Certain cities are forever associated with famous conferences, and stand testament to the power of meeting at the highest level.
Yalta is one such famous name and 4 February marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of that summit meeting in 1945 between Allied leaders Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.
The three men’s meeting at the Crimean resort could be said to have decided the fate of the world.
Nazi Germany was then on the brink of defeat as Soviet troops closed in on Berlin. Allied forces had also crossed Germany’s western border and the war in the Pacific was also closing in.
The Big Three met in the Livadia Palace in the Crimean resort to find an agreement to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
The USSR, having inflicted three-quarters of all German troop casualties in the war and lost some 27 million of its people in the war, faced an enormous task to get the country back on its feet and was seeking reparations, while the Western Allies were concerned to strike a deal on future European borders.
Group talks took place between 4-11 February at the venue which was once the summer home of Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II.
Talks took a week to decide that after Germany’s unconditional surrender, it would be broken apart and be made to pay reparations “to the greatest extent possible”.
While the alliance soon broke apart, evolving into a Cold War, key political decisions at the Yalta Conference were taken which shaped the lives of millions in Europe and beyond.
Photo courtesy of Sputnik, www.sputnikimages.com