What Was Gained and What Was Lost at Yalta


Re “Once Again, the Big Yalta Lie,” Commentary, May 10: I read with particular disgust The Times’ desperate defense of President Franklin Roosevelt’s deplorable actions at the Yalta summit. You state that Roosevelt was “naive” in his dealings with Josef Stalin. At the same time, you explicitly mention the slaughter of Polish officers in the forests of Katyn, an act to which Roosevelt conveniently failed to respond. So which is it? Was the Katyn massacre evidence of Roosevelt’s intentions, or was Roosevelt naive?

I think any examination of the record will show that Roosevelt traded the freedom of those residing in Eastern Europe for peace. Roosevelt’s legacy, both in domestic and foreign policy, is one of short-term gain at the expense of future generations.

Winston Churchill also holds a level of blame for the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Still, Churchill is on the record as having pushed for resistance to Stalin, a quest that was summarily cut short by Roosevelt.


Stating that the enslavement of Poland and other Eastern European countries was worth the peace is an argument with which I would disagree, but it is an honest and forthright position. Defending a man whose only real interest was in the glorification of the face looking back from the mirror, regardless of the consequences to the truest victims of World War II, is simply a lie.

Ron Kula

St. Charles, Ill.


Even more to the point, given that President Bush was misspeaking in Latvia, is the fact that regardless of what was said or not said at Yalta, the U.S. government never recognized the Soviet Union’s annexation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The matter was a smaller sore spot among larger disputes, but Roosevelt never accepted the Soviet claim to the Baltics, nor did presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, etc.

Edward Furey

Woodhaven, N.Y.