Yalta Conference: a meeting of future winners
The Second World War was about to end. No one doubted that it would end with the victory of the anti-Hitler coalition, despite the fact that the Anglo-American troops temporarily halted the attack on the Franco-German border. The Red Army was close to Berlin, in some sectors the front was sixty kilometers away. This distance is usually covered by an automobile in an hour at low speed. It took the Soviet soldiers three months to do this, and no one could have gone this way faster in 1945.
Meeting of Western leaders before the Yalta Conference
On February 2, the two leaders of the free world, Roosevelt and Churchill, met aboard the American cruiser Quincy, anchored not far from Malta. They were supposed to agree on a line of general diplomacy before the negotiations with the third, and at that time, the main member of the Big Three, Joseph Stalin.The prime minister of Great Britain and the president of the United States knew that “Uncle Joe,” as they called each other the Soviet leader, is very strong and knows what he needs. The next day, the Yalta Conference was to begin, and, on the one hand, it was necessary to evaluate its assets, and on the other, to demonstrate the unity of the Western world. The very next day the aircraft of the British and American Air Forces landed alternately at the airfield in Saki, while Roosevelt had to wait for Churchill to arrive in Livadia with him.
The Yalta Conference was convened not so much to discuss combat issues, as to stipulate the post-war structure of Europe. All its participants were aware of the mutual intransigence of the communist and capitalist systems and understood the inevitability of further confrontation, so each of the trump cards in this game meant the fate of entire nations for decades. One of the main points of the meeting was the question of the Polish state and its borders. Roosevelt proposed that the eastern frontier of this country be along the Curzon line, and the western - in part of the German lands.However, the American president immediately corrected himself by adding a wish to include parts of Western Ukraine in Poland, but did not insist on this. No one doubted that this whole country would be in the zone of interests of the USSR, as well as objections to this issue.
Discussion of Far Eastern Affairs
The Yalta Conference resolved the issue of returning the South Sakhalin and Kuriles to the USSR. The President of the United States feared the enormous loss of human life that the heavy military operation to defeat imperial Japan promised. A million-strong Kwantung group led active operations in China, the occupation of densely populated islands seemed very problematic, and Roosevelt seriously counted on Soviet assistance. True, by August, the United States should have displayed two completely new air bombs capable of destroying entire cities, but no one knew how effective they would be in real conditions. Stalin went to meet the Americans, but he was not guided by sympathy, but by very different considerations.
In general, the Yalta Conference created the illusion of Western leaders that "Uncle Joe" willingly makes concessions.Harry Hopkins even advised Roosevelt, on his own initiative, to raise the issue of reparations paid by Germany for compensation of material losses. As the post-war period showed, Stalin’s diplomatic abilities were greatly underestimated. The Yalta Conference of 1945 was a meeting at which the Big Three finally decided to create the UN, an organization that played a strong role in the post-war world. The guardianship over the countries that will gain independence after the defeat of Germany and Japan, as well as American loans for the USSR, aimed at restoring the national economy, were also discussed. On the most optimistic notes on February 11, the Yalta Conference ended. Its results were encouraged by both Roosevelt and Churchill.