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Diplomacy and Conflict • Negotiating Peace: Diplomacy During WWII

The first meeting held between the major Allied leaders during World War II, the Tehran Conference led to little political agreement and no solutions but much discussion regarding war policy and the future division of Europe by the Allies.

In 1943, the Allies chose Tehran, the capital of Iran, as the sight of the opening conference of the leaders from the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain (known as the Big Three): President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Premier Joseph Stalin, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The conference, code-named EUREKA, took place between November 28 and December 1 and required extensive planning.

Although the war was still raging across both Europe and the Far East, Allied leaders were already looking ahead to shape the postwar fate of the planet.

The progress of the war dominated the content of the meeting. Preliminary discussions of future Allied advances, including Operation Overlord (the invasion of northern France known as D-Day) and Operation Anvil (an invasion of southern France), accompanied a focus on the need to turn Turkey away from its neutral stance and into the Allied fold. Recently captured by the Nazis, Finland became an issue as the Allies discussed the need to separate it from Adolf Hitler's grasp.

Eastern Europe represented a contentious issue that none of the Big Three discussed in good faith. Damaged more than other nations by the war, the Soviets, represented by Stalin, looked to gain greater control of territory in Eastern Europe to compensate for German aggression. The postwar boundaries of Poland thus became an issue of serious debate, as did postwar Germany and the territorial claims of neighboring nations.

Although the meeting appeared to accomplish little, it set the stage for later and more productive meetings regarding the fate of war-torn Europe. Moreover, the Tehran Conference symbolized the future nature of the Allies' relationship: military alignment rather than genuine international cooperation.

Jason Newman
Jason Newman is professor of history and president of the Los Rios California Federation of Teachers at Cosumnes River College. He attended UC Davis for his BA, MA, and PhD in Native American History. He contributed to American Civil War: The Essential Reference Guide (ABC-CLIO, 2011).

Further Reading

Berezhkov, V.M., Tehran: Lessons of History, 1988; Dear, E.D.S., and M.R.D. Foot, eds., Oxford Companion to World War II, 1995; Eubank, Keith, Summit at Teheran, 1985.

MLA Citation

Newman, Jason. "Tehran Conference." American History, ABC-CLIO, 2020, americanhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/642662. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

Entry ID: 2171547

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