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Left to right: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill on the verandah of the Soviet Embassy in Tehran during the 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, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst 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 central aim of the conference was to plan the final strategy for the war against Nazi Germany and its allies, and 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)

Contents

Overview

The key Allied leaders—Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill - met together only twice during World War II.

The first of these two meetings, 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. Stalin was afraid of flying and took an airplane only once, namely for this occasion.[1]

Churchill and the British diplomats hoped to establish a method for dealing with Stalin before the conference, and therefore they arranged the Cairo Conference, which, however, 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 Roosevelt was withdrawn and edgy, ignoring the Stalin issue, and the conference was spent discussing mainly future policy with China and Japan.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 as it turned out his health would not permit him to negotiate with Stalin from a strong, focused position. Roosevelt arrived in Tehran on November 28, 1943 in poor physical condition. In contrast, Stalin arrived jubilant and swaggering after the USSR’s recent victories in Eastern Europe, and he clearly held the upper hand.

The main objective of the United States and Great Britain was to ensure full cooperation and assistance from the Soviet Union for their 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 other matters, namely 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 “Big Three” spent days wrangling about when Operation Overlord should take place, who should command it, and where operations should begin.

Roosevelt gave Stalin a pledge that he had been waiting for since June 1941: that the British and the Americans would open a second front in France in the spring of 1944. Churchill up to this point had been seeking a joint United Kingdom, United States and Commonwealth forces initiative through the Mediterranean that would have secured British interests in the Middle East and India. Roosevelt however was determined to break up the British Empire,[2] and thus the concessions to Stalin served this purpose. 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 agreed that 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.

Iran and Turkey were discussed in detail. 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 that country entered the war; Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed that it would also be most desirable if Turkey entered on the Allies’ side before the year was out.

Despite accepting the above arrangements, Stalin dominated the conference, 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 Stalin's onslaught of demands, but was able to do little except appease Stalin. Churchill mostly argued for his Mediterranean plan instead of Operation Overlord, to the annoyance of diplomats and officials. These weaknesses and divisions played into Stalin's hands.

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 consented to the USSR setting up puppet communist governments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic states, Romania, and other Eastern European countries which would result in a loss of freedom by these countries for the next fifty years and would be the genesis of the Cold War. After the conference it was agreed that military leaders of the three countries would meet together often, for further discussion.

One remarkable thing that was also decided at the Tehran Conference was the way in which the Allies would deal with Finland, a country which cooperated with Germany but one that had not signed the Tripartite Pact, and had not declared war on any other Allied countries other than the Soviet Union. Allied leaders decided that Finland was fighting a separate war against Soviet Union, and as such was not a de jure member of Axis. Their decision stipulated that Finland could conduct its own negotiations to obtain a peace contract with the USSR rather than being subject to the "unconditional surrender" that faced the Germans and Japanese.

Tripartite dinner meeting

Without American production the United Nations could never have won the war.
— Joseph Stalin during the dinner at the Tehran Conference[3]

Before the Tripartite Dinner Meeting of November 29, 1943 at the Tehran Conference, Churchill presented Stalin with a specially commissioned ceremonial sword (the "Sword of Stalingrad", made in Sheffield) 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 Kliment Voroshilov, who mishandled it causing the sword to fall to the ground.[4]

During the dinner, Stalin who, according to the US report, 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".[5]

Declaration of the Three Powers

The Declaration of the Three Powers, (December 1, 1943), made at the completion of the Conference, commences:

"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."

Summary of principal conclusions

  1. The Partisans of Yugoslavia should be supported by supplies and equipment and also by commando operations.
  2. It would be most desirable if Turkey should come into war on the side of the Allies before the end of the year, in which circumstances, the Soviet Union was to support them.
  3. Operation Overlord would be launched during May 1944, in conjunction with an operation against southern France.
  4. The military staff of the Three Powers should from then on keep in close touch with each other.
  5. At the insistence of Stalin, the borders of post-war Poland were determined along the Oder and Neisse rivers and the Curzon line.
  6. A United Nations Organization was tentatively agreed to.
  7. The Soviet Union agreed to wage war against Japan once Germany was defeated.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Nikolai Tolstoy. Stalin's Secret War. Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1981). p. 57. 
  2. ^ http://american_almanac.tripod.com/FDRlw95.ht
  3. ^ One War Won, TIME Magazine, December 13, 1943
  4. ^ Stalingrad, by Antony Beevor, ISBN 0-14-024985-0
  5. ^ He declared that he would rather be taken outside and shot rather than agree to Stalin's proposal of summary executions for German officers. He stormed out of the room but was brought back in by Stalin who convinced him that he wasn't serious. Tehran Conference: Tripartite Dinner Meeting November 29, 1943 Soviet Embassy, 8:30 PM

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. <http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/01/documents/yalta.html>.
  • 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.
  • "Tehran Conference." Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 24 March 2006. Wikipedia Foundation. 26 March 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehran_Conference>.
  • "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, 1 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.

External links

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Tehran Conference
Wikipedia logo Wikipedia has more on:
Tehran Conference.

"We the Government 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." (Declaration of the Three Powers, December 1, 1943)

We express our determination that our nations shall work together in war and in the peace that will follow..

As to war-our military staffs have joined in our round table discussions, and we have concerted our plans for the destruction of the German forces. We have reached complete agreement as to the scope and timing of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west and south.

The common understanding which we have here reached guarantees that victory will be ours.

And as to peace-we are sure that our concord will win an enduring Peace. We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the United Nations to make a peace which will command the goodwill of the overwhelming mass of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations.

With our Diplomatic advisors we have surveyed the problems of the future. We shall seek the cooperation and active participation of all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are dedicated, as are our own peoples, to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them, as they may choose to come, into a world family of Democratic Nations.

No power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by land, their U Boats by sea, and their war plants from the air.

Our attack will be relentless and increasing.

Emerging from these cordial conferences we look with confidence to the day when all peoples of the world may live free lives, untouched by tyranny, and according to their varying desires and their own consciences.

We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit and in purpose.

ROOSEVELT, CHURCHILL and STALIN

Signed at Tehran, December 1, 1943 (b) Declaration of the Three Powers Regarding Iran, December 1, 1943

The President of the United States, the Premier of the U. S. S. R. and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, having consulted with each other and with the Prime Minister of Iran, desire to declare the mutual agreement of their three Governments regarding their relations with Iran.

The Governments of the United States, the U. S. S. R., and the United Kingdom recognize the assistance which Iran has given in the prosecution of the war against the common enemy, particularly by facilitating the transportation of supplies from overseas to the Soviet Union.

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.

With respect to the post-war period, the Governments of the United States, the U. S. S. R., and the United Kingdom are in accord with the Government of Iran that any economic problems confronting Iran at the close of hostilities should receive full consideration, along with those of other members of the United Nations, by conferences or international agencies held or created to deal with international economic matters.

The Governments of the United States, the U. S. S. R., and the United Kingdom are at one with the Government of Iran in their desire for the maintenance of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran They count upon the participation of Iran, together with all other peace-loving nations, in the establishment of international peace, security and prosperity after the war, in accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all four Governments have subscribed. WINSTON S. CHURCHILL J. STALIN FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT (c) Military Conclusions of the Tehran Conference

The Conference:-

(1) Agreed that the Partisans in Yugoslavia should be supported by supplies and equipment to the greatest possible extent, and also by commando operations:

(2) Agreed that, from the military point of view, it was most desirable that Turkey should come into the war on the side of the Allies before the end of the year:

(3) Took note of Marshal Stalin's statement that if Turkey found herself at war with Germany, and as a result Bulgaria declared war on Turkey or attacked her, the Soviet would immediately be at war with Bulgaria. The Conference further took note that this fact could be explicitly stated in the forthcoming negotiations to bring Turkey into the war:

(4) Took note that Operation OVERLORD would be launched during May 1944, in conjunction with an operation against Southern France. The latter operation would be undertaken in as great a strength as availability of landing-craft permitted. The Conference further took note of Marshal Stalin's statement that the Soviet forces would launch an offensive at about the same time with the object of preventing the German forces from transferring from the Eastern to the Western Front:

(5) Agreed that the military staffs of the Three Powers should henceforward keep in close touch with each other in regard to the impending operations in Europe. In particular it was agreed that a cover plan to mystify and mislead the enemy as regards these operations should be concerted between the staffs concerned. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT JOSEPH V. STALIN WINSTON S. CHURCHILL

TEHRAN, December 1, 1943.


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