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The "Big Three" at the Tehran Conference
Left to right: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
|Other names||Tehran Summit|
|Participants||Winston Churchill (Prime Minister: Great Britain),
Franklin D. Roosevelt (President: United States)
Joseph Stalin (Premier: Soviet Russia)
|Location||Soviet Embassy, Tehran, Iran|
|Date||November 28, 1943to December 1, 1943|
|Result||Consensus to open a second front against Nazi Germany by 1 May 1944|
The Tehran Conference (codenamed Eureka) was a strategy meeting held between Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill from 28 November to 1 December 1943. It was held in the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran and was the first of the World War II conferences held between all of the "Big Three" Allied leaders (the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom). It closely followed the Cairo Conference[a] and preceded both the Yalta[b] and Potsdam[c] Conferences. Although all three of the leaders present arrived with differing objectives, the main outcome of the Tehran Conference was the commitment to the opening of a second front against Nazi Germany by the Western Allies. The conference also addressed relations between the Allies and Turkey and Iran, operations in Yugoslavia and against Japan as well as the envisaged post-war settlement. A separate protocol signed at the conference pledged the Big Three's recognition of Iran's independence.
As soon as the German-Soviet war broke out, Churchill offered assistance to Stalin and an agreement to this effect was signed on 12 July 1941. Delegations had traveled between London and Moscow to arrange the implementation of this support and when the United States joined the war, the delegations included Washington in their meeting venues. A Combined Chiefs of Staff committee was created to coordinate British and American operations as well as their support to Soviet Russia. The advent of a global war, the absence of a unified Allied strategy and the complexity of allocating resources between Europe and Asia had not yet been agreed – and soon gave rise to mutual suspicions between the Western Allies and Soviet Russia. There was the question of opening a second front to alleviate the German pressure on the Red Army, the question of mutual assistance – where both Britain and Russia were looking towards the United States for credit and material support and there was ceaseless tension between the United States and Britain since Washington had no desire to prop-up the British Empire in the event of an Allied Victory. Also, neither the United States nor the British were prepared to give Stalin a free hand in his dealings with Eastern Europe and lastly, there was no common policy on how to deal with Germany after Hitler. Communications regarding these matters between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin took place by telegrams and via emissaries – but it was evident that direct negotiations were urgently needed.
Stalin obsessively wished to control everything in Moscow and was unwilling to risk journeys by air, while Roosevelt was physically disabled and found travel grueling. Churchill was an avid traveler and had met with Roosevelt on two previous occasions in the United States and had also held two prior meetings with Stalin in Moscow. In order to engineer this urgently needed meeting, Roosevelt tried to persuade Stalin to travel to Cairo to attend such a meeting. Stalin turned down the offer to meet in Cairo, also an offer to meet in Baghdad and also in Basra – finally agreeing to meet in Tehran in November 1943.
Proceedings of the Conference 
Main Conference 
The conference was scheduled to convene at 16:00 on 28 November 1943. Stalin arrived well before the scheduled time, followed by Roosevelt who was wheeled in, in his wheelchair from his accommodation adjacent to the venue. Roosevelt, who had traveled 7,000 miles to attend and whose health had already started deteriorating, was met by Stalin; this being the first time that they had met. Churchill, walking with his General Staff from their accommodations near-by, arrived half an hour later.
The main objective of the United States and Great Britain was to ensure full cooperation and assistance from the Soviet Union for their war policies. Stalin agreed, but at a price: Roosevelt and Churchill would have to support his reign and the partisans in Yugoslavia, and also allow for the manipulation of the border between Poland and the USSR. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin then moved on to other matters, namely Operation Overlord and general war policy. Operation Overlord was scheduled to begin in May 1944, in conjunction with the Soviet attack on Germany’s eastern border. The attacks would combine the force of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and numerous other countries, and would later be known as "D-Day". The "Big Three" spent days wrangling about when Operation Overlord should take place, who should command it, and where operations should begin.
Roosevelt gave Stalin a pledge that he had been waiting for since June 1941: that the British and the Americans would open a second front in France in the spring of 1944. Churchill up to this point had been seeking a joint United Kingdom, United States and Commonwealth forces initiative through the Mediterranean that would have secured British interests in the Middle East and India. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed that the nations in league with the Axis powers would be divided into territories to be controlled by the USSR, the U.S., and the UK.
The Three Governments realize that the war has caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they all agreed that they will continue to make available to the Government of Iran such economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations, and to the world-wide shortage of transport, raw materials, and supplies for civilian consumption.[d]
In addition, the Soviet Union was required to pledge support to Turkey if that country entered the war; Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed that it would also be most desirable if Turkey entered on the Allies’ side before the year was out.
Despite accepting the above arrangements, Stalin dominated the conference, using the Soviet victory at the Battle of Kursk and military might, as well as key positions on the German front, to get his way. Roosevelt attempted to cope with Stalin's onslaught of demands, but was able to do little except appease Stalin. Churchill mostly argued for his Mediterranean plan instead of Operation Overlord, to the annoyance of diplomats and officials. These weaknesses and divisions played into Stalin's hands.
One of Roosevelt and Churchill's main concessions concerned post-war Poland. Stalin wished for an area in the Eastern part of Poland to be added to the USSR, and for the border to be lengthened elsewhere in the country. Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to this demand, and Poland’s borders were declared to lie along the Oder and Neisse rivers and the Curzon line, despite protests of the Polish government-in-exile in London. Churchill and Roosevelt also consented to the USSR setting up puppet communist governments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Baltic states, Romania, and other Eastern European countries which would result in a loss of freedom by these countries for the next fifty years and would be the genesis of the Cold War. After the conference it was agreed that military leaders of the three countries would meet together often, for further discussion.
One remarkable thing that was also decided at the Tehran Conference was the way in which the Allies would deal with Finland, a free democratic country which cooperated with Germany after Soviet aggression and one that had not signed the Tripartite Pact, and had not declared war on any free Allied countries. Their decision stipulated that Finland could conduct its own negotiations to obtain a peace contract with the USSR rather than being subject to the "unconditional surrender" that faced the Germans and Japanese.
German intelligence was aware of this high profile meeting of the Allied wartime leaders, and (according to Soviet sources) tried to set up an assassination plot against them, called Operation Long Jump. This operation was however quickly discovered by Soviet counter-intelligence and subsequently aborted. Though accepted as fact to this day in Russia, the actual existence of this plot has long since been challenged by British sources and has been credited to a program of Soviet disinformation.
Tripartite dinner meeting 
— Joseph Stalin during the dinner at the Tehran Conference
Before the Tripartite Dinner Meeting of November 29, 1943 at the Tehran Conference, Churchill presented Stalin with a specially commissioned ceremonial sword (the "Sword of Stalingrad", made in Sheffield) commemorating the victory in the battle of Stalingrad, as a gift from King George VI to the citizens of Stalingrad and the people of the Soviet Union. When Stalin received the sheathed sword, he took it with both hands, kissed the scabbard, and handed it to Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, who mishandled it causing the sword to fall to the ground.
During the dinner, Stalin who, according to the US report, continuously needled Churchill for his perceived "affection" for the Germans, proposed executing 50,000–100,000 German staff officers. Roosevelt joked that perhaps 49,000 would do. Churchill denounced the idea of "the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country." He said that "war criminals must pay for their crimes and individuals who had committed barbarous acts, and in accordance with the Moscow Document, which he himself had written, they must stand trial at the places where the crimes were committed." He objected vigorously, however, "to executions for political purposes". [e]
Decisions reached 
The declaration issued by the three leaders on conclusion of the conference on 1 December 1943, recorded the following military conclusions:
- The Partisans of Yugoslavia should be supported by supplies and equipment and also by commando operations;
- It would be desirable if Turkey should come into war on the side of the Allies before the end of the year;
- Took note of Stalin's statement that if Turkey found herself at war with Germany, and as a result Bulgaria declared war on Turkey or attacked her, the Soviet Union would immediately be at war with Bulgaria. The Conference further took note that this could be mentioned in the forthcoming negotiations to bring Turkey into the war;
- Operation Overlord would be launched during May 1944, in conjunction with an operation against southern France. The latter operation would be undertaken in as great a strength as availability of landing-craft permitted. The Conference further took note of Marshal Stalin's statement that the Soviet forces would launch an offensive at about the same time with the object of preventing the German forces from transferring from the Eastern to the Western Front;
- Agreed that the military staffs of the Three Powers should keep in close touch with each other in regard to the impending operations in Europe. In particular it was agreed that a cover plan to mystify and mislead the enemy as regards these operations should be concerted between the staffs concerned.
Consequences and results of the conference 
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See also 
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- List of World War II conferences
- Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran
- Iran-Britain relations
- Iran-Russia relations
- List of Soviet Union–United States summits
Explanatory notes 
- Cairo Conference took place between 22 and 26 November 1943
- Yalta Conference took place between 4 and 11 February 1945
- 17 July to 2 August 1945
- Declaration of the Three Powers Regarding Iran—December 1, 1943
- He declared that he would rather be taken outside and shot rather than agree to Stalin's proposal of summary executions for German officers. He stormed out of the room but was brought back in by Stalin who convinced him that he wasn't serious.
- Churchill, Winston Spencer (1951). The Second World War: Closing the Ring. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. p. 642.
- Service, Robert (2005). Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 459–460. ISBN 978-0-674-01697-2.
- Tolstoy, Nikolai (1981). Stalin's Secret War. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 57.
- Overy, Richard (1996). Why the Allies Won. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. pp. 245–246. ISBN 978-0-393-03925-2.
- "One War Won". TIME Magazine. December 13, 1943.
- Beevor, Antony. Stalingrad. ISBN 978-0-14-024985-9.
- Staff of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Department of State (1950). A Decade of American Foreign Policy : Basic Documents, 1941–49. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Gov. Printing Office.
- Best, Geoffrey. Churchill: A Study in Greatness. London: Hambledon and London, 2001.
- Clemens, Diane S. "Yalta Conference." World Book. 2006 ed. vol. 21. 2006, 549.
- "Cold War: Teheran Declaration." CNN. 1998. 26 March 2006. <http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/01/documents/yalta.html>.
- Meacham, John. Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. New York: Random House Inc., 2003.
- O’Neil, William L. World War II: a Student Companion. New York: Oxford UP, 1999.
- Persico, Joseph E. Roosevelt’s Secret War. New York: Random House, 2001.
- "Portraits of Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt." School Arts Magazine Feb. 1999: 37. Student Research Center. EBSCO Host. Philadelphia. 2 April 2006. Keyword: FDR.
- Snyder, Louis L. World War II. New York: Grolier Company, 1981.
- Sulzberger, C L. American Heritage New History of World War II. Ed. Stephen E. Ambrose. New York: Viking Penguin, 1998.
- Suri, Jeremy. American Foreign Relations since 1898: a documentary reader. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing, 2010.
- "Yalta Conference." Funk and Wagnells New Encyclopedia. World Almanac Education Group, 2003. SIRS DISCOVER. Philadelphia. 2 April 2006. Keyword: Yalta Conference.
- Miscellaneous No. 8 (1947) Military Conclusions of the Tehran Conference. Tehran, 1 December 1943. British Parliamentary Papers. By Royal Command. CMD 7092 Presented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Parliament by Command of His Majesty.
Further reading 
- Leighton, Richard M. (2000) . "Chapter 10: Overlord Versus the Mediterranean at the Cairo-Tehran Conferences". In Kent Roberts Greenfield. Command Decisions. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 70-7.
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