Gorbachev and Eastern Europe

Gorbachev and Eastern Europe

The history of postwar Eastern Europe begins with “Yalta.” Why quotation marks? “Yalta” signifies more than the historical meeting of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill in the Crimea, in February 1945. “Yalta” signifies a major trend in the wartime diplomatic efforts of the “Big Three,” manifest in their correspondence as well as the records of their meetings. Paradoxically, “Yalta,” or what it could be said to stand for, had, enthusiastically and naively, been proposed by Roosevelt, gradually joined by Stalin (for tactical purposes), only conditionally and reluctantly supported by Churchill. This trend, revealing the deeper meaning of “Yalta,” is often misunderstood as the legitimate coordination of the war effort by the three allied powers. In fact, the three powers never fully disclosed their genuine strategies to each other, much less coordinated them.

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