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Transcript
Who are the authors of the document? When did the meeting occur?
The three heads of state of GB, USSR and USA: Prime Minister Winston Churchill, FD
Roosevelt and Generalissimo Stalin. The meeting occurred in February 1945 in the town
of Yalta (Black sea).
What was established by the Yalta agreement?
“It was decided that a United Nations conference should be summoned for Wednesday,
25 April, 1945”. The next conference was the Potsdam conference which last from July, 17
to August, 2 1945. The conference of April prepared the creation of the United Nations. The
need for an international organization which could have helped to set up peace was clearly
expressed in 1943 at the Teheran conference by the same head of states. In June, 26, 1945, the
51 winner states signed the United Nations charter – which was inspired by the Atlantic
charter of 1941. The United Nations set themselves the target to preserve peace, human rights
and nations rights and to ensure the economical and social progress, essential to provide and
sustain a democratic system to the eyes of the allies. (Prévoir organigramme de l’ONU à
étudier). There were several differences from the SON to the UN. It was admitted that every
signing countries would have representatives at the UN but this time the most important
decisions were taken – and could be blocked – by the five permanent members of the Security
Council: USA, USSR, Great Britain and France. Stalin obtained three seats for the Russia,
Ukraine and Belarus at the general organization.
“The right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live (…)
and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of Government
responsive to the will of the people (…)”. These principles recall those which were adopted
by the SON in the aftermath of WWI. As a matter of fact, the “establishment through free
elections of Government responsive to the will of the people” was a purely theoretical view in
the countries of the eastern bloc, in the soviet sphere of influence.
“The complete dismemberment of Germany…”. The 8th of May 1945, Germany offered a
sight of devastation which recalled of the Thirty years war. The allies agreed at Yalta that
Germany would divided in 4 zones of occupation: US, Soviet, British and French.
And last, the Soviet Union accepted to enter into war against Japan.
What was the peculiar position of France at Yalta?
The USA, the USSR and Great Britain were the winners of the war, so they naturally
deserved their permanent seats at the SC, especially for the US and USSR who were the new
“superpowers”. But what about France and China?
It could appear surprising that France finally manage to get a permanent seat at the UN
security council. There were no representatives of the French Provisional Government at
Yalta. As an occupied territory during the war, France suffered a great loss of credibility with
the Collaboration policy of the Vichy government. The leader of the free France, the General
De Gaulle made strong efforts to claim a victor status for France and to make appear the
Vichy Government as an illegal government. The participation of France on the military field
gained in importance, especially in the North-African and Italian campaign and during the
Provence landings. During the Normandy landings, a tiny French group, the commando
Kieffer, played a not inconsiderable role during the operation. In spite of all those efforts, De
Gaulle struggled with the problem of gathering all the formers colonies and to make himself
recognized as a natural and legal leader on the international stage. Moreover, Roosevelt was
known to dislike him and this attitude certainly played a role in the dismissal of France at
Yalta. Nevertheless, Churchill was in far better terms with De Gaulle and would have been
pleased to gain another ally against the demands of Stalin. He certainly had a favourable
influence about the French demands. Moreover, he feared that France, which suffered on an
economical and human level would be an easy prey for the communists in Europe and insisted
on the role the country must had in the new world order. Stalin played the same role for
China.
Whose advantage was the Yalta conference at last?
De Gaulle, appalled by the fact he wasn’t invited at Yalta, recalled the event in those peculiar
terms: “Figure yourself that there was a meeting of several heads of the states concerned
about the sharing of the world…But France wasn’t invited”. As a matter of fact, Stalin
appeared to be the great benefactor of the conference. He gained an alteration of the border of
Poland in favour of the USSR, obtained the dismemberment of the German Reich he wanted
and the recognition de facto of a great sphere of influence in Europe. FD Roosevelt was
weakened by his illness (from what he will die short after) and Churchill, despite his mistrust
regarding Stalin, couldn’t moderate the demand of the “People’s little father”.