The war in Europe was nearly over and the purpose of the Yalta Conference was to discuss the unconditional surrender and occupation of Nazi Germany, the defeat of Japan and peace plans for the post war world. Several agreements reached during the Yalta Conference were broken and led to tensions between the United States and Russia and the start of the Cold War.
Where is Yalta? The Yalta Conference was held at the Livadia Palace in the city of Yalta, a Russian resort on the South coast of Crimean peninsula by the Black Sea.
Who attended the Yalta Conference? Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America, and Marshal Joseph Stalin of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, together with their Foreign Secretaries, Chiefs of Staff, diplomats and military advisors - about 700 people attended the Yalta Conference.
What was the Yalta Conference and its Purpose? The Yalta Conference was a meeting of 'The Big Three' heads of the Governments. Its purpose was to discuss the end of WW2 and plan the occupation of Nazi Germany, the defeat of Japan and the ensuing peace in the postwar world.
When was the Yalta Conference? The 8 day Yalta Conference was held from February 4, 1945 - February 11, 1945
What was decided at the Yalta Conference? Summary and Agreements of the Conference
A summary of what happened at the Yalta Conference, the agreements and what was decided:
Poland: A government of 'national unity' to be set up in Poland, comprising both communists and non-communists established by free elections
The Declaration of Liberated Europe with free elections in the countries of eastern Europe
The unconditional surrender of Germany: Germany would be split into four zones of occupation (the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France) and pay war reparations
Russia was invited to join the United Nations and would fight in the war against Japan when Germany was defeated
Yalta Conference Significance
Several agreements and promises made during the Yalta Conference were broken which led to tensions between Britain, the United States and Russia and the start of the Cold War.
Two weeks after the Yalta Conference the Soviets violated the Declaration of Liberated Europe by pressurizing the King of Romania to appoint a Communist government
Stalin had arrested the non-communist leaders of Poland and the Soviets refused to allow more than 3 Non-Communist Poles to serve in the 18 member Polish Government
The promise of free elections in Eastern Europe was being broken and Communists were coming to power in other Eastern European countries
The Soviets began to demand unreasonable war reparations from Germany
The broken promises led to growing distrust of the Soviets and strong Anti-Communist sentiments
These events all contributed to the causes of the Cold War
Yalta Conference Aftermath: The Potsdam Conference (July 17, 1945 to August 2, 1945)
Open disagreements erupted between the US and the Soviets during the Potsdam Conference that was held in July 1945, just two months after the Yalta Conference. During this short period of time there were major changes in the leadership of the United States and Great Britain. President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 and Vice-President Harry Truman took office and Clement Attlee won the election replaced Winston Churchill as the British Prime Minister. The agreements of Yalta dissolved into the disagreements of Potsdam.
At the time of the Yalta Conference the Americans believed they needed the Soviets to help in the war against Japan. This changed by the time of the Potsdam Conference as the US had successfully tested the atomic bomb
Harry Truman, who was strongly anti-communist and highly suspicious of Stalin, adopted a hard line against the Russians
Stalin was forced to back down on his demands for heavy war reparations from Germany but refused to uphold the Declaration of Liberated Europe
Relations deteriorated and the goodwill between the once Allied nations dissolved
The Iron Curtain was set to descend separating the Communist countries of Eastern Europe from the West
Soviet-American wartime cooperation would degenerate into the Cold War