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Yalta Conference in February 1945 with (from left to right) Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin.

Yalta Conference - the second of the three 'Big Three' conferences. During the seven days, the 'Big Three' changed the face of Europe and redrew maps, moving millions without consideration for historical and ethnic divisions of Europe.

 

The conference took place in Yalta, Crimean Peninsula, between 4th and 11th of February 1945. The location was especially selected by Stalin so that the other two leaders, Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill and President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, could see for themselves the terrible destruction that Soviet Union and its population suffered. Prior to the conference, the NKVD made sure that no space used by the foreign delegations was left unmonitored, monitoring not only secret conversation but also analysing each delegations mood and attitude changes during the conference. It is rumoured that a detailed report was delivered by Beria each morning to Stalin.

The conference ended in drastic alteration of Europe. Poland was shifted West at the expense of Germany, moving its modern Eastern boarder to nearly match that defined in Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. With regards to Germany, it was decided that she should be divided into four different zones: American, Soviet, British and French - with Berlin being identically divided. Each country 'liberated' by the Soviet Union was to choose its political path by holding free election and selecting its representatives. Unfortunately, the elections never took place.

An important issue, but kept in secret from the World, was the Soviet's participation in the war against Japan. Fearing, that if news of a commitment by Soviet Union to attack Japan after the surrender of Germany reached Japan, Japan might launch an attack on Soviet Siberia all discussion were held secretly and never were held during the joint sessions of the 'Big Three'. The discussions were so secret that historians still argue how did Stalin manage to convince Roosevelt to his demands in less than a quarter of an hour. Surely, if the atom bomb's power would have been known at the time of the conference, Roosevelt would have not been as willing to make that many concession that included betrayal of his ally Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek and American public.

The seven day conference ended with the 'Big Three' agreeing to meet after the unconditional surrender of Germany. Prime Minister Winston Churchill after having returned to London faced widespread criticism and had to face a three-day Parliamentary debate of non-confidence. In protest of the treatment of Poland, MP for Norwich Henry Strauss resigned his seat. President Roosevelt was also not spared criticism, US Ambassador to Soviet Union described his boss as the statesman who had "no conception of the determination of the Russians to settle matters in which they considered that they have a vital interest in their own manner, on their own terms..." Only leader to leave Yalta not criticised was Josef Stalin. This was not because of the power over life and death that he held, it was because the conference was a success for him, a success that cemented the division of Europe for nearly half a century.

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