The Month in History:The London Conference and After
With the breakdown of the London Conference of Foreign Ministers, the struggle between Russia and the Western powers for control of the world entered a new phase. At Teheran and Yalta, with the war still on, the existence of that struggle had been officially ignored. Its reality had been obscured by an agreement to postpone the consideration of all questions on which an immediate decision was not essential. Sometimes this postponement was frankly agreed on; sometimes it was concealed by the adoption of ambiguous formulations. As for those questions which required immediate decisions, these were settled by unilateral concessions on the part of the Western powers. The concessions were dictated in part by the fear that Stalin would negotiate a separate peace with Hitler if his demands were not met, and in part by the hope that he would deal with his allies on a basis of mutual trust if they were. They did not, perhaps, seem as significant at the time as they did in retrospect; after all, the sacrifice of the democratic forces of Eastern Europe was habitual to the Western powers.
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