Yalta Conference Essay

779 WordsFeb 7, 20124 Pages
In early 1945, with World War II in Europe drawing to a close, Franklin Roosevelt (United States), Winston Churchill (Great Britain), and Joseph Stalin (USSR) agreed to meet to discuss war strategy and issues that would affect the postwar world. Dubbed the "Big Three," the Allied leaders had met previously in November 1943, at the Tehran Conference. Seeking a neutral site for the meeting, Roosevelt suggested a gathering somewhere on the Mediterranean. While Churchill was in favor, Stalin refused citing that his doctors prohibited him from making any long trips. In lieu of the Mediterranean, Stalin proposed the Black Sea resort of Yalta. Eager to meet face to face, Roosevelt agreed to Stalin's request. As the leaders traveled to Yalta, Stalin was in the strongest position as Soviet troops were a mere forty miles from Berlin. This was reinforced by the "home court" advantage of hosting the meeting in the USSR. Further weakening the western Allies' position was Roosevelt's failing health and Britain's increasingly junior position relative to the US and USSR. With the arrival of all three delegations, the conference opened on February 4, 1945. Each leader came to Yalta with an agenda. Roosevelt desired Soviet military support against Japan following the defeat of Germany and Soviet participation in the United Nations, while Churchill was focused on securing free elections for Soviet-liberated countries in Eastern Europe. Counter to Churchill's desire, Stalin sought to build a Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe to protect against future threats. In addition to these long-term issues, the three powers also needed to develop a plan for governing postwar Germany. Shortly after the meeting opened, Stalin took a firm stance on the issue of Poland, citing that twice in the previous thirty years it had been used as an invasion corridor by the Germans. Furthermore,
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