Friday, February 4, 2011

The Argonaut Conference

February 4, 1945: Yalta Conference opening. Sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference (obviously because of the location), it was a wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Joseph Stalin, respectively —for the purpose of discussing Europe's postwar reorganization. Mainly, it was intended to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. The conference convened in the Livadia Palace near Yalta, the Crimea. It was the second of three wartime conferences among the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin). Stalin, insisting that his doctors opposed any long trips, rejected Roosevelt's suggestion to meet on the Mediterranean. He offered, instead, to meet at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, in the Crimea.

Each leader had an agenda for the Yalta Conference: Roosevelt asked for Soviet support in the U.S. Pacific War against Japan, specifically invading Japan; Churchill pressed for free elections and democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe (specifically Poland); and Stalin demanded a Soviet sphere of political influence in Eastern and Central Europe, an essential aspect of the USSR's national security strategy.

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