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EUREKA


Photograph of Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill at the EUREKA conference

FDR Library. Via Wikipedia Commons

EUREKA was the sixth major wartime diplomatic conference between Roosevelt and Churchill, held at Teheran on 28 November to 1 December 1943. EUREKA was held between sessions of the SEXTANT conference at Cairo, which Stalin declined to attend on the grounds that meeting with Chiang would compromise Russian neutrality in the Far East. EUREKA was primarily concerned with the final strategy for the war against Germany, including fixing a date for the landings in Normandy. However, a secret agreement was reached with Stalin that Russia would intervene in the Far East following the defeat of Germany. Stalin demanded, and got, the Kurile Islands, Karafuto, and the former Japanese railroad rights in Manchuria as his price for intervention.

The conference marked a showdown between the British and the Americans on OVERLORD, the invasion of northwest France, with the British wishing to extend operations in the Mediterranean rather than be held to the schedule of May 1944 for a Normandy invasion. The Americans in turn threatened to abandon the "Germany First" policy if OVERLORD was postponed. Stalin strongly favored OVERLORD and was opposed to any Western action in the Balkans. The discussion became surreal at times, with Russian general Voroshilov dismissing the dangers of a cross-Channel invasion with the claim that the Russians "had encountered comparable difficulties in the crossing of wide rivers and had overcome them because they had the will to do it.... We usually managed to find local resources like trees, timber to make rafts. Red Army men can use their initiative" (Roberts 2009). In the end, "Germany First" was saved, but OVERLORD was later postponed a month, to June 1944.

Discussions were also held regarding zones of occupation in Germany after its defeat.

Roosevelt deliberately distanced himself from Churchill during the conference in an effort to establish rapport with Stalin. This permanently strained the relationship between the two Western leaders and did little to improve relations with Stalin. As one writer has observed, "In personal relations and in diplomacy it is unwise and dangerous to pretend to denounce a proven friend in order to ingratiate oneself with a third party" (Smith 1985).

References

Roberts (2009)

Smith (1985)



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