Potsdam Agreements

The main objective of the Potsdam conference was to put an end to the post-war period and to put into practice all that had been agreed in Yalta. While the Yalta meeting was rather friendly, the Potsdam conference was marked by differences of opinion that were the result of some important changes since the Yalta conference. Truman was much more suspicious of the Soviets than Roosevelt and increasingly suspicious of Stalin`s intentions. [11] Truman and his advisers regarded Soviet action in Eastern Europe as aggressive expansionism, incompatible with the agreements Stalin had been obliged to in Yalta in February. In addition, Truman discovered possible complications elsewhere when Stalin rejected Stalin Churchill`s proposal to withdraw the Allies from Iran before the timetable agreed at the Tehran conference. The Potsdam conference was the only time Truman met Stalin himself. [13] [14] 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.

The foreign ministers of the three governments – James F. Byrnes, V.M Molotov and Anthony Eden and Ernest Bevin – and other advisers also attended the conference. Nine meetings were held from July 17 to 25. Subsequently, the conference was suspended for two days, with the results of the British general election announced. In July, Clement Attlee defeated Winston Churchill and replaced him as British representative, while the new British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, replaced Anthony Eden. Four days of discussions followed. During the conference, the three heads of government held meetings with their foreign secretaries as well as only meetings of foreign secretaries. The committees that were set up by the conference for pre-processing of questions before the conference also met daily. Important decisions and agreements were adopted and opinions were exchanged on many other issues. The Council of Foreign Ministers, which was then set up by the conference, continued to examine these issues.

The conference ended with a closer relationship between the three governments as a result of their cooperation. This renewed confidence in the fact that they and the other United Nations would ensure a just and lasting peace. [6] [7] France, which had been excluded from the conference, opposed the implementation of the Potsdam Agreements in its zone of occupation.