Apr 2022

Why Were There Disagreements at the Potsdam Conference in 1945

The main objective of the Potsdam Conference was to conclude a post-war settlement and put into practice everything agreed at Yalta. Although the Yalta meeting was somewhat friendly, the Potsdam Conference was marked by disagreements that resulted from some important changes that have taken place since the Yalta Conference. The Potsdam meeting was the third conference between the leaders of the three great nations. The Soviet Union was represented by Joseph Stalin, Britain by Winston Churchill and the United States by President Harry S. Truman. This was Truman`s first reunion of the Big Three. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in April 1945, attended the first two conferences – in Tehran in 1943 and in Yalta in February 1945. The Big Three – Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (September 26) and US President Harry Truman met in Potsdam, Germany, from July 17 to August 2, 1945, to negotiate the terms of the end of World War II.

After the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin, Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt had agreed to meet after Germany`s surrender to define the post-war borders in Europe. Germany capitulated on 8 May 1945 and the Allied leaders agreed to meet in Potsdam this summer to continue the talks begun at Yalta. Although the Allies remained determined to wage a common war in the Pacific, the absence of a common enemy in Europe led to difficulties in reaching a consensus on post-war reconstruction on the European continent. From February 13 to February 15. In February 1945, in the final months of World War II (1939-45), Allied forces bombed the historic city of Dresden in East Germany. The bombing was controversial because Dresden was neither important for German war production nor important. But in Potsdam, Truman and Byrnes were anxious to reduce Soviet demands, insisting that reparations should only be demanded by the occupying powers from their own zone of occupation. This was because the Americans wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened after the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. Then, it was claimed, the harsh reparations imposed by the treaty on a defeated Germany caused economic crises, which in turn led to the rise of Hitler. Britain and the United States were still at war with Japan, but the absence of a common enemy in Europe led to immense difficulties in Potsdam in reaching a consensus on the political reconstruction of Europe after the war.

Optimism and kindness, as they sometimes required, as well as the “atmosphere of compromise” of Tehran and Yalta, were also lacking in Potsdam. The main topic in Potsdam was the question of how to deal with Germany. At Yalta, the Soviets had lobbied for Germany to grant harsh post-war reparations, half of which was to go to the Soviet Union. While Roosevelt had complied with these demands, Truman and his Secretary of State, James Byrnes, were determined to lessen Germany`s treatment by allowing occupying nations to demand reparations only from their own zone of occupation. Truman and Byrnes promoted this position because they wanted to avoid a repeat of the situation created by the Treaty of Versailles, which had demanded high reparations from Germany after World War I. Many experts agreed that the harsh reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles had hampered the German economy and fueled the rise of the Nazis. At the Conference, allied Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their previous commitment to the expulsion of the German population from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary; which the governments of these countries had already begun to put into practice. The three Potsdam Allies were convinced that the transfer of this German population should be completed as soon as possible. They stressed that transfers must be carried out in an orderly and humane manner. But eventually, up to two million German civilians were killed in the evictions.

[Citation needed] The leaders decided that the Allied Control Council in Germany would deal with the issue that prioritized the equal distribution of Germans among the occupation zones. Representatives on the Control Board were to report to their governments and to each zone administration on the number of people who had already entered Germany from Eastern European countries. [7] These representatives would also provide an assessment of the future pace of transfers, with a focus on Germany`s capacity to absorb people. When Truman informed Stalin of the atomic bomb, he said that the United States “had a new weapon of unusual destructive power,”[51] but Stalin was fully aware of the development of the atomic bomb from Soviet spy networks within the Manhattan Project,[52] and told Truman at the conference that he hoped Truman would “use it well against the Japanese.” [53] The Poles, but also the Czechs and Hungarians, had begun to expel their German minorities, and the Americans and British were extremely concerned that a massive influx of Germans into their respective areas would destabilize them. A request has been made to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary to temporarily suspend the expulsions and carry them out “in an orderly and humane manner” when they resume. New British Prime Minister Clement Attlee with President Truman and Field Marshal Stalin at the Potsdam Conference on 1 September. August 1945. Behind them, from left to right, are Admiral Leahy, Ernest Bevin, James Byrnes and Vyacheslav Molotov. The Yalta Conference in February 1945 was a great success. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin agreed on a number of things: the Potsdam Conference is perhaps best known for President Truman`s conversation with Stalin on July 24, 1945, during which the president informed the Soviet leader that the United States had succeeded in detonating the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945.

Historians have often interpreted Truman`s somewhat firm stance during the negotiations with the U.S. negotiating team`s belief that U.S. nuclear capabilities would strengthen its bargaining power. Stalin, however, was already well informed about the US nuclear program, thanks to the Soviet intelligence network; He has therefore also stood firm in his positions. This situation made the negotiations difficult. The leaders of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union, who, despite their differences, had remained allies throughout the war, never met again to discuss cooperation in post-war reconstruction. .

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