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Neurosurg Focus. 2016 Jul;41(1):E7. doi: 10.3171/2016.4.FOCUS1575.

The strokes that killed Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery and Stanford Stroke Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Abstract

From February 4 to 11, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met near Yalta in Crimea to discuss how post-World War II (WWII) Europe should be organized. Within 2 decades of this conference, all 3 men had died. President Roosevelt died 2 months after the Yalta Conference due to a hemorrhagic stroke. Premier Stalin died 8 years later, also due to a hemorrhagic stroke. Finally, Prime Minister Churchill died 20 years after the conference because of complications due to stroke. At the time of Yalta, these 3 men were the leaders of the most powerful countries in the world. The subsequent deterioration of their health and eventual death had varying degrees of historical significance. Churchill's illness forced him to resign as British prime minister, and the events that unfolded immediately after his resignation included Britain's mismanagement of the Egyptian Suez Crisis and also a period of mistrust with the United States. Furthermore, Roosevelt was still president and Stalin was still premier at their times of passing, so their deaths carried huge political ramifications not only for their respective countries but also for international relations. The early death of Roosevelt, in particular, may have exacerbated post-WWII miscommunication between America and the Soviet Union-miscommunication that may have helped precipitate the Cold War.

KEYWORDS:

Franklin D. Roosevelt; Joseph Stalin; WWII = World War II; Winston Churchill; stroke

PMID:
27364260
DOI:
10.3171/2016.4.FOCUS1575
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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