Potsdam Conference

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(17 July–2 August 1945)

The last of the World War II summit conferences. Held in the former Hohenzollern palace at Potsdam, outside Berlin, the conference was attended by Churchill (replaced by Attlee during its course), Stalin, and Truman. It implicitly acknowledged Soviet predominance in eastern Europe by, among other things, accepting Polish and Soviet administration of certain German territories, and by agreeing to the transfer of the ten million or so German people in these territories and other parts of eastern Europe to Germany. It established a Council of Foreign Ministers to handle peace treaties, made plans to introduce representative and elective principles of government in Germany, discussed reparations, outlawed the Nazi Party, de-monopolized much of German industry, and decentralized its economy. The final agreement, vaguely worded and tentative, was consistently breached in the aftermath of German surrender, as the communist and capitalist countries polarized into their respective blocs. The Potsdam Declaration (26 July 1945) demanded from Japan the choice between unconditional surrender or total destruction.

Subjects: History — Warfare and Defence.

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