Thursday, February 04, 2010

Flashback to the Yalta Conference: February 4, 1945

On this day in 1945, leaders of three allied countries ~ the United States, Soviet Union and Great Britain ~ met secretly in Yalta, Crimea to work through plans for wrapping up World War II. This was the second time Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met during the war, their earlier meeting being in Tehran, Iran in late 1943.

(Click to enlarge.) September of 2008, I spent some time in Crimea and got to see Yalta for myself. And of course, a tour of Livadia Palace, site of the Yalta Conference, was a must. I was thinking about you, and You and YOU, of course, and took lots of photos. Care to come along for a look around?

Livadia Palace was built in 1911 as summer home for Russian Csar Nicolas II and his family. Follow this link to see pictures of the family area of the palace. Oh, by the way, in the distance, can you can catch a glimpse of the Black Sea?

Thanks to Russia Today for this video. Interesting, the Russian take on the relationship of the Big Three.

Time out to orient ourselves. Above is a map of Crimea. It was part of the USSR during the war, now part of Ukraine. And quite a prize, I must say. Yalta is located on the southern coast of Crimea, just north of the ship in the map above.

Let's take a giant step backward for a wider view. You see Crimea dangling down from Ukraine into the Black Sea. Now, I'm recyling this map from earlier traipsing around Ukraine, lines show my trips around Ukraine and also home-sweet-home in Rostov-on-Don. So, you get the idea. . .

So, meanwhile back at the . . .at the palace. . . Say, care to come on into the palace? What we'll see today is related mostly to the Yalta Conference. This is the main entrance to the palace, located on the north end of the building.

This was a big, heavy door. It open directly into the meeting room. Here's a peek in.

Here at the round table where the Big Three sat, surrounded by aides. The armchairs were for the leaders and the chair here in the lower right belonged to Stalin. He liked to sit facing the door so that he could keep an eye on the entrance. Sounds familiar. . .

Several photos of the conference were up and on display. Above is a meeting in progress with movie footage being shot.

Soviet officers plotting, plotting. And plotting some more.

The sailor from the USA, left, looks as though he'd rather be home. Guessing the other soldier is Soviet. Can't help but wonder if they could communicate the slightest bit. The sign behind them directs toward Livadia.

Big Three leaders each visible around the conference table. Stalin at left, smoking.

To the left of the conference room was a suite reserved for Roosevelt. He was in poor health during the meeting and so Stalin invited him to stay at the conference site. Churchill stayed at another palace, 20-some miles away. Guess we shouldn't be surprised that Roosevelt's room was carefully rigged with eavesdropping equipment. Translators worked feverishly through the night preparing transcripts of recordings to that Stalin could read through the notes during breakfast.

The desk set above is a gift to FDR from Stalin, as I recall. Well, for whatever reason, the items are still at Yalta.

White telephone in FDR's suite. Fun to imagine the ears listening to every conversation.

Churchill, FDR and Stalin smiling. This February meeting, 1945, was their second during the war. A third meeting was scheduled for that summer in Pottsdam, Germany. But of the three, only Joseph Stalin would be present. FDR would pass away in April, two months after Yalta Conference, and Winston Churchill would be voted out of office.

Anna Roosevelt, center, accompanied her father on this trip. On the left is the US Ambassador to Great Britain.

Sara Churchill, left, accompanied her father, Winston Churchill, and Anna Roosevelt, center.

This sign publicizes an upcoming exhibit about the Yalta Conference.

In this courtyard, the famous Big Three portrait was taken. I asked if it could be opened, but this is as close as we could get. Besides, there's that big, fierce watchdog guarding the place. ;)

Hope you have enjoyed this look at the Yalta Conference, February 4, 1945. How about you, dear blog reader. Have you by chance been to Yalta? Any special interest in the Yalta Conference? Please share!


Mike Sadler said...

Wow, Eileen, what a nice revisit of history. Wait, that's redundant. I apologize.

Thanks for your post. Enjoyed it. I was with you for some of your visit, but you have a knack for making it relevant to others.

Good job!

John from Kansas said...

Thanks for the wonderful photo essay Eileen. I especially liked the courtyard dog, excellent photo.

Eileen said...

*John from Kansas* - I need your mailing address to send you your prize! (please refer to previous post about prizes - you won 1st prize!)

Mike - thanks so much for stopping by to say preevyet! And thanks so much for nudging me to visit Yalta. I treasure the time to see such an interesting place. And thanks to that physics conference in Yalta, got to be there and see friends - old and new!