The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. Behind them stand, from the left, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Fleet Admiral Ernest King, Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, General of the Army George Marshall, Major General Laurence S. Kuter, General Aleksei Antonov, Vice Admiral Stepan Kucherov, and Admiral of the Fleet Nikolay Kuznetsov.
The Polish People's Republic in 1989
The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. Behind them stand, from the left, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Fleet Admiral Ernest King, Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, General of the Army George Marshall, Major General Laurence S. Kuter, General Aleksei Antonov, Vice Admiral Stepan Kucherov, and Admiral of the Fleet Nikolay Kuznetsov.
Poland's fate was heavily discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Joseph Stalin, whose Red Army occupied the entire country, presented several alternatives which granted Poland industrialized territories in the west whilst the Red Army simultaneously permanently annexed Polish territories in the east, resulting in Poland losing over 20% of its pre-war borders - areas primarily inhabited by ethnic Belarusians or Ukrainians. Soviet-backed Polish communists came to power and oversaw the country's entry into the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
Soviet, American and British diplomats during the Yalta conference
Border changes of Poland after World War II. The eastern territories (Kresy) were annexed by the Soviets. The western territories, referred to as the "Recovered Territories", were granted as war reparations. Despite the western lands being more industrialized, Poland lost 77,035 km2 (29,743 sq mi) and major cities like Lviv and Vilnius.
Yalta American Delegation in Livadia Palace from left to right: Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Maj. Gen. L. S. Kuter, Admiral E. J. King, General George C. Marshall, Ambassador Averell Harriman, Admiral William Leahy, and President F. D. Roosevelt. Livadia Palace, Crimea, RSFSR
The 1970 Polish protests were put down by the Communist authorities and Citizens' Militia. The riots resulted in the deaths of 42 people and over 1,000 injured.
A Big Three meeting room
Queues waiting to enter grocery stores in Warsaw and other Polish cities and towns were typical in the late 1980s. The availability of food and goods varied at times, and the most sought after basic item was toilet paper.
Leaders of the Big Three at the negotiating table at the Yalta conference
The new Warszawa Centralna railway station in Warsaw had automatic doors and escalators. It was a flagship project during the 1970s economic boom and was dubbed the most modern station in Europe at the time of its completion in 1975.
Allied-occupied territories (red) on 15 February 1945, four days after the end of the conference
Lech Wałęsa co-founded and headed the Solidarity movement which toppled Communism. He later became the President of Poland.
Poland's old and new borders, 1945 – Kresy in light red
The 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard Strike and subsequent Summer 1981 Hunger Demonstrations were instrumental in strengthening the Solidarity movement's influence.
The eventual partition of Germany into Allied Occupation Zones: {{legend|#69AB69|British zone}} {{legend|#2464D8|French zone (two exclaves) and beginning in 1947, the Saar protectorate}} {{legend|#FCA93E|American zone, including Bremen}} {{legend|#FF5555|Soviet zone, later the GDR}} {{legend|#FFFFCF|Polish and Soviet annexed territory}}
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
Partition plan from Winston Churchill: {{legend|#C9A091|North German state}} {{legend|#9195C9|South German state, including modern Austria and Hungary}} {{legend|#92C991|West German state}}
Władysław Gomułka and Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967
Morgenthau Plan: {{legend|#FF6464|North German state}} {{legend|#6464FF|South German state}} {{legend|#64ff64|International zone}} {{legend|#C8C8C8|Territory lost from Germany (Saarland to France, Upper Silesia to Poland, East Prussia, partitioned between Poland and the Soviet Union)}}
An abandoned State Agricultural Farm in south-eastern Poland. State farms were a form of collective farming created in 1949.
From left to right: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. Also present are Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (far left); Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, RN, Marshal of the RAF Sir Charles Portal, RAF, (standing behind Churchill); General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN, (standing behind Roosevelt)
Łódź was Poland's largest city after the destruction of Warsaw during World War II. It was also a major industrial centre in Europe and served as the temporary capital due to its economic significance in the 1940s.
Female textile workers in a state-run factory, Łódź, 1950s
Supersam Warsaw, the first self-serve shopping centre in Poland, 1969
Pewex, a chain of hard currency stores which sold unobtainable Western goods and items
Ration cards for sugar, 1977
Bar mleczny, a former milk bar in Gdynia. These canteens offered value meals to citizens throughout Communist Poland.
Trybuna Ludu (People's Tribune) was a government-sponsored newspaper and propaganda outlet
Andrzej Wajda was a key figure in Polish cinematography during and after the fall of communism
Allegory of communist censorship, Poland, 1989. Newspapers visible are from all Eastern Bloc countries including East Germany, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
The 237-meter Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, constructed in 1955. At the time of its completion it was one of the tallest buildings in Europe
Smyk Department Store, 1960s
Polish university students during lecture, 1964
One of many schools constructed in central Warsaw in the 1960s
Jerzy Popiełuszko was a Roman Catholic priest who supported the anti-communist opposition. He was murdered by the Security Services "SB" of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
A demographics graph illustrating population growth between 1900 and 2010. The highest birth rate was during the Second Polish Republic and consequently under the Polish People's Republic.
A typical socialist apartment building in Warsaw representing the style of functionalism, built due to the ever-growing population and high birth rate at the time
Konstantin Rokossovsky, pictured in a Polish uniform, was Marshal of the Soviet Union and Marshal of Poland until being deposed during the Polish October in 1956.
Poland's old and new borders, 1945

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin was able to present his western allies, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, with a fait accompli in Poland.

- Polish People's Republic

After the Second World War ended, a communist government was installed in Poland.

- Yalta Conference

8 related topics with Alpha

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Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War

Cold War

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Period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II.

Period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II.

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945
Post-war Allied occupation zones in Germany
Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945
Post-war territorial changes in Europe and the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called "Iron Curtain"
Remains of the "Iron Curtain" in the Czech Republic
C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
President Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty with guests in the Oval Office.
Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, December 1949
General Douglas MacArthur, UN Command CiC (seated), observes the naval shelling of Incheon, Korea from USS Mt. McKinley, 15 September 1950
US Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950
NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1959
From left to right: Soviet head of state Kliment Voroshilov, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev and Finnish president Urho Kekkonen at Moscow in 1960.
The maximum territorial extent of Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
Western colonial empires in Asia and Africa all collapsed in the years after 1945.
1961 Soviet stamp commemorating Patrice Lumumba, assassinated prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
The United States reached the Moon in 1969.
Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
Soviet and American tanks face each other at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Aerial photograph of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, taken by a US spy aircraft, 1 November 1962
NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1973
US combat operations during the Battle of Ia Drang, South Vietnam, November 1965
A manifestation of the Finlandization period: in April 1970, a Finnish stamp was issued in honor of the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's birth and the Lenin Symposium held in Tampere. The stamp was the first Finnish stamp issued about a foreign person.
The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968 was one of the biggest military operations on European soil since World War II.
Suharto of Indonesia attending funeral of five generals slain in 30 September Movement, 2 October 1965
Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat with Henry Kissinger in 1975
Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger in 1976
Cuban tank in the streets of Luanda, Angola, 1976
During the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot, 1.5 to 2 million people died due to the policies of his four-year premiership.
Mao Zedong and US President Richard Nixon, during his visit in China
Leonid Brezhnev and Jimmy Carter sign the SALT II treaty, 18 June 1979, in Vienna
Iranian people protesting against the Pahlavi dynasty, during the Iranian Revolution
Protest in Amsterdam against the deployment of Pershing II missiles in Europe, 1981
The Soviet invasion during Operation Storm-333 on 26 December 1979
President Reagan publicizes his support by meeting with Afghan mujahideen leaders in the White House, 1983.
President Reagan with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a working luncheon at Camp David, December 1984
The world map of military alliances in 1980
US and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2006
Delta 183 launch vehicle lifts off, carrying the Strategic Defense Initiative sensor experiment "Delta Star".
After ten-year-old American Samantha Smith wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov expressing her fear of nuclear war, Andropov invited Smith to the Soviet Union.
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, 1987.
The beginning of the 1990s brought a thaw in relations between the superpowers.
"Tear down this wall!" speech: Reagan speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, 12 June 1987
Otto von Habsburg, who played a leading role in opening the Iron Curtain.
Erich Honecker lost control in August 1989.
August Coup in Moscow, 1991
The human chain in Lithuania during the Baltic Way, 23 August 1989
Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War
Since the end of the Cold War, the EU has expanded eastwards into the former Warsaw Pact and parts of the former Soviet Union.
A map showing the relations of Marxist–Leninist states after the Sino-Soviet split as of 1980:
The USSR and pro-Soviet socialist states
China and pro-Chinese socialist states
Neutral Socialist nations (North Korea and Yugoslavia)
Non-socialist states

At the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Roosevelt signed a separate deal with Stalin regarding Asia and refused to support Churchill on the issues of Poland and Reparations.

Polish People's Republic (19 January 1947)

East Germany

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State that existed from 1949 to 1990 in east Germany as part of the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War.

State that existed from 1949 to 1990 in east Germany as part of the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War.

The territory of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from its creation on 7 October 1949 until its dissolution on 3 October 1990
On the basis of the Potsdam Conference, the Allies jointly occupied Germany west of the Oder–Neisse line, later forming these occupied territories into two independent countries. Light grey: territories annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union; dark grey: West Germany (formed from the US, UK and French occupation zones, including West Berlin); red: East Germany (formed from the Soviet occupation zone, including East Berlin).
West Germany (blue) comprised the Western Allies' zones, excluding the Saarland (purple); the Soviet zone, East Germany (red) surrounded West Berlin (yellow).
GDR leaders: President Wilhelm Pieck and Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl, 1949
SED First Secretary, Walter Ulbricht, 1960
Erich Honecker, head of state (1971–1989)
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) Helmut Schmidt, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) Erich Honecker, U.S. president Gerald Ford and Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky signing the Helsinki Act
Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz (renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt from 1953 to 1990)
Demonstration on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin on 4 November 1989
SED logotype: the Communist–Social Democrat handshake of Wilhelm Pieck and Otto Grotewohl, establishing the SED in 1946
GDR flag at the United Nations headquarters, New York City, 1973
The Palast der Republik, seat of the Volkskammer
Poster with the inscription "Berlin – Hauptstadt der DDR", 1967
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Emblem (13 December 1948 – August 1990)
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Parade
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation uniform
Emblem of the Free German Youth
FDJ Organisation Parade
East Berlin: XII Parliament of the FDJ During the opening in the Great Hall of the Palace of the Republic.
Pioneer choir "August Bebel" Zwickau of the pioneer house "Wilhelm Pieck" in Zwickau (Schwanenschloß)
Uniform of the FDJ
Members with the uniform of the FDJ
A woman and her husband, both medical students, and their triplets in East Germany in 1984. The GDR had state policies to encourage births among educated women.
Districts of the German Democratic Republic in 1952
Uni-Riese (University Giant) in 1982. Built in 1972, it was once part of the Karl-Marx-University and is Leipzig's tallest building.
East German Nationale Volksarmee changing-of-the-guard ceremony in East Berlin
Angola's José Eduardo dos Santos during his visit to East Berlin
Map of the East German economy
The Trabant automobile was a profitable product made in the German Democratic Republic.
A 1980 meeting between representatives of the BEK and Erich Honecker
Katholikentag, Dresden, 1987 (left to right) Bishop Karl Lehmann and Cardinals Gerhard Schaffran, Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) and Joachim Meisner
The Oktoberklub in 1967
Pop singer Frank Schöbel (center) giving autographs in 1980
Playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956)
Volksbühne
The East German football team lining up before a match in June 1974
Karin Janz
Gerhard Behrendt with character from the stop-animation series Sandmännchen
Percentage of Zweitstimme for Die Linke in the 2017 federal election
Provisional coat of arms of the GDR
Provisional coat of arms of the GDR
Coat of arms of the GDR
Flag of the GDR
Commercial flag
Flag of the GDR
President Standard 1951–1953
President's Standard 1953–1955
Standard of the President 1955–1960
Standard of the Chairman of the Council of State 1960–1990
Service flag of the National People's Army
Service flag for combat ships and boats of the People's Navy
Service flag for auxiliary ships and boats of the People's Navy
alt=Service flag|Deutsche Post (1955–1973)
Service flag for ships and boats of the Border Brigade Coast
Service flag of the border troops
Flag of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi), East Germany, until 1990
Emblem of the Ministry of State Security (MfS) (Stasi) of the GDR (until 1990)
Coat of arms of National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic (from 1956 until 1990)
Emblem of the Ground Forces of National People's Army (1956-1990)
The coat of arms of the People's Navy with the Order of Karl Marx (between 1956 and 1990)
Emblem of Air Force of the National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic before 1959 (until 1956 the People's Police Air of the GDR)
Emblem of aircraft of National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic (1959–1990)
Emblem of the Grenztruppen used for vehicles (1949–1990)
The national ensign of the GDR Volkspolizei-Bereitschaften (from 1962 to 1990)
Combat Groups of the Working Class coat of arms of the fighting groups of the working class, without oak leaves (between 1953 and 1990)
Logo of the Organization of the Warsaw Pact (14 May 1955)
Emblem of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1950–1990)
Flag of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1950–1990)
Emblem of the Free German Youth
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Flag (13 December 1948 – August 1990)

Geographically, the GDR bordered the Baltic Sea to the north, Poland to the east, Czechoslovakia to the southeast and West Germany to the southwest and west.

At the Yalta Conference during World War II, the Allies (the US, the UK, and the Soviet Union) agreed on dividing a defeated Nazi Germany into occupation zones, and on dividing Berlin, the German capital, among the Allied powers as well.

The League of Nations assembly, held in Geneva, Switzerland, 1930

World War II

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Global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945.

Global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945.

The League of Nations assembly, held in Geneva, Switzerland, 1930
Adolf Hitler at a German Nazi political rally in Nuremberg, August 1933
Benito Mussolini inspecting troops during the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935
The bombing of Guernica in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, sparked fears abroad in Europe that the next war would be based on bombing of cities with very high civilian casualties.
Japanese Imperial Army soldiers during the Battle of Shanghai, 1937
Red Army artillery unit during the Battle of Lake Khasan, 1938
Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured just before signing the Munich Agreement, 29 September 1938
German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (right) and the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, after signing the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, 23 August 1939
Soldiers of the German Wehrmacht tearing down the border crossing into Poland, 1 September 1939
Soldiers of the Polish Army during the defence of Poland, September 1939
Finnish machine gun nest aimed at Soviet Red Army positions during the Winter War, February 1940
German advance into Belgium and Northern France, 10 May-4 June 1940, swept past the Maginot Line (shown in dark red)
London seen from St. Paul's Cathedral after the German Blitz, 29 December 1940
Soldiers of the British Commonwealth forces from the Australian Army's 9th Division during the Siege of Tobruk; North African Campaign, September 1941
German Panzer III of the Afrika Korps advancing across the North African desert, April-May 1941
European theatre of World War II animation map, 1939–1945 – Red: Western Allies and the Soviet Union after 1941; Green: Soviet Union before 1941; Blue: Axis powers
German soldiers during the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Axis powers, 1941
Soviet civilians leaving destroyed houses after a German bombardment during the Battle of Leningrad, 10 December 1942
Japanese soldiers entering Hong Kong, 8 December 1941
The USS Arizona (BB-39) was a total loss in the Japanese surprise air attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Sunday 7 December 1941.
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British PM Winston Churchill seated at the Casablanca Conference, January 1943
Map of Japanese military advances through mid-1942
US Marines during the Guadalcanal Campaign, in the Pacific theatre, 1942
Red Army soldiers on the counterattack during the Battle of Stalingrad, February 1943
American 8th Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombing raid on the Focke-Wulf factory in Germany, 9 October 1943
U.S. Navy SBD-5 scout plane flying patrol over USS Washington (BB-56) and USS Lexington (CV-16) during the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, 1943
Red Army troops in a counter-offensive on German positions at the Battle of Kursk, July 1943
Ruins of the Benedictine monastery, during the Battle of Monte Cassino, Italian Campaign, May 1944
American troops approaching Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944
German SS soldiers from the Dirlewanger Brigade, tasked with suppressing the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation, August 1944
General Douglas MacArthur returns to the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte, 20 October 1944
Yalta Conference held in February 1945, with Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin
Ruins of the Reichstag in Berlin, 3 June 1945.
Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.
Ruins of Warsaw in 1945, after the deliberate destruction of the city by the occupying German forces
Defendants at the Nuremberg trials, where the Allied forces prosecuted prominent members of the political, military, judicial and economic leadership of Nazi Germany for crimes against humanity
Post-war border changes in Central Europe and creation of the Communist Eastern Bloc
David Ben-Gurion proclaiming the Israeli Declaration of Independence at the Independence Hall, 14 May 1948
World War II deaths
Bodies of Chinese civilians killed by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Nanking Massacre in December 1937
Schutzstaffel (SS) female camp guards removing prisoners' bodies from lorries and carrying them to a mass grave, inside the German Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, 1945
Prisoner identity photograph taken by the German SS of a Polish Catholic girl who died in Auschwitz. Approximately 230,000 children were held prisoner and used in forced labour and Nazi medical experiments.
Polish civilians wearing blindfolds photographed just before their execution by German soldiers in Palmiry forest, 1940
Soviet partisans hanged by the German army. The Russian Academy of Sciences reported in 1995 civilian victims in the Soviet Union at German hands totalled 13.7 million dead, twenty percent of the 68 million persons in the occupied Soviet Union.
B-29 Superfortress strategic bombers on the Boeing assembly line in Wichita, Kansas, 1944
A V-2 rocket launched from a fixed site in Peenemünde, 21 June 1943
Nuclear Gadget being raised to the top of the detonation "shot tower", at Alamogordo Bombing Range; Trinity nuclear test, New Mexico, July 1945

On 4 February Soviet, British, and US leaders met for the Yalta Conference.

As a result, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Albania became Soviet satellite states.

Soviet Union

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Transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991.

Transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991.

The Soviet Union after World War II
Lenin, Trotsky and Kamenev celebrating the second anniversary of the October Revolution
The Soviet Union after World War II
The Russian famine of 1921–22 killed an estimated 5 million people.
Construction of the bridge through the Kolyma (part of the Road of Bones from Magadan to Jakutsk) by the workers of Dalstroy.
Five Marshals of the Soviet Union in 1935. Only two of them – Budyonny and Voroshilov – survived Great Purge. Blyukher, Yegorov and Tukhachevsky were executed.
The Battle of Stalingrad, considered by many historians as a decisive turning point of World War II.
From left to right, the Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill confer in Tehran, 1943.
Map showing greatest territorial extent of the Soviet Union and the states that it dominated politically, economically and militarily in 1960, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 but before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961 (total area: c. 35,000,000 km2)
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (left) with US President John F. Kennedy in Vienna, 3 June 1961.
Nikolai Podgorny visiting Tampere, Finland on 16 October 1969
Soviet general secretary Leonid Brezhnev and US President Jimmy Carter sign the SALT II arms limitation treaty in Vienna on 18 June 1979
Mikhail Gorbachev in one-to-one discussions with US President Ronald Reagan
The Pan-European Picnic took place in August 1989 on the Hungarian-Austrian border.
T-80 tank on Red Square during the August Coup
Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War
Internally displaced Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh, 1993
Country emblems of the Soviet Republics before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union (note that the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (fifth in the second row) no longer exists as a political entity of any kind and the emblem is unofficial)
Sukarno and Voroshilov in a state meeting on 1958.
1960s Cuba-Soviet friendship poster with Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev
Soviet stamp 1974 for friendship between USSR and India as both nations shared strong ties, although India was a prominent member of Non-Aligned Movement
Gerald Ford, Andrei Gromyko, Leonid Brezhnev and Henry Kissinger speaking informally at the Vladivostok Summit in 1974
Mikhail Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush signing bilateral documents during Gorbachev's official visit to the United States in 1990
1987 Soviet stamp
Military parade on the Red Square in Moscow, 7 November 1964
The Grand Kremlin Palace, the seat of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, 1982
Nationalist anti-government riots in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 1990
A medium-range SS-20 non-ICBM ballistic missile, the deployment of which in the late 1970s launched a new arms race in Europe in which NATO deployed Pershing II missiles in West Germany, among other things
From left to right: Yuri Gagarin, Pavel Popovich, Valentina Tereshkova and Nikita Khrushchev at the Lenin's Mausoleum in 1963
Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
The DneproGES, one of many hydroelectric power stations in the Soviet Union
Picking cotton in Armenia in the 1930s
Workers of the Salihorsk potash plant, Belarus, 1968
Volzhsky Avtomobilny Zavod (VAZ) in 1969
Soviet stamp depicting the 30th anniversary of the International Atomic Energy Agency, published in 1987, a year following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
Soviet stamp showing the orbit of Sputnik 1
Aeroflot's flag during the Soviet era
Population of the Soviet Union (red) and the post-Soviet states (blue) from 1961 to 2009 as well as projection (dotted blue) from 2010 to 2100
Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, visiting the Lviv confectionery, Ukrainian SSR, 1967
Young Pioneers at a Young Pioneer camp in Kazakh SSR
People in Samarkand, Uzbek SSR, 1981
Svaneti man in Mestia, Georgian SSR, 1929
An early Soviet-era poster discouraging unsafe abortion practices
Cover of Bezbozhnik in 1929, magazine of the Society of the Godless. The first five-year plan of the Soviet Union is shown crushing the gods of the Abrahamic religions.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow during its demolition in 1931
A paranja burning ceremony in the Uzbek SSR as part of Soviet Hujum policies
World War II military deaths in Europe by theater and by year. Nazi Germany suffered 80% of its military deaths in the Eastern Front.
2001 stamp of Moldova shows Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space
People in Donetsk celebrate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, 9 May 2018
Soviet singer-songwriter, poet and actor Vladimir Vysotsky in 1979
Valeri Kharlamov represented the Soviet Union at 11 Ice Hockey World Championships, winning eight gold medals, two silvers and one bronze
One of the many impacts of the approach to the environment in the USSR is the Aral Sea (see status in 1989 and 2014)
Landscape near Karabash, Chelyabinsk Oblast, an area that was previously covered with forests until acid rainfall from a nearby copper smelter killed all vegetation
Ethnographic map of the Soviet Union, 1941
Ethnographic map of the Soviet Union, 1970

The country bordered (from 1945 to 1991): Norway, Finland, the Baltic Sea, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran, the Caspian Sea, Afghanistan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

In the same year, the USSR, in fulfilment of its agreement with the Allies at the Yalta Conference, denounced the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1945 and invaded Manchukuo and other Japan-controlled territories on 9 August 1945.

The "Big Three" at the Potsdam Conference, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin

Potsdam Conference

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Held in Potsdam, Germany, from July 17 to August 2, 1945, to allow the three leading Allies to plan the postwar peace, while avoiding the mistakes of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Held in Potsdam, Germany, from July 17 to August 2, 1945, to allow the three leading Allies to plan the postwar peace, while avoiding the mistakes of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The "Big Three" at the Potsdam Conference, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin
A conference session including Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, William D. Leahy, Joseph E. Davies, James F. Byrnes, and Harry S. Truman
From left to right, first row: General Secretary Joseph Stalin; President Harry Truman, Soviet Ambassador to the United States Andrei Gromyko, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Second row: Brigadier General Harry H. Vaughan, Truman's confidant and military aide, Russian interpreter Charles Bohlen, Truman naval aide James K. Vardaman Jr., and (partially obscured) Charles Griffith Ross
Sitting (from left): Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman, Joseph Stalin, and behind: Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy, Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, and Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
Cecilienhof, site of the Potsdam Conference, pictured in 2014
Demographics map used for the border discussions at the conference
The Oder–Neisse line (click to enlarge)
Poland's old and new borders, 1945. The territory previously part of Germany is identified in pink.
The Foreign Ministers: Vyacheslav Molotov, James F. Byrnes, and Anthony Eden, July 1945

The Soviets also reaffirmed their Yalta promise to promptly launch an invasion of Japanese-held areas.

The Soviet Union converted several countries of Eastern Europe into satellite states within the Eastern Bloc, such as the People's Republic of Poland, the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the People's Republic of Hungary, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People's Republic of Romania, and the People's Republic of Albania.

Typical landscape view of the Kresy, marked by low-lying rolling hills and grasslands (location Sielec, Drohobych Raion, western Ukraine)

Kresy

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Term coined for the eastern part of the Second Polish Republic during the interwar period (1918–1939).

Term coined for the eastern part of the Second Polish Republic during the interwar period (1918–1939).

Typical landscape view of the Kresy, marked by low-lying rolling hills and grasslands (location Sielec, Drohobych Raion, western Ukraine)
Polish voivodeships 1922–1939. One can consider the six easternmost voivodeships as roughly equivalent with Kresy.
The Pale of Settlement
Members of the German Ordnungspolizei shooting naked women and children in the Mizocz ghetto, October 1942
Massacres of Poles in Volhynia in 1943. Most Poles of Volhynia (now in Ukraine) had either been murdered or had fled the area.
Map of native speakers of Polish (red) vs. other languages (green) according to the Polish census of 1931; original map by the Main Bureau of Statistics
Map of areas where Polish was used as a primary language in 1916
Map of the Polish population living in Lithuania on the basis of elections to the parliament of Lithuania in 1923, censuses in 1921 and elections to the Polish parliament in 1922
Grey: Areas with majority Polish population in modern Lithuania. Red: pre-World War II Polish-Lithuanian border
the Skirmunt estate, Moładaŭ, by Napoleon Orda 1875

Soviet territorial annexations during World War II were later ratified by the Allies at the Tehran Conference, the Yalta Conference and at the Potsdam Conference.

Most Polish inhabitants of Kresy were ordered by the Soviets to migrate west to Germany's former eastern provinces, newly emptied of their German population and renamed as the "Recovered Territories" of the People's Republic of Poland, based on Polish medieval settlement of the areas.

Temporary borders created by advancing German and Soviet troops. The border was soon readjusted following diplomatic agreements.

Territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union

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Seventeen days after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the beginning of the Second World War, the Soviet Union entered the eastern regions of Poland (known as the Kresy) and annexed territories totalling 20,1015 km2 with a population of 13,299,000.

Seventeen days after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the beginning of the Second World War, the Soviet Union entered the eastern regions of Poland (known as the Kresy) and annexed territories totalling 20,1015 km2 with a population of 13,299,000.

Temporary borders created by advancing German and Soviet troops. The border was soon readjusted following diplomatic agreements.
Planned and actual divisions of Europe, according to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, with later adjustments
Soviet annexation of territory of eastern Poland ceded to Ukrainian SSR (yellow), 1940
Soviet map of the newly expanded Byelorussian SSR (yellow), 1940. Parts of prewar Poland invaded by the Nazis labeled area of state interests of Germany
See map
Sectors of prewar Poland under the Nazi German occupational authority
Curzon-Namier Line's variants. Tehran, 1943

The Polish People's Republic regime described the territories as the "Recovered Territories".

An agreement between the Allies was reluctantly reached at the Yalta Conference where the Soviets would annex the entirety of their Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact portion of Eastern Poland but would grant Poland part of Eastern Germany in return.

The "Big Three": Attlee, Truman, Stalin

Potsdam Agreement

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The August 1945 agreement between three of the Allies of World War II: the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

The August 1945 agreement between three of the Allies of World War II: the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

The "Big Three": Attlee, Truman, Stalin

After the end of World War II in Europe (1939–45), and the decisions of the earlier Tehran, Casablanca and Yalta Conferences, the Allies assumed supreme authority over Germany by the Berlin Declaration of June 5, 1945.

1) Poland