Tehran Conference of 1943
Tehran Conference of 1943
a conference during World War II of the heads of three Allied powers—J. V. Stalin, chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, President F. D. Roosevelt of the United States, and Prime Minister W. Churchill of Great Britain—along with diplomatic advisers and representatives of the military staffs. The conference was held in Tehran from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1,1943.
Military issues were of foremost importance at the conference, in particular the question of a second front in Europe, which, despite the promises of the United States and Great Britain, had not been opened in 1942 or 1943. Owing to the strategic situation resulting from the brilliant victories of the Red Army, the USA and Great Britain feared that the Soviet armed forces would liberate Western Europe without any military effort on the part of the Anglo-American forces. Initially the talks revealed that the American and British leaders had differing views concerning the place, scale, and time of the Allied invasion of Europe. Roosevelt maintained that the commitment made with Churchill at the Quebec Conference of August 1943 to invade Europe across the English Channel around May 1, 1944 (Operation Overlord), had to be met. Churchill, however, proposed, instead of a second front in France, to expand operations in Italy and the Balkans to ensure the occupation of Central and Southeastern Europe by Anglo-American troops. He proposed leaving the question of when to begin the operation across the English Channel for review by “military specialists.”
The Soviet delegation observed that it would be most effective to strike the enemy in northern or northwestern France with a concurrent landing in southern France. After discussions, the American and British delegations stated on Nov. 30, 1943, that Operation Overlord would be launched in May 1944, supported by a landing in southern France. For his part, Stalin announced that Soviet forces would launch an offensive at about the same time to prevent the transfer of German troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front. The conferees agreed that Turkey must be drawn into the war against Hitler and that assistance must be extended to the Yugoslav partisans.
Since Great Britain and the United States sought Soviet help against Japan and since Japan had repeatedly violated the Soviet-Japanese neutrality treaty of 1941 and was aiding Hitlerite Germany, the Soviet delegation announced that the USSR would enter the war against Japan after the German Army was finally defeated.
The conference also considered issues of postwar world order and security. The Soviet delegation emphasized the need to prevent renewed German militarism and revanche. The American and British delegations differed on the reorganization of Germany: Roosevelt proposed the creation of five German states with United Nations control over the Ruhr, Saarland, and other regions, while Churchill proposed the creation of a Danubian Confederation that would include all the south German provinces and the countries along the Danube. The Soviet delegation rejected these proposals. At Stalin’s suggestion, the issue was turned over to the European Advisory Commission for study. The conference reached agreement in principle to turn Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) over to the Soviet Union.
The heads of the three governments also reviewed the question of Poland and reached a preliminary understanding that its postwar boundaries would follow the Curzon Line in the east and the Oder River in the west. Roosevelt and Churchill expressed the hope that the USSR would reestablish relations with the Polish government-in-exile in London, which the Western powers planned to install in Poland to maintain a bourgeois order there. The Soviet government rejected this suggestion, declaring that it considered Poland to be distinct from the government-in-exile.
The Three Power Declaration adopted by the conferees on Dec. 1, 1943, announced their agreement “as to the scope and timing of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west, and south” (Vneshniaia politika Sovetskogo Soiuza v period Otechestvennoi voiny, vol. 1, 1944, p. 369). The conferees expressed confidence that their agreement would ensure lasting peace among nations.
At the conference the three leaders also exchanged opinions regarding the formation of an international security organization after the war. In addition, they adopted the Declaration on Iran, which affirmed their commitment to the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Iran.
The Tehran Conference helped strengthen the anti-Hitlerite coalition and confirmed the possibility of cooperation among states with different social systems in order to solve international problems.
SOURCESVneshniaia politika Sovetskogo Soiuza v period Otechestvennoi voiny, vol. 1. Moscow, 1944. Pages 368–71.
Tegeran, Ialta, Potsdam: Sb. dokumentov, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Perepiska Predsedatelia Soveta Ministrov SSSR s prezidentami SShA i prem’er-ministrami Velikobritanii vo vremia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny 1941–1945 gg., 2nd ed., vol. 1: Moscow, 1976. Pages 198–308. Vol. 2: Moscow, 1976. Pages 90–153.
Berezhkov, V. M. Tegeran 1943: Na konferentsii Bol’shoi troiki i v kuluarakh. Moscow, 1968.
N. I. KOSTIUNIN