Both the fortuitous ambiguities and deliberate ambivalencies of the Yalta Conference in February 1945 were definitively resolved over the following five years. The interwar and wartime eastward shift of the locus of continental authority over eastern Europe from Paris to Munich, then from Warsaw to Yalta, irresistibly placed the ultimate postwar fate of eastern Europe at the disposal of Stalin’s Soviet Union. There were to be four sequential phases in the creation of a ‘Soviet Empire’ in the course of the later 1940s, each phase a response to a different stimulus, each phase overlaying its predecessor to effect a cumulative and composite Stalinist imperial establishment.
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