Sixty years after the fact, one of the Second World War's greatest diplomatic errors gets revisited. CNN MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands (Reuters)-Grandsons of the three World War II allied leaders who attended the 1945 Yalta conference met for the first time on Saturday and defended the talks which some have blamed for triggering the Cold War.
With the German army in retreat and Hitler's vision of a Nazi-controlled continent in tatters, Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met at the Black Sea resort to decide how to occupy Germany and reoranize Europe into spheres of influence.
At the grandsons' first meeting, the trio countered the view that the U.S. and British leaders underestimated Stalin's cunning and abandoned central and eastern Europe to five decades of Soviet oppression, starting the Cold War.
"People imagine that Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin arrived in Yalta with a blank sheet of paper to decide the fate of Europe. Nothing could be further from the truth," Winston Churchill, 64, told Reuters.
"The fate of Europe had been decided several months before with the Red Army sweeping westwards and rolling back the German Wehrmacht...it was that which led to the enslavement of some 200 million peoples," he added. Yes, and it was also Roosevelt's shortsightedness (most likely increased by his illness) which allowed the Soviets to stay.