the Cold War, Part One,1917-1945
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January 3, 1945
The Soviet Union asks
the US for a loan of $6 billion at 2.25% interest for the purchase
of capital equipment in the United States to be repaid by the exports
of gold and other raw materials. [Morgenthau suggested to FDR that
the US make it for $10 billion at 2% over 35 years. On January 27th
the State Department indicated to the Russian government that "necessary
legislation" would have to be passed, but that "longterm
credits constitute an important element in the postwar relations
between our two countries." Meanwhile lend-lease materials
continued to flow to Russia, including much goods that could be
used for postwar reconstruction. In March Rep. John Vorys (R-OH)
succeeded in placing an amendment onto the lend-lease extension
bill that would prohibit the use of lend-lease for postwar relief,rehabilitation,
or reconstruction. The question of a postwar loan was not discussed
at the Big Three meeting in Yalta, and no loan was ever given to
the Soviet Union.] (38)
January 12, 1945
Five Russian army groups
break through the German lines and begin their advance toward the
Oder River and Berlin.
January 28-31, 1945
The American and British
chiefs of staff meeting in Malta are in bitter conflict about the
strategy of the endgame in Europe. The British want to make costly
spearheads to occupy Berlin, Vienna and Prague before the Red Army
can get there. The Americans refuse to incur such major casualties
for political reasons. General Marshall declares he would ask to
be relieved of his command should the British plan be adopted. (39)
February 4-11, 1945
Yalta Conference: Roosevelt,
Churchill and Stalin agree:
Germany will be partitioned
into occupation zones, there will be reparations in kind limited
to ten years, territory ceded, and factories dismantled.
"Free and unfettered elections" will be held in Poland
and the Balkans. (There are seven million Polish-Americans of voting
age, so this is an area of tremendous political sensitivity.) (40)
The Soviet Union will declare war on Japan within three months of
the end of the war with Germany (41);
the five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN (US,
UK, USSR, France, China) will have the right to veto.
Almost half of Poland's prewar territory will be given to the Soviet
Union--- less than a quarter of the 1931 population of this area
had been Polish, most were Ukrainians, "an unhappy and rebellious
minority before the war" plus some "equally dissatisfied"
Belorussians. (42) Poland's western boundary will be moved west
to the Neisse River, a territory containing approximately nine million
The southern part of Sakhalin Island (lost to Japan in 1905) shall
be returned to USSR; Japan will also give the USSR the Kurile Islands.
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