The Road to Potsdam

  • John Wheeler-Bennett
  • Anthony Nicholls


The morrow of the termination of the war in Europe found the counsels of the Grand Alliance in considerable disarray and the cause of this disconsonance lay in the altered policy of the Soviet Union. At Tehran and at Yalta Marshal Stalin had been in a position to chaffer and he had driven a hard bargain. Though the way had been made easy for him by President Roosevelt’s determination to develop a special relationship with the Soviet Union, Stalin had impressed the Americans at Yalta by his apparent willingness to make concessions, but most of these related to such matters as the United Nations and the Far Eastern War and did not affect the sensitive issues involved in Eastern Europe. On those questions Stalin had given nothing away, and platitudinous formulas like the Declaration on Liberated Europe — so dear to Mr Stettinius — could but disguise the fact that the Russians had obtained virtually all they required. Indeed, Stalin had some reason to suppose that his allies were really resigned to the inevitability of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe, since both his ‘percentage’ arrangement with Mr Churchill in Moscow in October 1944 and his private conversations with Roosevelt — not to mention General de Gaulle — seemed to point in that direction. The British were clearly concerned about the Poles, but it was also evident that Polish representatives in London were beginning to exasperate the British Government. As for the large phrases about free elections which had been bandied about at Yalta, they could hardly be taken seriously by a man of Stalin’s kidney.


Prime Minister Foreign Minister Iron Curtain Free Election Russian Power 
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  1. 59.
    Herbert Feis, Between War and Peace (Princeton,1960)pp.97-116Google Scholar

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© Sir John Wheeler-Bennett and Anthony Nicholls 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Wheeler-Bennett
  • Anthony Nicholls

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