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The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference, was a meeting held between the three major Allied leaders of the Second World War, namely American President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin to plan the occupation of Nazi Germany and decide the fate of post-war Europe. The conference, hosted by Stalin in a Russian resort town in the Crimean Peninsula, lasted from 4-11 February 1945. The conference also discussed some unresolved matters from the Tehran Conference of 1943, and would later face other concerns at the Potsdam Conference of 1945.
See the fact file below for more information on the Yalta Conference or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Yalta Conference worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
PRIOR TO YALTA CONFERENCE
- In November 1943, the “Big Three” Allied leaders Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met in Tehran, Iran to tackle the next plans about the ongoing war against the Axis Powers in the Pacific and Europe.
- The said gathering, more commonly known as the Tehran Conference, led to the following decisions: the annexation of northern France in 1944 through the combined efforts of the United States and Great Britain, the launching of another battlefront against Nazi Germany, and the participation of the Soviet Union in the Pacific War against Japan in the time of Germany’s surrender.
- After the liberation of France and Belgium from Nazi control, the Allied forces advanced to the German border. In the eastern region, the Soviet soldiers fended off the German troops, forcing them to retreat in Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania. The troops also managed to get within 40 miles of Berlin.
- Roosevelt, meanwhile, was well aware that the Pacific War would not end as planned, and might put the Americans at a disadvantage against the Japanese, so he needed the support of the Soviet Union to ensure the victory, hence the urgency of meeting the other Allied powers.
- The Mediterranean was the first location of the meeting as Roosevelt suggested. However, Stalin had health issues, forbidding him from travelling long distances. He then offered to host the conference in the resort city of Yalta, along the coast of the Black Sea, which was approved by all the Allied leaders.
- On February 4-11, 1945, the three Allied leaders gathered at the Yalta Conference, with the priority of defeating Nazi Germany. It commenced through an official dinner on the evening of February 4.
- Each member of the delegation was assigned to a different chamber. Roosevelt stayed at the Livadia Palace, while the rest of the American delegation stayed in the former Tsar residence. The British, meanwhile, remained in the castle of Prince Vorontsov.
- The other delegates at the meeting included Averell Harriman, Anthony Eden Vyacheslav Molotov, Edward Stettinius, and Alexander Cadogan.
- Following this, the Big Three came to an agreement that after the impending surrender of Germany, the country would be partitioned into four post-war occupation zones. The four divisions would be under the control of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France.
- Although French leader Charles de Gaulle was not invited to the meeting, Stalin supported France’s post-war governing, with the condition that the French occupation zone would be drawn from the US and British zones.
- France was also given a seat in the Allied Control Council (ACC).
- Moreover, it was decided that Germany should be fully scrapped of military power and Nazi ideas and that the country would bear some, though not all, responsibility for post-war compensations.
- The case of Poland was likewise discussed in the conference. Stalin claimed that the Polish territories had been twice used by the Germans as a passage to attack Russia for the last three decades. He thereafter proclaimed that the Soviet Union would not surrender Poland after its occupation in 1939 and that the requests of the Polish government-in-exile based in London would not be welcomed.
- Stalin, however, allowed the participation of other Polish political parties in the communist-led provisional government in Poland. In addition, the country would be given territorial reparations in western Germany.
- The Soviet Premier also agreed to establish free elections in Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe freed from Nazi control, such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. This was one of Churchill’s main agendas, coming into the conference since Britain wished to keep their empire intact.
- In exchange, the US and the UK agreed that future regimes in Eastern European countries that border the Soviet Union would be friendly to the Soviet regime, allowing Stalin to build influence in case future conflicts occured in Europe.
- Roosevelt, on the other hand, wanted to ensure the establishment of the United Nations and reiterate the involvement of the Soviet Union in the Pacific War after the fall of Germany.
- Consequently, Stalin committed to the war against the Japanese within two to three months following the collapse of Germany. In return, the Soviet Union would obtain the Japanese territories, such as the Kuril and the Sakhalin Islands, that the regime had lost during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905.
- In addition, Stalin asked for diplomatic recognition of Mongolian independence from China. In 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was established and was under the influence of the Soviet Union.
- Stalin likewise promised the Soviet membership in the United Nations, an international peacekeeping body established by Roosevelt and Churchill as part of the Atlantic Charter in 1941. Following the affirmation of the three leaders on a proposal in which all permanent members of the organization’s Security Council would have veto rights, Stalin made this pledge.
- The agreements at the Yalta Conference were initially well-received. However, Stalin had made it clear by March 1945 that he would not keep his promises about Polish political independence.
- Contrastingly, Soviet forces aided the provisional government in Lublin, Poland, in cracking down any resistance. After the elections in 1947, it was clear that Poland would become one of the first Eastern European states controlled by the Soviet Union.
- Following the death of Roosevelt in April 1945, Stalin was able to hold influence over the new American President Harry Truman when the Allied powers gathered again at the Potsdam Conference in Germany.
- Since the Soviet troops were already controlling major parts of Germany and Eastern Europe, Stalin successfully obtained the ratification of the concessions he made at the Yalta Conference.
- In the course of the Potsdam meeting, Stalin also managed to influence Britain’s change of power, replacing Churchill in favor of Clement Atlee.
- In March 1946, Churchill gave his famous speech, announcing the establishment of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, marking the end of the collaboration between the Soviet Union and its allies in the West, hence the start of the Cold War.
Yalta Conference Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Yalta Conference across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Yalta Conference worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference, which was a meeting held between the three major Allied leaders of the Second World War, namely American President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin to plan the occupation of Nazi Germany and decide the fate of post-war Europe. The conference, hosted by Stalin in a Russian resort town in the Crimean Peninsula, lasted from 4-11 February 1945. The conference also discussed some unresolved matters from the Tehran Conference of 1943, and would later face other concerns at the Potsdam Conference of 1945.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Yalta Conference Facts
- Locating Yalta
- Find the Words
- Crossword Puzzle
- Road to the Yalta Conference
- The Big Three
- Cartoon Analysis
- Source Analysis
- In a Nutshell
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