
    Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union was considered by the Soviet Union to be part of German war reparations for the damage inflicted by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union during World War II. German civilians in Eastern Europe were deported to the USSR after World War II as forced laborers...

    ). The forced labor was to be used to repair damage Germany inflicted on its victims.
  • Creation of a reparation council which would be located in the Soviet Union.
  • The status of Poland was discussed. It was agreed to reorganize the communist Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland that had been installed by the Soviet Union "on a broader democratic basis."
  • The Polish eastern border would follow the Curzon Line
    Curzon Line
    The Curzon Line was put forward by the Allied Supreme Council after World War I as a demarcation line between the Second Polish Republic and Bolshevik Russia and was supposed to serve as the basis for a future border. In the wake of World War I, which catalysed the Russian Revolution of 1917, the...

    , and Poland would receive territorial compensation in the West from Germany.
  • Churchill alone pushed for free elections in Poland. The British leader pointed out that the UK "could never be content with any solution that did not leave Poland a free and independent state". Stalin pledged to permit free elections in Poland, but forestalled ever honoring his promise.
  • Citizens of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

     were to be handed over to their respective countries, regardless of their consent.
  • Roosevelt obtained a commitment by Stalin to participate in the UN.
  • Stalin requested that all of the 16 Soviet Socialist Republics would be granted UN membership. This was taken into consideration, but 14 republics were denied.
  • Stalin agreed to enter the fight against the Empire of Japan
    Empire of Japan
    The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

     within 90 days after the defeat of Germany.
  • Nazi war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice.
  • A "Committee on Dismemberment of Germany" was to be set up. Its purpose was to decide whether Germany was to be divided into six nations. Some examples of partition plans are shown below:

Democratic elections

The Big Three further agreed that democracies would be established, all liberated European and former Axis satellite countries would hold free elections and that order would be restored. In that regard, they promised to rebuild occupied countries by processes that will allow them "to create democratic institutions of their own choice. This is a principle of the Atlantic Charter
Atlantic Charter
The Atlantic Charter was a pivotal policy statement first issued in August 1941 that early in World War II defined the Allied goals for the post-war world. It was drafted by Britain and the United States, and later agreed to by all the Allies...

 – the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live". The report that resulted stated that the three would assist occupied countries to form interim government that "pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of the Governments responsive to the will of the people" and to "facilitate where necessary the holding of such elections."

The Declaration contained no mechanisms for the enforcement of its principles. The agreement called on signatories to "consult together on the measures necessary to discharge the joint responsibilities set forth in this declaration." During the Yalta discussions, Molotov inserted language that weakened the implication of enforcement of the declaration.

Regarding Poland, the Yalta report further stated that the provisional government should "be pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot." The agreement could not conceal the importance of acceding to pro-Soviet short-term Lublin government
Polish Committee of National Liberation
The Polish Committee of National Liberation , also known as the Lublin Committee, was a provisional government of Poland, officially proclaimed 21 July 1944 in Chełm under the direction of State National Council in opposition to the Polish government in exile...

 control and of eliminating language calling for supervised elections.

According to President Roosevelt, "if we attempt to evade the fact that we placed somewhat more emphasis on the Lublin Poles than on the other two groups from which the new government is to be drawn I feel we will expose ourselves to the charges that we are attempting to go back on the Crimea decision." Roosevelt conceded that the language of Yalta was so vague that the Soviets would be able to "stretch it all the way from Yalta to Washington without ever technically breaking it." American government officials such as Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration , which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country...

 conceded that the Soviet position on the predominance of the Lublin Poles in any provisional government comported with the compromises worked out at Yalta. Scholars believe that the recognition of the Lublin Government by the Western powers meant acceptance of predominant Soviet influence in postwar Poland.

The final agreement stipulated that "the Provisional Government which is now functioning in Poland should therefore be reorganized on a broader democratic basis with the inclusion of democratic leaders from Poland and from Poles abroad." The language of Yalta conceded predominance of the pro-Soviet Lublin Government in a provisional government, albeit a reorganized one.

Poland and the Eastern Bloc

Although suspicious of Stalin, even Churchill believed that, because of Stalin's strong promises and admission of guilt over Poland, that Stalin might keep his word regarding Poland, remarking "Poor Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 believed he could trust Hitler. He was wrong. But I don't think I'm wrong about Stalin."

At that time, over 200,000 troops of the Polish Armed Forces in the West
Polish Armed Forces in the West
Polish Armed Forces in the West refers to the Polish military formations formed to fight alongside the Western Allies against Nazi Germany and its allies...

 were serving under the high command of the British Army. Many of these men and women were originally from the Kresy
Kresy
The Polish term Kresy refers to a land considered by Poles as historical eastern provinces of their country. Today, it makes western Ukraine, western Belarus, as well as eastern Lithuania, with such major cities, as Lviv, Vilnius, and Hrodna. This territory belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian...

 region of eastern Poland including cities such as Lwow and Wilno. They had been deported from Kresy to the Russian Gulags when Hitler and Stalin occupied Poland in 1939 in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Two years later, when Churchill and Stalin formed an alliance against Hitler, the Kresy Poles were released from the Gulags in Siberia, formed the Anders Army
Anders Army
The Anders Army was the informal yet common name of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in the period 1941-1942, in recognition of its commander Władysław Anders...

 and marched to Persia to create the II Corps (Poland) under British high command.

These Polish troops were instrumental to the Allied defeat of the Germans in North Africa and Italy, and hoped to return to their homes in Kresy in an independent and democratic Poland at the end of the War. But at Yalta, Roosevelt and Churchill largely conceded to Stalin's demands to annex the territory which in the Nazi-Soviet Pact he and Hitler had agreed to the Soviet Union controlling, including Kresy, and to carry out Polish population transfers (1944–1946). Consequently, they had agreed that tens of thousands of veteran Polish troops under British command should lose their Kresy homes to the Soviet Union. In reaction, thirty officers and men from the II Corps (Poland) committed suicide.

Churchill defended his actions at Yalta in a three-day Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

army debate starting February 27, 1945, which ended in a vote of confidence. During the debate, many MPs openly criticised Churchill and passionately voiced loyalty to Britain's Polish allies and expressed deep reservations about Yalta. Moreover, 25 of these MPs risked their careers to draft an amendment protesting against Britain's tacit acceptance of Poland's domination by the Soviet Union. These members included: Arthur Greenwood
Arthur Greenwood
Arthur Greenwood CH was a prominent member of the Labour Party from the 1920s until the late 1940s. He rose to prominence within the party as secretary of its research department from 1920 and served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in the short-lived Labour government of 1924...

; Sir Archibald Southby, 1st Baronet
Sir Archibald Southby, 1st Baronet
Commander Sir Archibald Richard James Southby, 1st Baronet was an English Conservative Party politician.He served in the Royal Navy and, in the period following the First World War, took part in the demilitarization of Heligoland...

; Sir Alec Douglas-Home; James Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 3rd Earl of Ancaster and Victor Raikes
Victor Raikes
Sir Henry Victor Alpin MacKinnon Raikes KBE was a British Conservative politician.Raikes was the son of Henry St. John Digby Raikes, eldest son of Henry Cecil Raikes. His mother was Annie Lucinda...

. After the failure of the amendment, Henry Strauss, 1st Baron Conesford, the Member of Parliament for Norwich
Norwich
Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

, resigned his seat in protest at the British treatment of Poland.

When the Second World War ended, a Communist government was installed in Poland. Most Poles felt betrayed
Western betrayal
Western betrayal, also called Yalta betrayal, refers to a range of critical views concerning the foreign policies of several Western countries between approximately 1919 and 1968 regarding Eastern Europe and Central Europe...

 by their wartime allies. Many Polish soldiers refused to return to Poland, because of the Soviet repressions of Polish citizens (1939–1946), the Trial of the Sixteen
Trial of the Sixteen
The Trial of the Sixteen was a staged trial of 16 leaders of the Polish Underground State held by the Soviet Union in Moscow in 1945.-History:Some accounts say approaches were made in February with others saying March 1945...

 and other executions of pro-Western Poles, particularly the former members
Cursed soldiers
The cursed soldiers is a name applied to a variety of Polish resistance movements formed in the later stages of World War II and afterwards. Created by some members of the Polish Secret State, these clandestine organizations continued their armed struggle against the Stalinist government of Poland...

 of the AK (Armia Krajowa
Armia Krajowa
The Armia Krajowa , or Home Army, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. It was formed in February 1942 from the Związek Walki Zbrojnej . Over the next two years, it absorbed most other Polish underground forces...

). The result was the Polish Resettlement Act 1947
Polish Resettlement Act 1947
The Polish Resettlement Act 1947 was the first ever mass immigration legislation of the British parliament. It offered British citizenship to over 200,000 displaced Polish troops on British soil who had fought against Nazi Germany and opposed the Soviet takeover of their homeland...

, Britain's first mass immigration law.

The Western Powers soon realized that Stalin would not honor his free elections promise regarding Poland. After receiving considerable criticism in London following Yalta regarding the atrocities committed in Poland by Soviet troops, Churchill wrote Roosevelt a desperate letter referencing the wholesale deportations and liquidations of opposition Poles by the Soviets. Roosevelt, however, maintained his confidence in Stalin, reasoning that Stalin's early priesthood training had "entered into his nature of the way in which a Christian gentleman should behave." On March 1, Roosevelt assured Congress that "I come from the Crimea with a firm belief that we have made a start on the road to a world of peace." By March 21, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR Averell Harriman cabled Roosevelt that "we must come clearly to realize that the Soviet program is the establishment of totalitarianism, ending personal liberty and democracy as we know it." Two days later, Roosevelt began to admit that his view of Stalin had been excessively optimistic and that "Averell is right."

Four days later, on March 27, the Soviet NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 arrested 16 Polish opposition political leaders that had been invited to participate in provisional government negotiations. The arrests were part of a trick employed by the NKVD, which flew the leaders to Moscow for a later show trial
Show trial
The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly public trial in which there is a strong connotation that the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as...

 followed by sentencing to a gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

. Churchill thereafter argued to Roosevelt that it was "as plain as a pike staff" that Moscow's tactics were to drag out the period for holding free elections "while the Lublin Committee consolidate their power." The fraudulent Polish elections
Polish legislative election, 1947
The Polish legislative election of 1947 was held on January 19, 1947 in the People's Republic of Poland. The anti-communist opposition candidates and activists were persecuted and the eventual results were falsified...

, held on January 16, 1947, resulted in Poland's official transformation to communist
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

 state by 1949.

Following Yalta, in Moscow, when Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 expressed worry that the Yalta Agreement's wording might impede Stalin's plans, Stalin responded "Never mind. We'll do it our own way later." While the Soviet Union had already annexed several occupied countries as (or into) Soviet Socialist Republics, other countries in eastern Europe that it occupied were converted into Soviet-controlled satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s, such as the People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, the People's Republic of Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

, the People's Republic of Romania, the People's Republic of Albania, and later East Germany from the Soviet zone of German occupation. Eventually the United States and the United Kingdom made concessions in recognizing the then Communist-dominated regions, sacrificing the substance of the Yalta Declaration, while it remained in form.

Potsdam and the atomic bomb

The Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 was held from July to August 1945, which included the participation of Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS was a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955...

, who had replaced Churchill as Prime Minister. At Potsdam, the Soviets denied claims that they were interfering in the affairs of Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The conference resulted in (1) the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

 regarding the surrender of Japan, and (2) the Potsdam Agreement
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

 regarding the Soviet annexation of former Polish territory east of the Curzon Line, and, provisions, to be addressed in an eventual Final Treaty ending World War 2, for the annexation of parts of Germany east of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 into Poland, and northern East Prussia into the Soviet Union.

Four months after the death of Roosevelt, President Truman ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 on August 6, 88 days after the Soviet Union agreed to enter the Pacific War within 90 days.

Cultural significance

  • The musical Jalta, Jalta
    Jalta, Jalta
    Jalta, Jalta is famous Croatian musical from 1971. Libretto for the musical was written by Milan Grgić, while director is Vlado Štefančić. Author of the music is famous Croatian composer Alfi Kabiljo...

    was produced in Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

     about this conference.
  • The movie Yalta by Yves-André Hubert
    Yves-André Hubert
    Yves-André Hubert is a French actor, television film director and theatre metteur en scène. He received a Sept d'or award in 1988 for L'Affaire Marie Besnard.- Filmography :* 1961 : Youm et les longues moustaches...

     was produced in France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     about this conference.
  • The theatre play O xogo de Yalta by the "Teatro do Atlántico" was produced in Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    .
  • The Yalta Club
    Yalta (Nightclub)
    Yalta Club is a nightclub in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was ranked among the Top 100 Clubs by DJ Mag in its annual rankings in 2009 and 2010. Yalta is located next to Sofia University in the downtown area of the city. In 2011 Yalta club was rank on 19th place...

    nightclub was opened in Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

    .
  • Victims of Yalta
    Victims of Yalta
    Victims of Yalta is the British and The Secret Betrayal the American title of a 1977 book by Nikolai Tolstoy that chronicles the fate of Soviet people who had been under German control during World War II and at its end fallen into the hands of the Western Allies...

    is the British and The Secret Betrayal the American title of a book by Nikolai Tolstoy
    Nikolai Tolstoy
    Count Nikolai Dmitrievich Tolstoy-Miloslavsky is an Anglo-Russian historian and author who writes under the name Nikolai Tolstoy. A member of the prominent Tolstoy family, he is of part Russian descent and is the stepson of the author Patrick O'Brian...

    .

See also

  • Eastern Bloc
    Eastern bloc
    The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

  • Iron Curtain
    Iron Curtain
    The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

  • List of World War II conferences
  • List of Soviet Union–United States summits
  • Operation Keelhaul
    Operation Keelhaul
    Operation Keelhaul was carried out in Northern Italy by British and American forces to repatriate Soviet Armed Forces POWs of the Nazis to the Soviet Union between August 14, 1946 and May 9, 1947...

  • Percentages agreement
    Percentages agreement
    The percentages agreement was an alleged agreement between Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and British prime minister Winston Churchill about how to divide southeastern Europe into spheres of influence during the Fourth Moscow Conference, in 1944 . This agreement was made public by Churchill...

  • Plan Totality
    Plan Totality
    Plan Totality was a nuclear plan established by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the direction of President Harry S. Truman.The plan envisioned a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union with 20 to 30 atomic bombs...

  • Western betrayal
    Western betrayal
    Western betrayal, also called Yalta betrayal, refers to a range of critical views concerning the foreign policies of several Western countries between approximately 1919 and 1968 regarding Eastern Europe and Central Europe...

  • World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West
    World War II Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West
    WWII Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West is a BBC / PBS documentary film on the role of Joseph Stalin during World War II. The 2008 film combines narrative-led documentary segments, interwoven by dramatic re-enactments, with actors representing main political figures of the period....


Further reading

  • O'Neil, William L. World War II: a Student Companion. New York: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1999.
  • Persico E. Joseph
    Joseph E. Persico
    Joseph E. Persico is an author. From 1974 to 1977 he was primary speechwriter to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller...

     Roosevelt's Secret War. New York: Random House
    Random House
    Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

    , 2001.
  • "Portraits of Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt." School Arts Magazine February 1999: 37. Student Research Center. EBSCO Host. Philadelphia. April 2, 2006. Keyword: FDR.

  • Waring, J. G. A student's experience of Yalta
  • "Yalta Conference." Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. World Almanac Education Group, 2003. Sirs Discover. Philadelphia. April 2, 2006. Keyword: Yalta Conference. (a/k/a S. M. Plokhy)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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