The Yalta Conference of 1945 was the second of three conferences held between the three Allied superpowers during the World War II era. During this particular confrence, which was to be the last one attended by President Roosevelt before his death, there was discussion about what to do with Germany and how to end the war in the pacific with the Japanese. This conference in Yalta would not be the last.
There would be a third and final conference held before everything was settled with World War II, but even then not all would be fine. Out of the end of the war, the beginnings of the Cold War had originated.
The Yalta Conference of 1945 was held in the month of February, 1945, on the Crimean peninsula in Russia. It was a meeting of political leaders to discuss what was happening in World War II. This was actually the second in a series of three meetings,and this particular conference taking place from February 4-11 at Yalta, among the three main Allied powers: the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. The three representative leaders for these countries were President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin. The earlier conference was known as the Tehran Conference, and the one to follow it would be called the Potsdam Conference. The goal of these conferences was to establish an agenda for post-war Germany and how to best deal with the ending of the most horrific war the war had ever experienced.
Each country had its own ideas coming into the conference, and this made the workings of the conference more difficult. Roosevelt desired the Soviets to assist the US in the Pacific war against the Japanese. Churchill sought the spread of democracy and free elections in Europe with the aid of the other two superpowers. Stalin wanted Soviet influence in Eastern European politics to secure Russian interests as a matter of national security for his country.
In addition to their agenda was the decision of what to do with Germany. This made for a difficult conference with much to be accomplished in a short time period. Poland was a point of contention. It was desired by Stalin that the Russians should continue to occupy the area, thereby forcing out milions of Germans. Poland was seen as a necessity and a matter of security to the Russians, as many of their invaders in the past had come through Poland to reach them. In return for occupying Poland it was promised that the Russians would allow free elections. In January 1947 free elections were held and Poland was officially transferred from a communist to a socialist state, a transition completed by 1949. This transition was considered to still be slanted in favor of Soviet parties and not wholly independent.
Roosevelt asked for help in the Pacific war against the Japanese. One condition of this war was that Mongolia would become independent from China, which was agreed upon without diplomatic relations with China. Six months after the conference, formal war was declared on the Japanese in the Pacific by the Russians. To date, no peace treaty has ever been signed between the two countries and they failed to sign the original San Francisco Peace Treaty drawn up around the time physical war ended. The US had hoped that by asking the USSR to get involved, and by asking them to join the United Nations, that everything would be worked out as time passed. But no such thing ever happened.
As for what to do about Germany, the beginnings of the Cold War had its origin here. The city of Berlin and the whole of Germany would be divided into factions, and the Berlin Wall would be constructed. Germany would be split into four occupied zones, with France controlling the fourth occupied area. There would be no forced labor or prisoner camps of the German people as reparation.
There was talk of dismantling the whole of Germany, but that would not happen. And the power of Stalin was to be underestimated, as would be seen in the third confrence and in the undertakings of the Cold War that was about to unfold.