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Covering the Map of the World — The Half-Century Legacy of the Yalta Conference, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 In the late afternoon of February 4, 1945, the "Big Three" of the Allied side in World War II — Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin — took their seats around a conference table at Livadia Palace, a few miles south of Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The war in Europe was rapidly reaching its end. On the Western front, American, British, and other Allied forces had successfully turned back Hitler's last offensive of the war in December 1944, when the German Army had attempted to attack across Luxembourg and Belgium and cut off the British forces in southern Holland from the main body of American forces in northern France. The Western Allies, in February, were now poised ...

The Roots of World War II

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It is commonly thought that the 20th century witnessed two world wars. It would be more accurate to say that the century had but one world war — with a 21-year intermission. To put it another way, World War II grew out of World War I; indeed, it was made virtually inevitable by it. More specifically, a case can be made that World War II was a result of American intervention in the First World War. Counterfactual history is a risky endeavor. But the events that followed America's entry into World War I strongly suggest that had President Woodrow Wilson permanently "kept us out of war," as his 1916 presidential campaign slogan boasted, the conditions that produced World War II would not have been sown. The Great War began in August 1914. America did not enter the war until April 1917. By that time both sides were exhausted from years of ...

American Foreign Policy — The Turning Point, 1898–1919, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 With the end of the twentieth century rapidly approaching, this is a time to look back and gain some perspective on where we stand as a nation. Were the Founding Fathers somehow to return, they would find it impossible to recognize our political system. The major cause of this transformation has been America's involvement in war and preparation for war over the past hundred years. War has warped our constitutional order, the course of our national development, and the very mentality of our people. The process of distortion started about a century ago, when certain fateful steps were taken that in time altered fundamentally the character of our republic. One idea of America was abandoned and another took its place, although no conscious, deliberate decision was ever made. Eventually, this change affected all areas of American life, so that today our nation is radically ...