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Yalta & Potsdam Conferences
The Yalta and Potsdam conferences were called to help the Allies decide what
would happen to Europe, and in particular Germany, at the end of the Second
World War.
Yalta - February 1945: Germany was not yet
defeated, so, although there were tensions about
Poland, the big three - Stalin, Roosevelt and
Churchill - managed to agree to split Germany into
four zones of occupation, and to allow free
elections in Eastern European countries. Russia was
invited to join the United Nations. Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin
Potsdam - July 1945: Germany had been defeated,
Roosevelt had died and Churchill had lost the 1945
election - so there were open disagreements.
Truman came away angry about the size of
reparations and the fact that a communist
Attlee, Truman and Stalin
government was being set up in Poland.…read more

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Soviet expansion in East Europe
Country Date
As the Red Army drove the Nazis back, it occupied Albania 1945
large areas of Eastern Europe. In the countries that Bulgaria 1945
the Red Army "liberated", communist-dominated
East Germany 1945
governments took power. The Communists made
Romania 1947
sure that they controlled the army, set up a secret
police force, and began to arrest their opponents. Poland 1947
Non-Communists were gradually beaten, Hungary 1947
murdered, executed and terrified out of power. Czechoslovakia 1948
Twenty million Russians died during the Second
World War, so Stalin said he wanted a buffer zone of
friendly states around Russia to make sure that
Russia could never be invaded again.…read more

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1946 Iron Curtain
In 1946, in a speech at Fulton in the
USA, Churchill declared that an
Iron Curtain had come down
across Europe, and that Soviet
power was growing and had to be
stopped. Stalin called Churchill's
speech a "declaration of war". In
1947, Stalin set up an alliance of
Communist countries designed to
make sure they obeyed Soviet rule.…read more

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1947 Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan
America was becoming increasingly alarmed by the growth of Soviet power. So, when the
British told Truman they could no longer afford to keep their soldiers in Greece, Truman
stepped in to take over. In March 1947, he told the American Congress it was America's job
to stop communism growing any stronger. This was called the Truman Doctrine. It is often
said that Truman advocated containment (stopping the Soviet getting any more powerful),
but Truman did not use this word and many Americans spoke of "rolling back" communism.
· In June 1947, General George Marshall made a visit to Europe to see what was
needed. He came away thinking Europe was so poor that the whole of Europe
was about to turn Communist. Marshall and Truman asked Congress for $17
billion to fund the European Recovery Programme nicknamed the Marshall Plan
- to get the economy of Europe going again. Congress at first hesitated, but
agreed in March 1948 when Czechoslovakia turned Communist. The aid was
given in the form of food, grants to buy equipment, improvements to transport
systems, and everything "from medicine to mules".…read more

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1949 NATO
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in Washington on
4th April, 1949. The treaty, signed by the Foreign Ministers of Belgium, Britain,
Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the
United States, provided for mutual assistance should any one member of the
alliance be attacked. Greece and Turkey joined NATO on 18th February 1952 and
the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) on 9th May 1955.
Founding members of NATO, 1949 (Hulton Archives, HB-7277).…read more

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