This day in 1945 saw the signing of the Yalta Agreement by Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin to sort the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. All three leaders were trying to establish an agenda for governing post-war Europe. The three men agreed that all original governments would be restored to the invaded countries, with the exception of the French government, which was regarded as collaborationist, and that all civilians would be repatriated.
The meeting took place in a Russian resort town in the Crimea from February 4-11, before the war had ended but the three men knew that an Allied victory was almost inevitable. Recognising that a victory over Japan might require a longer fight, the United States and Great Britain saw a major strategic advantage to Soviet participation in the Pacific theater. At Yalta, Roosevelt and Churchill discussed with Stalin the conditions under which the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan and all three agreed that, in exchange for potentially crucial Soviet participation in the Pacific theater, the Soviets would be granted a sphere of influence in Manchuria following Japan’s surrender.
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed not only to include France in the postwar governing of Germany, but also that Germany should assume some, but not all, responsibility for reparations following the war. However, despite initial celebration following the Yalta Conference, with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, Harry S. Truman became the thirty-third president of the United States. By the end of April, the new administration clashed with the Soviets over their influence in Eastern Europe, and over the United Nations. Alarmed at the perceived lack of cooperation on the part of the Soviets, many Americans began to criticize Roosevelt’s handling of the Yalta negotiations.