On this day in 1944, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Moscow and began a nine-day conference, where the war with Germany and the future of Europe was discussed.
Feeling confident that WWII was about to wrap up and Germany’s defeat was inevitable, a significant portion of the talks centered around the two superpowers influence in a postwar Europe. As the conference was taking place, Stalin’s army was liberating Romania from German control. Churchill ceded Romania, but was keen on keeping Greece away from the Red Army. Thus, they made a deal: Romania for Greece. Elsewhere, the two leaders agreed to divvy up the spoils of war with Yugoslavia being split in half, east for Russia and west for the West. They also worked out that the German populations in East Prussia and Silesia would be moved to the interior of Germany. East Prussia was then split between the USSR and Poland, and Silesia was given to Poland as compensation for territories the Red Army already occupied.
Though Churchill was accommodating, he insisted every nation be free to select the government most amenable to its people, especially the smaller, more vulnerable nations. He was forthcoming regarding the West’s fear of the spread of communism. However, none of these discussions were put to paper and fully agreed upon, a fact that would be obvious as the Cold War commenced.