YALTA: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by Jean Laloy

YALTA: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

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A thoughtful reevaluation by a French political scientist of the famous--some say infamous--1945 tri-power Crimean conference. Over the years, three interpretations of the Yalta conference have emerged: that at Yalta, Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt carved up Europe among themselves (a view particularly favored among the French); that the partitions that came out of the conference reflected a striving for Communist revolution on the part of liberated Europe (a view cherished by the USSR); and that the conference was a model of classic diplomatic settlement, i.e., a trading-off of claims and concessions (a view held by most conventional American historians). Laloy takes issue with all three versions, arguing that no true carving up occurred, that revolution was artificially imposed, and that the diplomatic niceties dealt not with the customary diplomatic subject of borders, but with the fates of millions of human beings. Laloy steeps his argument in what he calls the ""reality"" of the situation. Quoting Churchill, who said that in wartime one is not free to choose, Laloy finds Yalta to have been Roosevelt's ultimate effort to preserve what the President felt was an understanding with the Soviet Union. Regarding the arguments that Roosevelt and Churchill ""betrayed"" Europe at Yalta, Laloy states that Europe betrayed itself in the tragic progression from August 1914 through Petrograd in 1917, Versailles in 1919, Berlin in 1933, and Vichy in 1940. He further insists that, given the Marshall Plan's salvaging of ""just about everything that could be salvaged,"" the West made the best of a bad lot. Well considered and--given today's rusting of the Iron Curtain--timely.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1989
Publisher: Harper & Row