How the ‘Big Three’ Teed Up the Cold War at the 1945 Yalta Conference

By February 1945, it was becoming increasingly clear that not only would Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich not last a millennium as he had hoped; he wouldn’t even survive spring.

The end of the Second World War was finally in sight, the “three great” Allied leaders, the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Prime Minister Joseph Stalin met in the Soviet resort town of Yalta to plan the dawn of the post-war world. Although Roosevelt was the only one to offer this follow-up to the Tehran Allied Conference in 1943, to project a united front against Nazi Germany, Stalin could dictate the location of the summit on the Black Sea coast because its forces had a more solid position on the battlefield. While American and British forces had not even crossed the Rhine yet, the Red Army was about 40 miles from Berlin.

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