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Potsdam Conference

From Academic Kids

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Attlee, Truman, and Stalin at Potsdam

The Potsdam Conference was held in Potsdam, Germany (near Berlin), from July 17 to August 2, 1945. The participants were the victorious allies of World War II, who had gathered to decide how to administer Germany, which had unconditionally surrendered nine weeks earlier, on May 8. The goals of the conference also included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of war.

Contents

Participants

He arrived at the conference a day later, citing "official business" that required his attention, but in fact may have suffered a minor heart attack, or perhaps he may have been merely trying to appear important.
The results of the British election became known during the conference. As a result of the Labour Party victory over the Conservative Party the Prime Ministership changed hands.
Joseph Stalin suggested that Truman preside over the conference as the only head of state attending, a recommendation accepted by Churchill.

Primary results of conference

On Stalin's proposal, Poland was to be excluded from division of German compensation to be later granted 15% of compensation given to Soviet Union (this has never happened).
  • In addition, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration which outlined the terms of surrender for Japan.
  • All other issues were to be answered by the final peace conference to be called as soon as possible.

While the border between Poland and Germany was practically determined and made irreversible by forced population transfers agreed in Potsdam, the West wanted the final peace conference to confirm the Oder-Neisse line as a permanent arrangement. Since WWII has never been settled by a peace conference, the Polish-German border was gradually recognized by mutual agreements: 1950 by East Germany, 1970 by West Germany and 1990 by united Germany. This state of uncertainty lead to greater influence of the Soviet Union over Poland and Germany.

The western allies, and especially Churchill, were suspicious of the motives of Stalin, who had already installed communist governments in the central European countries under his influence; the Potsdam conference turned out to be the last conference among the allies.

During the conference, Truman mentioned to Stalin about an unspecified "powerful new weapon"; Stalin, who had actually already been made aware of the bomb from his spies, encouraged the usage of any weapon that would hasten the end of the war. Towards the end of the conference, Japan was given an ultimatum (threatening "prompt and utter destruction", without mentioning the new bomb), and after Japan had rejected it, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, respectively. Truman made the decision to use atomic weapons to end the war while at the conference.

The Potsdam Conference was preceded by

See also

de:Potsdamer Konferenz fr:Confrence de Potsdam he:ועידת פוטסדאם ja:ポツダム会談 pl:Konferencja poczdamska

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