“There can be no middle ground here. We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict.” … Roosevelt’s words ring hollow through history considering what happened after Yalta. Congress agreed with FDR’s assessment of the Crimean accords, but the next world conflict was already under way. Historians have tried to connect the dots over the last 69 years- many connections have yet to be convincingly made…conspiracy has filled the voids.
“Of course I believe in a free Poland…come now, let’s smoke”
Stalin clearly benefited from the agreement… as much of the groundwork for the Eastern Bloc was laid during the negotiations. How could Roosevelt and Churchill allow Stalin to have his way on a majority of the issues? If we believe Churchill’s self-described deference to Roosevelt, something(or someone) influenced the decision making. Questions about FDR’s health are at the source of many conspiracies: Was he too weak to deal with the diplomatic rigors? Did knowledge of his mortality cloud his judgement during negotiations? Was he willing to grant a great deal to Stalin to secure what he considered to be his legacy, the United Nations? The lack of written evidence, combined with basic deduction has led many an amateur historian down the conspiratorial path.
Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES
Most historians now concede that Alger Hiss… was not simply an American Communist, but in fact, a Soviet agent. Hiss was a member of the US delegation to Yalta. He arranged some of the papers used during the negotiations. Conspiracy theorists do not have to leap too far in linking Hiss to the outcome at Yalta. Records indicate that Hiss had a minor role(at best) during the negotiations. But, to conspiracy theorists, lack of written evidence is never a deterrent.
“It was not a question of what we would let the Russians do, but what we could get the Russians to do.” Future Secretary of State James Byrnes commented on the Yalta conference which began on February 4, 1945.
The exhausted three
Most historians now agree that Yalta… is where Stalin exerted his will upon the European continent. Theories abound as to how this came to pass- Roosevelt’s illness, Churchill’s weariness, Soviet agents posing as American diplomats (Alger Hiss)- regardless, the Soviet Union came out of the conference a world power. Byrnes’ observation was optimistic to say the least…
What seemed at the time to be reasonable compromise… laid the foundations for the Eastern Bloc.
Iron Curtain descending
- Free elections in Poland- clearly stacked in Stalin’s favor, the exiled Polish government in London stood little chance against the Provisional Communist state built by the Red Army in 1945.
- Red Army occupation of eastern and central Europe was accepted- and despite assurances to Churchill of peaceful intentions, Stalin told Molotov, “Never mind. We’ll do it our own way later.”
- The Red Army would occupy half of Germany including the entirety of Berlin. The seeds of the Cold War are planted out of what was thought to be military expediency.
NASA remembers Apollo 1 disaster… three astronauts honored on 5oth anniversary
Owner files suit to keep Hitler’s childhood home… Austrian government seeks to destroy original structure
World War 1 memorial draws concern in Washington… does the National Mall need another war memorial?
Doubts remain about Eisenhower memorial… Ike’s family finally supports controversial design
Civil War battlefield preservation expanded in 2016… Civil War Trust released promising numbers from a banner year.
Remembering Apollo 1
Mein Kampf is again a bestseller in Germany… first publication in 70 years sells out initial run
Coal fire may have helped doom Titanic… journalist suggests the smoldering fire contributed to the sinking
Nixon personally directed interference in Vietnam peace talks… documents show effort to impact public opinion before 1968 election
Armies continue looting historical sites in Middle East… academics warn of the loss of priceless antiquities
Irish Potato Blight originated in South America… genetic link found in pathogen that killed millions in Europe and Ireland
Always Tricky Dick
History of smallpox being questioned… research suggests disease much younger than previously believed
Treasury Department to rush redesigned currency… fears that Trump will block plans to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill
US to return part of Okinawa to Japan… military has controlled 10,000 acres since end of WW2
Economists finish project documenting American Dream… data suggests our prospects are steadily declining
Congress approves 7,000 acre expansion of Petersburg battlefield… bipartisan effort will generate $10million per year in tourist revenue
DNA as historical document
Historians search for Greek influence in China… is there a western influence in Terra Cotta Army?
Clinton campaign struggles with historical context… first woman to lead national ticket remembers suffragettes
House blocking bill to honor WW2 spies… Congressional inaction on full display
Petition calls for Thomas to be included in African-American Museum… Smithsonian excluded second black Supreme Court Justice
Trump’s claims about Gore’s concession fail history test… Gore never argued the result was “rigged”
The good ole days