Yalta: Bargain or Betrayal?
-A final conference of the Big Three had taken place at Yalta in February 1945, where Soviet leader Joseph Stalin pledged that Poland should have a representative government with free elections, as would Bulgaria and Romania. But, Stalin broke those promises.
-At Yalta, the Soviet Union had agreed to attack Japan three months after the fall of Germany, but by the time the Soviets entered the Pacific war, the U.S. was about to win anyway, and now, it seemed that the U.S.S.R. had entered for the sake of taking spoils.
The Soviet Union was also granted control of the Manchurian railroads and received special privileges to Dairen and Port Arthur.
-Critics of FDR charged that he’d sold China’s Chiang Kai-shek down the river, while supporters claimed that the Soviets could have taken more of China had they wished, and that the Yalta agreements had actually limited the Soviet Union.
The United States and the Soviet Union
-With the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. as the only world superpowers after WWII, trouble seemed imminent, for the U.S. had waited until 1933, to recognize the U.S.S.R.; the U.S. and Britain had delayed to open up a second front during World War II; the U.S. and Britain had frozen the Soviets out of developing nuclear arms; and the U.S. had withdrawn its vital lend-lease program from the U.S.S.R. in 1945 and spurned Moscow’s plea for a $6 billion reconstructive loan while approving a similar $3.75 billion loan to Berlin.
-Stalin wanted a protective sphere around western Russian, for twice earlier in the century Russia had been attacked from that direction, and that meant taking nations like Poland under its control.
-Even though both the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. were recent newcomers to the world stage, they were very advanced and had been isolationist before the 20th century, now they found themselves in a political stare-down that would turn into the Cold War and last for four and a half decades.
Shaping the Postwar World
-However, the U.S. did manage to establish structures that were part of FDR’s open world.
At a meeting at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944, the Western Allies established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to encourage world trade by regulating the currency exchange rates.
-The United Nations opened on April 25, 1945.
The member nations drew up a charter similar to that of the old League of Nations, formed a Security Council to be headed by five permanent powers (China, U.S.S.R., Britain, France, and U.S.A.) that had total veto powers, and was headquartered in New York City.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the U.N. by a vote of 89 to 2.
-The U.N. kept peace in Kashmir and other trouble spots, created the new Jewish state of Israel, formed such groups as UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization), and WHO (World Health Organization), bringing benefits to people all over the globe.
-However, when U.S. delegate Bernard Baruch called in 1946 for a U.N. agency free from the great power veto that could investigate all nuclear facilities and weapons, the U.S.S.R. rejected the proposal, since it didn’t want to give up its veto power and was opposed to “capitalist spies” snooping around in the Soviet Union. The small window of regulating nuclear weapons was lost.
The Problem of Germany
-The Nuremberg Trials of 1945-46 severely punished 22 top culprits of the Holocaust.
-America knew that an economically healthy Germany was indispensable to the recovery of all of Europe, but Russia, fearing another blitzkrieg, wanted huge reparations from Germany.
-Germany, like Austria, was divided into four occupational zones controlled by the Allied Powers minus China, but as the U.S. began proposing the idea of a united Germany, and as the Western nations prevented Stalin from getting his reparations from their parts of Germany, it became obvious that Germany would remain…