The Yalta Conference certainly was not the cause of the Cold War, but it did indirectly contribute to it. First, a little background: The conference was held as Nazi Germany was on the verge of defeat. However, it was the Soviets who were doing a better job of pushing back the German forces. They were nearly at Berlin while the British and American armies had barely pushed into Germany. This gave Stalin a much stronger position at the conference.
Stalin and FDR had different objectives. FDR wanted to secure Russia's help in defeating Japan. Stalin wanted to extend his influence into Eastern Europe in order to create a buffer zone against the West. To this end, Stalin agreed that Russia would join the war against Japan three months after the defeat of Germany but would also be tasked with restoring the nations of Eastern Europe. Stalin promised that the Soviet Union would allow free democratic elections to take place in these countries, something that Churchill insisted on.
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