The Second World War could not be stopped even after formation of the League of Nations. Mass killing, movement of people from one region to another, economic reparations, appeasement policies – all put together only fostered hatred and eventually led to war. The leaders of various nations wanted the war to end and the main powers of that time like the US, Britain and USSR worked towards it. There was an urgent need to bring peace and the three leaders decided that the war should end. The war was winding down and the US, USSR and UK were getting an upper hand by then.
Once Winston Churchill of UK, Joseph Stalin of USSR and Franklin. D. Roosevelt of the USA decided to take firm steps to end the war, they had to meet for discussions. However they wanted to keep the whole conference a secret affair. Due to Stalin’s poor health and on the request of Stalin all the three met at Livadia a resort in Yalta which is in the Crimean Peninsula. The conference was held between February 4th and 11th in 1945.
Key Points of the Conference
The outcome of the Yalta Conference was in some ways history repeating itself. Like after the WWI, Germany was the main country that was persecuted. But this time round there were enough reasons to penalise Germany as it had leashed out the maximum terror and had broken most of the treaties and pacts created before the war. It was an agenda for governing post-war Europe.
- The three nations agreed that they would demand an unconditional surrender from Germany.
- Germany would be split into four zones that were to be occupied by these nations. The fourth zone to be occupied was given to France.
- Germany had to undergo demilitarization and stop its Nazi activities.
- Some of the reparations for Germany were in the form of bonded labour.
- Poland was to receive compensations from Germany.
- Stalin agreed to conduct elections in Poland.
- In return for conducting polls in Poland Stalin was promised that USSR would get back regions lost to Japan in the Russo-Japan war waged between 1904 and 1905.
- Nazi criminals were to be found and put on trial.
- The new face of the League of Nations was being formulated as the United Nations and Stalin agreed to join the UN.
- All the invaded countries will be restored to the original governments.
By the end of Second World War, USSR had become quite powerful and there was a fear that socialism would spread to all the European countries as well. So the UK and USA insisted that free polls be conducted in all the European countries especially in Poland. This was initially agreed upon by Stalin. But later Stalin went back on this agreement and this created a lot of problems which finally ended in a ‘cold war’ between the US and USSR that lasted for many years. The nature of the conference was summed up aptly by Admiral William D. Leahy, “the language of Yalta was so vague that the Soviets would be able to “stretch it all the way from Yalta to Washington without ever technically breaking it.”