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What were Joseph Stalin's goals as World War Two ended?
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==Teheran and Yalta Conferences: Iron will of Stalin and Soviet dictator’s agenda for post-war USSR zone of influence and interest==
Stalin skillfully started to jostle for post-war position with the other allied countries against NAZI Germany. Between November 28 and December 1, 1943, Stalin took part in the so-called Tehran Conference. The chief discussion of the meeting, held by the US President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Stalin, centered on the opening of a “second front” in Western Europe.
Stalin agreed to conduct an eastern offensive operations to coincide with the forthcoming Western Front, and in return he asked the western leaders to proceed with formal preparations for their long-promised invasion and regaining of German-occupied France. Stalin also insisted on retaining the territories provided by the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact of 1939 and additionally requested the Baltic coast of East Prussia as a compensation for the USSR’s enormous role and great number of casualties. <ref>Teheran Conference - http://www.britannica.com/event/Tehran-Conference</ref>
In implementation of the Tehran Conference decision, in May 1944 joint Britain and US troops launched an invasion of France, opening the so-called “second front” in the West. Their actions allowed the Soviet Union to make significant advances across Eastern Europe toward Germany. The end of the war was near and it was time for another meeting of the Allies.
Yalta Conference took place in February, 1945. This was the second wartime meeting of the “Big Three” the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and US President Franklin Roosevelt). Each brought his own agenda to the Yalta Conference. The British wanted to maintain their empire, the Soviets wished to secure and obtain more land and secure positions in their new zones of influence and interests, and the US wanted to insure the Soviet’s entry into the Pacific war and discuss postwar settlement. From the very opening, Stalin made it clear that his demands regarding Poland were not negotiable: the Soviets were to gain “their territory” from the eastern portion of Poland and Poland was to compensate for that by extending its Western boarders, thereby forcing out millions of Germans. Negotiators even signed a declaration forcing the Polish to provide inclusion of Soviet Communists in their postwar national government.
Moreover, Roosevelt main goal was to obtain a commitment from Stalin to participate in the United Nations in order to secure future peace and alliance. As for the other Eastern European countries, the Americans and the British generally agreed that the future governments of the nations bordering the Soviet Union should be “friendly” to the Soviet regime as long as the Soviets pledged to allow free elections in all territories liberated from Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, neither Poland, nor any other Eastern European country had the opportunity of holding free elections for the next almost 50 years.
<ref>Yalta Conference - http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/yalta-conference</ref>
Furthermore, the Big Three agreed to require Germany’s unconditional surrender and ratified their agreements regarding NAZI Germany postwar division: there were to be four zones of occupation, one zone for each of the three dominant nations plus one zone for France. Berlin itself, although within the Soviet zone, would also be divided into four sectors, and would eventually become a major symbol of the Cold War socialists-capitalists separation due to the infamous Berlin Wall, which was constructed and maintained by the Soviets.
The Soviets led by Stalin were keen on regaining lost territories and Yalta Conference was their best chance to do that. As a result Stalin even agreed to enter the Pacific war against Japan in exchange for more territories granted, including portions of Sakhalin, Port Arthur, Manchurian railroads and the Kurile Islands. However, already in poor health, President Roosevelt failed to acknowledge Stalin’s true objectives. Roosevelt readily met Stalin’s conditions, since the Soviets eventually agreed to join the United Nations and Pacific war. The two leaders even secretly negotiated a voting formula with a veto power granted solely to the permanent members in the UN Security Council, providing themselves with more control in the world affairs and greatly weakening the UN power in the oncoming disputes.
Overall, Roosevelt and the other Allies felt confident that Yalta had been successful. Nevertheless, the true Conference winner was once again Joseph Stalin.
==Post war doctrines, conference reactions and consequences==
Although, the initial reaction to the Yalta agreements was celebratory, it was also very short lived. In 1945, the administration of the new US president Harry Truman clashed with the Soviets over their influence in Eastern Europe, and over the United Nations. Many Americans began to criticize Roosevelt’s handling of the Yalta negotiations due to the following lack of Soviet cooperation and even giving Eastern Europe and Northeast Asia away to the Soviet Union. Numerous Central European nations also often regard the Conference in Yalta as the “Great Western betrayal” since it allowed the USSR to intervene freely in their domestic affairs, abandoning democratic policies and turning them into Soviet satellites, effectively introducing Communist regimes with impunity. At the Yalta conference, the Big Three “attempted to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability”, and many believe the decisions and concessions of Roosevelt and Churchill during the summit led to the following power struggle during the Cold War. Nevertheless, Stalin essentially got everything he wanted: a significant territorial sphere of influence and interest as a buffer zone.
The German invasion in the USSR and pressing back to victory in the East required a tremendous sacrifice by the Soviet Union. And Stalin skillfully used that during the wartime conferences in pursue of his postwar Soviet empire expansion. Soviet military casualties totaled approximately 35 million with over 15 million killed, missing or captured. One in four Soviets was killed or wounded. More than 1 700 towns and 70 000 villages were destroyed and the Soviet civilian death toll reached over 25 million. Thereafter, Stalin was often referred to as one of the most influential men in human history. Although, Stalin was responsible for the deaths of over 20 million people during his brutal rule, he was even nominated for Nobel Peace Prize twice – in 1945 and 1948. He continued to prosecute a reign of terror, purges, executions, exiles to labor camps and persecution in the postwar USSR, suppressing all dissent and anything that represented foreign–especially Western–influence. Stalin established communist-satellite governments throughout Eastern and Central Europe.
However, despite all, Soviet dictator’s iron will and deft political skills let Stalin play the loyal ally while never abandoning his true vision of an expanded postwar Soviet empire.
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