End of world war two in one hand was the official end of British hegemony and the collapse of British Empire was the starting point of the bipolarization of world order for next 45 years with two super powers Soviet Union and United States. On 11 February 1945, Yalta conference agreed the ‘Declaration of Liberated Europe’  with free elections and friendly governments to Soviets in Eastern Europe. However the notion of ‘friendly’ was refers not less than controlled communist government for Soviets. When the Churchill drawn the Iron Curtain between East and West, Eastern Europe long since has been under the control of USSR. Going back to 1939, it was the second time when British Prime Ministers disappointed in their agreements which they sacrificed and gave concessions. Munich agreement of Chamberlain was also concluded some similar motivations such Yalta conference, to limit the expansion of threat by providing limited concessions. That is may be regarded as innocent as the Yalta accords. Churchill, as one of the most important figure in its critics against the appeasement, at the end of Yalta indicated his trust to its ally by ‘Poor Neville Chamberlain believed he could trust Hitler. He was wrong. But I don’t believe I’m wrong about Stalin’.
However his policies toward Soviets did not prevent eventual unification of Eastern Europe with the soviet bloc. By 1949 his ally turned into a ‘wicked but much more formidable’ enemy than Hitler. This paper while in one hand compare the Yalta concessions with the 1939 appeasement, on the other hand illustrate the fluctuations in Churchill’s approach to the Soviet Union.
CONCESSIONS TO HITLER OR CONCESSION TO STALIN: WHO IS MORE QUALIFIED?
Speaking in the House of Commons, on 14 April 1937, Churchill announced that; “I will not pretend that if I had to choose between Communism and Nazism, I would choose Communism.“ That is in such a decision Communism would be the rational choice among the worst cases. In fact it might be argued that the worst case would be a probable alliance between those two which will cause to make theme more powerful. On the other hand the best case would be a war between them which lead eventual destruction of both or at least make them as ineffective as to constitute a threat. Since during Second World War, the best scenario had realized, but contradiction ally soviets left the World War II as a superpower, however the empire of sun never set become an end. ‘Poland’, the just cause of war, freeing it from a totalitarian regime resulted with only replacement of one totalitarian regime with another.
In calculating the rationality for Churchill; the Bolsheviks, a ‘disease’ of 1917 became an antibiotic at 1942 with the Anglo-Soviet Alliance. The German troops proposed to be used in an intervention to Bolsheviks at 1919 now planned to stop by an Eastern front of Soviet Union. Kettenacker, at this point emphasized that;
“Even before the war Churchill had repeatedly referred to the corresponding interests of Britain and Russia. ‘Without an effective Eastern Front,’ he had said on 19 May 1939, ‘there can be no satisfactory defence of our interests in the West, and without Russia there can be no effective Eastern Front.”(Kettenacker)
It is certain that while after Bolshevik revolution the immediate threat was expansionist Bolsheviks so concession might be given to Germany in the expense of Versailles, after Hitler’s come to power, immediate threat was Nazism and concession might be given to the Russia in the expense of their expansionist policies and desires in the Eastern Europe.
Appeasement policy was in fact not so far away from rationality. Merely Hitler’s Germany tried to be limited by such concessions. Parker lists the rationale behind the appeasement as; ” Purpose of appeasement to keep things broadly as possible as they were, an in particular to keep British empire secure from military threat by making limited concessions to Hitler“ The concessions nevertheless was legitimizing the interests of the Hitler’s Germany in its expansionism. Churchill himself made a distinction between two types of appeasement between appeasement of legitimate grievances and appeasement resulted from fear. “Appeasement from weakness and fear which we saw as futile and fatal and appeasement form a position of strength which (is) noble” 
What he saw the appeasement of Munich treaty as a consequence of relative weakness and fear from Hitler’s Germany, on the other hand the concession of Yalta viewed as a response to the legitimate interests of Soviets. The President (Roosevelt) realized that the Kremlin had legitimate interests in Eastern Europe that had to be accommodated if there were to be any hope for post-war cooperation.” While in fact the 1939 appeasement was perceived as “A clever plan to selling off your friends in order to buy off your enemies”, in the Yalta, Soviets were ally rather than enemy.
That is the fact however the aim behind the appeasement was not to free the Hitler within Europe. Although it gives legitimation by approving its expansionist policies, it was ultimately aiming his further expansion in the era were the diplomatic means for dispute settlement exhausted. According to Parker, Chamberlain used this policy after exhaustion of range of alternatives and in the purpose of [l]imited concession of appeasement could bring peace only if reduced support inside Germany for Hitler and his warlike policies. It is true that appeasement had a considerable influence on legitimating, encouraging the Hitler’s goals but it was altogether a strategy, a planned trade-off. Parker points out that They (limited Concessions) did not however succeed in strengthening opposition to Hitler because they seemed to be concessions made to Germany because of Hitler” As Nazi Marshall Keitel in Nuremberg Tribunal announced the purpose of Munich agreement perceived by Hitler’s as “to get Russia out of Europe, to gain time and to complete the German armament“
If the appeasement refers to a sacrifice from the strict values, there is no need for whom you are sacrificing an enemy of an ally; on the other hand as a consequence if the concessions create more powerful enemies, anti-appeaser Churchill would not do so much different from the Chamberlain.
YALTA; MUNICH OF CRIMEA
Yalta Conference, held just before the victory of allies, to ensure the post war world order and arrangements. The existing situation on the date of conference was indicating inevitable victory of the allied powers. Since [i]n so far as the Soviet military grip on Eastern Europe was in large measure established (and) it can not realistically challenged” in regard to Europe, the bargaining power of the Soviets was slightly more than Roosevelt and Churchill. On the other hand western allies only manage to save the France. In Yalta, post war Europe was now under the discussion to prevent further expansion of Soviets and to limit its post war ambitions.
“Roosevelt evidently hoped that Yalta might allow Stalin to safeguard Soviet strategic interests without too overtly violating American principles.”
While Roosevelt primarily interesting with creation of post world United Nations and declaration of war by Soviets against Japan, Churchill’s primary concerns were the Poland, German and Balkan questions and their future in the post war era.Most importantly since free Poland was the main reason for the WWII, Churchill especially about the fate of Poland was in trouble. Poland was in that respect in an idealist manner defended by Churchill. Also as it s indicated by Warren “shortly after Roosevelt’s death, Americans viewed the Polish-settlement as “a symbol of our ability to work out problems with the Soviet Union.”(Warren) In the Yalta a serious progress had been taken; ‘Soviets secured Poland’s eastern frontier… they got the better of the bargaining with respect to the composition of provisional polish government…it was agreed that elections eventually would take place in Poland.” Although elections in Eastern Europe accepted by Stalin, “they were to be held without allied supervision and under the aegis of provisional governments that were for the most part the creation of Soviet occupation forces. “
In his return to the Britain, in the House of Commons, Churchill announced that; “Marshall Stalin and the Soviets leaders wish to live honourable friendship and equality with western democracies“However the fact was that; soviet interpretation of Yalta agreement was to be bring Poland noting more than a soviet satellite.
It can be implied that if the Munich was the beginning of the Second World War, Yalta was the beginning of the Cold war. Both concessions given were more or less has similar motivations as to get some more time and limiting the expansion of threat. In regard to British politics although the Yalta conference held in more favourable conditions than Munich conference, the relative weaknesses of the Roosevelt and Churchill vis a vis Stalin has played important role in the concessions and future of Europe. The result of Yalta was assessed by Roosevelt as; “I didn’t say the result was good. I said it was the best I could do.” This quote was the main indicator to assess the nature of concessions and their necessity. Bearing in mind Churchill’s rationale for appeasements; “appeasement form a position of strength which (is) noble”, surely concessions of the Yalta was not noble more than the concession of Munich.
- Carlton, David. 1938- Churchill and the Soviet Union, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000.
- Kitchen, Martin. British policy towards the Soviet Union during the Second World War, London: Macmillan, 1986.
- McDonough, Frank. Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement, and the British Road to War. New Frontiers in History Series. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998
- Parker, R. A. C. Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy and the Coming of the Second World War, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
- L. Kettenacker, The Anglo-Soviet Alliance and The Problem of Germany 1941-45, Journal of Contemporary History Vol.17, No.3. (.July, 1982), pp. 435-458
- Melvyn P. Leffler, Adherence to Agreements: Yalta and the Experiences of the Early Cold War, International Security, Vol. 11, No. 1. (Summer, 1986), pp. 88-123.
WORLD WIDE WEB
- Warren F. Kimball, Principles and Compromises: Churchill, Roosevelt and Eastern Europe, Annual Churchill Conference; Boston, [Online], 28 October 1995, [Cited 3 Jan. 2008]; available from World Wide Web: <http://winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=62> [one screen]
Schoenherr Steven, Called War Begins, [Online], 28 March 2006, [Cited 3 Jan. 2008]; available from World Wide Web: < http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/20th/coldwar1.html> [one screen]