Why Was It Difficult to Reach Agreements at the Potsdam Conference

Truman was much more suspicious of the Soviets than Roosevelt and was increasingly suspicious of Stalin`s intentions. [11] Truman and his advisers saw Soviet actions in Eastern Europe as aggressive expansionism incompatible with the agreements to which Stalin had committed himself at Yalta in February. Moreover, Truman became aware of possible complications elsewhere when Stalin rejected Churchill`s proposal for an allied withdrawal from Iran before the timetable agreed at the Tehran conference. The Potsdam Conference was the only time Truman met Stalin in person. [13] [14] Cold War tensions and competition affected the entire world, affecting Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa. The United States had historically focused its foreign policy on maintaining the Monroe Doctrine in the Western Hemisphere, but new engagements in Europe and Asia have diminished Washington`s attention there. [108] In part in response to fears of growing Soviet influence, the United States led efforts to create a collective security pact in the Western Hemisphere. In 1947, the United States and most Latin American countries joined the Rio Pact, a defensive military alliance. The following year, the Independent States of America established the Organization of American States (OAS), an intergovernmental organization to promote regional unity. Many Latin American countries seeking the favor of the United States severed their relations with the Soviet Union. [109] Latin American countries also sought aid and investment similar to the Marshall Plan, but Truman believed that most U.S. foreign aid was better directed to Europe and other regions that could potentially be under the influence of communism.

[110] Despite many differences of opinion, the Allied leaders managed to reach some agreements in Potsdam. For example, negotiators confirmed the status of a demilitarized and disarmed Germany under four zones of Allied occupation. According to the minutes of the conference, there should be “complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany”; all aspects of German industry that could be used for military purposes had to be dismantled; all German military and paramilitary forces should be eliminated; and the manufacture of all military equipment in Germany was banned. In addition, German society was to be democratically reshaped by the repeal of all discriminatory laws of the Nazi era and the arrest and sentencing of Germans as “war criminals.” The German education and justice system should be cleansed of authoritarian influences and democratic political parties should be encouraged to participate in the administration of Germany at the local and state level. However, the reconstitution of a German national government was postponed indefinitely, and the Allied Control Commission (composed of four occupying powers, the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union) was to govern the country during the interregnum. The Potsdam Conference, which took place near Berlin from 17 July to 2 August 1945, was the last of the three major meetings of World War II. Soviet Prime Minister Joseph Stalin and new US President Harry S. participated. Truman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain (replaced on 28 July by his successor Clement Attlee). On July 26, the leaders issued a statement demanding Japan`s “unconditional surrender,” concealing the fact that they had privately agreed to let Japan keep its emperor. Otherwise, the conference focused on post-war Europe. A Council of Foreign Ministers was agreed, comprising the big three, as well as China and France.

The German military administration was established, with an Allied Central Control Council (the requirement that approval decisions be unanimous would later prove crippling). The Heads of State and Government agreed on various agreements on the German economy, with a focus on the development of agriculture and non-military industry. The institutions that had controlled the economy under the Nazis were to be decentralized, but all of Germany would be treated as one economic entity. War criminals would be brought to justice. Stalin`s request to define the German-Polish border was postponed to the peace treaty, but the conference agreed to his transfer of land east of the Oder and Neisse rivers from Germany to Poland. In the case of reparations, a compromise was made on the basis of the exchange of capital goods from the western zone for raw materials from the east. He resolved a dispute, but set a precedent for the management of the German economy by zone and not globally, as the Western powers had hoped. Although post-war Europe dominated potsdam`s agenda, the war hid in the Pacific off stage. Truman received news of the success of the atomic bomb test shortly after his arrival in Potsdam; he broke the news to Churchill, but only casually mentioned “a new weapon” to Stalin.

Truman continued to ask Stalin for help against Japan, but he knew that if the bomb succeeded, Russian help would not be needed. In fact, the bomb would give the United States unprecedented power in the postwar world. The reader`s companion to American history. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. World War II radically turned the international system upside down, as once powerful nations such as Germany, France, Japan, and even the USSR and Britain had been devastated. By the end of the war, only the United States and the Soviet Union had the ability to exert influence, and a bipolar international power structure replaced the multipolar interwar structure.

[52] When Truman took office, Truman privately regarded the Soviet Union as an “outright police government,” but he was initially reluctant to take a hard line against it, hoping to cooperate with Stalin after World War II. [53] Truman`s suspicions deepened when the Soviets consolidated their control in Eastern Europe during 1945. and the announcement of the Soviet Five-Year Plan in February 1946 further strained relations, as it called for the development of the Soviet army. [54] At the Moscow Conference in December 1945, Foreign Secretary Byrnes agreed to recognize pro-Soviet governments in the Balkans, while Soviet leaders accepted American leadership in the occupation of Japan. ==References=====External links===Concessions at the conference irritated other members of the Truman administration, including Truman himself. [55] By early 1946, Truman had realized that Britain and the United States would have little influence in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. [56] The Soviet Union submitted to the Conference a proposal concerning the mandated territories in accordance with what was decided at the Yalta Conference and the Charter of the United Nations. 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.

It was the first meeting of Truman`s 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. At the end of the conference, the three Heads of Government agreed on the following measures. All other issues should be resolved by the final peace conference, which should be convened as soon as possible. Conference participants discussed the content and procedures of peace agreements in Europe, but did not attempt to conclude peace treaties. This task has been left to a Council of Foreign Ministers. The main concerns of the Big Three, their foreign ministers and their staffs were the immediate administration of defeated Germany, the demarcation of Poland`s borders, the occupation of Austria, the definition of the Role of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the determination of reparations and the continuation of the war against Japan. The friendship and goodwill that had largely characterized previous war conferences was lacking in Potsdam, for each nation was most concerned with its own interests, and Churchill was particularly suspicious of Stalin`s motives and intransigent position.

To remember the things discussed at each conference, use the mnemonic PEER 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 had full knowledge of the development of the atomic bomb from Soviet spy networks within the Manhattan Project,[52] and he told Truman at the conference, he hoped Truman would “use them well against the Japanese.” [53] The main objective of the Potsdam Conference was to finalize a post-war solution and put into practice everything agreed at Yalta. .

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