Polskie Radio (Poland): Yalta-1945. As Roosevelt and Churchill betrayed the poles and capitulated to Stalin

Rconcerning Polish Sovietologist Professor Marek Cornutum about the Yalta conference

the Conference “Big three”, which was held in Yalta on 4 — 11 February 1945 with the participation of Joseph Stalin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, officially, was aimed at the harmonization of the world order after the Second world war, punishment of criminals and the establishment of sustainable peace. Among other things, the leaders of the USSR, USA and great Britain agreed to hold an international Tribunal over the Nazis, the division into zones of occupation and denazification of Germany. It was also agreed for the holding of the founding conference of the UN, outlined a new postwar borders in Europe. The conference was held under the slogans of democracy, freedom and the struggle for peace. In reality, however, Yalta was an act of surrender of the West to the Soviet Union along with Nazi Germany unleashed the Second world war. Yalta was also a betrayal of the United States and great Britain against Poland, which was their ally. It was through their acceptance of Stalin in Poland, as throughout Central and Eastern Europe, established the totalitarian Soviet system.

speaking of the Yalta conference, I invited Professor Marek Kornata of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which is a leading Polish Sovietologist.

Nazar Oliynyk: you will Probably not be an exaggeration to say that even before the Yalta conference was held, it was already known to be Stalin’s victory. The very venue, Yalta, in Soviet territory, and the time, when in fact a large part of East Central Europe was under the control of the Soviet Union, already in advance determined the course of the meeting in Yalta. Right?

Marek Kornat: of Course, the Yalta conference took place in a particularly favorable moment for the Soviet Union and its leader. The fact is that, of course, the Western great powers were in defence, if we are talking about the military situation at the front. They experienced huge difficulties with reflection of the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes in December 1944. At the same time, as you know, in January 1945, the Soviet Union launched a big counteroffensive from the area of Vistula, in the direction of Central Germany, to Berlin.

the Soviet Union was in the hands of all the cards. The territory that was ceded to the Soviet sphere of interest, even according to the decision of the Tehran conference in late 1943, were already occupied by the red Army. Second, President Roosevelt did not hide the fact that he was going to Yalta to Stalin asking for help to end the war with Japan. Of course, Stalin was planning to sell expensive their consent.

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In General, in my opinion, the attribution of the Yalta conference great and decisive importance in the fate of the world is exaggerated and unfounded. The fact that if it was not, then, frankly, likely, historical events would have happened the same way. That is, the Sovietization of the occupied countries of East Central Europe, including Poland, would be without the agreements made in Yalta.

— Yalta has become a symbol and starting point of the Sovietization of East Central Europe, but Poland, its boundaries and other issues, as already mentioned, agreed to another at the Tehran conference. Why Yalta was the symbol of betrayal of the West and the new division of Europe?

— Why Yalta was such a symbol of evil? You know, then you need to pay attention to one fact. Extremely important decisions taken in Tehran, was kept secret. Obviously not everyone, but those that concerned Poland was classified. President Roosevelt asked them not to disclose, because he feared losing the votes of the Polish Diaspora in America. As you know, if a politician wants to win the election, then every vote important. But at Yalta it was different. Decisions of the Yalta conference were presented to the public in the form of a “Declaration on liberated Europe,” and other resolutions. As for Poland, there was a dangerous formulation, so they should lead. They said that the Communist government that Stalin had already set in Warsaw, in the ruins of Warsaw, had to be slightly revised and supplemented with non-Communist leaders. This meant that the Communists will not give up power.

secondly, as you know, it was decided that the Curzon line would be the Eastern border of Poland. However, in return Poland was to clearly unmarked, but a large territorial gains in the West. Last and most importantly, the promised free elections had to take part only “nekazista party.” It insulted the Polish people and made it clear that Poland was unmarked by the Nazis. If in Poland and there were some Nazis, they were Germans, as there was no Polish Nazis. This wording gave the Soviets the opportunity to resolve anyth a political party under the pretext that she is not democratic.

In the end, Stalin rejected the concept of international supervision over the elections in Poland. When Roosevelt and Churchill introduced him to this business, he told them that the poles are a great people, too proud to accept that someone oversaw their choice. Stalin said that the Polish people themselves are able to hold fair elections. In short, it has given tools for the rapid Sovietization of Poland. Anyone who read all this and had some political experience and political imagination, could tell at a glance that it is a tragedy for Poland. Unfortunately, the way it was.

Important issue is the different interpretation of the value and impact of Yalta, which is not just used for Russian propaganda. That is, stresses that Poland had lost Eastern territories, however, she received compensation in the West. It is also clear that the loss of Polish land in the East was a tragedy. However, in the case of Lithuania, Ukraine or Belarus on the basis of the decisions of the Yalta conference, formed the borders of these countries, when they have become independent. Theoretically, we can imagine that the Polish-Ukrainian or Polish-Lithuanian conflict could continue in the present. Time and again it is emphasized that side effect of Yalta was that these national problems even though cruel and painful way, but still decided. How would You comment on this question?

Today we can say that subsequently, and by and large, it turned out useful, since Poland and Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have no territorial claims against each other. Curzon line as the boundary becamea new territorial delimitation, and happened as it happened. However, we must remember that comrade Stalin did not implement a policy in the national interests of Lithuanian, Polish or Ukrainian state. He expanded and built the Soviet totalitarian Empire, the frontiers of which were to be extended, as far as possible. In addition, in East-Central Europe was supposed to be a system dependent from Moscow States. Happened.

Simultaneously, the Polish people went through the evolution of his vision of territorial issues in Central and Eastern Europe and in the whole vision of the territorial issues of their country. That is, the Polish people rejected Yalta, when it learned in 1945. But then, when had other events and changed conditions of life, historical realities when, generations of Polish people agreed with this state of Affairs. No one’s making claims about Vilnius or Lviv. No one posed such a question when in Poland in 1989, communism fell. It’s about saying something. In other words, the importance is the realism of the situation, which is more important than sentiment. Such a sublime feeling, as a sentiment to Lviv, the city’s motto is always loyal to Poland and so on — all this receded into the background. Attention was also given to political realism. I think it is important to emphasize this important Polish experience.

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