Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe: From the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism

By Richard Frucht | Go to book overview

Y
Yalta Conference

Meeting of the Big Three Allied leaders—U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt (1882–1945), British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874–1965), and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin (1879–1953) on the Crimean peninsula in the USSR on February 4–11, 1945. The Yalta conference marked the high point of cooperation among the wartime Allies. They coordinated strategy for the final defeat of Germany and issued the Crimea Declaration (or Declaration on Liberated Europe), which reaffirmed the principles of the Atlantic Charter and the Casablanca Conference. Protracted negotiations produced agreements on a number of key issues: the Allies would divide defeated Germany into four occupation zones, including one for France; the USSR would receive substantial reparations from Germany and its allies as compensation for massive war damage; the Western powers recognized the Soviet-backed government of Poland (the “Lublin Poles, ” though with the addition of “democratic elements” from Poland and some Western-backed “London” Poles) and Stalin promised to facilitate free elections there; the Soviet Union promised to enter the war against Japan after the final defeat of Germany and would receive control over the Kurile Islands, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, the Manchurian Railway (jointly with China), and the strategic ports of Darien and Port Arthur; and the Allies would create a new United Nations to foster peace in the postwar world. The Big Three also confirmed their earlier agreement that Allied citizens liberated from Axis control be returned to their respective homelands. This provision would later obligate Western governments forcibly to repatriate Soviet citizens to the USSR against their will.

At the time, the outcome of this conference seemed a major success for American policy. Roosevelt had secured the three most important items to him: the United Nations, Soviet participation in the Pacific war, and Stalin's promise to establish democratic governments in Poland and elsewhere in liberated Eastern Europe. Stalin was unable to secure his goal of an even more westward relocation of the German-Polish border or for an exorbitant level of reparations from Germany. Some historians and politicians have accused Roosevelt of “selling out” Eastern Europe to Stalin. Yet, with the Red Army in actual occupation of most of Eastern European countries and the American administration and public unwilling to precipitate a new war over these issues, Roosevelt had little leverage. Moreover, such criticism presupposes the collapse of the Grand Alliance and the onset of the Cold War—events that were not foregone conclusions at Yalta.

Teddy J. Uldricks


Further reading

Buhite, Russell D. Decisions at Yalta: An Appraisal of Summit Diplomacy. Wilmington, Delaware, 1986.

Clemens, Diane Shaver. Yalta. London, 1970.

Mastny, Vojtech. Russia's Road to the Cold War. New York, 1979.

U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States: The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945. Washington, D.C., 1955.

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Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe: From the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe xv
  • A - Abakanowicz, Magdalena (1930–) 1
  • B - Babits, Mihaly (1883–1941) 45
  • C - Cankar, Ivan (1876–1918) 117
  • D - Dalmatia 211
  • E - East Prussia 235
  • F - Family 265
  • G - Gafencu, Grigore (1892–1957) 283
  • H - Habsburg Empire 317
  • I - Iancu, Avram (1824–72) 375
  • J - Jagiellonian University 395
  • K - Kádár, János (1912–89) 411
  • L - Labor 441
  • M - Macedonia (Geography) 469
  • N - Načertanije 519
  • O - Obradović, Dositej (Dimitrije) (C. 1739–1811) 543
  • P - Paderewski, Ignacy Jan (1860–1941) 555
  • R - Račić, Josip (1885–1908) 647
  • S - Sabin, Albert Bruce (1906–93) 707
  • T - Taaffe, Count Eduard (1833–95) 785
  • U - Udržal, František (1868–1938) 819
  • V - Varna 825
  • W - Wajda, Andrzej (1926–) 837
  • X - Xenopol, Alexandra D. (1847–1920) 863
  • Y - Yalta Conference 865
  • Z - Zadruga 899
  • Index 909
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