Agreements At Potsdam

The Potsdam Conference, held from 17 July to 2 August 1945 near Berlin, was the last of the three major meetings of the Second World War. The conference brought together the President of the Soviet Union, the new US President Harry S. Truman and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (replaced on 28 July by his successor Clement Attlee). On 26 July, the Heads of State and Government issued a statement calling for Japan`s „unconditional surrender“ and hiding the fact that they had privately agreed to let Japan retain its emperor. For the rest, the conference revolved around post-war Europe. A Council of Foreign Ministers, composed of the Big Three, China and France, was agreed. The german military administration was set up with a central allied supervisory board (the requirement that access decisions be unanimous would prove crippling at a later date). The heads of state and government have reached various agreements on the German economy, with a focus on the development of agriculture and non-military industry. The institutions that controlled the Nazi economy had to be decentralized, but all of Germany would be treated as a single economic entity.

War criminals would be brought to justice. Stalin`s request to define the German-Polish border was pushed back to the peace treaty, but the conference accepted his transfer from the country east of the Oder and the Neisse from Germany to Poland. With regard to repairs, a compromise was drawn up on the basis of an exchange of capital equipment from the western zone for eastern raw materials. It resolved a dispute, but set a precedent for the management of the German economy by zone and not exhaustive, as the Western powers hoped. Although post-war Europe dominated Potsdam`s agenda, the war in the Pacific was on stage. Shortly after arriving in Potsdam, Truman received the news of the success of the atomic bomb test. He told Churchill the news, but mentioned „a new weapon“ to Stalin. Truman continued to ask Stalin for help against Japan, but he knew that if the bomb succeeded, Russian aid would not be needed. In fact, the bomb would give the United States unprecedented power in the post-war world.

The Reader`s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editor-in-Chief. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. In accordance with the decisions of the Crimean Conference of 11 February 1945, the Potsdam Agreements provided for the complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany; the abolition of the National Socialist Party and its branches; dissolution of all Nazi institutions; Prevention of military and nS activities and propaganda; Passage of war criminals before the International Tribunal; Preparing for the definitive reconstruction of German political life. The main objective of the Potsdam conference was to put an end to the post-war period and to put into practice all that had been agreed in Yalta. While the Yalta meeting was rather friendly, the Potsdam conference was marked by differences of opinion that were the result of some important changes since the Yalta conference.