If you asked a Polish about Yalta coference he would probably told you that Poland was sold there to Stalin by Roosvelt and Churchill. Poland was attacked in 1939 not only by Germans but also by USSR ( september the 17th). Before war it was an independent country with a free market economy, freedom of speach and general election. Many american, british, french,swedish concers had their factories or branches in prewar Poland and sold their products there. It was relatively poor country (compared to Western Europe countries, not to Africa or Asia of cours) but its economy had good prospects for fast growth. To prewar Polish people communism was something strange and dangerous what was somewhere behind the eastern border of the country. Poles thought about themselves as a nation which belonged to the western civilisation. Despite the fact that Poland was always on the right side of the WWII together with UK, France, USA it end that war as a losser not as winner. At the Yalta conference superpowers leaders decided that Poland and other countries of that part of Europe became satelite states of the USSR. While France, the Netherlands and even West Germany rebuilt their ecconomies in the same way like in prewar era, in Poland (where 6 million ppl lost their lives in WWII) new, communist authorites eliminated democratic, pro western opposition usually by killing the people who were heroes fighting with nazis during the war. Hundreds of thousands Poles had to escape to the west. The Communist puppet government liquidated general election and freedom of speach. Private property was taken from its proper owners, factories, shops etc. were nationalised. There were just one party which had the right to rule the country - the communist party.Those who didn't agree with the Party were treated like enemies of the nation.
As a result of the conference in Yalta where Churchill and Roosvelt got scared of Stallin, Poland and other countries were taken back in the civilisation developtment about 20 or more years in comparison to western Europe and issolated from the world they always identified with. From polish point of view Amrericans and British trusting Stalin were completly naive.
Poland could start to change into democratic state after overthrowing of the communism in the 1989. If it wasn't in the Eastern Bloc it would be probably on the similar level of developtment as Italy or Spain today. Polish people even the youngest generation know about it. Even today an average Pole can feel results of the Yalta conference when he looks at his salary and compares it with a salary of average German, French, Brit etc. what is also the main reason of the immigration of Polish people to the west of EU (average polish salary is about 3-4 times lower). Poles who have usually much more knowledge about history than Western Europeans have a feeling that what happened many years ago was extremly unfair to them. Sometimes they can be abrupt or even malicious in contacts with western Europeans or Americans. They are very sensitive about superiority complex of western people because they see it just as an effect of living on the right side of the iron curtain. For them generations of their parents or grandparents had right to live in an independent, democratic state as well as French, Italians, Brits etc. especialy that Poland wasn't the ally of Nazi Germany like Austria, Italy or few other states. The word "Yalta" in Poland means and probably will always mean "betrayal".
interests in Central and Eastern Europe history