The Teheran Conference - The "Big Three" Meet
In November 1943 FDR journeyed to the Middle East to attend his first wartime conference with Joseph Stalin. The "Big Three" - Roosevelt, Stalin, and Winston Churchill - gathered at Teheran, Iran. The decisions they made there shaped both the war and the peace that followed.
The issue of a Second Front commanded the greatest attention. Impatient with Anglo-American postponements, Stalin demanded a firm commitment to a date for the invasion of northwest Europe. Churchill favored further delay - arguing instead for new military initiatives in Italy and the Balkans. But FDR sided with Stalin and the three leaders agreed to a spring 1944 invasion. Stalin then pressed his allies to quickly name the invasion's commander. Shortly after the conference, FDR selected General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Teheran: The Key Issues
The key issue at the Teheran Conference was the Second Front. But other important subjects also dominated discussion.
Though the war was far from won, the shape of the postwar world was on the minds of the Big Three. FDR tried to establish a personal rapport with Stalin, hoping to build a foundation for postwar cooperation.
Talks included the future of Germany and a United Nations organization. Stalin also confirmed his commitment to declare war against Japan once Hitler was defeated.
But fears of a resurgent postwar Germany led Stalin to demand territorial adjustments in Eastern Europe to create a larger buffer zone between Germany and the Soviet Union. Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to cede eastern Poland to the Soviets after the war. But they postponed discussion of other territorial adjustments.