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Old 01-01-2013, 09:49 AM
 
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It was a sell out, or an outmanuever, a statecraft diplomacy error of monumental impact. FDR's mistake is the same one repeated again and again by US presidents - the thought that other leaders think the same as them and want what is best for the world. This is the same mistake made by Obama in his early dealings with Iran (if we just sit down and talk to them...). Stalin was of course acting in his self interests, regardless of what was good or right, as would be expected in hindsight to a man that killed millions of his countrymen. But Yalta wasn't a decision between war with Russia and/or no agreement. The world was war weary. This was diplomacy - lawyers and statesmen at work. We conceded our ground, concessions were made that did not have to be made.

Churchill knew better than to trust Stalin, but even in the end he gave in. They ended the conference with a "promise" of free elections in Poland and other occupied countries. No clause to ensure that it happens. Stalin simply lied, FDR was duped, and the west ended up with a cold war that lasted 50 years.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,565 posts, read 21,270,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
It was a sell out, or an outmanuever, a statecraft diplomacy error of monumental impact. FDR's mistake is the same one repeated again and again by US presidents - the thought that other leaders think the same as them and want what is best for the world. This is the same mistake made by Obama in his early dealings with Iran (if we just sit down and talk to them...). Stalin was of course acting in his self interests, regardless of what was good or right, as would be expected in hindsight to a man that killed millions of his countrymen. But Yalta wasn't a decision between war with Russia and/or no agreement. The world was war weary. This was diplomacy - lawyers and statesmen at work. We conceded our ground, concessions were made that did not have to be made.

Churchill knew better than to trust Stalin, but even in the end he gave in. They ended the conference with a "promise" of free elections in Poland and other occupied countries. No clause to ensure that it happens. Stalin simply lied, FDR was duped, and the west ended up with a cold war that lasted 50 years.
Your analysis does not include how FDR/The Allies could have enforced the deal short of triggering a war with the Soviets.

You wrote that
Quote:
concessions were made that did not have to be made.
but do not identify those concessions nor how they could have been avoided.

Suppose that FDR had refused to sign any agreement with Stalin regarding post war eastern Europe. Then what? Would the outcome have been any different? Stalin would have not needed to break any promises and the USSR would still have occupied the territories in question. How would that improve the situation for FDR?
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:09 AM
 
14,554 posts, read 21,204,478 times
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Your analysis does not include how FDR/The Allies could have enforced the deal short of triggering a war with the Soviets.

You wrote that but do not identify those concessions nor how they could have been avoided.

Suppose that FDR had refused to sign any agreement with Stalin regarding post war eastern Europe. Then what? Would the outcome have been any different? Stalin would have not needed to break any promises and the USSR would still have occupied the territories in question. How would that improve the situation for FDR?
Think about what FDR wanted in exchange - the soviet union in the newly formed UN (a useless organization, and one in which again Stalin duped the west with his establishment of veto power), and the Soviet Union to open up a front against Japan (again, useless as Russia did not start real agression towards Japan until after the atomic bomings, and resulting in the USSR occupying Manchurea). These two useless elements in exchange for Eastern Europe - was it worth it?

True, Stalin had the trump card with his troops outside of Berlin, but everything is negotiable. Now, the problem is that FDR and Stalin, and Churchill for that matter, all had different agenda's. FDR with the naive world view of the UN, Churchill with his concerns about western europe and the med, Stalin with the expansion of influence and the creation of buffer states. Each got their wish, but who did it benefit the most? For instance - what wars has the United Nations prevented?

Maybe the results was inevitable - but that was because we had a sick man that was 2 months from death as our leader, and a communist spy (Hess-still open to argument) doing our negotiating.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,565 posts, read 21,270,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Think about what FDR wanted in exchange - the soviet union in the newly formed UN (a useless organization, and one in which again Stalin duped the west with his establishment of veto power), and the Soviet Union to open up a front against Japan (again, useless as Russia did not start real agression towards Japan until after the atomic bomings, and resulting in the USSR occupying Manchurea). These two useless elements in exchange for Eastern Europe - was it worth it?

.
My question was how FDR could have secured eastern Europe short of threatening, and then conducting, war against the Soviets? Had FDR not asked for Soviet entry into the Japanese war and for Soviet participation in the UN, how would anything have been different?

The thing which must be addressed here is the how.....as in how the western allies could have kept the USSR from domination of the territories they had "liberated" from the Germans. Why would Stalin have surrendered an inch of that much wanted buffer zone?
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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Roosevelt had misjudged Stalin from the beginning of his administration in 1933. He gave Stalin too much assistance, war materials and technology. FDR ignored Stalin's purges and kept feeding that bastard until he died in 1945.

Here are some FDR quotes about Stalin. In a 1943 statement summarizing his rationale for wartime relations with Stalin, FDR says:

"I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. ... and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace".

Churchill wirtes FDR a letter early in 1945 pleading for a free Poland, FDR replies with this remark about his confidence in Stalin, saying that "Stalin's early priesthood training had entered into his nature of the way in which a Christian gentleman should behave."

Then six weeks before FDR's death, he states to congress about Yalta "I come from the Crimea with a firm belief that we have made a start on the road to a world of peace." About Yalta, I think Roosevelt was sick and just wanted to get the damn thing over with, lol. Finally in late March he admits that his view of Stalin had been "excessively optimistic". So two weeks before his death, he finally figures it out. What would another president have done in FDR's place, had he been a man of vigor and sharp enough to have Stalin all figured out BEFORE Yalta, like Churchill did. What if he had him figured out earlier, and turned the faucet off on Stalin in '43 or 44 to slow him down a bit.

But as is was, Poland could not be saved at that point, because Stalin was there and he wanted Poland the most, but how bad did he want Czecholslavakia or Hungary ? You always try and bargain from a position of strength and get concessions. Hard to believe we couldn't have gotten something more from the Yalta Conference than we did, being just around the corner from having a nuclear bomb.

Letting Stalin have the whole of Germany would have been a nightmare for the western world.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Kent, Washington
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Germany was a nightmare for the Western world and destroying it was the most important business. And since things turned out OK in the end I think it's hard to fault FDR; once you start alternate history who knows what would happen? We outlasted the Soviets and without a war with them, that's OK in my book.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Vladivostok, Russia
122 posts, read 161,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carneades-SkepticGriggsy View Post
So do Pres.Michael Gorbachev of the Soviet Union and Pres. Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation
The world's greatest evils since Hitler (or Mao, maybe). Bush is an angel, compared to these bastards.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Vladivostok, Russia
122 posts, read 161,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Is Roosevelt to blame for what happened?
He didn't have any power to decide the fate of territories liberated by SU.

Poland was doomed to become pro-Soviet. It wasn't nice enough to spare it from becoming a buffer. Sh.t happens, when you choose the wrong side.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:24 AM
 
14,781 posts, read 39,915,804 times
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Originally Posted by object704 View Post
He didn't have any power to decide the fate of territories liberated by SU.

Poland was doomed to become pro-Soviet. It wasn't nice enough to spare it from becoming a buffer. Sh.t happens, when you choose the wrong side.
Exactly which side did Poland "choose" in WW2?

Outside of that, GS is absolutely correct, what was FDR supposed to have done? I agree with those quoting FDR's various statements on Stalin; FDR grossly misread Stalin's character and intentions. However, even with that knowledge, we are left with the fact that the western Allies had virtually zero ability short of going to war with the Soviets to make decisions over what was going to happen in Eastern Europe. At that point, about all the western Allies could hope for was an agreeable plan for Germany itself.

Viewed within the context of the actual situation, FDR achieved about as much as he possibly could have. Stalin held all of the cards, even to the point of making FDR who was in incredibly poor health travel all the way to Yalta instead of meeting in the Mediteranean because Stalin's doctors "advised him not to travel too far". The fate of Eastern Europe had already been sealed with Soviet boots on the ground. What FDR was able to achieve was averting a conflict between the western Allies and the Soviets and creating (no matter how flawed) an apparatus for facilitating diplomacy in the post-WW2 world, something that wouldn't have worked without Soviet agreement to join.

Viewed in hindsight and considering the situation at the time, it is hard to fault what FDR did. His only option would have been to play hardball with Stalin which would have risked open war at the worst or at the very least guaranteed a far more hostile and adversarial post war world.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,726 posts, read 5,736,183 times
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Your opinion on this topic largely depends on your political ideology. We conservatives have always believed that FDR smooched Uncle Joe's backside and gave him everything he wanted. The whole idea of the supposedly Invincible Red Army is bunk. Without massive US aid to the USSR the Germans would have rolled the Russians up by '43 or '44 and won the war on the Eastern Front. In 1945 the Soviet Union was mostly a devastated wasteland, exhausted and in no condition to take on the victorious American forces and her allies. Hordes of mostly illiterate peasants carrying cheap burp guns in mass human wave attacks supported by crude rocket launchers would have been no match for the overwhelming air and material superiority that the West enjoyed. We should have listened to Patton and made all of Europe free.
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