The Yalta Conference, 1945
- In February 1945, clear that Germany was losing the European War, so Allied leaders met at Yalta to discuss what would happen to Europe after Germany's defeat
- The Yalta conference went well despite differences of the Big Three- Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. The agreed on some important matters
- Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan once Germany had surrendered
- They agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones: American, French, British and Soviet. Since Berlin was in deep Soviet zone, it was agreed that Berlin would also be divided into four zones.
- As Allied soldiers advanced through Germany they were revealing the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. The Big Three agreed to hunt down and punish War criminals who were responisble for the genocide,
- They agreed ti join the United Nations organistation, which would aim to keep peace after War
- The Soviet Union had suffered terribly in the war. An estimated of 20 million Soviets had died. Stalin was concerned about the future security of the USSR. The Big 3 agreed that Eastern Europe should be seen as a 'Soviet sphere of influence'
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- The only real disagreement was about Poland. Stalin wanted the border of the USSR to move westwards into Poland. Stalin argued that Poland could move its border weswards into German territory.
- Churchill did not approve of this, but he also knew that there was not very much he could do about it because Stalin's Red Army was in total control of both Poland and eastern Germany
- Roosevelt was also unhappy about Stalin's plan, but Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to accept it, as long as the USSR agreed not to interfere in Greece where the British were attempting to prevent the Communists taking over. Stalin accepted this.
- It seemed that although they could not all agree, they were still able to negotiate with eachother and do business with one another.
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The Potsdam Conference
In May 1945, three months after the Yalta Conference, Allied troops reached Berlin. Hitler commited suicide. Germany surrendered. The war in Europe was won.
- A second conference of the Allied leaders was arranged for July 1945 in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam. However, in the five months since Yalta a number of changes had taken place that would greatly affect relationships between leaders:
- STALIN'S ARMIES WERE OCCUPYING MOST OF EASTERN EUROPE
- Soviet troops had liberated country after country in eastern Europe, but instead of withdrawing his troops Stalin had left them there.
- By July, Stalin's troops effectively controlled the Baltic states, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, and refugees were fleeing out of these countries fearing a Communist take over.
- Stalin had set up a Communist government in Poland, ignoring the wishes of the majority of the Poles. Britian and USA protested, but Stalin defended his action.
- He insisted that his control of eastern Europe was a defensive measure against possible future attacks.
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The Potsdam Conference
- AMERICA HAD A NEW PRESIDENT
- On 12 April 1945, President Roosevelt died and was replaced by Vice President, Harry Truman. Truman was very different that Roosevelt. He was much more anti communist and was suspicious of Stalin. Truman and his advisers saw Soviet actions in eastern Europe as preparations for a Soviet take over for the rest of Europe.
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- THE ALLIES HAD TESTED AN ATOMIC BOMB
- on 16 July 1945 the Americans successfully tested an atomic bomb at a desert site in the USA. At the start of the Potsdam conference, Truman informed Stalin about it.
- Disagreements at Potsdam
- Finally got under way on 17 July 1945. Did not go as smoothly as Yalta.
- In July Britain had an elected. Churchill was defeated so halfway through the conference he was replaced by Clement Attlee. In the absence of Churchill the conference was dominated by rivalry and suspicion between Stalin and Truman.
- They disagreed over what to about Germany- Stalin wanted to cripple Germany completley to protect the USSR against future threats, Truman did not want to repeat the mistake of the Treaty of Versailles.
- They disagreed over reparations- 20 MILL Russians died in the war and the Soviet Union had been devastated. Stalin wanted compensation from Germany. Truman was once again determined not to repeat the mistakes at the end of the First World War and resisted his demand.
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The iron curtain
- The potsdam conference ended without complete agreement on these issues . Over the next nine months, Stalin achieved the donmintion of Eastern Europe that he was seeking. By 1946 Poland, Hungary, Russia and Bulgaria and Albania all had Communist governments which owed their loyalty to Stalin. Churchill described the border between Soviet controlled countries and the West as an iron curtain.
Stalin tightens his control
- With communist governments established throughout Eastern Europe, Stalin gradually tightened his control in each country. The secret police imprisoned anyone who opposed communist rule, or might oppose it at a later date.
- In October 1947, Stalin set up the Communist Information, or Comniform to co ordinate the work of the Communist Parties of eastern Europe. Cominform regularly brought the leaders of each Communist Party to Moscow to be briefed by Stalin and his ministers. This also allowed Stalin to keep a close eye on them.
- Spotted independant minded leaders and replaced them with people who were loyal to him.
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- They disagreed over Soviet policy in eastern Europe- At Yalta, Stalin had won an agreement from the allies that he could set up pro soviet government in eastern Europe. Truman became very unhappy about Russian intentions and soon adopted a 'get tough' attitude towards Stalin.
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