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Timeline - 1939-1945

Fact File : Teheran Conference

28 November to 1 December 1943

Location: Teheran
Players: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Russian leader Josef Stalin.
Outcome: The Normandy landings were confirmed and, shortly after the conference, Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery were appointed as commanders.

Sitting on the portico of the Russian Embassy at Teheran, Joseph Stalin wears the Order of the Red Star on his tunic; President Roosevelt wears civilian garb and Prime Minister Churchill is dressed in the uniform of an RAF Marshal
Sitting on the portico of the Russian Embassy at Teheran, Joseph Stalin wears the Order of the Red Star on his tunic; President Roosevelt wears civilian garb and Prime Minister Churchill is dressed in the uniform of an RAF Marshal©
A month after the Moscow Conference (held in October 1943), Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met for the first time, along with their foreign ministers and military advisers, to discuss future strategy - and more specifically, the invasion of France (now codenamed Operation Overlord).

Stalin used Teheran to test American and British commitment to the alliance's Second Front. 'Do the British really believe in Operation Overlord or are they only saying so to reassure the Soviet Union?' he asked. For further reassurance, Stalin requested that a commander be appointed within one week of the conference ending.

Churchill and Roosevelt agreed, and Roosevelt made the appointment; by 5 December Eisenhower had stepped into the role of Supreme Command of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Britain's Field Marshal Montgomery (among the UK's most famous World War 2 generals) was nominated as ground commander because Eisenhower's forte was considered to be strategy rather than military tactics.

Operation Overlord, it was decided, would be timed to coincide with Operation Bagration (Stalin's responsibility in the Western Theatre). A date for D-Day was set for 22 June 1944 - the anniversary of Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union. (Overlord had initially been planned for May.)

Stalin also confirmed that the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan following the defeat of Germany. Turkey's involvement in the war was discussed, as was the future of Poland and Finland and support for the partisans led by Tito in Yugoslavia. Finally, further to the debate at the Moscow Conference, a discussion was held concerning the post-war division of Germany.

The fact files in this timeline were commissioned by the BBC in June 2003 and September 2005. Find out more about the authors who wrote them.


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