In February 1945, as the Second World War approached its end, the leaders of the Allied Powers, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Marshall Joseph Stalin, met at the Black Sea resort of Yalta in order to discuss the makeup of post-war Europe. Known as the Yalta Conference, many of the seeds of the Cold War were inadvertently planted at this meeting. Paper Masters can compose a custom research paper on the Yalta Conference that will follow your guidelines.
Each of the "Big Three" leaders brought an agenda to the Yalta Conference. Roosevelt wanted the USSR to join the war against Japan in the Pacific. Churchill wanted free elections in Eastern Europe (territory occupied by the Soviets) after the war, while Stalin wanted a buffer zone of communist states between the USSR and Germany. However, there were several points of agreement to emerge out of Yalta.
The Yalta Agreements
- First, the Allies agreed that the only way to end the war was the unconditional surrender of Germany.
- Second, the USSR agreed to participate in the newly created United Nations.
- Third, it was agreed that Nazi leaders would be tried for war crimes.
- Fourth, Stalin agreed to free elections in Poland, but later reneged on this promise.
- Fifth, agreements were made about the partitioning of Germany and Germany reparations to the Allies.
- Sixth, the traditional borders of Poland were redrawn, leaving a substantial amount of eastern Poland in the hands of the USSR.
Yalta and the Soviet Union
There were many concessions made at Yalta for the Soviet Union. For Roosevelt, his most important goal was met, that the Soviet Union would participate in the United Nations. Yet, in order to do this, Roosevelt, greatly weakened the United Nations by granting veto power to each permanent member of the Security Council. The decisions made at Yalta caused friction between the United States and the Soviet Union in the first few years directly following World War Two. This friction between the two countries would develop into the Cold War which would last until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The problem was that before the start of the Second World War, the United States and the United Kingdom both saw the Soviet Union as a much greater threat than Germany. When Germany first began its attack, the Western powers avoided conflict in a hope that Germany would attack the Soviet Union and the two powers would destroy each other. Stalin, in order to prevent this, at first, entered into a treaty siding with Germany. It was when Germany broke the treaty and attacked the Soviet Union did the Allies and the Soviets team up to defeat the Germans. In fact, Britain and the Soviet Union entered into a written alliance and the United States gave provisions to the Soviet Union in order to help them with their war effort.
Though they were in now allies, the Western allies fought in Western Europe and let the Soviet Union fight through Eastern Europe. Soviets suffered the most casualties in the war and believed that their allies were not trying to really help them. They had been asking for help on their front since 1941 but did not receive it until June 1944. This alliance was fragile with the United States and Britain not trusting the Soviet Union and vice versa. Because of the mistrust, these two sections did not share information with each other. Yet, the mutual interest in defeating Hitler kept the two sides allied.