What Agreement Was Reached At The Potsdam Conference

The protocols of the Potsdam conference suggested continued harmony between the allies, but the deeply contradictory objectives of Western democracies on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other, meant that Potsdam became the last Allied conference. The border of Poland became the Oder and the Neisse to the west, and the country received part of the former East Prussia. This required that millions of Germans be transferred to Germany in these regions. The Romanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian governments were already controlled by the Communists and Stalin stubbornly refused to let the Allies intervene in Eastern Europe. While in Potsdam, Truman Stalin spoke of the “new weapon” of the United States (the atomic bomb) that she wanted to use against Japan. On 26 July, the conference issued an ultimatum to Japan, which called for an unconditional surrender and, if not, threatened to launch more serious airstrikes. After Japan rejected this ultimatum, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the conference, Truman called Stalin a “powerful new weapon” unspecified. Towards the end of the conference, on 26 July, potsdam`s declaration issued an ultimatum to Japan to surrender unconditionally or to face the “rapid and total destruction” that the new bomb did not mention,[48] but promised that “it was not the intention to enslave Japan.” The Soviet Union did not participate in this declaration, as it was still neutral in the war against Japan. Japanese Prime Minister KantarĂ© Suzuki did not respond,[49] which was seen as a sign that the Japanese Empire had ignored the ultimatum. [50] Subsequently, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The justifications cited were that both cities were legitimate military targets and that it was necessary to quickly end the war and preserve American life. Despite many disagreements, Allied leaders managed to reach some agreements in Potsdam.

Negotiators thus confirmed the status of Germany demilitarized and disarmed among the four zones of the Allied occupation. According to the protocol of the conference, there should be “complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany”; all aspects of German industry that could be used for military purposes should be removed; all German military and paramilitary forces should be eliminated; and the manufacture of all military equipment in Germany was prohibited. In addition, German society should be redeveloped by the repeal of all discriminatory laws of the Nazi era and by the arrest and trial of Germans considered “war criminals” on the democratic model. The German education and judicial system should be purged of all authoritarian influence and democratic political parties would be encouraged to participate in the management of Germany at the local and national levels. However, the re-establishment 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) would rule the country during the interregnum. When Truman informed Stalin of the atomic bomb, he stated that the United States had “a new weapon of unusual destructive force”[51], but that Stalin had full pity for the development of the atomic bomb from Soviet spy networks in the Manhattan Project[52] and he told Truman at the conference that he hoped Truman would “use it well against the Japanese.” [53] The Potsdam Conference, held from July 17 to August 2, 1945 near Berlin, was the last of the three major meetings of the Second World War. The new US President, Harry S. Josef Stalin, attended the conference.

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