Potsdam Conference

Potsdam Conference

The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, Germany, from July 16, 1945 to August 2. The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three nations were represented by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Minister Winston Churchill [Potsdam Conference, Encyclopaedia Britannica [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9061076/Potsdam-Conference] ] and later Clement Attlee, [BBC Fact File: Potsdam Conference [http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/timeline/factfiles/nonflash/a1144829.shtml?sectionId=7&articleId=1144829] ] and President Harry S Truman. The French and the Polish were not invited to participate.

Stalin, Churchill, and Truman—as well as Attlee, who replaced Churchill as Prime Minister [Clement Richard Attlee, Archontology.org [http://www.archontology.org/nations/uk/bpm/attlee.php] ] after the Labour Party's victory over the Conservatives in the 1945 general election—had gathered to decide how to administer the defeated Nazi Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier, on May 8 (V-E Day). The goals of the conference also included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of war.


* Soviet Union, represented by Joseph Stalin. Stalin arrived at the conference a day late, citing "official business" that required his attention, but in fact may have suffered a minor heart attack. [John Martin Carroll, George C. Herring. [http://books.google.com/books?id=6HiJQUMbNfMC&pg=PA131&vq=stalin+heart+potsdam&sig=o49C6bUZqRuSBPwNMjjG7HvUSgE "Modern American Diplomacy"] (1986) pg. 131.]
* United Kingdom, represented by British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. The results of the British election became known during the conference. As a result of the Labour Party victory over the Conservative Party the leadership changed hands.
* United States, represented by the new President Harry S Truman. It was here where Truman first alluded to Stalin that the Americans had developed the atomic bomb and may use it against Japan, which they later did on August 6th and August 9th. Joseph Stalin suggested that Truman preside over the conference as the only head of state attending, a recommendation accepted by Churchill.
* Although Poland made the fourth-largest troop contribution to the Allied war effort, after the Soviets, the British and the Americans, Polish leaders were not invited to participate in the conference.


Potsdam Agreement

:"Main article the Potsdam Agreement

At the end of the conference, the Three Heads of Government agreed on the following actions:

Oder-Neisse Line (click to enlarge)]

*::"See also Expulsion of Germans after World War II, The industrial plans for Germany and Oder-Neisse line
** Issuance of a statement of aims of the occupation of Germany by the Allies: demilitarization, denazification, democratization, decentralization and decartelization.
** Division of Germany and Austria respectively into four occupation zones (earlier agreed in principle at Yalta), and the similar division of each's capital, Berlin and Vienna, into four zones.
** Agreement on the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
** Reversion of all German annexations in Europe, including Sudetenland, Alsace-Lorraine, Austria and the westernmost parts of Poland
** Germany's eastern border was to be shifted westwards to the Oder-Neisse line, effectively reducing Germany in size by approximately 25% compared to her 1937 borders. The territories east of the new border comprised East Prussia, Silesia, West Prussia, and two thirds of Pomerania. These areas were mainly agricultural, with the exception of Upper Silesia which was the second largest centre of German heavy industry.
** Expulsion of the German populations remaining beyond the new eastern borders of Germany.
** Agreement on war reparations to the Soviet Union from their zone of occupation in Germany. It was also agreed that 10% of the industrial capacity of the western zones unnecessary for the German peace economy should be transferred to the Soviet Union within 2 years. Stalin proposed and it was accepted that 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)Fact|date=February 2007.
** Ensuring that German standards of living did not exceed the European average. The types and amounts of industry to dismantle to achieve this was to be determined later. (see The industrial plans for Germany)
** Destruction of German industrial war-potential through the destruction or control of all industry with military potential. To this end, all civilian shipyards and aircraft factories were to be dismantled or otherwise destroyed. All production capacity associated with war-potential, such as metals, chemical, machinery etc were to be reduced to a minimum level which was later determined by the Allied Control Commission. Manufacturing capacity thus made "surplus" was to be dismantled as reparations or otherwise destroyed. All research and international trade was to be controlled. The economy was to be decentralized (decartelization). The economy was also to be reorganized with primary emphasis on agriculture and peaceful domestic industries. In early 1946 agreement was reached on the details of the latter: Germany was to be converted into an agricultural and light industry economy. German exports were to be coal, beer, toys, textiles, etc — to take the place of the heavy industrial products which formed most of Germany's pre-war exports. [James Stewart Martin. "All Honorable Men" (1950) pg. 191.]

*::"See also Western betrayal and Territorial changes of Poland after World War II
**A Provisional Government of National Unity recognized by all three powers should be created (known as the Lublin Poles). Recognition of the Soviet controlled government by the Western Powers effectively meant end of recognition for the existing Polish government in Exile (known as the London Poles).
**Poles who were serving in the British Army should be free to return to Poland, with no security upon their return to the communist country guaranteed.
**The provisional western border should be the Oder-Neisse line, defined by the Oder and Neisse rivers. Parts of East Prussia and the former Free City of Danzig should be under Polish administration. However the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland should await the peace settlement (which would take place at the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in 1990)
**The Soviet Union declared it will settle the reparation claims of Poland from its own share of reparations (it never did)Fact|date=March 2008

* All other issues were to be answered by the final peace conference to be called as soon as possible.

Potsdam Declaration

:"Main article the Potsdam Declaration

In addition to the Potsdam Agreement, on July 26 Churchill, Truman and Chiang Kai-shek (the Soviet Union was not at war with Japan ) issued the "Potsdam Declaration" which outlined the terms of surrender for Japan during WWII in Asia.

Other issues

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 allied leaders.

During the conference, Truman mentioned an unspecified "powerful new weapon" to Stalin; Stalin, who had known of its existence long before Truman ever knew, through espionage, 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 to surrender (in the name of United States, Great Britain, China and USSR) or meet "prompt and utter destruction", which did not mention the new bomb. After prime minister Kantaro Suzuki's declaration that the Empire of Japan should ignore (mokusatsu) the ultimatum, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945 respectively.

Previous Conferences

*the Yalta Conference, February 4 to February 11, 1945
*the Second Quebec Conference, September 12 to September 16, 1944
*the Tehran Conference, November 28 to December 1, 1943
*the Cairo Conference, November 22 to November 26, 1943
*the Casablanca Conference, January 14 to January 24, 1943

ee also

*List of World War II conferences

External links

* [http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/FRUS.FRUS1945Berlinv01 United States Department of State Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers : the Conference of Berlin (the Potsdam Conference)] 1945 Volume I Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945
* [http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/FRUS.FRUS1945Berlinv02 United States Department of State Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers : the Conference of Berlin (the Potsdam Conference)] 1945 Volume II Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945
* [http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/FRUS.FRUS1945v03 European Advisory Commission, Austria, Germany] Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers, 1945.
* [http://time-proxy.yaga.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,934360,00.html Cornerstone of Steel] , Time Magazine, January 21, 1946
* [http://jcgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,852764,00.html Cost of Defeat] , Time Magazine, April 8, 1946
* [http://time-proxy.yaga.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,887417,00.html Pas de Pagaille!] Time Magazine, July 28, 1947
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/truman/psources/ps_potsdam.html Agreements of the Berlin (Potsdam) Conference]
* [http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/riddle1.htm Interview with James W. Riddleberger] Chief, Division of Central European Affairs, U.S. Dept. of State, 1944-47
* [http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/trachtenberg/cv/POTSDAM.doc "The Myth of Potsdam,"] in B. Heuser et al, eds., Myths in History (Providence, RI and Oxford: Berghahn, 1998)
* [http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/trachtenberg/cv/MUNICH..doc "The United States, France, and the Question of German Power, 1945-1960,"] in Stephen Schuker, ed., Deutschland und Frankreich vom Konflikt zur Aussöhnung: Die Gestaltung der westeuropäischen Sicherheit 1914-1963, Schriften des Historischen Kollegs, Kolloquien 46 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2000).
* [http://www.ndu.edu/library/ic1/L46-070.pdf U.S. Economic Policy Towards defeated countries] April, 1946.
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,792263,00.html Lebensraum]



* Michael Beschloss. "The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945" (2002)
* Farquharson, J. E. "Anglo-American Policy on German Reparations from Yalta to Potsdam." "English Historical Review" 1997 112(448): 904-926. Issn: 0013-8266 Fulltext: in Jstor
* Gimbel, John. "On the Implementation of the Potsdam Agreement: an Essay on U. S. Postwar German Policy." "Political Science Quarterly" 1972 87(2): 242-269. Issn: 0032-3195 Fulltext: in Jstor
* Gormly, James L. "From Potsdam to the Cold War: Big Three Diplomacy, 1945-1947." Scholarly Resources, 1990. 242 pp.
* Mee, Charles L., Jr. "Meeting at Potsdam." 1975. 370 pp.
* Thackrah, J. R. "Aspects of American and British Policy Towards Poland from the Yalta to the Potsdam Conferences, 1945." "Polish Review" 1976 21(4): 3-34. Issn: 0032-2970
* Zayas, Alfred M. de. "Nemesis at Potsdam: The Anglo-Americans and the Expulsion of the Germans, Background, Execution, Consequences." Routledge, 1977. 268 pp.

* "Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers. The Conference of Berlin (Potsdam Conference, 1945)" 2 vols. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1960

Online resources

* [http://www.trumanlibrary.org/teacher/potsdam.htm Truman and the Potsdam Conference]
* [http://alsos.wlu.edu/qsearch.aspx?browse=places/Potsdam,+Germany Annotated bibliography for the Potsdam Conference from the Alsos Digital Library]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Potsdam Conference — (July 17–Aug. 2, 1945) Allied conference held in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam after Germany s surrender in World War II. Harry Truman, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (later replaced by Clement R. Attlee) met to discuss European peace… …   Universalium

  • Potsdam Conference — noun a conference held in Potsdam in the summer of 1945 where Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill drew up plans for the administration of Germany and Poland after World War II ended • Instance Hypernyms: ↑conference …   Useful english dictionary

  • Potsdam Conference — n. conference of Allied leaders held in July August 1945 in order to clarify agreements from the Yalta Conference and determine postwar policies for Germany and Japan …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Potsdam Conference, 1945 —    Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, the leaders of the victorious Allied powers met at Potsdam, near Berlin, for a conference from 17 July to 2 August 1945. It was the first opportunity for the new U.S. president, Harry S. Truman, to meet… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • NH Berlin Potsdam Conference Center — (Клайнмахнов,Германия) Категория отеля: 4 звездочный отель Адрес …   Каталог отелей

  • Potsdam-Babelsberg — or short Babelsberg is the largest district of the city of Potsdam, Germany. It is named after the small hill Babelsberg . History Babelsberg was first mentioned in the Landbuch (Landbook) in 1375 by Kaiser Karl IV as an independent settlement.… …   Wikipedia

  • Potsdam — town in Germany, first recorded 993 as Poztupimi; the name is of Slavic origin, the first element po “by near,” the second element influenced by Du. names in dam. The Potsdam Conference of the victorious Allies in World War II was held July… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Potsdam — Also see: Potsdam, New York (in the USA). : For the Potsdam Conference, see: Potsdam Conference.Infobox German Location Name = Potsdam Art = City image photo = Potsdam Schloss Sanssouci.jpg image caption = Sanssouci, former summer palace of… …   Wikipedia

  • Potsdam — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Potsdam (homonymie). Potsdam …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Potsdam Agreement — The Potsdam Agreement was an agreement on policy for the occupation and reconstruction of Germany and other nations after fighting in the European Theatre of World War II had ended with the German surrender of May 8, 1945. It was drafted and… …   Wikipedia