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World War Two In Brief: 1945

Yalta Conference

President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshall Stalin, met at Yalta in the Southern Soviet Union. The meeting was a continuation of the earlier dialogue between Churchill and Stalin. In that meeting, Churchill and Stalin had discussed spheres of influence in post-war Europe, and Churchill was reported to have written down a list of countries in which he recorded both nations and percentages. Accordingly, he wrote down; Romania-90%, Soviets-10%, Allied Yugoslavia-50% Allies-50%.

The meeting began on February 2nd.

The first order of business was a discussion of at what point the Soviets would enter the war against the Japanese. The Soviets agreed to enter the war within three months of the end of the war with Germany. The Soviets' political demands included the transfer of the Kurile Islands to the Soviets, recognition of the Soviet sovereignty over Outer Mongolia, and other concessions. Finally, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to a four-power trusteeship over Korea.

At the conference, Roosevelt agreed that the new borders of Poland would be the Curzon line (the boundary which had existed at the end of World War I before the Russo- Polish war). In return, the Poles would receive land from Germany, thus moving the border for Poland Westward.

One of the most significant issues discussed was the ruler of Poland. It was agreed that the Soviet puppet-regime (called the "Lublin Poles") would initially rule. This agreement called for free and democratic elections in Poland.

The three parties agreed to four- party control of Germany.

The major disagreement over the operations of the United Nations was resolved, with the Soviets agreeing to the American proposal regarding the use of the veto in the Security council. The Soviets requested that two of their republics receive separate representation in the U.N. The USA and the United Kingdom agreed.

The Yalta Conference, to this day, is seen by many as an incident of appeasing the Soviets. Others perceive the conference as a reflection of the power of Soviet troops advancing on Germany at the time.

FEBRUARY 14th 1945
Fire–Bombing Of Dresden

The Allied air forces bombed the city of Dresden in repeated waves. The waves resulted in the creation of afire storm that consumed 11 square miles of the center of the city.

FEBRUARY 19th 1945
US Forces Land On Iwo Jima

US forces landed on Iwo Jima, 750 miles south of Tokyo. The landings were heavily opposed by the Japanese, who fought to the death. Nevertheless, the US marines overwhelmed the defenders in a very hard fought battle that lasted for almost 30days. It was one of the most bloody battles of the war.

APRIL 1st 1945
US Forces Land At Okinawa

American forces landed on the island of Okinawa. The Japanese changed their tactics and, instead of opposing US troops at the beaches, put up their defense away inland. At the same time, Japanese aircraft and ships made Kamakasi attacks on the US fleet. The attacks exacted a heavy price: over 7,000 US serviceman and 100,000 Japanese were killed on Okinawa.

APRIL 16th 1945
Battle Of Berlin

The final battle of the Eastern front began on April 16th, as Soviet troops attempted to capture Berlin. German troops fought to the last man, but the Soviet victory was inevitable.

MAY 8th 1945
Germany Surrenders

On May 8th, German forces officially surrendered. Signing for the Germans was Chief of Staff General Jodl. The surrender ceremony took place at Eisenhower's headquarters at Reims.

AUGUST 5th 1945

On August 6th the US Airforce dropped an Atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The city was destroyed and over 70,000 were killed immediately from the effects of the blast. Three days later a second bomb destroyed Nagasaki.

AUGUST 14th 1945
Japan Surrenders

On September 2nd, the Japanese formally surrendered aboard the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Harbor. Two attacks by atomic bombs finally convinced the Japanese government that further resistance was useless.


Suggested Reading For Beginners

Daily Mail (London), Book of the Week
“Of all the books about World War II, this must be one of the most unexpected. Norman Stone, a master historian, has elected to tell the whole story in just 200 pages. Reading it is like being taken up in an all-seeing satellite to observe massive movements on the ground, or the woods without any trees to get in the way. It is illuminating, concentrating on what mattered most psychologically, ignoring confusing detail.”


WW2 IN BRIEF: 1939-40
WW2 IN BRIEF: 1941
WW2 IN BRIEF: 1942
WW2 IN BRIEF: 1943

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"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

History Quotes

May 1945 - If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let lose.

- Ludek Pachmann, Czech Chess-Grand Master and publicist, forty years after the fact.

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"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.


HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
-- Ambrose Bierce

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.


"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past."

"Patriotism ruins history."

Snippets from History

This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


History is Philosophy teaching by examples.


"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre