Both the Anglo-American and Soviet blocks established spheres of control or influence in Europe. Anglo-American troops occupied countries in Western Europe while Soviet troops occupied countries in Eastern Europe. An East-West split emerged dividing Europe into two antagonistic and antithetical camps or blocks. This was the beginning of the post-war Cold War.

Who won and lost at Yalta? The U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius was “of the opinion that it was Stalin who made the greatest concessions, which the Soviet Government then began to whittle away almost at once.” The three Allied Powers all sought to maximize their national security interests at Yalta.

The Tito-Subasic Agreement

Ivan Subasic, the Prime Minister of the Yugoslav Royalist Government in Exile in London headed by Peter II, had signed the agreement or sporazum with Tito to form a provisional government. This agreement was endorsed at Yalta.

Subasic was an ethnic Croat who had been the pre-war Ban or Governor of Croatia who was regarded as a moderate but who had scant sympathy or concern for the Serbian position. He openly came out against Draza Mihailovich and voiced his opposition to his military leadership in the media. His appointment was a clear sign of a precipitous shift to Tito and the Partisans and a rejection and abandonment of Mihailovich and the monarchy.

He met with Tito whom he described as “reasonable” and who he maintained was not a Communist ideologue. His impressions of Tito were very positive. He also met with Joseph Stalin in Moscow. Stalin told him that a monarchy was acceptable in Yugoslavia so long as the people supported it. Stalin cautioned about Yugoslavia trying to copy the Soviet or Stalinist model. Yugoslavia was a different scenario, Stalin averred. Yugoslavia should be a democracy. Stalin asked Subasic if Peter II had the support of the people of Yugoslavia. Subasic told him that he was not popular in Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia. He was very favorably impressed with Stalin.

Peter went to the Mediterranean to oversee the negotiations. He flew to Malta on June 11, 1944 on Winston Churchill’s Dakota aircraft. On June 18, he flew by plane to Caserta in southern Italy. The next day he visited Pompeii and had dinner with British General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. On June 20, he flew over Cassino, Anzio, and Rome on Wilson’s Dakota. By lunchtime on June 20, Ivan Subasic had arrived in Caserta. They discussed the Subasic-Tito agreement reached on June 16. On June 21, Peter flew to Rome. Peter met with British General Harold Alexander and Pope Pius XII at the Vatican. They talked about the Communist threat with the Pope. The next day, June 22, Peter went to see the Allied Front in Rome. He returned to Caserta where Wilson wanted him to meet personally with Tito. Tito refused on the grounds that he could not leave Yugoslav territory according to Peter. But this is not shown by the facts. Tito went to Moscow to see Stalin. And he went to Italy to meet with Churchill and Subasic. The next day, June 23, Peter returned to London.

Subasic was photographed conferring with Peter after the sporazum or agreement with Tito in late June, 1944. Peter’s facial expression evinced his doubts and disapproval of the plan.

Subasic was also photographed with Winston Churchill and Tito in Italy on August 15, 1944, after a conference endorsing their sporazum.

The 1943 Big Three Conference in Tehran, Iran had already decided the major issues regarding Yugoslavia. The Allies agreed to put their support in Tito and the Partisan Movement and to withdraw their support from Draza Mihailovich. The Communist dictatorship that was ratified at Yalta was, in essence, a fait accompli after Tehran. Yalta was only concerned with forming an interim government and attempting to assure that the final government would be democratically decided and elected.

Tito and Subasic signed the coalition government agreement or sporazum in Vis on June 16, 1944. The second agreement was signed on November 1, 1944.

The Big Three at Yalta endorsed this agreement. Franklin D. Roosevelt released a Joint Statement with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin on the Yalta Conference, on February 11, 1945.

Media accounts in the U.S. reported positively about the ratification of the new coalition government. The Kingston Daily Freeman in New York for February 13, 1945 reported: “Yugoslavia — Marshal Tito, now in control within the country, and Dr. Subasic, chief of the exile government at London, are being told to get their projected coalition administration set up at Belgrade without delay.”

Media Accounts

Media reports in the U.S., UK, and Soviet Union were positive and uncritical of events and developments at the conference. The New York Times front page headline of Tuesday, February 13, 1945 read: “Big 3 Doom Nazism and Reich Militarism; Agree On Freed Lands and Oaks Voting; Convoke United Nations in U.S. April 25.”

The Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper of the U.S. Armed Forces, in the Thursday, February 8, 1945 issue, focused on how the conference planned the end of the war: “‘Big 3’ Map Victory Drive At Black Sea Conference.” “They Meet Again to Talk of War and Peace.”

In the UK, The Daily Express for Tuesday, February 13, 1945 reported that the Allied Powers had negotiated and agreed on the resolution of the war: “Big 3: Germany to Pay.” “Victory and Peace Plan Drawn Up in Crimea.” “The Three — First picture from the Palace in Crimea.” “The Big Three Meeting Again To Make Plans For the World.”

The Daily Express also emphasized that the Allied meeting would determine the close to the conflict and what would follow: “Crimea Conference- Big 3. Big 3 Decide ‘Now We End It’”. “Reich to be occupied in three zones.” “Germany to pay in full.” “Crimea Conference tells Germany it is hopeless to resist — and gives these plans:  1. Last all-out attack. 2. Joint control in Berlin. 3. Nazi arsenals to be scrapped. 4. Curzon Line for Poland. 5. Peace Council.”

The Daily Mail for Tuesday, February 13 1945 likewise highlighted Allied unanimity and agreement: “Crimea Conference – Big 3. Big Three’s Final Plans For Germany. ‘Unconditional Surrender’.”

The Bethlehem Globe-Times in Pennsylvania for February 12, 1945 focused on the issue of Allied unity and consensus: “Big 3 Agree On Joint Command To Smash Nazis. Deals Blow To Hitler-Himmler Hopes That United Nations Unity Might Fall Apart.”

The USSR was portrayed as an ally and partner of the U.S. FDR was photographed reviewing a Russian Honor Guard in a Jeep at Yalta in Crimea after arriving at the airport for the Yalta Conference. Winston Churchill and Vyacheslav Molotov could be seen on the left, walking beside the Jeep. The reason for the Jeep transport was not discussed at that time. It was due to FDR’s inability to walk on his own.

The momentum of the war was on the side of the Soviet Union at the time of the Conference. By the time of the Yalta Conference, Marshal Georgi Zhukov’s Red Army troops were 40 miles or 65 kilometers from Berlin. Soviet troops would take Berlin and end the war in Europe. Meanwhile, American troops were bogged down in the war with Japan. The invasion of mainland Japan was planned. FDR was seeking Soviet help against Japan.

FDR’s Report to Congress

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sat in front of network radio microphones as he reported to a joint session of Congress on the results of his participation in the Yalta Summit Conference in Crimea on March 1, 1945.

The radio speech was broadcast across the United States. 20th Century Fox filmed a newsreel of the speech entitled “Roosevelt Reports To Congress On Yalta Parley.”

FDR emphasized that “America will have to take the responsibility for world collaboration”, that global engagement was necessary.

FDR stated that the outcome of Yalta would be the establishment of a framework for future peace and stability:

“I come from the Crimea Conference with a firm belief that we have made a good start on the road to a world of peace. Never before have the major Allies been more closely united, not only in their war aims, but also in their peace aims. And they’re determined to continue to be united, to be united with each other, and with all peace-loving nations, so that the ideal of lasting peace will become a reality. … I’ve seen Sevastopol and Yalta, and I know there is not room enough on earth for both German militarism and Christian decency. And I am confident that the Congress and the American people will accept the results of this Conference as the beginnings of a permanent structure of peace, upon which we can begin to build, under God, that better world, in which our children and grandchildren, yours and mine, the children and grandchildren of the whole world, must live, and can live.”

FDR’s health was rapidly declining at this time. At the time of the Yalta Conference, Franklin D. Roosevelt was 63, Winston Churchill was 71, and Joseph Stalin was 67. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, two months after the Yalta Conference.

The Fate of the Yugoslav Monarchy

What was to become of the Yugoslav monarchy? U.S. Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius recalled that there was no British support for retaining the Yugoslav monarchy: “In a message from Ambassador [to the UK, John] Wynant, several weeks prior to Yalta, we had been informed that Mr. Churchill had told King Peter: ‘The three Great powers will not lift one finger nor sacrifice one man to put any king back on any throne in Europe.’ This was an amazing statement in view of Churchill’s favorable attitude toward the Italian and Greek monarchies.” Churchill based his support on whether it served British interests at that time.

On November 1, 1944, the second agreement between Tito and Subasic was signed. The two amendments, however, had little effect on the outcome in Yugoslavia. Tito was to select 21 ministers while Subasic was to pick six. Peter disavowed the agreement because it gave power to Tito and disenfranchised him.

Tito was to be Prime Minister and Subasic Foreign Minister in the new Yugoslav coalition government. There were to be free and unfettered elections and a representative government of all the peoples of Yugoslavia. Tito accepted the regency but did not allow Peter to choose the members.

At the February 8, 1945 plenary session at Yalta, Stalin asked Churchill to explain and summarize the situation in Yugoslavia and Greece.

On February 9, the Yugoslav issue was resolved. Subasic was to fly to Yugoslavia the next day. Stalin supported this because his presence would bring balance to the government in Yugoslavia. Churchill, however, dismissed this, stating that his presence would have no effect on the government because “as Tit