Yalta Conference of 1945

Yalta Conference of 1945

 

(Crimean Conference), a conference of the heads of government of the three Allied powers during World War II: J. V. Stalin, chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR; F. D. Roosevelt, president of the USA; and W. Churchill, prime minister of Great Britain. Also participating were the foreign ministers, the chiefs of staff, and other advisers.

The conference was held in Yalta from February 4 to February 11, at a period when the Soviet Army had fought its way into German territory and the war had entered its final stage. At the Yalta Conference the military plans of the great powers were coordinated to bring about the utter defeat of Nazi Germany; the relationship of the powers toward Germany after its unconditional surrender was defined, and the basic policy principles concerning the postwar organization of the world were set forth.

It was decided that, after German armed resistance had been completely crushed, the armed forces of the USSR, USA, and Great Britain would occupy Germany; moreover, the forces of each of the powers would occupy a certain part (zone) of Germany. A coordinated Allied administration was to be set up in Germany, and control supervision was to be established, to be carried out by a specially created control body consisting of the chief commanders of the three powers, with headquarters in Berlin. Moreover, it was agreed that France would be invited to take charge of an occupation zone and to be the fourth member of the control body. The specific regulation of the question of occupation zones in Germany had already been agreed upon prior to the Yalta Conference, at a meeting of the European Advisory Commission, and recorded on Sept. 12, 1944, in protocol agreements between the governments of the USSR, the USA, and the United Kingdom concerning the zones of the occupation of Germany and the administration of “Greater Berlin.”

The participants of the Yalta Conference declared that their firm goal was the annihilation of German militarism and Nazism as well as the establishment of a guarantee that “Germany would never again be able to destroy the peace of the world.” They pledged to “disarm and disband all the German armed forces; break up for all time the German general staff,” to “remove or destroy all German military equipment, to eliminate or control all German industry that could be used for military production, and to bring all war criminals to a just and swift punishment; and to wipe from the face of the earth the Nazi Party, Nazi laws, organizations, and institutions, remove all Nazi and militarist influences from public office and from the cultural and economic life of the German people.”

The communiqué of the Yalta Conference emphasized that after Nazism and militarism had been rooted out, the German people could occupy a worthy place in the community of nations. Opinions were exchanged on the question of reparations payments from Germany.

The Yalta Conference adopted a resolution on the question of creating a general international organization. The conference participants decided that on Apr. 25, 1945, in San Francisco (USA), a conference would be convoked to prepare the final text of the United Nations Charter. It was stipulated that the basis of the UN’s activity in resolving cardinal questions of preserving peace would be the fundamental principle of unanimity among the great powers—the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The Yalta Conference adopted the Declaration on Liberated Europe, in which the Allied powers stated their intention of coordinating their actions in resolving the political and economic problems of liberated Europe. The declaration stated: “The establishment of order in Europe and the rebuilding of national economic life must be achieved by processes which will enable the liberated peoples to destroy the last vestiges of Nazism and Fascism and to create democratic institutions of their own choice.”

With regard to the Polish question, the communiqué of the Yalta Conference expressed the “common desire to see the establishment of a strong, free, independent, and democratic Poland.” Agreement was reached on creating a broad-based Polish government, including democratic leaders from Poland itself as well as Poles from abroad. It was decided that the Soviet-Polish border should extend along the Curzon Line, with variations in certain regions extending 5–8 km in Poland’s favor, and that Poland would acquire substantial territory in the north and west.

With regard to Yugoslavia, the Yalta Conference adopted a number of recommendations concerning the formation of a provisional united government and the creation of a temporary parliament, based on the Anti-Fascist Assembly of National Liberation.

The Yalta Conference adopted the Agreement Between the Three Great Powers on Questions of the Far East, which provided for the Soviet Union’s entry into the war against Japan within two or three months after Germany’s surrender and the conclusion of the war in Europe. The agreement specified that at the war’s end the southern part of Sakhalin Island would be returned to the USSR along with all the islands adjacent to it and that the Kuril Islands would also be transferred to the USSR.

The Yalta Conference also considered the question of setting up permanent machinery for regular consultations among the foreign ministers of the three powers.

In the communiqué of the Yalta Conference the three Allied powers expressed their “determination to maintain and strengthen in the peace to come that unity of purpose and action which has made victory possible and certain for the United Nations in this war.”

Many resolutions of the Yalta Conference, as well as other joint agreements made by the Allied powers during the war and at its conclusion, were not carried out during the postwar years. This was the fault of the Western powers, who incited a “cold war” against the socialist countries and attempted to revive West German militarism and revanchism.

REFERENCES

Sbornik deistvuiushchikh dogovorov, soglashenii i konventsii, zakliuchennykh SSSR s inostrannymi gosudarstvami, issue 11. Moscow, 1955.
Tegeran, Ialta, Potsdam: Sbornik dokumentov. Moscow, 1971.
Israelian, V. L. Diplomaticheskaia istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi winy 1941–1945. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia vneshnei politiki SSSR, part 1: 1917–1945. Moscow, 1966.
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