Livadia Palace

Livadia Palace was built in different stages between 1860 and 1911. The palace was used by the last Russian tsar Nikolai II and his family during a holiday in Crimea. The palace was also a meeting place for the so-called. Yalta conference in February 1945 between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister, Winston Churchill and Soviet secretary general (dictator) Joseph Stalin. Yalta conference was the second in the order of three major meetings between these three states. The first took place in Tehran in 1943 and the third and last in Potsdam outside Berlin in july/august 1945. The reason the conference was held in Crimea was because Stalin refused to travel further away than Crimea.

Each leader had an agenda for the meeting. Roosevelt tried to persuade Stalin to declare war on Japan and participate in a possible invasion of the Japanese mainland. Churchill was strongly anti-communist and he saw a threat to the interests of the increasingly weakened British empire, particularly in south-eastern Europe. Churchill called for free elections to be held after the war in the states liberated by the Soviet Union. Stalin declared that he felt obliged to build a security zone in Eastern Europe in order to prevent the Soviet Union from being attacked again.

Stalin explained that Poland was of particular importance for the security of the Soviet Union. He did not intend to risk Poland being used once again as a marching area for an invasion of the Soviet Union as it is used by both Napoleon and Germany. Poland was not even debatable. Stalin demanded certain areas of eastern Poland as a security zone. In compensation, Poland’s western border would be moved, which meant that millions of Germans had to be moved with. In return for these border movements, Stalin promised that there would be free elections in Poland. But the elections later held were rigged and secured Stalin’s control over Poland. In order for the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan, the Soviet Union demanded that the United States recognize Mongolia as an independent state. The United States did so without consulting China.

In August 1945, the Soviets officially declared war on Japan and captured some Japanese island groups in northern Japan. The historical verdict of the West over the outcome of the Yalta conference has been that Roosevelt and Churchill were too accommodating to Stalin’s demands regarding Eastern Europe. It is believed that they did not receive anything in return. Both Churchill and Roosevelt had hopes of appeasing Stalin through the United Nations once Germany and Japan were defeated. All three had agreed that the League of Nations would be replaced by a more effective world organization, strong enough to intervene in intergovernmental conflicts. The organization was named the United Nations.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2007).

Location: 44°28'04.32" N 34°08'36.58" E

Get there: Bus.

My comment:

The museum opened in the early seventies when there was a detente between the United States and the Soviet Union. The museum wanted to show the Soviet Union that the countries had once been allies.

Follow up in books: Harbutt, Fraser J: Yalta 1945 (2010).