Yalta Conference, 1945

   During World War II, the leaders of the “big three”—the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet UnionFranklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in the Crimea from 3 to 14 February 1945 to coordinate the Allied war effort and prepare for the postwar world. With the Red Army 40 miles from Berlin, the principal issue was the future of Germany, and it was agreed that the Allies would require unconditional surrender, the postwar occupation of Germany by all three plus France, the demilitarization and de-Nazification of Germany, the trial of wartime leaders and war criminals, and a program of reparations, largely to be paid to the USSR. Various territorial concessions were made to the Soviet Union in Asia, including the return of southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands and the leasing of Port Arthur as a Soviet naval base. Stalin agreed that the USSR would enter the war against Japan within three months of the defeat of Germany.
   The Soviet Union was also granted much of eastern Poland as its territory, and Poland was compensated by being given German lands in the west. In return, Stalin accepted the inclusion of a “Declaration on Liberated Europe” that promised “free and unfettered” elections with democratic institutions to be established in Eastern Europe and a broadening of the Provisional Polish Government that had been established by the Soviet forces. No definition of these terms was agreed upon nor was there precise agreement on the amount of reparations to be paid by Germany. These issues were the focus of postwar disagreements and paved the way for the Cold War. However, the participants at Yalta did agree on tentative plans for a United Nations and a Security Council consisting of the United States, Great Britain, France, China, and the Soviet Union plus six elected nations on a rotating basis.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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