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Diplomacy and Conflict • Negotiating Peace: Diplomacy During WWII

The Potsdam Conference, held during July 17–August 2, 1945, was the final wartime conference between the Allied powers of World War II. Harry Truman, Winston Churchill (replaced by the new prime minister Clement Attlee on July 28), and Joseph Stalin met in the Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam, Germany. Germany had surrendered unconditionally on May 8, but Japan continued to fight. Conscious of the war-weary nations they led, the three issued Japan an ultimatum on July 26 to surrender unconditionally or be destroyed. The rest of the conference was devoted to the arrangement of postwar Europe. Soviet control of Eastern Europe was tacitly recognized by the Western powers and provisions were made for dividing Berlin into four quadrants, each to be ruled by one of the Allies (the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, and France). A number of agreements were reached over the reestablishment of governments and economies in the defeated countries. Truman received word of the successful testing of the atomic bomb during the conference and informed Churchill, casually mentioning to Stalin a new U.S. weapon but not providing any details. Differences between the United States and the Soviet Union began to clearly emerge at this conference, which many consider the start of the Cold War.

Further Reading

Brendon, Piers. Winston Churchill: A Biography. New York: Harper & Row, 1984; Gormly, James L. From Potsdam to the Cold War: Big Three Diplomacy, 1945-1947. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1990; Truman, Margaret. Harry S. Truman. New York: Morrow, 1973; Volkogonov, Dmitri Antonovich. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. Trans. Harold Shukman. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

MLA Citation

"Potsdam Conference." World History: The Modern Era, ABC-CLIO, 2020, worldhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/309903. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

Entry ID: 2171547

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