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11-08-2015, 18:59

The Teheran Conference

The Three Great Powers held their first meeting at Teheran in October 1943, after Italy had surrendered. None of them, especially Stalin, was very outspoken about military plans. They each refused to divulge a great deal or to attempt to coordinate operations. They merely settled the dates on which each would launch an offensive against Germany. The British and Americans agreed to attack across the English Channel. They had not been fully decided before arriving at the conference wThere they yielded before Stalin's obduracy. Their most important discussions had to do with policy after the war. Only Stalin had formulated precise plans for Germany and Poland. The Three Great Powers concurred that Germany should be punished for provoking the war and for using criminal methods to fight it. Germany would be occupied, her territory drastically reduced, her economy and especially heavy industry restricted, and she would be partitioned. Only the new countries remained to be discussed and their borders hammered out. Although Stalin agreed to these more general plans, he affirmed that it was Nazism and not Germany which had to be destroyed. He opposed Churchill's suggestion to resuscitate the Austro- Hungarian Empire in the form of a Danubian Confederation. He had other plans for these areas, but he kept them to himself. Poland presented the thorniest problem. The British had gone to war in the first place in defence of Polish borders. Roosevelt could not disregard a significant Polish minority in the United States. The legitimate Polish government in London had tried to reach an understanding with Stalin and a Polish army was mustered from Polish prisoners taken by the Red Army, but negotiations broke clown alter the Katvn massacre was discovered. Without consulting the Polish government Roosevelt and Churchill accepted in principle that Poland's eastern frontier would follow the Curzon Line of 1918. Soviet Russia would retain the territory annexed in September 1939, but Poland would be granted ample compensation at Gennanv's expense m the form ol East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia. This arrangement provided a pretext lor Stalin to claim Koenigsberg, which had never previously been Russian.