The day the Yalta Conference started – level 3
In February 1945, it was clear that World War II was slowly coming to an end. The Red Army advanced from the east and was only 65 kilometers from Berlin, Germany. The Allies, who were also already in Germany, were approaching from the west, looking for a way to cross the Rhine River.
In this situation, on February 4, 1945, the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition – US President Roosevelt, Soviet leader Stalin, and British Prime Minister Churchill – met in Yalta, in the Soviet Union. They met to discuss mainly what post-war Europe should look like.
Stalin wanted to build a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. Churchill, on the other hand, wanted free elections and democracy. Roosevelt wanted Stalin to help him defeat Japan.
The result of the talks was Stalin’s promise to help Roosevelt fight Japan. They also agreed on the division of Germany into 4 parts: Russian, American, British, and French.
Stalin negotiated that the Soviet Union retained the eastern territory of Poland which they occupied at the beginning of the war, and the Germans could be taken to labor camps. They also had to pay compensation to the Allies.
Difficult words: Allies (the group of countries that fought together against Germany in World War II), coalition (a group made up of other groups that work together as one), sphere of influence (an area where you have power), election (when people choose their government), retain (to keep), labor (work).
What was the Yalta Conference?
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