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Tehran Conference

The Tehran Conference (codenamed EUREKA) was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943 in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference among the Big Three (the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom) in which Stalin was present. It succeeded the Cairo Conference and was followed by the Yalta Conference and Potsdam Conference. The chief discussion was centered on the opening of a second front in Western Europe. At the same time a separate protocol pledged the three countries to recognize Iran's independence:

"The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they are agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations, and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption." (Declaration of the Three Powers Regarding Iran—December 1, 1943)

Most importantly the conference was organized to plan the final strategy for the war against Nazi Germany and its allies.

Major conclusions

  1. An agreement was made stating that the Partisans of Yugoslavia should be supported by supplies and equipment and also by commando operations.
  2. It was agreed that it would be most desirable if Turkey should come into war on the side of the Allies before the end of the year.
  3. If Turkey found themselves at war, the Soviet Union was to support them.
  4. Took note on November 30 that Operation Overlord would be launched during May 1944, in conjunction with an operation against southern France.
  5. It was agreed that the military staff of the Three Powers should from then on keep in close touch with each other.
  6. Britain and the U.S. promised Stalin that they would send troops to Western Europe. It was agreed that they would arrive in the spring of 1944.
  7. At the insistence of Stalin, the borders of post-war Poland were determined along the Oder and Neisse rivers and the Curzon line.
  8. A United Nations Organization was tentatively agreed to.
  9. The Soviet Union agreed to wage war against Japan once Germany was defeated.

Overview

The key Allied leaders—Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill—were known as the "Big Three" because of the might of the nations they represented and their peaceful collaboration during World War II. These three leaders met together only twice during World War II, but when they did confer, their decisions changed the course of history.

The first of these two conferences, the Tehran Conference, took place in Tehran, Iran. It only came about after much pleading and threats from Roosevelt who wished to strengthen the cooperation between the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR. In fact, Roosevelt wanted this meeting so much that he was willing to make numerous concessions to Stalin, and the choice of the location itself was a place that was more convenient for Stalin. These leaders met regarding the war against Japan.

Churchill and the British diplomats hoped to establish a method for dealing with Stalin before the conference, and therefore they arranged the Cairo Conference. However, the Cairo Conference did not go as planned. Roosevelt was withdrawn and edgy, ignoring the Stalin issue, and the conference was spent discussing mainly future policy with China and Japan. From the Cairo Conference, it appeared that Roosevelt planned to deal with Stalin alone, but his health would not permit him to negotiate with Stalin from a strong, focused position. In fact, Roosevelt arrived in Tehran on November 28 1943 with little bargaining power and in poor physical condition. In contrast, Stalin arrived jubilant and swaggering because of the USSR’s most recent victories in Eastern Europe, and he clearly held the upper hand. Churchill was calm and focused, hoping to promote his Mediterranean plan.

The Tehran Conference was the first three-power war conference of World War II, so the first thing the United States and Great Britain did was to ensure full cooperation and assistance from the Soviet Union for any and all war policies. Stalin agreed, but at a price: Roosevelt and Churchill would have to support his reign and the partisans in Yugoslavia, and also allow for the manipulation of the border between Poland and the USSR. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin then moved on to more important matters, mainly Operation Overlord and general war policy. Operation Overlord was scheduled to begin in May 1944, in conjunction with the Soviet attack on Germany’s eastern border. The attacks would combine the force of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and numerous other countries, and would later be known as "D-Day", the series of battles that decided the war’s end. The “Big Three” spent days wrangling about when Operation Overlord should take place, who should command it, and where operations should begin.

Next, Roosevelt gave Stalin a pledge that he had been waiting for since June 1941: that the Anglo-Americans would open a second front in France in the spring of 1944. This was Stalin’s major political objective of the war, so he was well-satisfied. Churchill up to this point had been seeking a joint United Kingdom, United States and Commonwealth forces push through the Mediterranean that would have secured British interests in the Middle East and India. Roosevelt was determined to break up the British Empire and so the concessions to Stalin served this purpose. Concerning general war policy, the Soviet Union requested backup troops in Western Europe, and it was agreed that these troops would arrive in the spring of 1944. It was also agreed that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan once Nazi Germany was defeated. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin also concurred that the Axis powers would face unconditional terms of surrender, and that once defeated, the nations in league with the Axis powers would be divided into territories to be controlled by the USSR, the U.S., and the UK. In regard to common alliances and international relations, Iran and Turkey were mainly discussed. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin all agreed to support Iran’s government, as addressed in the following declaration:

The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they all agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations, and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption.

In addition, the Soviet Union was required to pledge support to Turkey if they found themselves at war, and Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin decided that it would also be most desirable if Turkey entered the war on the Allies’ side before the year was out. Despite being forced to accept the above arrangements of the conference, Stalin dominated, using the Soviet victory at the Battle of Kursk and military might, as well as key positions on the German front, to get his way. Roosevelt attempted to cope with the crushing onslaught of demands, but with few strategic positions and various other bargaining powers, he was able to do little except appease Stalin. Churchill mostly argued for his Mediterranean plan instead of Operation Overlord, something that annoyed all diplomats and officials. Therefore, Stalin plowed his way through the conference, checking off items on his to-do list. One of Roosevelt and Churchill's main concessions concerned post-war Poland. Stalin wished for an area in the Eastern part of Poland to be added to the USSR, and for the border to be lengthened elsewhere in the country. Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to this demand, and Poland’s borders were declared to lie along the Oder and Neisse rivers and the Curzon line, despite protests of the Polish government-in-exile in London. Churchill and Roosevelt also gave Stalin free rein in his own country, and allowed the USSR to set up puppet communist governments in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Baltic states, Romania, and other Eastern European countries what has become a reason of loss of freedom by these countries for next fifty years and genesis of Cold War. After the aforementioned conclusions were made, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin returned to their own countries to carry out war policies, with the agreement that military leaders of the three countries would meet together often, for further discussion. So, thus ended the friendliest and most productive conference of World War II.

Tripartite dinner meeting

Before the dinner meeting Churchill presented Stalin with a specially commissioned ceremonial sword (the "Sword of Stalingrad") commemorating the victory in the battle of Stalingrad as a gift from king George VI to the citizens of Stalingrad and the people of the Soviet Union. When Stalin received the sheathed sword, he took it with both hands, kissed the scabbard and handed it to marshal Voroshilov who mishandled it causing the sword to fall to the ground.

During the Tripartite Dinner Meeting at the Tehran Conference, Stalin who, according to the US report of the dinner, continuously needled Churchill for his perceived "affection" for the Germans, proposed executing 50,000–100,000 German staff officers. Roosevelt joked that perhaps 49,000 would do. Churchill denounced the idea of "the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country." He said that, "war criminals must pay for their crimes and individuals who had committed barbarous acts, and in accordance with the Moscow Document, which he himself had written, they must stand trial at the places where the crimes were committed." He objected vigorously, however, "to executions for political purposes.

German assassination attempt

When Hitler's agents made him aware of the location of the conference, he made plans to assassinate the three leaders of the Allies. German paratroopers, some in Russian uniforms, were dropped in several locations, including the outskirts of Teheran, Ghasvin and Qom. The assassination of the Big Three and the destruction of some of the railroad tunnels near Qom were their goals, but they were apprehended almost as soon as they touched ground. The British, Soviet, and American troops also rounded up the Nazi accomplices, and the Big Three completed their conference without incident.

Declaration of the Three Powers

Declaration of the Three Powers, December 1 1943 "We the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, have met these four days past, in this, the Capital of our Ally, Iran, and have shaped and confirmed our common policy."

See also

Footnotes

Bibliography

  • Best, Geoffrey. Churchill: A Study in Greatness. London: Hambledon and London, 2001.
  • Clemens, Diane S. "Yalta Conference." World Book. 2006 ed. vol. 21. 2006, 549.
  • "Cold War: Teheran Declaration." CNN. 1998. 26 March 2006. .
  • Meacham, John. Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. New York: Random House Inc., 2003.
  • O’Neil, William L. World War II: a Student Companion. New York: Oxford UP, 1999.
  • Persico, Joseph E. Roosevelt’s Secret War. New York: Random House, 2001.
  • “Portraits of Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt.” School Arts Magazine Feb. 1999: 37. Student Research Center. EBSCO Host. Philadelphia. 2 April 2006. Keyword: FDR.
  • Snyder, Louis L. World War II. New York: Grolier Company, 1981.
  • Sulzberger, C L. American Heritage New History of World War II. Ed. Stephen E. Ambrose. New York: Viking Penguin, 1998.
  • "Teheran Conference." Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 24 March 2006. Wikipedia Foundation. 26 March 2006. .
  • "Western Betrayal." Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 29 March 2006. Wikipedia Foundation. 2 April 2006. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_betrayal>.
  • “Yalta Conference.” Funk and Wagnells New Encyclopedia. World Almanac Education Group, 2003. SIRS DISCOVER. Philadelphia. 2 April 2006. Keyword: Yalta Conference.
  • Miscellaneous No. 8 (1947) Military Conclusions of the Tehran Conference. Tehran, 1st December, 1943. British Parliamentary Papers. By Royal Command. CMD 7092 Presented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Parliament by Command of His Majesty.

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