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Albert Gates

Yalta Divided Up the Planet

(March 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 13, 26 March 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Most of the chips were put down at Crimea in the game of power politics between the Big Three, with their agents and hired hands, politicians, journalists, commentators and opinion-makers. The stakes they played for were empires and spheres of influence. They told the people, however, that they were attempting to assure peace and world organization.

No matter where you turn, you are confronted with the query: Are you for or against Crimea? By that is meant, do you accept or reject the decisions adopted by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill. The most vociferous people are, of course, the Communist Parties of the world, agents of Stalin, whose policies are always easy to foretell: whatever the Stalin regime in Russia does, they are for.

Thus the world is being divided between those who accept the decisions of Crimea and those who are critical of them or reject them out of hand.

What does it mean to accept the decisions of the Yalta conference and what does it mean to reject them?


To understand Yalta it is necessary to go back to the Teheran conference of a year ago. At that conference the aim of the Big Three was to cement their internal relations and to establish the military course in the prosecution of the war and to reach a preliminary agreement on the political questions arising out of an end to the war, namely, how to partition Europe.

There is no doubt now that Russia’s demands on Poland were presented to Roosevelt and Churchill at Teheran and that a general agreement was reached. Eastern Europe was accepted as a Russian sphere of influence. At the same time, and in return for this agreement, England’s pre-eminence in the Mediterranean area was established; that is, she was to have a dominating role in Greece, Italy and the islands which dot that great sea. America was to obtain an open door to Western Europe. Germany was to be handled as a joint problem. While it was not fully decided what to do, the main policy undoubtedly was discussed and adopted.

The pace of the war quickened after the Teheran conference. Political explosions occurred in Greece, Poland, Italy, France. The course of Allied liberation did not run smoothly. The area of agreement between the Big Three seemed to narrow and another meeting between its statesmen was indicated. How were these problems resolved?

Horse-Trading at Yalta

At Yalta, Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill settled down to some old-time horse-trading. What united the three countries, all striving to dominate the world and therefore mutually antagonistic, was the common war against Germany. What determined the concrete decisions made was the power of arms.

The United States and Russia were the big powers. Both had tremendous military forces and arms. The Russian army had already swept over a good part of Eastern Europe. The American armies were in the West and in Italy. England was also there, but in relatively small numbers. So they proceeded to solve the problems of the control of Europe in a manner dictated by their individual military power.

1. RUSSIA. Stalin obtained control of Eastern Europe.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which were incorporated into Russia during the Hitler-Stalin pact, remain incorporated. These countries, which are officially recognized by the United States and for whom Roosevelt spoke so eloquently before Germany invaded Russia, were not even mentioned by the conferees.

Poland, over whose borders England and France went to war, was split up. Stalin took all the territory east of the Curzon Line. Poland is to be compensated by German territory.

The Stalin creation, the Lublin Committee, is to rule the country with a few additions from abroad.

A “democratic" election is to follow to select a new government. But in the meantime, the Stalinist-Lublin government has practically completed a purge of all socialists, trade unionists, democrats, peasants, etc., who were against Lublin and against Russian domination of Poland. When the election is held the opposition will have already been destroyed: and a “Ja" vote will take place.

Stalin, who seized other territories in Eastern Europe, also obtained the “right" to dominate Romania, Jugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary and possibly Austria.

In all of these deals the people of the countries involved had nothing to say. Three men, representing their respective classes and their respective national interests, decided the fate of millions and millions of people.

2. GERMANY. The country will be dismembered. Its people will be enslaved. The advocates of a “hard peace" are now busy at work to justify their plans by depicting all Germans as beasts, sensualists, criminals, murderers and warriors.

If all the Germans are these things, then it becomes right to enslave millions of German workers (Stalin’s demand). In all the threats to punish the Nazi “war criminals", not a word was said about the German industrial and financial ruling class, the capitalists who paid for Hitler, put him into power, and really laid the plans for this war for profit.

Germany will be occupied by the three great powers, with France invited to occupy the Rhineland. The country will be divided into three zones, occupied by American, Russian and British troops, with a representative ruling commission to reside in Berlin. A reparations commission will sit in Moscow!

3. UNILATERALISM. The Big Three also decided that from Yalta on there should be no more unilateral actions. Since this means none of the Big Three shall act independently, the U.S. will intervene in decisions affecting other countries.

4. JAPAN. For the concessions made to Stalin in Eastern Europe, Stalin agreed to give assistance to the war against Japan. Exactly what this assistance is to be remains to be seen.

5. WORLD SECURITY. The conferees then sat themselves down to resolve their differences on Dumbarton Oaks. The stumbling block to the Dumbarton Oaks decision to set up a new world organization was the manner of voting by the chief council. At Yalta the “architects of a new world" gave in to the Russian demand that any one of the five leading powers making up the main council of the new world organization would have the right to veto any military action for which the security council might vote against an aggressor who sits on the council.

In other words, if Russia were deemed an aggressor and the council should vote to take military action against her, she could veto this action by her vote. Thus the whole farce of voting on war is completely revealed. Besides, war was never halted by a vote. When imperialist powers are ready to go to war, nothing but the united strength and opposition of the masses of people can stop them. The great discussion on the voting of the Dumbarton powers is merely wool pulled over the eyes of the people to disguise the fact that no serious steps have been taken to halt another war!

6. FOREIGN MINISTERS. The Crimean conference also decided that the Foreign Ministers of the United States, Russia and England shall meet regularly. The purpose in this is to prevent “misunderstandings" which arise from the unilateral actions taken by each of them, no matter what their agreements may be.

7. SAN FRANCISCO. Crimea also decided to convene a United Nations conference in San Francisco to endorse the agreements of the Big Three. Since the other United Nations have only an advisory role, they can in no way seriously interfere with the decisions of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill. Churchill has already made it clear that in the present world one must accept the fact that big powers rule, little powers obey!

The San Francisco gathering is itself the sharpest condemnation of Crimea and its decisions. Three powers have decided in a completely dictatorial way the kind of world organization there should be. These three powers select two additional members (France and China) to sit on the permanent council. The same Big Big Three, or Big Five, select the lesser nations to sit on the non-permanent six-nation council.

Before any of these nations can come to San Francisco, they are being forced to declare war on the Axis. Otherwise they will get no favors from the Big Three! But after they come to San Francisco they will have no real rights or powers, since all rights and powers are concentrated in the hands of the Permanent Council of Five!

8. THE ATLANTIC CHARTER AGAIN. Having settled the fate of so many peoples in Europe and the sovereignty of nations, without their consultation, the Big Three, with a fitting hypocrisy, re-endorsed the Atlantic Charter.

Before Crimea, Churchill had misrepresented the Charter and then declared it has no other significance than that of a hope or a guide. Roosevelt joked about the Charter, didn’t even know where it was, described it as a piece of paper having no official standing. Stalin signed the Charter too, but that didn’t stop him from incorporating countries into the borders of Russia without consulting their peoples. But now, they have all re-endorsed it after having torn it to shreds and violated every one of its principles!

This was Yalta! A meeting of three powers which decided the fate of Europe and the world and laid the seeds for the Third World War!

Behind their actions is a determination to prevent the European peoples from deciding for themselves what kind of governments they want, what kind of economic, political and social systems they want.

Behind their actions is a determination to destroy the German nation and to wreak revenge on the German people.

Behind their actions is the determination to keep in existence a rotten and decaying capitalist system, to retain the profit social order at the expense of hundreds of millions of people.

Behind their actions is a plan to split Europe between the Big Three to guarantee the regimes of the big powers and to split the booty of the world between them.

The decisions of Yalta, arrived at in a completely autocratic, big-power fashion, have nothing in common with democracy or a democratic peace which can come only from the people of the world.

The decisions of Yalta laid the basis for a new occupation of Europe, a new race of arms, a new subjugation of the peoples of the continent.

The decisions of Yalta bar the way to emancipate the millions and hundreds of millions of colonial peoples now living under the heel of Allied imperialism.

But the decisions of Yalta are not everlasting. They will not last for the several generations hoped for by Roosevelt. They will last only as long as the present relationship of forces, the strength of arms of the contending powers will last – and no longer.

The way to peace and the way out for Europe, as for the rest of the world, lies with the peoples of the world, with their efforts to establish a new society of genuine freedom, peace and security. That kind of society can only be a socialist society, free of exploiters and profiteers who feed on national antagonism, race hatred, war and imperialism.

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