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Origins of the Cold War, Part One,1917-1945

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16                          p.13

April 24, 1945

The Soviet armies meet southwest of Berlin, completing their encirclement of the city.

April 27, 1945

American and Soviet troops meet at the Elbe River near Torgau, Germany.

May, 1945

At the United Nations conference in San Francisco the United States manipulates to achieve the admission of Argentina to membership despite Argentina's fascist government and past support of the Axis powers. This violates the agreement made by the Big Three at Yalta to deny membership to Argentina. [Molotov rightfully objected and appealed to world opinion, but was voted down 31-4 in the UN's first major action. The vote had the effect of isolating and humiliating the Soviet government, as Argentina had sponsored the expulsion of the Soviet Union from the old League of Nations. Cordell Hull, a member of the American delegation, but in too poor health to attend the meetings, warned Secretary of State Stettinius that if the US was "not careful we could get Russia into such a state of mind that she might decide that the United Nations organization was not going to furnish adequate security to her in the future" and might instead rely on "a federation of nations close to her". At the same conference Britain and the US frustrated the USSR's wish to have Poland admitted to the United Nations. I. F. Stone complained in the Nation that "too many members of the American delegation conceive this as a conference for the organization of an anti-Soviet bloc under our leadership."

Argentina, although technically a neutral country for most of the war, had been a non-belligerent favoring Germany in much the same manner as the US had been a non-belligerent favoring Britain in the months before Pearl Harbor. According to Maurice Halperin, in 1942 the Latin America division of the OSS and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were sufficiently concerned about Argentina's complicity that a preliminary survey for a full-scale military invasion of Argentina was undertaken. By the time the survey was completed, the Germans were retreating from Stalingrad, and any reason for invasion had ended. Argentina was the last Latin American country to declare war against Germany and Japan--- on March 27, 1945. After the war thousands of Nazis and high-ranking SS officers escaped the dragnet and were taken to Argentina through the "rat line".] (52)

Notes and Sources

May 7, 1945

German General Alfred Jodl signs surrender documents in Reims, France. Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower wires Washington and London: "The mission of this Allied force was fulfilled at 0241 local time, May 7, 1945. All fighting was to cease the next day at 11:01 PM.

May 11, 1945

HST precipitously signs an order for the curtailment of Lend-Lease to Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Only supplies needed for Soviet operations in the Far East or for completing industrial plants already partially supplied should be shipped in the future. [The Lend-Lease administrator, mindful of congressional opposition to the use of Lend-Lease for postwar reconstruction, interpreted the order rigidly and ordered ships then at sea carrying supplies to turn back to port. The USSR was outraged and Truman ordered those ships to continue on to their Soviet destinations.] (53)

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© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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