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Yalta was a carve-up — and the Poles
are understandably still bitter about it

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Posted By: StormCnter, 11/17/2019 12:24:42 PM

‘The strong do what they can. The weak suffer what they must.’ Thucydides’ principle expresses an uncomfortable truth. The eight-day meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta in the Crimea in February 1945 settled the fate of Eastern Europe and beyond. Its effects are still with us. President George W. Bush compared it with the way Britain, France and the Soviet Union sold out to Hitler before the war began: he called it ‘one of the greatest wrongs of history’. ‘Yalta’, like ‘Munich’, has become a synonym for the cynical betrayal of the weak by the strong. It is an oft-told, well-documented and controversial story.


From "Eight Days at Yalta: How Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin Shaped the Post-war World" by Diana Preston

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Condor44 11/17/2019 12:43:27 PM (No. 237523)
My Polish grandparents detested Roosevely because of this. It turned them into Republicans.
11 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: DVC 11/17/2019 12:55:35 PM (No. 237532)
They should be. Roosevelt was taken to the cleaners by Stalin. Roosevelt was very old, very sick and had a communist traitor, Wallace, as a VP. I have always wondered how much Wallace whispering in his ear affected this conference outcome. It was a serious black mark for the USA, and a serious embarrassment for Roosevelt.
18 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: StormCnter 11/17/2019 1:20:55 PM (No. 237544)
I have always been sad for the way Poland has been used and abused and cast aside by neighboring countries, supposed allies and anyone else who wants to run tanks across that flat landscape. God bless and watch over that country and her valiant people.
17 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: 49 Ford 11/17/2019 1:23:08 PM (No. 237547)
I disagree with the esteemed poster at # 2. The conditions extant at the time were much as the article describes. The Red Army had already overrun eastern Europe and Roosevelt needed Stalin's help in finishing off Japan. Stalin was in the catbird seat and well knew it. What real leverage did FDR (even if younger and more fit) and Churchill have? The myth that the western powers "sold out" at Yalta needs to be tabled permanently. I can well understand that Polish people who suffered under Soviet tyranny may have a different perspective but really don't see how things could have turned out differently. As George Will (years ago, when he was still tethered to reality) once said, "The history of Poland can be summarized in one sentence: When you pitch your tent on Fifth Avenue you're going to get hit by a bus."
1 person likes this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: swarfer 11/17/2019 1:47:16 PM (No. 237559)
Read "Freedom Betrayed" Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and it's Aftermath. It's worse than you can imagine.
3 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: DVC 11/17/2019 2:08:29 PM (No. 237567)
I respectfully disagree, #4, we got, and needed nothing from Stalin related to Japan. Russia's armies were 7,000 or 8,000 miles across Siberia and an angry ocean from Japan, with one, single RR track connecting them, no real facilities along the thousands of miles of literal frozen, boggy wilderness to support moving million men, and no naval capabilities to move them to Japan. Stalin couldn't get there, even if he had been inclined, and he was not. Stalin jumped on the spoils of war wagon after we had defeated Japan, and what would he have done without nukes if we had told him to withdraw from Eastern Europe, except comply? Roosevelt was a patsy with a traitor as VP.
14 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: WesternTradition 11/17/2019 2:55:18 PM (No. 237589)
Patton and MacArthur knew exactly what to do.
11 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: GO3 11/17/2019 3:02:28 PM (No. 237594)
I agree that the Red Army took advantage of the war in the Pacific being a foregone conclusion before attacking into Manchuria and bulldozing through a brave Japanese army isolated logistically and being outclassed in every aspect of mobile combined arms warfare. Big whoop. We didn't need Stalin's help. Even without the A-bomb (Stalin was fully aware of its development from his spies in the Manhattan Project), where was Stalin going to magically develop an amphibious warfare capability to match the US? He wasn't. One positive thing you can say about MacArthur is that he knew who held the cards in the Pacific, and Japan would not be divided among allied powers Like Germany. Churchill's actions were puzzling. He of all people recognized the need to turn into the Balkans from Italy to gobble up territory before the Red Army could take it. Even though it didn't happen his attitude post-war seems soft toward Eastern Europe domination by the USSR. Patton understood the Red threat also, but here is where I disagree with the author. In 1945, the Red Army was victorious but was on its last legs. Logistically they had to have special detachments of Tartars roam the German countryside looking for food, potable water, fuel, etc. to continue the fight. Leadership was still enthrall to the steam roller tactics, yet as late as the Battle of Seelowe Heights east of Berlin, the Red Army went absolutely nowhere the first day going up against a depleted German Army. I think Patton was right. If the US had wanted to, they could have kicked the Red Army back into Russia. Too many like this author buy off on the Red Army's invincibility. The political decision in no way reflected the correlation of forces, but it was simply an acquiescence to Stalin's designs.
9 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: 49 Ford 11/17/2019 3:18:15 PM (No. 237600)
Well #6, our respectful disagreement continues. Roosevelt needed Stalin to agree to attack the Japanese forces in Manchuria, not the home islands. That "Uncle Joe" agreed to do and did, in the process drawing Japanese divisions away from home island defense and reducing their ability to inflict casualties on our (at the time envisioned) home island invasion force. And to suggest that we could have threatened to use of nuclear weapons to force Soviet withdrawal from eastern Europe is (IMO) extremely reckless.and ignores the temper of the times..Once the bombs were dropped the war was won, Americans was understandably exultant and wanted peace above all. And keep in mind that in 1945 Stalin's plans for eastern Europe were not fully understood there was widespread hope that some form of accommodation was possible. Stalin understood the mood in the west at that time and played a clever propaganda game.
2 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Miss Ann Thrope 11/17/2019 3:26:34 PM (No. 237605)
In addition to Wallace's influence on FDR, FDR also had Alger Hiss along at Yalta as an advisor. Read Whittaker Chambers' book "Witness." Hiss was a communist.
8 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: 49 Ford 11/17/2019 3:34:05 PM (No. 237611)
# 8 You may be right about the limitations of the Red Army at that time, but the key phrase in your post is that "If the U.S. had wanted to...". After Japan's surrender there was no appetite in America for further war, no matter how worthy the idea. And it wasn't until a couple of years later that the Iron Curtain finally came down.
3 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: BigGeorgeTX 11/17/2019 4:21:03 PM (No. 237649)
My family's forebears resided in large German enclave of Siebenbergen in Romania since the 16th century. All their property was seized by the Soviets and my parents came to the USA with 3 children under 6 years old, the clothes on our backs and one trunk of clothes in 1956. Yes, we were bitter about it, but we put it behind us and made the USA our home. Certainly preferable to living under Communism until the fall of the Soviet Union.
8 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: GO3 11/17/2019 4:25:47 PM (No. 237655)
#11, no disagreement about the US "not wanting to." I have said previously that FDR and America's understanding of prosecuting the war was only until "the Apache is taken or destroyed." It was a political decision, though the influence and motivations of FDR's advisors is suspect. My main point is that unlike the author and others, the Red Army was in no position to adequately resist a united allied attack to return them to the Motherland, even without the 100,000 or so Germans.
5 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: DVC 11/17/2019 5:09:08 PM (No. 237711)
Supporting #13, much of Stalin's war material came from US factories. In the aviation museum outside of Moscow there is a B-25, and a P-39, which we supplied in great numbers, a long with Smerman tanks, and LOTS of ammunition. And Stalin had essentially no navy, and zero amphibious capability. Hiss and Wallace were traitors, loyal to the Kremlin at a critical time.
5 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: Rumblehog 11/17/2019 5:34:53 PM (No. 237737)
FDR was evil.
6 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: bighambone 11/17/2019 5:45:30 PM (No. 237740)
If the Poles are so mad at the British for not sending a lot of military aid to Poland in 1939 why does just about every Pole today want to live in the UK? Remember geographically Poland was at the time, in the worst position imaginable, stuck between Nazi Germany and the Communist USSR. How would the British even be able to transport their military aid to Poland anyway as Nazi Germany was located between Poland and the UK
3 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: DVC 11/17/2019 6:50:17 PM (No. 237776)
#16, you are absolutely correct. In 1939, it was entirely impossible for the Brits to stop the Weirmacht, in France or Belgium, where they tried without success, and certainly not in Poland. In addition to not being able to get there, their limited aircraft situation was crucial to be reserved for the Battle of Britain, a very near run thing. At the end of the war, the Brits, the US and even the Free French were right there, with a huge, well supplied and well seasoned army, with the superior M-26 Pershing just coming into the fight and a giant air force, while Moscow's supply lines extended almost 1,000 miles to Moscow, and perhaps 2,000 miles to the east with many factories moved east of the Urals as the Nazis pushed in, and they were significantly dependent on output from US factories. I don't really buy it, but there are theories that Patton's death was related to his pushing to free Eastern Europe. Real conspiracy theories.
9 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: Pete Stone 11/17/2019 7:34:45 PM (No. 237813)
Re #9: It can be argued that no help was needed from Stalin to keep the Japanese from withdrawing their troops from China to defend the home islands. By 1945 the Inland Sea and the waters around Japan were swarming with American submarines. Japanese troopships would have been sitting ducks. The Japanese navy was out of fuel and munitions. After the Battle of the Philippine Sea the Japanese were almost out of planes, and more important, out of experienced pilots. (The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot saw Japan lose 400 planes -- and pilots -- in one day.) All FDR accomplished by inviting Stalin in was to give North Korea to the Communists and to help Mao take China. BTW, FDR also conspired to cover up the Katyn Forest Massacre by pretending to believe Stalin's lies. IMO, the best thing the U.S. could have done would have been to tell Stalin to go suck eggs. We would be cobelligerents against the Axis, but NOT allies -- never allies. WWII started because Poland was invaded. N.B.: It was not only invaded by Germany. The USSR also participated in the Fourth Partition of Poland. FDR whitewashed that too. Re #8: Before the war ended, Churchill was out of the picture. The Conservatives lost an election and Clement Atlee was Prime Minister. Read Churchill's history of the war, particularly the last volume (Triumph and Tragedy) to get Churchill's take on the Yalta Conference.
4 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: DVC 11/18/2019 2:23:39 AM (No. 237960)
#18, reading "Triumph and Tragedy" right now, have not yet gotten to Yalta. Anyone who imagines that they understand WW2 without reading Churchill's vast set of books is fooling themselves. I have read WW2 history for decades, and until I read Churchill's books, there were whole swaths of the war that I didn't fully appreciate the events of and the real affects that they had. I agree 100% with all your points, esp Mariana's Turkey Shoot essentially ending the Japanese air forces as a significant conventional air power. After that, all they could put up of significance were "smart bombs", AKA Kamikaze, the "Divine Wind", and they were significant as hell. Roosevelt was taken in repeatedly by Stalin, and I imagine that Wallace and Hiss were huge factors in persuading Roosevelt, weakened and dying, to trust Stalin. Roosevelt was very right in the beginning of the war, and very wrong by the end of his days.
2 people like this.

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