A major new history of the eight days in February 1945 when FDR, Churchill, and Stalin decided the fate of the world
Imagine you could eavesdrop on a dinner party with three of the most fascinating historical figures of all time. In this landmark book, a gifted Harvard historian puts you in the room with Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt as they meet at a climactic turning point in the war to hash out the terms of the peace.
The ink wasn't dry when the recriminations began. The conservatives who hated Roosevelt's New Deal accused him of selling out. Was he too sick? Did he give too much in exchange for Stalin's promise to join the war against Japan? Could he have done better in Eastern Europe? Both Left and Right would blame Yalta for beginning the Cold War.
Plokhy's conclusions, based on unprecedented archival research, are surprising. He goes against conventional wisdom-cemented during the Cold War- and argues that an ailing Roosevelt did better than we think. Much has been made of FDR's handling of the Depression; here we see him as wartime chief. Yalta is authoritative, original, vividly- written narrative history, and is sure to appeal to fans of Margaret MacMillan's bestseller Paris 1919.
Harvard historian Plokhy (Unmaking Imperial Russia) enhances his stature as a scholar of modern Russia in this convincing revisionist analysis of the February 1945 Yalta conference. Plokhy makes sophisticated use of Soviet sources to make a case that Yalta was anything but the diplomatic defeat for the West so often depicted in cold war literature. He describes Yalta in the context of a clash between different approaches to international relations. FDR was a liberal internationalist. Churchill and Stalin saw the world in terms of power and interests. And with the Red Army only 50 miles from Berlin, "Stalin held the trump cards." Plokhy's detailed and highly engrossing narrative of the negotiations shows that the West did reasonably well. Roosevelt's agenda was global. He secured Stalin's commitment to join the war against Japan and participate in the U.N. Churchill, focused on Europe, preserved British interests in the Mediterranean. Stalin achieved recognition of the U.S.S.R.'s great-power status and a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. The Yalta agreement was not the first conflict of the cold war but just a step toward a cold war that emerged only after three more years of failed negotiations. Maps.