SUCH A PEACE: Yalta Revisited by C. L. Sulzberger

SUCH A PEACE: Yalta Revisited

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The secrecy of the 1945 Yalta conference, combined with the subsequent Soviet engorgement of Eastern Europe, quickly led to charges of betrayal in America--and has kept Yalta alive for return visits ever since. This one, initially cast as a memoir, avails little. Sulzberger, just starting on his long career as a New York Times foreign correspondent, takes us along to London in 1938, and then to France, Vienna, the Balkans, and Greece. (CLS swigs beer with Austrian and German soldiers.) The personal anecdotes, including Sulzberger's marriage to a Greek woman he met in Athens, effectively end with his unsuccessful effort to get to Yalta. (No reporters were present.) His one bit of news refers to the earlier Casablanca conference. There, Sulzberger heard (from an unamed witness), Roosevelt gave Churchill a pledge of American non-intervention in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean for the slogan ""unconditional surrender,"" which was good for domestic consumption. That paved the way, allegedly, for the famous arrangement between Churchill and Stalin dividing up the Balkans. When Sulzberger later tried to file a dispatch on the Casablanca deal, it was stopped by censors; and Churchill dictated a telegram to Sulzberger, which was never sent, to dissuade him from spreading the story. On Yalta itself, he has no such tidbit and no fresh views. Thus, he agrees with his friend Charles Bohlen, FDR's interpreter, that the western powers did the best they could in getting Stalin to promise elections in Poland and to make other, territorial pledges, which he then ignored. Apropos of the conference itself, Sulzberger retells old tales. In general, the intermingling of memoir and history is awkward; and despite the brevity of the narrative, there are myriad trivial repetitions. All in all: a mistaken effort.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1982
Publisher: Continuum