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15 October 2014
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Timeline - 1939-1945

Fact File : Second Quebec Conference

12-16 September 1944

Location: Quebec, Canada
Players: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of the US Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr and military and diplomatic advisers.
Outcome: British Task Force 57 offered to aid the US in the Pacific; Lend-Lease Agreements revisited; Morgenthau Plan discussed and Germany's future debated.

US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill©
Churchill, Roosevelt and their advisers met for a second time in Quebec in a conference codenamed Octagon. (The first Quebec conference had been held more than a year earlier, in August 1943.)

The two leaders discussed the war in the Pacific, and Churchill offered the aid of a British fleet. Roosevelt leapt at the opportunity against the advice of Admiral King, considered one of the greatest naval strategists in US history. Roosevelt's words were, '... the British fleet was no sooner offered than accepted'. Thus Task Force 57 was born and operated in the Pacific from March to August 1945.

The conference returned to the Lend-Lease Agreements and it was confirmed that the arrangement would continue as long as the war in the Pacific was still being waged.

Further discussions were held about the division of Germany. As part of the terms of surrender, the Allied powers had intended to de-industrialise Germany. But the conference was presented with the Morgenthau plan which had been devised by - and named after - one of Roosevelt's advisers, Henry Morgenthau Jr. The plan proposed to divide Germany into two halves, once it had been stripped of all its acquired territories. Germany would not be required to pay reparations (as it had to such devastating effect after World War One); any financial demands made of the country would require it to continue functioning as an industrial power. Instead, German machinery would be given to the Allies, mostly to Russia.

Roosevelt was enthusiastic about the plan and Churchill agreed to it - although he later claimed to have been critical of it. At Quebec, Churchill was in need of US financial support and had to woo Morgenthau if he was going to get it. But conference advisers did not give full approval and arrangements for the Allies' final plans for Germany weren't confirmed until the following year at Potsdam.

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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