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15 October 2014
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Timeline - 1939-1945

Fact File : First Moscow Conference

18 October to 3 November 1943 (some sources give the end date as 30 October or 1 November).

Location: London
Players: UK, USA, USSR and China.
Outcome: The Moscow Declaration, signed by the USA, UK, USSR and China, which demanded the unconditional surrender of Axis powers and proposed the establishment of an international organisation for peace.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, pictured here at the Yalta Conference in 1945
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, pictured here at the Yalta Conference in 1945©
The Moscow Conference of foreign ministers met in London in October 1943 with the intention to progress Anglo-American relations with the USSR.

The Americans redirected the thrust of the conference from the issue of creating a world peace organisation to the question of Germany's future. It was decided that Germany should be completely disarmed and made to pay reparations for the damage inflicted on the Soviet Union and Allied countries. The European Advisory Commission was established to work on the terms of surrender to be proposed to Germany and its Axis satellites after the end of the war.

Also on the agenda was the proposed plan for the invasion of France. Britain and America assured the USSR that the invasion would happen the following spring. This was combined with a declaration against Nazi atrocities in the occupied territories. Further actions included a protocol on joint Anglo-Soviet action to bring Turkey into the war on the side of the Allies.

The conference also saw the Four-power or Four-nations Declaration, otherwise known as the Moscow Declaration, issued on 30 October. China was invited to join the USA, UK and the USSR in signing this declaration, which emphasised the need for the unconditional surrender of Axis powers and reiterated the United Nations Declaration proposing an international organisation for peace.

In clause 4, the declaration stated:

'That [the four powers] recognise the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organisation, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, and open to membership by all such states, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security.'

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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