Potsdam Conference Facts

Potsdam Conference Facts
The Potsdam Conference, held in Potsdam, Germany, took place from July 17 to August 2, 1945. After Germany was defeated on the battlefield and agreed to an unconditional surrender, the "Big Three" leaders of Stalin, Churchill, and Truman, who had become American President upon Roosevelt's death, met once more to discuss the fate of post-war Europe. Churchill was joined by Clement Attlee, who had just become the new British Prime Minister after a July 5 general election. Many of the issues first raised at the Yalta conference were dealt with more thoroughly at Potsdam and although the war was over, there was a greater sense of urgency to accomplish lasting results. The victors came to general agreements on the continued military occupation of Germany and the prosecution of Nazis for war crimes, but clear fault lines emerged between the Soviets and Americans.
Interesting Potsdam Conference Facts:
The conference was held at the palace of Ceciliendorf, which was once the home of Prince Wilhelm, the last crown prince to the German throne.
Potsdam is in the state of Brandenburg, just outside of Berlin.
Truman viewed Stalin, the Soviet Union, and communism in general as a threat to the West and the United States. Roosevelt, on the other hand, said of Stalin: "I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man." "I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, 'noblesse oblige', he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace."
Although the French were denied representation at the Potsdam Conference, they were given a zone of military control in Germany at the Yalta Conference.
The conference reversed all German annexations made before and during World War II.
The formal title of the Potsdam Conference was the Three Power Conference of Berlin.
The complete disarmament of Germany was a major part of the Potsdam Agreement. German shipyards were destroyed.
Austria was temporarily occupied by the Allied forces, but not forced to pay reparations. The Allied victors viewed Austria as a territory conquered by Germany, not as a willing participant in its imperial goals.
The agreement called for ethnic Germans living in Poland and other central and eastern European countries "repatriated" to Germany, even if they had never lived in the country.
Along with establishing the idea of prosecuting former Nazis, the agreement also institutionalized the idea of "denazification" of all Germany.
General Harry H. Vaughn of the United States Army was President Truman's aide and advisor at the Potsdam Conference.
Soviet ambassador to the United States and future Soviet leader, Andrei Gromyko, was at the Potsdam Conference as part of Stalin's team.
The agreement called for Germany's industrial output to be changed from heavy industry to light manufacturing and exports of commodities such as coal, beer, and textiles.
The idea to disarm Germany was first forwarded by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Junior in 1944. Morgenthau's plan, though, intended to make Germany a pastoral country and to enact even harsher reparations on it. Morgenthau left the Treasury Department after Truman became president and the plan was significantly lightened.


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